Why Bulgaria is earning its place on the map for Digital Nomads and backpackers and freelance travellers.
In Europe, a Schengen visa is a short stay visa that allows you to circulate in the Schengen area.
The Schengen zone includes 26 countries with no border controls between them. The Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
A Schengen visa allows you to stay in the Schengen zone for no more than 90 days in any 180 days period (“short stay visa”).
Bulgaria is in the European Union but is not in the Schengen zone.
This means that non-EU passport holders can stay 90 days in the Schengen countries then 90 days in Bansko during a 180 day period. This then makes you eligible to stay another 90 days in Schengen!
There are other non-Schengen countries in Europe where you can also reset your Schengen visa including the Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia and other Balkan countries.
But Bansko has something that those countries do not: the most amazing digital nomad community we have ever been a part of.
Tax Benefits for EU Nomads
For EU resident nomads, Bulgaria has a very attractive tax scheme.
Tax rates in Bulgaria are a flat 10% for business income, 10% for personal income and 5% on dividends.
And as an EU citizen if you live in Bulgaria for at least 6 months in a tax year you pay tax on your worldwide earned and dividend income at Bulgaria’s 10% and 5% rates.
Getting a residency visa requires navigating Bulgarian bureaucracy but is relatively straightforward. And residency can lead to citizenship after 5 years.
The price of real estate also makes Bansko Bulgaria an attractive place for EU citizens to put down some part-time roots. The Great Recession left Bansko with a glut of housing that still hasn’t been filled. Studio apartments sell for as little as 9,000 euro.
Malta, Cyprus and the British Dependencies may have better tax benefits but RS Co-Living provides a low cost of living and a connected digital nomad community.