Annex A. Bulgaria’s list of exceptions to National Treatment in accordance with the third revised decision of the Council on National Treatment

Land for real estate and business purposes: Companies established outside the EU/EEA can only acquire land (for real estate and business purposes) by virtue of an international treaty or by inheritance.

Authority: Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, articles 21 and 22.

Agricultural land: Acquisition of agricultural land by foreign-owned companies requires a mandatory 5-year establishment in Bulgaria. In addition, it is restricted to joint-stock companies with no bearer shares whose shareholders are:

  • Nationals from EU/EEA countries; or

  • Foreign legal entities established in the EU/EEA; or

  • Natural and legal persons from third countries with whom Bulgaria has concluded an international treaty containing provisions on the acquisition of agricultural land; provided they are not, either directly or indirectly, legal entities registered in jurisdictions with preferential tax regimes.

Authority: Agricultural Land Ownership and Use Act, Articles 3 and 3c.

Forestry: Non-EU/EEA foreign legal persons may acquire wooded areas pursuant to the provisions of an international treaty or by way of legal inheritance. In the absence of such treaty, foreigners that have acquired right to ownership of wooded areas by way of legal inheritance must, within three years from discovery of such inheritance, transfer ownership thereof to Bulgarian or EU/EEA persons or companies.

Authority: Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, Article 22; Forestry Act, articles 23.5 and 24.

Air transport: Licenses for the provision of air transport can only be granted to companies that are owned at least 51% and controlled, directly and indirectly by EU/EEA Member States or EU/EEA nationals.

Authority: Civil Aviation Act, Article 64; Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

Maritime and inland waterways transport: Transportation within the territory of Bulgaria (cabotage) can only be provided by vessels using the Bulgarian flag or that of an EU country. Third-countries may only provide these services by entering into an international treaty with Bulgaria or via a decision of the Council of Ministers.

Authority: Shipping Merchant Code, Article 6.

Rail transport: Non-EU railway operators may only carry out passenger and/or freight transportation by rail, and access the relevant infrastructure of Bulgaria only if so provided in an international agreement ratified by Bulgaria.

Authority: Railway Transport Act, Article 43, paragraph 2.

Legal services: Companies providing legal consultancy services (law firms) and partnerships can only be created by groups of lawyers authorised to practice in Bulgaria, the EU/EEA or Switzerland. In addition, law firms must be locally incorporated and registered in the Bar Council.

Authority: Bar Act, articles 57 and 61.

Mining: Foreign companies registered in preferential tax treatment jurisdictions and those related, directly or indirectly, to such companies are not allowed to participate in open procedures for mining permits or concessions, and to operate an existing permit or concession. This restriction extends to the registration of geological or commercial discoveries of a deposit, as a result of exploration.

Authority: Law on the Economic and Financial Relations with Companies Registered in Preferential Tax Treatment Jurisdictions, with the Persons Controlled by Them and with Their Beneficial Owners, Article 3, Point 7.






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