Bulgaria free zones in 2022

Bulgaria has several special economic zones, each of which offer the benefit of multiple investment incentives. The Bulgarian authorities distinguish two types of special economic zones: i) free economic zones and ii) industrial zones.

The Bulgarian free economic zones

Register free zone company in Bulgaria

  1. The Bulgarian free economic zones (FEZ) are sizeable industrialized estates with high-quality infrastructure to support commercial and logistics facilities to foreign investors. FEZs are an ideal location for manufacturing and trading companies exporting their products to the EU, thanks to i) their convenient location close to transport hubs ii) low cost warehousing space and iii) competitive investment incentives compared to neighboring EU countries;
  2. The Bulgarian authorities currently utilize 6 free economic zones: i) Rousse FEZ which is the largest and most developed; ii) Vidin FEZ; iii) Plovdiv FEZ; iv) Bourgas FEZ; v) Svilengrad FEZ and vi) Dragoman FEZ;
  3. These free zones offers advantages including i) no import/export customs duties; ii) no VAT on exports produced within the zones; iii) and simplified customs procedures. The Rousse FEZ additionally offers i) cheaper land leases; ii) 24-hour live security surveillance and iii) staff project subsidies;
  4. In order to conduct operations in a Free Trade Zone, a company must obtain approval from the Free Zone Authority. Healy Consultants will be happy to assist our Clients interested in operating in an FEZ to i) evaluate the eligibility of their project ii) draft a detailed business plan fulfilling registration requirements and iii) register their company directly with the relevant government entity.

The Bulgarian industrial zones

  1. The Bulgarian government currently operates 5 industrial zones to promote manufacturing, including: i) Maritsa Industrial and Commercial Zone, ii) Rakovski Industrial Zone; iii) Kuklen Industrial and Commercial Zone; iv) Parvomai Industrial Zone and v) Letnitsa Industrial Park;
  2. These industrial zones provide the advantages to business including i) 100% corporate tax exemption; ii) rapid business setup implementation terms; iii) reduced land leases in co-operation with a bank; iv) excellent logistics and infrastructure support and v) cheap railway services;
  3. Foreign investors wishing to conduct business within one of the industrial zones must obtain approval from the Bulgarian Trade Register. Healy Consultants will be happy to assist our Clients to i) evaluate the eligibility of their project ii) draft a detailed business plan fulfilling registration requirements and iii) submit an application to the respective Government Authority.

Table of comparison between Bulgarian free zones

Bulgaria Free Trade Zones Rousse FEZ Other Bulgaria FEZs Bulgaria Industrial zones
Summary
How long to set the company up? 3 weeks 3 weeks 2 weeks
How long to setup the bank account? 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
Can the company be wholly foreign owned? Yes Yes Yes
Client must travel to the zone? No No No
Most popular business sector? Manufacturing Manufacturing and logistics Manufacturing
Minimum share capital requirement? €25,000 €25,000 €25,000
Bonded warehouses available? Yes Yes Yes
Agent required to conduct business outside of FEZs? Yes Yes Yes
Can hire foreign workers? Yes Yes Yes
Any restrictions on money remittance? No No No
Time zone? (ahead of GMT) GMT+2hrs GMT+2hrs GMT+2hrs
Is there an airport nearby? Yes Yes Yes
Logistics considerations
Physical office space required? Yes Yes Yes
Quality of utilities? Excellent High High
Average industrial space rental per 1,000s sq. m. €2,000 €2,500 €3,000
Average warehouse space rental per 1,000sq. m. €3,500 €3,500 - €5,000 €4,200
Attractive for setting up a manufacturing business? Yes Yes Yes
Average monthly electricity prices? (per Kwh) €0.06 €0.06 €0.06
Proximity of sea port in kilometres? 200km 3km 50km
Proximity of airport in kilometres? 27km 13km 3km
Proximity of rail in kilometres? 9km 1km 2km
Accounting and tax considerations
Corporate tax rate (%)? 10% 10% 10%
No duties on imports and exports? Yes Yes No
VAT on imported products? 0% 0% 20%
VAT exemption on products sold in Bulgaria? No No No
Monthly VAT tax filing required? Yes Yes Yes
Tax incentives for manufacturing start-ups? Yes Yes Yes
Annual tax returns to be submitted? Yes Yes Yes
Annual government inspection required? No No No
Annual audit required? No No No
Annual financial statements required? Yes Yes Yes
Access to double taxation avoidance agreements? Yes Yes Yes
Corporate banking and financial considerations
Recommended bank for corporate banking? Unicredit Bulbank Societe Generale DSK Bank
Client must travel for account opening? No No No
Corporate visa debit cards available? Yes Yes Yes
Quality of e-banking platform? Good Good Good
English e-banking platform available? Yes Yes Yes
Can secures loans from Bulgaria banks? Yes Yes Yes
Access to Private Equity/VC funds in Bulgaria? Yes Yes Yes
Can the company list on the local stock exchange? Yes Yes Yes
Labour considerations
Can hire foreign employees? Yes Yes Yes
Quota (%) for local employees? No No No
How long to secure the work permit? 2 months 2 months 2 months
Client must travel before securing a long-term visa? No No No
Average monthly salary for employees? €550 €550 €550
Payroll tax exemption for foreign employees? No No No
Social security contributions exemptions for foreign employees? No No No

External readings

Contact us

For additional information on our free zone services in Bulgaria, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
client relationship officer - Petar
  • Mr. Petar Chakarov
  • Client Engagements Manager
  • Contact me!
Bulgarian chamber of commerce and industry Bulgaria financial supervision commission Bulgaria government