With the expansion of the IT sector people are relocating to Bulgaria from all over the world. If you happen to be one of them you probably have a million questions about the procedure you have to go through. We will try to answer the most important ones and paint a picture of the future steps.
Let’s start by answering a simple question – are you a citizen of a country member state of the EU, Switzerland or a citizen of a member-state of the European Economic Area?
If the answer is “Yes”, then everything will be much simpler for you.
As an EU citizen you don’t need a visa to enter Bulgaria and you can stay in the country without registering for up to three months. If you’d like to work in Bulgaria, however, your labor contract will need to be registered in the National Revenue Agency. You’d also need to register in Migration Directorate, part of the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry will issue you a long-stay residence permit which allows you to stay in Bulgaria for up to five years. There you will receive a personal ID number and an ID card.
There are certain documents you would need to present in order to apply for the residence permit. A valid passport, health insurance, labor contract and a proof of address are some of them.
In the case you are not a citizen of the EU, Switzerland or a citizen of a member-state of the European Economic Area you would need a special work permit in order to work in Bulgaria. The Institution which issues the works permits in Bulgaria is the Employment Agency. Only your future employer can initiate the procedure and apply in the Employment Agency, so that you can receive a work permit. This means that you’d first need to have a job proposition and a signed labor contract.
Let’s assume you have already received a job offer, you have agreed to the conditions and signed the labor contract. Now what? There are several types of work permits that can be issued to you, in this article we will explain the main characteristics of the most commonly used ones.
The “Blue Card” work permit is often the preferred type because the application process is easier when compared to the joint work permit. It is meant for highly-qualified workers who have a diploma from a university or another institution for higher education. The tricky part here is that you must be qualified for the exact job that you are hired. For example, if your job title is Machine Engineer then a diploma in European Studies will not do the thing. You’d have to prove that you are qualified for the position. Also there are only certain types of positions that are eligible to apply for the Blue Card work permit. Those positions change to reflect the current state of the labor market in Bulgaria.
In case you don’t have a university diploma or your job position is not included in the list of positions eligible for “Blue Card”, you would have to apply for a joint work permit.
In this case your employer will have to prove that there isn’t a more suitable candidate than you in Bulgaria and in the EU. This is the infamous “market search”. Once the market search is done and there aren’t any suitable candidates to match what your employer is looking for, you can continue with the application process.
If you don’t want to change your employer but you still need to work for some time in Bulgaria you and your employer can discuss one of those two options.
The Intra-Corporate Transfer is possible when the company you are working for has an office in Bulgaria or it can be proven than the company that you are currently working for and the Bulgarian company you want to move to are both property of the same person/legal entity. It is important to note that you have to have been working for the company for at least 12 months in order to be able to use the intra-corporate transfer work permit.
The Business Trip is perfect when you are needed in Bulgaria for up to one year. In this case your company sends you on a business trip in a company in Bulgaria. It is assumed that the Bulgarian company hires you for a specific type of services, so one of the conditions for a Business Type work permit is to prove that you can conduct those services.
In all of the described cases the employer or the Bulgarian company you are going to work for needs to write a specific justification and answer the question why they need to hire you. Also your labor contract should be done according to the Bulgarian laws and in compliance with the requirements of the Labor Bureau and the Employment Agency. All of the documents you are submitting need to be legalized according to Bulgarian law. During all of this process you have to be outside of Bulgaria and not have a valid visa for Bulgaria.
After you have applied for the work permit and the Employment Agency has approved your application and issued a work permit, you need to apply for a visa in order to enter Bulgaria.
You always apply for a visa type “D” in the Bulgarian embassy in the country where your permanent address is. First, you’d have to make sure you are in possession of all the required documents (valid passport, address in Bulgaria, Bulgarian bank account, insurance, criminal record certificate, a document justifying your application – in your case that would be your work permit and labor contract, however those documents are different for the different cases). Then, you would need to contact the Bulgarian embassy and set an interview date. The interview with the candidate is a compulsory part of the application process. Once you have your Visa you can enter the country and finalize the long process. Visa “D” allows you to stay in Bulgaria for up to one year, thus you’d need an upgrade.
The last step in your journey is the Migration Directorate where you register and apply for a residence permit. The residence permit that you need is a long-term residence permit. Before you head to the Migration Directorate, make sure you have a renting contract for a home in Bulgaria. Also the owner of this home has provided you with a notary legalized agreement or will come with you when you register.
After registering in the Migration Directorate and receiving a long-term residence permit you would get a personal ID number and an ID card. And Voila! You can finally start working.
Need help and assistance in any of the stages of this long journey? Contact us and we will assist you and guide you in every step of the way.