Germany to Bulgaria
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As we are elaborating on a lot of topics in this FAQ, this section is reviewing some simple, but yet necessary things you should know before moving to Bulgaria:
- Prices are fixed: Even though it’s similar in Germany, many countries’ culture involves a little bargaining. In this country, prices are fixed so bargaining isn’t welcomed.
- The Bulgarian currency isn’t Euro: Even though located in Europe, its currency isn’t Euro, it’s the Bulgarian Lev (BGN).
- Free Wifi: As a common, or not-so-common practice in other countries, many public areas there have free wifi.
- Shaking their head means “Yes”, and nodding means “No”: As confusing as it may seem, Bulgarians tend to answer yes and no different from other cultures. If you’re not sure of the answer you’re receiving, feel free to ask again.
- Keep an ID with you: Police check-ups are regular. It’s best if you keep an ID with you if you plan on avoiding any unnecessary issues.
Germany and Bulgaria are two different countries in terms of lifestyle, cost of living, culture, weather, and overall quality of life. While living in Germany your days are more work-focused, Bulgarians have a better work-life balance.
Bulgaria is almost 50% cheaper than Germany, allowing people to experience a better lifestyle at a lower cost.
While Germans are best known for their punctuality, interest in art, history, and politics, the Bulgarians share somewhat different values. Germans have high expectations in respecting boundaries, order, and structure. Germans are very focused on their work as they usually work long hours.
Bulgarians, on the other side, are known for their hospitality, being friendly, warm, and helpful. Bulgarians appreciate their work-life balance and are a bit more laid down in terms of structure. With high respect for foreigners, they are very welcoming. They love establishing business deals with foreigners - as they consider them more experienced. So, if you are moving to Bulgaria for work, be optimistic about the hospitality!
One of the most incredible things about living in this country is the cost of living: it’s very easy to buy or experience things that are too expensive in other countries. On average, the costs of living in there are about 52% lower than in Germany.
For example, if you need (on average) around 1350€ for monthly expenses in Germany, you could meet your month end in Bulgaria with around 600-700€. This is especially a good opportunity for remote workers from Germany, who get paid a German salary but have way fewer expenses for a living.
Moving to Bulgaria as an EU citizen is quite a simple procedure. It does require personal presence at the time of application. Most of the time, the official moving to Bulgaria procedure lasts about three working days. In order to obtain a Bulgarian ID or residence, EU citizens should undertake three steps:
- Proof of accommodation: Rental agreements or legal documents that constitute the ownership of a property;
- European Health Insurance Card or local health insurance. Costs of Bulgarian local health insurance are on average 75€ for 12 months.
- Completing the application documents.
As mentioned, the process is completed very quickly. For example, if you deliver your documents on a Monday at 14:00, you will be asked for a photography process on Tuesday, at 16:00. Your card is ready by Wednesday.
A Bulgarian ID is a precondition for obtaining tax residence. Bulgarian legislation state that an EU citizen can gain tax residency if: They prove that their main interests lie in Bulgaria and if you stay there for 183 days annually.
Bulgaria is a beautiful country - there’s no doubt about it. But what are some of the main pros & cons of moving to Bulgaria?
Quality of Life: Moving to Bulgaria is a positive experience mainly because of its quality of life. With people who are friendly and like celebrating every given event, with perfect weather during summer which allows the experiencing of beautiful nature, and with healthy fresh food - its quality of life is simply great.
Safe Country: This country notes low rates of crimes and police officials seem to have a great record of efficiency. Like many other Balkans countries, Bulgaria also has a sense of community - meaning that your children can play unsupervised outside and you can safely go for walks at any time.
Of course, like any other country, Bulgaria also has its own problems, but one important thing is that society is respectful and trustworthy.
Weather: If you want to live in a country where each season is exactly how it’s supposed to be, then moving to Bulgaria is a great decision. Summers are warm and hot, while springs are chiller but still warm enough. Winters are cold (everything is covered in white), while fall is amazing with all its beautiful colors.
Society: Moving to Bulgaria is especially positive because of its people. As earlier mentioned, people are friendly and very welcoming. If you are considerate to learn just a little bit of the Bulgarian language, you will easily integrate into society.
Bureaucracy: Bureaucracy seems to be a problem. With only a few digitalized services, moving to Bulgaria from Germany is a bit shocking due to all the paperwork that is needed for the majority of services.
Punctuality: If you read this FAQ from the beginning (which we hope you did), you may remember that we mentioned how punctual Germans are. Well, this isn’t exactly the case for Bulgarians. Since they tend to live a more laid-back lifestyle, getting somewhere in time isn’t their priority. Don’t be surprised if people are late.
Smoking: EU-developed countries are constantly proposing laws and legislations that minimize smoking areas and smoking in general. Even though the smoking inside is banned - many bars and restaurants don’t respect that.
Bulgarian Language: If by moving to Bulgaria you want to experience a full package and learn the language as well, you may be exposed to some difficulties. The Bulgarian language is quite difficult, as it also has another alphabet. But, if you learn even a few words - the respect from the Bulgarian people will immediately increase.
Healthcare in Bulgaria:
Most public healthcare institutions have some limitations regarding staff, facilities, and other resources. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid in Bulgaria as well. As for the private healthcare system, it has grown its medical tourism since it’s quite cheaper than other countries in Europe. It is fairly way more advanced than the public sector as well.
As for pharmacies and medications, pharmacies are very frequent on all sides of the country and the medications are also available in sufficient amounts.
Healthcare in Germany:
The free "medically required" public healthcare system is available to all Germans and legal residents of Germany and is supported by social security contributions. Citizens must still have health insurance, either public or private to cover hospital and outpatient care as well as pregnancy.
Private healthcare isn’t as popular, as only 10% of people choose such a package. To gain eligibility for private health insurance, you must earn more than €60,750 per year.
Pharmacies in Germany have more restrictions on medicines as they have to be doctor-prescribed, the majority of the time.
What is the contrast?
Public healthcare in Germany is more advanced in comparison to Bulgaria. However, the private sector of health care is quite advanced. Bulgaria's health insurance is compulsory, offering free access to different service packages. In Germany, there is almost universal health insurance coverage.
If you have a valid European Health Insurance Card from Germany, that is also valid in Bulgaria. This card gives you free medical treatments in public hospitals that have agreements with Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).
In recent years, moving to Bulgaria for work is a great opportunity for people in different sectors, such as IT, food, pharmaceutical, energy, tourism, and transportation sectors. Outsourcing businesses have also great potential for career advancement since the workforce is educated, skilled and cheap. Since you’re moving to Bulgaria for work, it may interesting to know that this country has political stability, low taxes, and a robust banking system. Typically, a working week counts 40 hours, with 20 days of paid leave per year.
EU residents are able to work in Bulgaria if they are employed, self-employed, or traveling on business. Moving from Germany to Bulgaria to work means that you don’t need a work permit - a certificate of residence works fine.
Whether you’re moving to Bulgaria for work or moving for a different lifestyle, it is of your interest to understand how taxes work. In Germany income taxes are progressive, meaning that they can rise up to 45% for very high incomes. Otherly known as a ‘tax heaven’, this country has low personal and corporate tax rates in European Union - both at a flat rate of 10%.
Friendly and welcoming people, great weather, fresh and healthy food and drinks, low taxes, and cheap properties are just some reasons you should consider moving from Germany to Bulgaria. In addition, it has become a magnet for foreign investments due to its low costs of taxes - becoming a great place for working opportunities. With perfect weather for each season, amazing beaches and ski resorts are easy to access at any time.
Moving from Germany to Bulgaria is becoming very attractive because of its flat tax rates. It has low-priced restaurants, hotels, and properties. There’s a good education system, with plenty of international schools located in Sofia. It has an amazing nature, with perfect weather for each season. Food and beverages are cheap, healthy, and tasty. Culture is authentic - so you have a lot to see and learn from Bulgarian people. Last but not least, if moving to Bulgaria, rely on optimism about the society, because people there are friendly, warm, and very welcoming to foreigners.
Moving to Bulgaria for work has been elaborated, but what about moving to Bulgaria as a pensioner?
Moving to Bulgaria as a pensioner has its sides because it is easy to relocate, properties are cheap and there is great nature to enjoy with amazing weather. In addition, its geographical location makes it very convenient to visit nearby countries. All of these traits make Bulgaria a great place to retire.
But, moving to Bulgaria as a pensioner has its own procedures:
- You need to apply for a tourist visa, and rent/buy some kind of property;
- Obtain a Visa D;
- Get a residence permit.
Moving to Bulgaria, just like moving anywhere else is a huge step in everyone’s life. If you’re moving from Germany to Bulgaria, remember to follow all the procedures in order to obtain the necessary permits. Try learning a bit about the culture and people’s lifestyles, as they do note some differences. Explore the best options for work or education before moving to Bulgaria, so you have the right expectations. Last but not least, enjoy the weather, nature, and everything that the country is giving.
Moving from Germany to Bulgaria with your car means you can use it for around six months if you have Third Party Liability Insurance. Since Germany is an EU country, fees aren’t applicable (import tariff or VAT) for entering the country with your car. After six months, your vehicle needs registration.
Moving from Germany to Bulgaria is an adventure in itself because of all that the country offers. If you decide to move to Bulgaria, Moovick will serve as your personal assistant on all the packing and booking. We will take away all your stress of moving so that you can focus on having the best time.