The Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act stipulates that the Ministry of Innovation and Growth is responsible for issuing, extending and revoking a certificate for a high-tech and/or innovative project, called a StartUp Visa. For this purpose, the Ministry has elaborated a special regulation.
The special bylaw, entitled Ordinance on the terms and conditions for issuing, extending and revoking a certificate for a high-tech and/or innovative project called a Startup visa, was adopted by Resolution No. 318 of the Council of Ministers of October 7, 2022.
The certificate is an official document, which grants an opportunity for issuing a long-term residence permit to foreigners (outside the European Union) willing to develop an innovative or high-tech business in our country.
Such practice has already been established in advanced European countries – France, the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Denmark, etc.
You can contact the competent directorate “Economic growth instruments” here email@example.com.
HOW TO apply for a StartUp Visa?
An online application is submitted through Management system of national investments (MSNI) in Bulgarian or in English to the Ministry of Innovation and Growth.
Who can apply?
The regulation provides for the application of foreign citizens (outside the European Union).
What is the validity period of the StartUp Visa?
1 year from the issue date.
What information needs to be filled in the application?
- Brief information about the applicant: name, identity document; country of origin; phone number; email; education; workplace;
- Brief information about the company: name, company registration number – EIK or equivalent, headquarters and country in which the company is registered, if applicable;
- Pitch deck (basic information about the high-tech and/or innovative project): title/name; presentation of the activity, product and/or service; financial calculations/analyses and forecasts for the approximate amount of production and for the growth of income and expenses for the next 3 years from the date of submission of the application; market, sales, customer and partnership analysis; HR information.
What documents need to be attached to the application?
- copy of the identity document with the photo;
- business plan and presentation of the project;
- valid patent document (if applicable);
- investment contract for no less than BGN 100,000 + recommendation from the relevant fund for the applicant’s contribution to the project (if applicable);
- contract or letter of intent for investment from a fund for equity and risk investing in the Republic of Bulgaria for no less than BGN 100,000 (if applicable);
- Seal of Excellence under the Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe programs (if applicable);
- Distinction in a competition in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship (if applicable);
- published at least two scientific articles, when applicable;
- a document for a completed degree of education, when applicable;
- bank or equivalent document;
- information on realized sales for the last two years, when applicable;
- letters of intent or partnership agreements with Bulgarian partners, when applicable.
Who reviews the application and evaluates the project?
Council of Experts at the Ministry of Innovation, that includes representatives of the state, the academic
community and the business.
What is the deadline for reviewing the project?
30 days after submitting the application.
How is the project evaluated?
There are 6 evaluation criteria:
- Applicant’s means of support – max. 3 points.
- Financial projections and available capital – max. 3 points
- Client network – max. 1 point
- Investments – max. 1 point
- Valid patent or valid utility model registration certificate – max. 1 point
- Business plan and presentation – max. 5 points
The project must collect a minimum of 8 points for approval.
Is there a fee for issuing StartUp Visa?
No, the application is free of charge.
In which cases is StartUp Visa revoked?
Тhe foreigner has declared incorrect data and/or has not duly notified MIG of certain changes that have occurred.
Those changes in circumstances may prevent the implementation of the project.
Violations of the Bulgarian legislation were found, which hinder the implementation of the project.
Is StartUp Visa sufficient for the relocation of a foreigner to Bulgaria?
No. The StartUp Visa is a possible condition for issuing a long-term residence permit (for a period of up to 1 year).
Can StartUp Visa be prolonged?
Yes. After the submission of a progress report. The visa can be extended for a period of 2 years.