..... set up a firm/company in Bulgaria?
There are various types of business entities in Bulgaria. They are as follows:
- Sole entrepreneur
- Limited Liability Company
- General partnership
- Limited partnership
- Limited partnership by shares of stock
- Joint-Stock company
The company registration is completed by The Company Register, a department of The Registry Agency according to The Trade Law and The Law of the Company Registry. The application can be handled in every bureau of the Agency, regardless of where the company’s main office is located.
First, the name of the new company has to be reserved by the founder (a state fee is required). This is done though the filing of an application in The Company Registry and if the chosen name has been already taken, the founder must choose another one.
The next step is the completion of the registration application (available on-line and in every office of The Company Register). The following must be included in the application - main office, address, type of business activity, terms and conditions, trading capital, partners/managers/directors, etc. The following documents may be required with the application – the company bylaws; the protocol of the company’s foundation meeting; resolution regarding the company’s foundation; resolution regarding the hiring of managers and/or directors; specimen of the manager’s signature; any permits and/or certifications for the company’s purpose or future activity (if such purpose is specific); any declarations required by law; bank documents certifying that state taxes/fees have been paid; documents certifying the existence of trading capital, etc. Please note that the required documents may differ depending on the type of business entity. The required state fees may also vary according to type of entity.
All applications and documents must be in Bulgarian or in one of the official languages of the European Union accompanied by an official translation in Bulgarian (in the case of a foreign incorporator).
The application can be handled by the founder-manager or an official representative authorized to act as an incorporator (in this case the application must be notarized).
If the documents satisfy all requirements and name acceptance tests, the Registry Agency will issue a certificate of incorporation and the documents will appear on the public record. The Agency may also refuse to issue a certificate of incorporation. The refusal may be appealed.
The certificate will contain a Unified Identification Number, a number unique for each new business entity. The certificate of incorporation is the official document proving the existence of the entity.
....... obtain a long term residence permit in Republic of Bulgaria?
According to The Law for the Foreigners in Republic of Bulgaria and The Regulations for Implementation of The Law for the Foreigners in Republic of Bulgaria the residence is two kinds – short term and long term residence.
There is a visa for a short time residence (type “C”) and it is being issued for a foreigner who enters into the country once, twice or many times for 90 days stay within 6 months period after the first entry in the country.
The long term residence is:
- Continuous – with a permitted period of stay of up to one year;
-Long-term - with permitted period of stay in EU for 5 years;
- Permanent – with a permitted indefinite period of stay.
There are various reasons to obtain a continuous residence permit such as: employment contract; commercial activity in the country with at least 10 opened positions for Bulgarian citizens; education in Bulgaria; representation of a foreign company; the applicant whose parents have a permanent residence stay; the applicant is correspondent of a foreign mass media, members of the family of a Bulgarian citizen, applicant who has already obtained a long-term residence permit in another EU country e.t.c. The applicants for continuous residence are required to have a dwelling place, means of livelihood, some compulsory insurances and social security.
From 1st of June, 2011 Bulgaria will have the right to issue "EU blue card" for third country nationals who want to work in Bulgaira or who have already worked in another EU country with a blue card.
A long-term residence permit could be obtained by a foreigner who has resided in Bulgaria legally and without big absences must not be longer than 6 consecutive months and not more than 10 months for the whole 5-years period.
A permanent residence permit can be obtained according to some reasons such as: Bulgarian origin of the applicant; the applicant is a child of a person who has already obtained a permanent residence permit; the applicant is a parent of a Bulgarian citizen; the applicant was born in Republic of Bulgaria; the applicant has married with a person with a permanent residence permit; the applicant has made an investment in the country more than 1 000 000 BGN, members of the family of a Bulgarian citizen etc.
The applicant must be in possession of a long term visa (type “D”) to start the procedure for continuous residence permit. The requirements about obtaining different kinds of visas can be found in The Ordinance on the Conditions and Procedures for the Issuing of Visas. The diplomatic and consular missions of Republic of Bulgaria in the relevant countries are empowered to accept applications and documents for visa type “D”. They have to send the documents to the authority for administrative control over foreigners in Republic of Bulgaria which is Migration Directorate within Ministry of Interior. The visa validity is 180 days stay.
No more than 7 days before the visa expiry date, the applicant must handle the long term residence required documentation before Migration Directorate. The Regulations for Implementation of The Law for the Foreigners in Republic of Bulgaria contains information about the required documents which variety depends on the reason which is a ground for the long term residence permit application.
........... acquire a Bulgarian citizenship?
Bulgarian citizenship may be acquired under the provisions of Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria and Citizenship Law of Bulgaria. The acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship shall be done by origin and through naturalization. The acquisition by origin includes the options as follows: at least one of the applicant’s parents has to have a Bulgarian citizenship or the place of birth of the applicant has to be Republic of Bulgaria (if the applicant doesn’t obtain another citizenship by origin). The acquisition of citizenship by naturalization can be done only for a foreigner who has already obtained a permanent residence permit. The permit has to be issued at least 5 years by the date of filing his application for citizenship. There are some exceptions to the above mentioned rule – the term is 3 years in cases as follows: 1) marriage to a Bulgarian citizen at least 3 years ago; 2) the place of birth is Republic of Bulgaria; 3) the applicant has obtained a permanent residence permit when he was between 14 and 18 years old.
The applicant for a Bulgarian citizenship through naturalization has to meet the following requirements:
- the applicant has to be over 18 years old;
- the applicant has not to be a convicted person on a crime before a Bulgarian court;
- the applicant must have means of livelihood;
- the applicant must be able to use Bulgarian language;
- the applicant has to be released from his current citizenship;
An application has to be handed before Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate within Ministry of Justice. The application may be handed through the diplomatic and consular missions of Republic of Bulgaria. Various documents have to be enclosed such as: birth certificate; certificate about the obtained permanent residence permit; a certificate showing no previous conviction; certificate proving the receiving earned income; a document verifying the ability of using the Bulgarian language; certificate of health; photo; receipt for a state fee etc.
The application must be examined by the Council of Citizenship within: up to 3 months for the applicants who applies for a citizenship by origin and up to 18 months for applicants through naturalization. Within 12 months from the date of applying, the Minister of Justice has to prepare a proposal addressed to the President to issue a decree. On the ground of this proposal the president may issue or make a refusal to issue a decree concerning the acquisition of a Bulgarian citizenship. The decree comes into force on the date of issuance. Up to 30 days the applicant must come into possession of Bulgarian identification documents.
.................... protect my rights when I am discriminated against?
The rights of those who are discriminated are provided and regulated in The Protection against Discrimination Act which prohibits any direct or indirect discrimination based on sex, race, nationality, ethnicity, human genome, citizenship, origin, religion or belief, education, views, political allegiance, personal or social status, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, property status or on any other ground established by law or an international treaty where the Republic of Bulgaria is a party. Victims of discrimination have several options to protect their rights.
The first option is a proceeding before the Commission for protection against discrimination. This proceeding is initiated upon a filing of a complaint or reports signaling the existence of discrimination which must be definite, in writing and not anonymous. The infringement must have been committed no longer than 3 years before the complaint and may not be based on grounds already litigated in court. An investigation is conducted within 30 days of the complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the Commission presides over an open session in which the parties are invited to reconcile. If no agreement is reached, the Commission must make a formal decision of whether discrimination occurred, determine the type and extent of any applicable sanctions, and apply compulsory administrative measures if any. The fines and sanctions established by the Commission range between 40,000 and 20,000 BGN. The decision may be appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court.
Another avenue for the victim of discrimination is to file a claim in District Court which has jurisdiction to convict the defendant and/or to award damages if necessary. If the rights of the claimant were allegedly infrindged by an administrative ordinance or lack of action on part of state authorities, the ordinance can be appealed before an Administrative Court under the regulations of the Administrative Procedure Code and the claimant must follow the procedures governed by the State Liability Act for Damage Inflicted on Citizens.
There are no fees associated with any action based on discrimination whether the action is filed with the Commission or with the Court. All expenses are covered by the Commission or the Court in order to encourage victims of discrimination to seek justice and to protect their constitutional rights of equal treatment.
............ protect my rights as a consumer?
The regulations about consumer protection in Bulgaria are provided by The Consumer Protection Law and The Law for Obligations and Contracts. Every person as a consumer has the right to put in a claim for any lack of conformity with the contract concerning the purchase of goods or services. The claim might be put in before the seller and the main purpose is the equity in the relations to be restored.
The claim right doesn’t depend on whether there is a trade guarantee or not. This guarantee is only a declaration of the seller that the good or the service will keep their condition for a defined period and normal usage. This guarantee includes the obligation of the seller to fix the defects appeared within the guarantee term. The seller shall be held liable where the lack of conformity becomes apparent within two years as from delivery but no more than 2 months from the date of finding out the defect. If the guarantee term is longer than the above mentioned so the claim might be put in until the guarantee expires.
The whole claim procedure begins with providing different types of proofs – invoice, receipt, contract or any written document containing information about the date, place, subject and parties of the deal. These documents have to be enclosed.
When the consumer finds a defect and wants to use his right to claim, there are several options. The first opportunity for the consumer is to put in a claim before the seller and to require for refund, replacement, discount or repair free of charge.
If there is no agreement between the parties, the consumer may appeal to the different consumer associations which are non-profit organizations and are able to give the consumer consultations or to act instead of him before the court. Other option is the Commission for Consumer Protection which can be approached with a claim application which brings the beginning of an administrative procedure. There are some conciliation committees which provide assistance for solution without legal proceedings. The legal procedure before a court is always preferable because of the compulsory power of the court decision and the possibility for execution the decision. There can be set up collective claims before the court too.
The rights of the consumer lapse in 10 years from the date when the seller put the good in circulation except if meanwhile the consumer put in a claim against the seller.