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 developed a special regulation.

The document, called the 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 October 7, 2022, at a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Law on foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria

Ordinance on the terms and conditions for issuing, extending and revoking a certificate for a high-tech andor innovative project called a Startup visa

The Ordinance stipulates that the Start-up visa is a certificate that allows foreign citizens (outside the European Union) to start innovative businesses using high technologies and developing research and development activities. It is important to emphasize that the certificate is not a type of visa for residence in Bulgaria, but only one of the documents required to issue a residence permit in the country to foreigners who want to develop an innovative or high-tech business in Bulgaria.

Such practice has already been established in countries such as France, the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Denmark, etc.

 

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?

  1. copy of the identity document with the photo;
  2. business plan and presentation of the project;
  3. valid patent document (if applicable);
  4. investment contract for no less than BGN 100,000 + recommendation from the relevant fund for the applicant’s contribution to the project (if applicable);
  5. 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);
  6. Seal of Excellence under the Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe programs (if applicable);
  7. Distinction in a competition in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship (if applicable);
  8. published at least two scientific articles, when applicable;
  9. a document for a completed degree of education, when applicable;
  10. bank or equivalent document;
  11. information on realized sales for the last two years, when applicable;
  12. letters of intent or partnership agreements with Bulgarian partners, when applicable.

Who reviews the application and evaluates the project?

Expert council at the Ministry of Innovation, that includes representatives of the state, the academic

community and businesses.

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 the StartUp visa?

No, there is no fee.

In which cases is the StartUp visa revoked?

Тhe foreigner has declared incorrect data and/or has not notified MIG of changes that have occurred.

Changes in circumstances prevent the implementation of the project.

Violations of the Bulgarian legislation were found, which hinder the implementation of the project.

Is the StartUp visa sufficient for the relocation of a foreigner to Bulgaria?

No. The startup visa is only one of the mandatory conditions for issuing a long-term residence permit (for a period of up to 1 year).

Can the StartUp visa be prolonged?

Yes. After the submission of a progress report. The visa can be extended for a period of 2 years.

 

Apply here / the application will start by the end of the year through the System for the Management of National Investments (NIMS)/