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July 2006, 07/07/2006

Dear Valued Stara Planina Properties Client,

Now that the emotions of the World Cup are starting to fade away here comes the July edition of our monthly newsletter for some variety. We hope you will find it interesting.

Sunny Beach - Bulgaria's Most Popular Coastal Resort

If you were considering a summer holiday to the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast then Sunny Beach would deffinitely be offered to you as one of your option. The resort occupies the entire territory stretching from the village of St Vlas to the north and the town of Nessebar to the south. The long sandy bay begins from the last hills of the Stara Planina Mountains which slide into the sea at the Emine Cape. The village of St Vlas and the Elenite holiday village together with the picturesque town of Nessebar have effectively merged together with the Sunny Beach resort.

The old town of Nessebar is the pearl of the area being one of the oldest towns in Europe dating back from the 6th century BC. Old Nessebar is a UNESCO listed heritage site and would appeal to everyone interested in history and culture. In addition there are various attractions such as aqua and nature parks in the resort areas to help you enjoy diverse activities during your holidays.

For the house hunters there is wide range of properties in the area of Sunny Beach - most of them in newly built or off-plan complexes. In the resort itself there are a number of apartment buildings between the hotels. Royal Garden is one of the best investment opportunities in the heart of Sunny Beach resort only 50 meters from the sea.

The situation in the villages of St Vlas and Elenite is similar to the one in Sunny Beach itself with a large number of developments being offered for sale. Garden of Eden is in St Vlas and is an example of a high quality development respecting the tradition of the area.

Just outside the resort a few miles inland are the Almond Hills and Nessebar Gardens. They would be ideal for those who wish to be comparatively close to the beach but would not like to be in the middle of a busy resort.

There are properties on offer in the rural areas not far from the resort as well. The Marinka development is located in a picturesque area only 7 km from Burgas.

One should be careful when selecting the development as not all developments are built to the same standard. The other criterion to be observed is the price compared to actual location of the development. Often developments are advertised as being located in the Sunny Beach resort and seem a lot cheaper than the majority of the properties in the area. You would usually find out that they are quite away from the resort and the beaches so you should check the exact location of the property prior to any purchase.

Bulgarian Visas and Residence

During recent years Bulgaria has regained and increased its popularity as a tourist destination. However many foreigners consider Bulgaria not for holiday but for their second or retirement home.

What are the requirements for those who wish to reside in Bulgaria for longer period or permanently? European passport holders (including UK and Irish) do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria for a period up to 30 days in any six-month period. If you wish to stay longer you would need to apply for a visa in a Bulgarian Embassy.

It is easiest to get long-term visa (D visa) if you are a retired person and can show that your retirement income can provide for your living in Bulgaria. In this case you would need to fill in an application and attach a document, showing that you are entitled to a retirement income, issued by the country's authorities and legalised with a notary public, a certificate from a Bulgarian bank that the applicant has a valid bank account to which regular transfers of his/her pension will be made and evidence of accommodation and address in Bulgaria. If you are married and one in the family has retirement income you would need an official document for receiving a pension and a marriage certificate. Both documents need to be stamped with an Appostille which will make them valid in Bulgaria.

The other commonly used option is to obtain D-type visa on the basis that you are involved in commercial activities inside Bulgaria. This is a little bit more complicated although it should not be a problem for those who have purchased or are planning to purchase Bulgarian property. In this case you would need to have a Bulgarian company and present several company documents, which are common to any Bulgarian company, a certificate from the tax office that your company has no outstanding obligations for taxes and the declared financial result as well as bank certificate for no outstanding payments and for an existing account and a recent bank statement. You need to be either a manager or an associate in the company in order to apply for a visa according to this criteria. The last document is evidence of accommodation and address in Bulgaria.

More detailed information can be obtained from the Bulgarian Consular services abroad (including the Bulgaria n Embassy in London or Bulgarian Embassy in Dublin)

Once you have your visa and arrive in Bulgaria you would need to apply for a local ID card through the Passport Service of the local Police Department.

A number of clients have mentioned difficulties in obtaining long term visa through the Bulgarian Embassy in London due to the heavy workload of the Bulgarian Consular Service there. We have the contact details of local lawyers who are able to process your applications locally for a fee through the Bulgarian Embassy in Bucharest. They can also help with obtaining your ID cards once you have the appropriate visa and arrive in the country.

It is expected that the visa regime will become less strict once Bulgaria joins the EU but there is not enough information what the changes would be.

Bulgaria among the Best Investment Destinations in Southeastern Europe

The Sofia Echo Newspaper reported that Bulgaria offered some of the best investment opportunities from all countries in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Roumen Ovcharov.

Bulgaria turned out to be the second best investment destination in the region after the Czech Republic, Ovcharov said during his opening speech of the annual meeting of economy ministers of the Organisation for European Cooperation and Development.

The country was also included for the first time in the economic competitiveness list IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2006. According to the analysis some of the advantages Bulgaria has to offer include high economic growth rate, low taxes, budget surplus and stable macroeconomic environment.

Bansko Hosts Annual Jazz Festival in August

The popular winter resort of Bansko will host the 9th edition of the international jazz festival from 8 to 13 August. Performers of ten countries will participate this year including popular Bulgarian jazz singers and bands, the big band of Belgrade’s radio, a gypsy trio, Polish performers and the most popular Cuban vocal quartet Sexto Sentido.

The opening ceremony of the festival will start with a Salsa Night, featuring various Bulgarian performers. Tickets for the opening event can be bought online or from Bansko’s bigger hotels. All other events would be free.

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