Emigration to Bulgaria

Area: 110,994 km²
Residents: 7,050,034 (31.12.2017)
Population density: 64 E / km²
Form of Government: Parliamentary republic
System of Government: Parliamentary democracy
Neighboring countries: TurkeyGreece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Romania Capital: Sofia National language: Bulgarian Religions: 82.8 % Bulgarian Orthodox, 12.2% Muslim, 0.021% Jehovah’s Witnesses Currency: Lev (BGN) 1 Lev (BGN) = 100 stotinki Exchange rates: 1 EUR = 1.956 BGN (fixed) 1 EUR = 1.956 BGN

In 2020, 587 Germans officially emigrated to the Republic of Bulgaria and 334 came back to their homeland. Within the 10 years from 2010 to 2019, 3,857 Germans officially emigrated to Bulgaria and 3,346 moved back to Germany. In 2020, 1,481 Germans were officially living in Bulgaria. Foreigner-friendly people, a varied nature and a lot more attracts many here.

The majority of the population lives in the cities south of the Balkan Mountains, with Sofia being the most populous city with a good 1.2 million residents. Around 85% are Bulgarians. Turks and Roma are the largest minorities. In addition, Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Wallachians and Pomaks live in Bulgaria.

The official language is Bulgarian, although the Cyrillic script is officially used. Minority languages ​​include Turkish, Romani and Armenian. According to the Bulgarian constitution, freedom of religion is guaranteed, but Orthodox Christianity is seen as the “traditional religion of Bulgaria”. About 10% describe themselves as Muslim.

In cities like Varna or Sofia you will find a complete infrastructure, very good transport connections to all European metropolises, a fair tax system and a workforce with a high work ethic, as well as low unit labor costs unmatched in the EU. The summers are hot, the winters can sometimes get cold. Bulgaria is known for its beautiful Black Sea coast. But the Balkan Mountains and Rila Mountains also have a lot to offer.

General provisions for travel and residence (until the corona pandemic)

A stay of up to 90 days is possible for EU citizens without a residence permit. Entry takes place with a valid identity card or passport.

If you are staying for a longer period, you must apply for a residence permit at the local police station responsible. With the residence permit you will receive an identification card that allows you to stay for 5 years, provided that your passport is valid for the same period. After the 5 years have expired, the permit can be extended for a further 5 years. This process can be repeated as often as required.

Labor market – vacancies, jobs

Some international companies have set up locations in Bulgaria in recent years, for example Hewlett-Packard in Sofia and the Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall near Lovetsch. The British investment fund Quorus Ventures is building a plant for electric cars in Stara Sagora. Some German suppliers to the automotive industry have automotive parts produced here. German retail chains such as METRO, Penny, LIDL, Kaufland and DM have set up branches.

If you want to earn money, there are many opportunities to open a business or to become an employee. The salaries for specialists and certain skilled workers are a multiple of the average salary. For example, a certified system administrator can earn almost as much net income as in Germany – and that with a significantly lower cost of living.

German-speaking jobs for emigrants, which can also be carried out in Bulgaria, are available on the Osourced portal. Native speakers in particular are in great demand. The employers come mainly from Germany and DACH. The wages are usually below the German level but above the local level in Bulgaria. Emigrants with German language skills benefit from a locally above-average wage with low cost of living at the same time (geo-arbitrage). Tip: Emigrants can still apply for a job in Germany. With a job offer, emigrating is much easier.

You do not need a separate work permit. Even if you do not have a job yet, you can register with the labor administration in your planned place of residence. You can also get help with your job search there. Of course, at least a basic knowledge of Bulgarian is a prerequisite.

A land for farmers:
Agricultural land is still quite cheap in Bulgaria. The prices are around 20% below those in Germany. Agriculture in Bulgaria is a profitable business if you understand it. The labor force is cheap, the soil is fertile, and world market prices for renewable raw materials are rising and rising. Then there are the subsidies from the EU.

The tax on income for private individuals and on profits for companies is only 10% flat-rate in Bulgaria.

Homeschooling, homeschooling, free learning

An increasingly popular alternative to normal school attendance is homeschooling (home tuition or home tuition) or free learning (unschooling). Public education is compulsory in Bulgaria. Only children with special needs are allowed to be homeschooled under strict government control.

Real estate – purchase, lease or rent

According to Bulgarian law, foreign nationals and foreign legal entities can acquire real estate and related rights in Bulgaria.

Cost of living

You need around € 1,985.65 in Sofia to maintain the standard of living that you could have in Berlin with € 3,700.00 (assuming you rent in the cities).

  • Consumer prices in Sofia are 39.55% lower than in Berlin (excluding rent)
  • Consumer prices including rent in Sofia are 46.33% lower than in Berlin
  • Rental prices in Sofia are 61.25% lower than in Berlin
  • Restaurant prices in Sofia are 42.27% lower than in Berlin
  • Food prices in Sofia are 37.89% lower than in Berlin
  • The local purchasing power in Sofia is 44.71% lower than in Berlin

Average cost of living in Sofia (from 06/2020 – 05/2021)

Restaurant Ø € Price € Price from / to
Food, price w. restaurant 6.13 4.08-10.21
Middle class, 3 courses for 2 people. 30.63 20.42-45.94
Local beer, 0.5 l 1.49 0.77 – 2.04
Imported beer, 0.33 l 1.53 1.02 – 2.04
cappuccino 1.33 0.77-2.00
Coca / Pepsi (0.33 l) 0.90 0.56-1.53
Water (0.33 l) 0.61 0.41-1.02
Food Ø € Price € Price from / to
Milk (1 L) 1.07 0.92-1.23
White bread (500g) 0.62 0.50-0.96
Rice (white), (1kg) 1.27 0.77 – 2.04
Eggs (12) 1.65 1.10-2.14
Local cheese (1kg) 5.81 3.57-7.66
Chicken breast fillet (1kg) 5.08 3.06 – 7.66
Beef (1kg) 7.98 5.10-10.21
Apples (1kg) 1.23 0.61-1.53
Bananas (1kg) 1.35 1.02-1.53
Oranges (1kg) 1.28 0.77 – 2.04
Tomatoes (1kg) 1.50 1.02 – 2.04
Potatoes (1kg) 0.61 0.41-1.02
Onions (1kg) 0.60 0.41-1.02
Lettuce (1 head) 0.61 0.41-1.02
Water (1.5 l) 0.49 0.36-0.77
Bottle of wine (middle class) 5.10 3.06 – 7.66
Local beer (0.5 l) 0.68 0.51-1.02
Imported beer (0.33 l) 1.26 0.77-1.79

Average costs for local transport, utilities, clothing, leisure, education of Sofia (from 06/2020 – 05/2021)

Mode of Transport Ø € Price € Price from / to
One-time ticket 0.82 0.82-0.82
Monthly pass 25.52 20.42-30.63
Taxi base amount 0.51 0.38-0.80
Taxi 1 km 0.41 0.40-0.51
Ancillary housing costs Ø € Price € Price from / to
for 85 sqm apartment (electricity, water, garbage, etc. 103.49 66.36-153.14
1 minute prepaid mobile tariff 0.16 0.05-0.23
Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable / ADSL) 10.44 7.66-15.31
Clothes, shoes Ø € Price € Price from / to
Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 50.84 20.42-91.88
Summer dress (Zara, H&M,… 29.13 15.31-45.94
Nike sports shoes, middle class 69.76 48.49-102.09
Leather business shoes 69.74 45.94-102.09
leisure time Ø € Price € Price from / to
Fitness center, month / adult 23.85 15.31-30.63
Tennis, 1 hour on weekends 14.36 10.21-17.87
a movie ticket 6.13 5.10-8.17
training Ø € Price € Price from / to
Preschool / Kindergarten, private, whole day, monthly per child 364.72 280.75-510.45
International primary school per year and child 5,164.59 3,317.93 – 12,250.83

There is no need to be afraid of old age or the need for care. You can definitely afford caregivers with an average salary of € 250. However, the cost of living is currently rising rapidly, so that the above figures may no longer be achievable in the future.

Real estate can be bought very cheaply, but you often have to invest something to ensure that it meets the desired standard.

Average rental prices / purchase and salaries of Sofia (from 06/2020 – 05/2021)

Monthly rental price Ø € Price € Price from / to
Apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center 366.36 306.27-510.45
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside the center 276.01 204.18-357.32
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city center 676.50 510.45-1020.90
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside the center 484.71 408.36-663.59
Purchase price of apartments Ø € Price € Price from / to
Price per square meter for an apartment in the city – purchase 1,687.40 1,148.52-2,297.03
Price per square meter – apartment outside the center – purchase 1,096.22 816.72 – 1,429.26
wages Ø € Price € Price from / to
Average monthly salary (after taxes) 753.68

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Emigration and living in Bulgaria – conclusion

A good emigration country for special skilled workers, entrepreneurs and retirees. Advantages include easy immigration and low cost of living (LHK-I 51.7). You can find your way around tourist places with English and German. You should be able to read Cyrillic and master a survival vocabulary in Bulgarian.

Emigration to Bulgaria