The cost for a second passport from Bulgaria will double in the next year, guaranteed. In this article I will tell you why Bulgaria is the best value in second passports and why it’s set to double or even triple in cost and value in the next year.
Let me start by giving you a bit of background on how we value a second passport. It’s quite simple – the more countries you can enter visa free, the more valuable the travel document. Next, we consider where you want to live. Does the passport allow you to live and do business in a place you want to be? Even better, does it allow you to live and work in a number of different countries? If it ticks all of these boxes for you, it’s a world class second passport.
For these reasons, the most valuable second passport available is Austria. For 2016, Austrian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 173 countries and territories, ranking the Austrian passport 5th in the world (tied with Japan and Singapore).
You can acquire Austrian citizenship in 12 to 18 months by investing EUR 3 to 10 million in a qualified business. This is the largest minimum investment required and commensurate with Austria being the gold standard of second passports.
Another very valuable passport within the European Union is from the country of Malta. Maltese citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 168 countries and territories, ranking their passport 9th in the world overall. For comparison, a United States passport provides visa-free or visa on arrival to 174 countries and territories. Our passport is ranked 4th (tied with Belgium, Denmark, and The Netherlands).
Malta offers two second passport acquisition options – investment and purchase / donation. The purchase option will cost you about $1 million including fees and the investment in real estate is likely to run $1.5 million (including the property).
While Austria is the best passport, and Malta is incredibly valuable, Bulgaria is the best value within the European Union. Bulgaria currently has the lowest cost passport in the region at is a fraction of its competitors.
As of 2016, Bulgarian citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 153 countries and territories, ranking the Bulgarian passport 21st in the world (tied with Brazil and Romania) and the second lowest ranking of all EU member states (tied with Romania).
In order to get a second passport from Bulgaria, you invest about $1.2 million (2 million BGN) in government bonds for a period of 5 years. These bonds are guaranteed by the government and are relatively low risk. Certainly lower risk than investing a business you don’t control and hoping for the best.
- For a lower cost options, checkout my article 10 Best Second Passports. St. Lucia has the same government bond offering as Bulgaria at half the investment.
Unlike Austria, where the return of your capital depends on the success of the business, Bulgaria is a simple investment in guaranteed bonds. No employee, tax, or business issues to deal with. Lend money to the government for 5 years interest free and get a passport.
Your investment in Bulgaria is made in 2 stages: 1) invest $600,000 in government bonds and receive residency. This allows you to live and work in Bulgaria, but it doesn’t provide you a passport. 2) Wait one year and then invest a second $600,000 in government bonds to receive citizenship and a second passport from Bulgaria.
You earn no interest on these bonds, but you get your principal back in 5 years. So, the true cost is your opportunity cost / lost interest over this period. Legal and government fees are additional.
Here’s why the cost and value of a second passport from Bulgaria will double or triple in the next year…
Bulgaria is part of the European Union, but not a member of the Schengen Area. The most valuable second passports are all members of the Schengen Area.
The Schengen Area has 26 member states, covers an area of 4,312,099 million km2, and includes hundreds of airports and maritime ports, many land crossing points, and a population of 419,400,000 million citizens.
If you have a passport from a Schengen country, you may live, work and travel freely within the Area. This is to say, with a Schengen Area passport you can live and work in ANY of the following countries:
- Czech Republic
The fact that Austria and Malta are both in the Schengen Area is part of the reason their passport is so valuable (especially in Malta’s case). While being a part of the Area doesn’t affect the number of countries you can enter without a visa, it does greatly increase the other component of value – where the second passport allows you to live and work.
Bulgaria qualified to join the Schengen Area on April 11, 2016. As of this date, the European Commission has agreed that Bulgaria has met all conditions to allow it to join the Area.
It appears it will take about 1 year for Bulgaria to be fully admitted into the Schengen region. Once that happens, the value of their passport will increase significantly, as will the cost. This is why I believe that a second passport from Bulgaria will double or triple in cost and value in the next year.
I’ll conclude with one last benefit of a second passport from Bulgaria. A little something to sweeten the pot if you will.
Let’s say three generations of your family want to apply for citizenship and a second passport in the European Union. Each family unit will need to apply separately in Malta and Austria. That means three investments and triple the fees.
When a family applies for a second passport from most countries, a husband, wife and their dependent unmarried children under the age of 18 become citizens. Adult children must apply separately.
In Bulgaria, the family patriarch (grandparent) would apply for citizenship first. Once that’s granted, his direct dependents (children) may apply for citizenship through family relation. No investment is required. Then, once that’s granted, their children (the grandchildren of the primary applicant) may apply, again without an investment being required.
The only caveat is that residency by family relations does not apply to spouses of these dependents. It only applies to direct descendants and does not include their spouses.
I hope you have found this article interesting. Please contact me to obtain a second passport from Bulgaria or from any of the other countries I recommend. You can reach me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (619) 483-1708.