US Citizen moving to Bulgaria still working for current employer in US

Good Morning,

Does anyone know what the implications are for a US citizen to move to Bulgaria but continue to work remotely for a US company? Is it possible, are there Visa requirements and are tax implications etc.....



@Christine Brindle

Welcome to the forum!

And congratulations on having an understanding US employer who is happy to let you work remotely. If they will continue to pay you a US-style salary, then you should be able to live very well here! The Bulgarian minimum wage is about 300 euros per month, so that gives you an idea of the cost of living here, and how well you can live on your salary. Internet connectivity (an essential for remote workers like you) is very good here. I have fiber direct to my village house in the Balkan Mountains, so I have 80 mbps wifi.

In principle, you can stay here and work remotely. But, as you suspected, there is a visa issue.

US citizens are allowed 90 days (in 180 days) visa-free. So that means you need to leave for 90 days before returning. I am pretty sure that our neighbors (Serbia, Turkey, Romania) would also welcome you (instead of returning all the way to USA), so you could manage without visas if you could divide your time between a couple of places. If you just wanted a change of scene for 6-18 months, doing it visa-free with Airbnb rentals in Bulgaria/Serbia/Turkey might be quite entertaining.

If you wanted to relocate for the longer term, then you'd need to get formal residence instead. In which case, you need to first apply for a D visa in USA, and then, when it's granted, come to Bulgaria and apply for residence here. I think D visa is pretty easy for retirees and students, but not so easy for freelancers. It's possible, but tricky. The recommended route is often the TRO (Trade Representative Office), but this is usually if you already have a foreign corporation (e.g. if you invoiced your freelance work via your own US company). Freelancer is a recognized basis for the D visa, but you have to be able to speak Bulgarian, unfortunately.

This has come up with several independents here, and I think that it's much easier with our neighbor Serbia. Also a nice country with a low cost of living, but more welcoming of "digital nomads". They allow residence based on purchase of a property (no minimum cost specified) or upon incorporating a Serbia company and opening a corporate bank account.

I would suggest you deal with registering for income tax and social security contributions after you've managed to get your residence permit.

Here are a couple of interesting links for "digital nomads" in Serbia and Bulgaria: … mote-work/

"digital nomads" in Bulgaria:

all perfect no need to worry no implication of any kind

Chrissie, your employer or the IRS may be able to provide more information. It depends if your salary is viewed as being earned in the US or in Bulgaria. If you're working for a US company providing services to US clients, where you actually live may not make a difference to that.

Example - I am an author and most of my book income comes from US buyers. The IRS treat that as income earned in the US, even though I live and write my books somewhere else. Under the US tax treaty with Bulgaria, as my income is deemed to be earned in the US,  those US earnings will be taxed at 5%, then I'd also pay Bulgarian tax on top of that.

But there may be different rules for the business you work in, so it's worth checking,


Hello from Ruse, Bulgaria.

I am a retired lady from america.

Wondering if you can share some light in regards VISA D for retirees and Residency card, as a retiree with VISA D do I need this Residency card? what about work and contributions to Bulgarian Social Security system?

Thank you.


Congratulations on your D visa and making it to Bulgaria. I guess the adventure has started!

The D visa is the long-term visa that simply allows you to enter Bulgaria and then apply for residence (and get your biometric residence permit). If you've got your D visa already, then you've done most of the hard work and it should be a formality (pretty much the same documents/proofs required). Your D visa is normally valid for 6 months, but I'd recommend getting it sorted sooner rather than later.

If you've got a residence permit I don't believe there's any restriction on you working, even if you entered as a retiree. However, many jobs require Bulgarian language... and the pay can be low (minimum wage now 500 euros/month). If you can work remotely you might find this a more attractive option.

Your Bulgarian health insurance policy for D visa and residence is not "proper" health coverage. So I'd recommend you look at private health care policies until you are in the Bulgarian public health system. (After, it gets a lot cheaper, so you might want to keep it.)

I believe non-EU citizens can't immediately make contributions to social security, and hence get public healthcare. You definitely can after 5 years (when you get your permanent residence), which means, worst case, 5 years of private health insurance. But if you've got a job offer, you can get in the system immediately as an employee.

This is an immigration attorney page, you can see the division between visa and residence... and the residence permit for D visa holders (extended). … nce-permit