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How Brexit may impact British property owners in Bulgaria

One of the most popular enquiries after Brexit is how expats and people who own property in Bulgaria will be affected. There are approximately 1.3 million UK citizens living in Europe many of which chose Bulgaria for their second home or just bought a holiday home in Bulgarian resorts on the Black Sea. Around 7000 UK citizens reside permanently in Bulgaria as of March 2016, according to UK embassy data.

In Bulgaria, non-EU citizens are allowed to buy built property and in this case they are treated exactly as EU citizens. Non-EU citizens, however, are not allowed to acquire land, so if a British national wants to buy a country house with yard, this may no longer be possible as an individual. They should use the option to incorporate a Bulgarian company and to buy the property through said company. However, there are thousands of UK citizens who have already bought properties as individuals in the Bulgarian countryside and it is very unclear what the consequences for them will be in the future.

The free movement of persons within the EU has been an argument for choosing Bulgaria in buying and maintaining a holiday home. If a hard Brexit takes place, European countries may decide to impose visas on UK citizens, which will definitely have a negative impact on the property market. On the other hand, UK investments on the Bulgarian property market started even before Bulgaria joined the European Union.

The preferred avenue for UK citizens may be to apply now for a permanent residency permit, which will grant them almost equal rights to Bulgarians. The Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov mentioned that after Brexit UK citizens from Bulgaria are welcome to apply for Bulgarian citizenship.