FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question 1: What is the full name of the country?
Answer 1: Republic of Bulgaria
Question 2: What is the total area?
Answer 2: Bulgaria occupies an area of 110,993 sq.km
Water: 360 sq km
Land: 110,550 sq km
Question 3: Where is Bulgaria located?
Answer 3: Bulgaria is situated in Southeast Europe in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The country borders Romania to the North, the Black Sea to the East, Turkey and Greece to the South, Serbia and Montenegro to the West. The river Danube forms the country’s northern frontier and provides quick access to Central Europe. The average altitude is 470m.
Question 4: What languages are spoken in Bulgaria?
Answer 4: The official language is Bulgarian and uses only the Cyrillic alphabet. To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in populated areas, resorts, railway stations, airports and along the main motorways are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, French, Russian and other languages are spoken in the country.
Question 5: What is the population of Bulgaria?
Answer 5: The population is about 7,450,400 (July 2005 est.)
Question 6: What is the national currency in Bulgaria?
Answer 6: The unit of currency in Bulgaria is the lev, divided into 100 stotinki. The nominals are: Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki & 1 Lev; Banknotes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 BGN
Question 7: What are the biggest religions in Bulgaria?
Answer 7: Predominantly religion is Eastern Orthodox. The Bulgarian Church is autonomous and headed by a Patriarch
allocation of religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 83.8%, Muslim 12.1%, Roman Catholic 1.7%, Jewish 0.8%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 1.6% (1998)
Question 8: What’s are the public holidays in Bulgaria?
Answer 8: The official holidays are:
January 1 - New Year March 3 - National day of the Liberation from Ottoman Domination
Easter - Two days (Sunday and Monday) according to the Orthodox calendar
May 6 - St. George's Day
May 24 - the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and Slav Script
September 6 - National Day of Bulgaria's Reunion in the year of 1885
September 22 - Independence Day
November 1 - Day of the Bulgarian Revival Leaders
December 24-26 - Christmas Eve and Christmas
December 31 - New Year's Eve
Question 9: Is Bulgaria economically and politically stable country?
Answer 9: Bulgaria is an economically stable democratic country. The rate of inflation is low. Local currency is the Lev (1 Euro = 1.95 Lev). and is pegged to Euro. A very low crime rate makes it safe for holiday makers, especially families.
Question 10: What is the Electricity in Bulgaria?
Answer 10: Electricity is 220 Volts. An adapter or a transformer may be required.
Question 11: What are the people like?
Answer 11: Hot blooded and emotional. In big cities you will find many stressed and hard working people while outside the Matrix you can enjoy contacts with friendly and welcoming people.
After the post-socialism changes about 1 million (the population of Bulgaria is 8 million) mostly young and skillful people immigrated to western world and richer countries. Some remained but few returned bringing investments and ideas. Many of the people who remained (mostly middle age and older) were disappointed from the changes and big part of them still lives quite poor life. In order to survive many people returned back to nature and in countryside you can still see people using horses for pulling carts or digging the ground, picking up herbs and developing alternative and traditional medicine (because of the costly and not trusted medical treatment), distilling alcohol from the wine or fruits they produced... The wild spirit in mountain areas still resists the globalization.
Question 12: Is it expensive in Bulgaria?
Answer 12: Visitors from Western Europe and America find prices in Bulgaria 2-3 times cheaper. For example a beer is about 0.50 ˆ, a bottle of excellent red wine is 3 ˆ, a dinner in good restaurant is 6 ˆ a person. Craft souvenirs, textile, shoes etc. are also good purchase.
Question 13: What is the capital city and what are the biggest Bulgarian cities?
Answer 13: Capital city is Sofia with population about 1.1 million. Other biggest cities are Varna, Plovdiv, Bourgas, Rousse, Stara Zagora.
Question 14: What is the government type of Bulgaria?
Answer 14: Parliamentary democracy.
Question 15: What are the main administrative divisions?
Answer 15: There are 28 provinces: Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Haskovo, Kardzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Rousse, Shoumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol.
Question 16: What is the Bulgarian Legal system?
Answer 16: civil law and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Question 17: Bulgaria Flag?
Answer 17: Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red.
Question 18: Where I can find map of Bulgaria?
Answer 18: www.bgmaps.com
Question 19: How is the political situation in Bulgaria?
Answer 19: Since 1996, Bulgaria has experienced macroeconomic stability and positive growth rates (due in part, to the introduction of a currency board in 1997) and it exists under what is now a stable parliamentary democracy, with a majority in parliament and public consensus on key social and economic priorities. Bulgaria demonstrates economic growth at 4.5% (one of the highest in Europe), annual inflation at 3.8% and strong growth figures in the tourism industry (up to10% for 2002 compared to 2001). It boasts low rates of taxation across the board and has one of the lowest cost centers in Europe, though the workforce is highly skilled and qualified. The currency is the Bulgarian Lev (1 Euro = 1.95 Lev).The country is a member of NATO in November 2003. The European Union is expected to be granted in 2007.
Question 20: What is International dialing code for Bulgaria?
Answer 20: International dialing code for call to Bulgaria is +359; the Sofia city code is 2, Plovdiv is 32 when dialed from abroad (if you already happen to be in Bulgaria, the city codes all acquire a 0 in front: Sofia 02, Plovdiv 032, etc).
Question 21: Who is the president of Bulgaria?
Answer 21: The current president is Georgi Parvanov.
Question 22: What is the weather in Bulgaria?
Answer 22: Marked by four distinct seasons, Bulgaria enjoys a generally favorable climate that is one of the country's best features. The average annual temperature is 10,50C, in winter about 00C (the lowest temperature - 38,30C - was measured in 1947). Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30°C
Question 23: What Alphabet is used in Bulgaria?
Answer 23: Bulgarians use Cyrillic alphabet. Bulgarian Alphabet was created in 855 by Cyrill and Methodius before the Moravian Mission. The Bulgarian Alphabet was used by other Slavic Nations too. The day 24 May is celebrated as the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and Slav Script.
Question 24: Bulgarian Economy - are there positive trends?
Answer 24: Yes - the trends are positive. The Bulgarian Economy is growing steadily. Strong growth in industrial production, employment and credit has resulted in high GDP growth over the last few years. The economy has grown at an average rate of 4.8 % over the last five years and despite this, inflation has been reduced to the low level of 2.3 % in 2003. Foreign direct investment (‘FDI’) into Bulgaria has increased on a year on year basis over the past three years. FDI reached US $ 7.4 billion in 2003 from US $ 5.7 billion in 2002 (a 30% increase).
Question 25: What is GMT Time difference for Bulgaria? Does Bulgaria observe Daylight saving / Summer Time?
Answer 25: Bulgaria is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2 or EST+7). Along with most of Europe, however, Bulgaria institutes its Summer Time (Daylight Saving). Summer Time is three hours ahead of GMT and is instituted from the last Sunday in May to the Saturday before the last Sunday in September.
Question 26: What are the mountains of Bulgaria?
Answer 26: The longest mountain range is Stara Planina - it crosses the middle of Bulgaria in East-West direction. The highest peak is Botev peak (2376m).
The highest peak is in Rila Mountain with its Musala peak(2925m).
The most beautiful is Pirin Mountain. Highest peak is Vihren(2914m).
The best for easy trekking is Rodopi Mountain. It is mainly forests.
Near the capital Sofia is Vitosha Mountain. Highest peak is Cherni Vrah (2290m)
There are a lot more mountains - Plana, Verila, Strandzha, Sakar, Osogowska...
Question 27: Is VAT charged on everything in Bulgaria?
Answer 27: All of goods and services made in Bulgaria are VAT charged. Exceptions - there are small group of VAT free articles that are specified by low like some services in social, health, education or culture and the donors of non excise goods for hospitals, schools, culture and other organizations. VAT is 20% in Bulgaria.
Question 28: How many people visit Bulgaria in a year?
Answer 28: The numbers of tourists that visit Bulgaria grow up in last 10 years. The official statistics for number of tourists for last 4 years is:
Question 29: What about residence permits for Bulgaria?
|Year/kind of visit
||5 562 917
||2 992 590
||2 129 641
||6 240 932
||3 531 567
||2 193 069
||6 981 597
||4 010 326
||2 351 743
|2005 (for first 9 months)
||6 120 413
||3 490 387
||2 071 026
Answer 29: Permission to reside in Bulgaria for up to one year is granted if you are married to a Bulgarian, if you are studying there, if you have a work permit and guaranteed full time work contract, or if you have own local company with minimum ten local employee. To get permanent residence is more longer process - you can ask Passport Office Service (phone 00359 (0)2 9823764)
Question 30: Some greeting Phrases in Bulgarian?
Answer 30: Good morning - Äîáðî óòðî [do’bro ‘utro]
Good day - Äîáúð äåí [‘dobar ‘den]
Good evening - Äîáúð âå÷åð [‘ dobar ‘vecher]
Hello - Çäðàâåéòå [zdra’veite]
How are you? - Êàê ñòå? [‘kak ste?]
Good - Äîáðå [do’bre]
I am - Àç ñúì [‘az sam]
I’m all right - Àç ñúì äîáðå [‘az sam do’bre]
Thank you - Áëàãîäàðÿ [blagoda’rya]
Excuse me - Èçâèíÿâàéòå [izvi’nyavaite]
What’s your name? - Êàê ñå êàçâàòå? [‘kak se ‘kazvate?]
Question 31: Are there regular flights from/to Bulgaria?
Answer 31: Bulgarian air companies have flights to most European capitals and some of the larger cities in Europe. Most of biggest foreign air companies have flights to Bulgaria too (mostly to Sofia). Charter flights are organized to the resorts during the tourist seasons - summer to Varna and Bourgas, winter to Sofia and Plovdiv.
Question 32: What about car transport in Bulgaria?
Answer 32: The international highway E5 links Bulgaria with Europe. The country can be entered through any of the 18 border checkpoints. Gas stations are available at every 30 to 50 km. You need "vignette" to use national road network! Road fee has to be paid crossing the border.
National driving licenses are valid in Bulgaria. Insurance could be made in advance or paid at the border.
Question 33: Are there any restrictions for foreigners on the real estate market?
Answer 33: According to the Bulgarian legislature foreign nationals are not allowed to purchase land in Bulgaria. You would be able to buy a flat or house but not the land on which it is built. This is often inconvenient but fortunately there is a way to overcome the problem by registering a Bulgarian company. The companies registered in Bulgaria are legal entities. Once you become the owner and manager of a Bulgarian company, you are in the capacity to manage the assets of the company, which can include real estate. You will be able to buy any property.
Question 34: If I buy a house, does this mean that I own the land too?
Answer 34: YES, if you become the owner of some property after having registered a company, this means that you are the legal owner of its plot of land too. Subsequently, you are entitled to do whatever you wish with this property, including selling it, renting it out, etc.
Question 35: Do I have to register a company if I want to buy an apartment?
Answer 35: The answer is "NO". Foreign individuals can buy the buildings, but not the land. Company is needed when you want to buy the freehold.
Question 36: How to view a property?
• When you choose some of our properties, you only have to contact us and we will organize your entire trip. Our agent will meet you at the airport and will take you to your hotel, booked by us. We will show you our data base with all properties which are available at the moment in the region that you are interested in.
• We do not charge viewing trip fee. If our company car is used, we charge 0.20 EUR per kilometer to cover the petrol charges and wear costs of the vehicle. This charge is equal to the price charged by the taxi companies in Bulgaria. Most of our cars are air-conditioned. This fee is not refundable. If you want to save our transport charges we can recommend renting a car at a reasonable price.
Question 37: How do we travel to Bulgaria?
Answer 37: International flights are available to the capital, Sofia, all year round. Direct charter flights to the Black Sea (Varna/ Bourgas) are available during the spring/summer months and can be booked through local IRL travel agents.
Question 38: How could I reserve a property?
Answer 38: If you are interested in some of our properties and you would like to reserve it, you need to place a deposit which includes: Reservation deposit 10% of the property selling price. Once we receive cleared funds we will take the property off the market (we will pay 10% deposit to the vendor) for a period of 30 days. During this period of time you have to set up a company in Bulgaria and pay the rest of the amount in order to complete the deal and obtain the Title Deed.
Question 39: Is it necessary to come in Bulgaria to purchase a property there?
Answer 39: If you decide not to leave Ireland and you want us to purchase your property and set up a company on your behalf then we need: a copy of your passport, your full address, the chosen name for your company, 10% deposit for the property, the share capital of 5,000.00 BGN and 500.00 EUR (company set up fee).
Question 40: Is the deposit refundable if the buyer desists from purchasing?
Answer 40: Unfortunately we cannot offer a refund if you decide not to purchase a certain property as the deposit will have already been paid to the vendor to secure the property. If the vendor pulls out of the deal you can transfer the deposit to purchase another property offered by Sophia Investments Ltd.
Question 41: How long does the whole purchasing procedure take?
Answer 41: The whole procedure takes approximately one-two months - from deposing of the property to obtaining the Notary Deed.
Question 42: Could you help me if I want to renovate the property?
Answer 42: Yes, we can give you an expert evaluation of the needed costs for a possible repair and very reasonable prices. We can give you advice and help you to select the necessary materials from the best hypermarkets in Bulgaria which offer the best quality materials.
Question 43: Is a visa or any other formalities required to enter Bulgaria?
• Holders of valid ordinary passports from the following countries do not need visa for a visit to Bulgaria for a period of up to 90 days within each period of six months: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.
• Holders of valid ordinary passports from the following countries do not need visa for a visit to Bulgaria for a period of up to 30 days within each period of six months: Andorra, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, USA, and the Vatican.
• For passport holders of countries enumerated in this section, a visa is needed only if: a. their stay in Bulgaria should exceed 30 days, or b. they require multiple entry for a longer period of time or a long-term visa.
• Holders of valid ordinary passports do not need visa to enter Bulgaria in accordance with acting international agreements: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Republic of Korea, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Tunisia, Serbia and Montenegro.
• Holders of passports of countries not mentioned in I, II or III need a visa to enter Bulgaria.
• The processing of the visa applications can take up to 10 working days, as confirmation in each case has to be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria in Sofia.
Question 44: Why invest in Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is the newest hot destination for the real estate market in Europe.
An astonishing array of landscapes, flora and fauna, recreational activities and wildlife
Various relief (mountains, rivers, lakes, rocks, Black Sea coast with amazing beaches)
Membership of EU from January 2007
The general cost of living is one of the cheapest in Europe
Bulgaria has recently joined NATO
Low rates of taxation
Currency pegged to the Euro
A stable parliamentary democracy since 1996
Summer temperatures of 80+ degrees (Fahrenheit) and an average of 1700 sunshine hours from May to October.
Location: all European countries are within 1-2 hours reach by the plane, an opportunity of travel on the automobile across Europe.
Regular flights from all over the world.
Bulgarian property price rises of over 20% p.a.
The Bulgarian people are hospitable and friendly.