Can I swap my Bulgarian house for another one?

swap my Bulgarian house

Have you ever been in the situation when you buy a holiday home overseas but you haven't been sure if you want to live in it? May be not, but may be you will some time in the future. In this short article I will explain if it is possible to swap your Bulgarian house for another one, also located in Bulgaria, but on different place.

Why would you want to swap a Bulgarian house for another Bulgarian one?

If you have already bought a rural house but haven't started renovating it (let's say in Provadia area), you might have realised that there are no other Brits (or on the contrary - there are too many Brits) in the area so you want to move to another beautiful place in Bulgaria where you like it more (let's say Balchik area, because it's closer to the Black Sea coast). You search on the Internet and find another person in your situation who sells his house because he wants to move to a different place in Bulgaria. This would be a good opportunity just to swap both houses. Instead of  each one selling his own house separately  and pay double notary fees, stamp duty, solicitor fees and other expenses, you might want to make a single property swap deal.

How does the property swap work in Bulgaria

You Bulgarian solicitor must prepare a draft of the property exchange title deed. The title deed will serve as ownership title to both parties as the property exchange will happen in one go. There is no need the deed to be signed by two notaries. The statutory requirement is that the parties chose just one notary public who will certify the property swap. This could be a notary from either of the areas, where the properties are located. It's up to the parties and their Bulgarian solicitors to decide which notary public will use.

Normally one of the biggest financial burdens when one buys property in Bulgaria is the stamp duty. This is a one-time payment to the local municipality and is due upon transfer of property ownership. Normally, the stamp duty is up to 3% of the value of the deal. Luckily, if you make a property swap, you will be able to chose in which of the municipalities you can certify the deal. Whereas the notary fees are the same allover Bulgaria, the stamp duty varies depending on the municipality. Therefore you can chose to certify the deal in the municipality where the stamp duty is lower. Moreover, you will pay it just once since you are signing just one property deal.

What if the houses have different value?

Nobody wants to give more and receive less. This is also valid for property exchanges. Therefore the title deed should include a clause for an additional payment, so that the lower value house owner received the same property value and the other one e.g. both parties receive the same value as the one they transfer. If money has been transferred and the amount is above 10,000 bulgarian Levs, it has to be paid by bank transfer. This is a statutory requirement. Normally a bank statement has to be handed to the notary who certifies the property exchange deal.

It will take a while before you receive the title deed original, as the deed has to be recorded in both municipalities' Land registries. Normally it will be about 2 weeks before you can get your title deed original.

If you are up to a complicated property deal or you want to make a house/apartment swap and require professional solicitor help,  give us a call at +359 52 605 997 or email me on milen@mhlegal.eu.

Can I swap my Bulgarian house for another one?

swap my Bulgarian house

Have you ever been in the situation when you buy a holiday home overseas but you haven't been sure if you want to live in it? May be not, but may be you will some time in the future. In this short article I will explain if it is possible to swap your Bulgarian house for another one, also located in Bulgaria, but on different place.

Why would you want to swap a Bulgarian house for another Bulgarian one?

If you have already bought a rural house but haven't started renovating it (let's say in Provadia area), you might have realised that there are no other Brits (or on the contrary - there are too many Brits) in the area so you want to move to another beautiful place in Bulgaria where you like it more (let's say Balchik area, because it's closer to the Black Sea coast). You search on the Internet and find another person in your situation who sells his house because he wants to move to a different place in Bulgaria. This would be a good opportunity just to swap both houses. Instead of  each one selling his own house separately  and pay double notary fees, stamp duty, solicitor fees and other expenses, you might want to make a single property swap deal.

How does the property swap work in Bulgaria

You Bulgarian solicitor must prepare a draft of the property exchange title deed. The title deed will serve as ownership title to both parties as the property exchange will happen in one go. There is no need the deed to be signed by two notaries. The statutory requirement is that the parties chose just one notary public who will certify the property swap. This could be a notary from either of the areas, where the properties are located. It's up to the parties and their Bulgarian solicitors to decide which notary public will use.

Normally one of the biggest financial burdens when one buys property in Bulgaria is the stamp duty. This is a one-time payment to the local municipality and is due upon transfer of property ownership. Normally, the stamp duty is up to 3% of the value of the deal. Luckily, if you make a property swap, you will be able to chose in which of the municipalities you can certify the deal. Whereas the notary fees are the same allover Bulgaria, the stamp duty varies depending on the municipality. Therefore you can chose to certify the deal in the municipality where the stamp duty is lower. Moreover, you will pay it just once since you are signing just one property deal.

What if the houses have different value?

Nobody wants to give more and receive less. This is also valid for property exchanges. Therefore the title deed should include a clause for an additional payment, so that the lower value house owner received the same property value and the other one e.g. both parties receive the same value as the one they transfer. If money has been transferred and the amount is above 10,000 bulgarian Levs, it has to be paid by bank transfer. This is a statutory requirement. Normally a bank statement has to be handed to the notary who certifies the property exchange deal.

It will take a while before you receive the title deed original, as the deed has to be recorded in both municipalities' Land registries. Normally it will be about 2 weeks before you can get your title deed original.

If you are up to a complicated property deal or you want to make a house/apartment swap and require professional solicitor help,  give us a call at +359 52 605 997 or email me on milen@mhlegal.eu.

Liquidation of un-reregistered companies now has started

close my company and transfer property on own nameThe long wait for the compulsory company liquidation of un-reregistered companies is now over. It has been one year and four months and the Registry Agency is finally ready with the paperwork and the procedures for liquidation of un-reregistered companies. The Company Register Act has been amended accordingly end of 2012, so technically the liquidation could have been started.

The problem with un-reregistered companies is that the Brits who have bought properties before 2012, bought it though a limited company and because they failed to re-register the limited company, it is now subject to compulsory liquidation. This means that there is a real thereat that those Brits can lose their property unless they take control of the compulsory liquidation process.

Liquidate your limited company and keep the property on your own name

Owners of un-reregistered limited companies now can take control of the wind up process by submission of application for appointing a liquidator and start of the liquidation process. As solicitors who specialise in liquidation and having Milen Hristov, who officially registered liquidator in the list of liquidators in the Company Register of Registry Agency, we are well prepared to handle your limited company liquidation. We are constantly looking for Company Register Act amendments and are ready to react immediately  and accordingly so that we can protect your rights in the liquidation process.

If your company is un-reregistered and you don't know what to do, contact us and instruct our solicitors to initiate the liquidation. Our current clients want either to sell their property since they are not interested in owning anything in Bulgaria anymore, or they just want to transfer the company property to their own name.

Transferring the company property to own name

Many Bulgarian solicitors offer the service 'transfer property to own name', but what they actually offer is 'sale' of the company property to own name. This is basically a fictive sale where your company transfers the company property to the shareholders in the form of title deed sale document. Because of the high conveyancing costs, the sale price is reduced to the bare minimum - the tax value of the property. However this fictive sale is dangerous as this could trigger some negative  consequences such as tax checkes by the National Revenue Agency due to the suspiciously low sale price and even can trigger international tax evasion checks with collaboration with the HMRC. As a second negative side of this fictive sale we should point out the criminal liability of declaration of false facts in the title deed. Pursuant to Art .313 of the Criminal Code the declared lower price of the transfer can bring criminal liability to the person signed the title deed i.e. the company shareholder and the 'buyer'. Nobody wants to go to prison for saving a few pounds of a property transfer to own name and liquidation of his limited company.

The proper way to transfer property to own name in the company liquidation

No need to use fake sales if you want to keep the property to yourself. Our liquidation professionals will use the regulations of the liquidation procedure to transfer the property to your own name. The procedure is not so familiar among the regular conveyancing Bulgarian solicitors so that's why many of them will deny its existence. This doesn't mean you have to use the fake sale. For the amount of £600 (*subject to preliminary documents review) you can liquidate your company and transfer the property to your own name.

Call us or email us for a review of your company documents and to get a final quote from us for liquidation of your limited company and transferring the property to your own name.

Liquidation of un-reregistered companies now has started

close my company and transfer property on own nameThe long wait for the compulsory company liquidation of un-reregistered companies is now over. It has been one year and four months and the Registry Agency is finally ready with the paperwork and the procedures for liquidation of un-reregistered companies. The Company Register Act has been amended accordingly end of 2012, so technically the liquidation could have been started.

The problem with un-reregistered companies is that the Brits who have bought properties before 2012, bought it though a limited company and because they failed to re-register the limited company, it is now subject to compulsory liquidation. This means that there is a real thereat that those Brits can lose their property unless they take control of the compulsory liquidation process.

Liquidate your limited company and keep the property on your own name

Owners of un-reregistered limited companies now can take control of the wind up process by submission of application for appointing a liquidator and start of the liquidation process. As solicitors who specialise in liquidation and having Milen Hristov, who officially registered liquidator in the list of liquidators in the Company Register of Registry Agency, we are well prepared to handle your limited company liquidation. We are constantly looking for Company Register Act amendments and are ready to react immediately  and accordingly so that we can protect your rights in the liquidation process.

If your company is un-reregistered and you don't know what to do, contact us and instruct our solicitors to initiate the liquidation. Our current clients want either to sell their property since they are not interested in owning anything in Bulgaria anymore, or they just want to transfer the company property to their own name.

Transferring the company property to own name

Many Bulgarian solicitors offer the service 'transfer property to own name', but what they actually offer is 'sale' of the company property to own name. This is basically a fictive sale where your company transfers the company property to the shareholders in the form of title deed sale document. Because of the high conveyancing costs, the sale price is reduced to the bare minimum - the tax value of the property. However this fictive sale is dangerous as this could trigger some negative  consequences such as tax checkes by the National Revenue Agency due to the suspiciously low sale price and even can trigger international tax evasion checks with collaboration with the HMRC. As a second negative side of this fictive sale we should point out the criminal liability of declaration of false facts in the title deed. Pursuant to Art .313 of the Criminal Code the declared lower price of the transfer can bring criminal liability to the person signed the title deed i.e. the company shareholder and the 'buyer'. Nobody wants to go to prison for saving a few pounds of a property transfer to own name and liquidation of his limited company.

The proper way to transfer property to own name in the company liquidation

No need to use fake sales if you want to keep the property to yourself. Our liquidation professionals will use the regulations of the liquidation procedure to transfer the property to your own name. The procedure is not so familiar among the regular conveyancing Bulgarian solicitors so that's why many of them will deny its existence. This doesn't mean you have to use the fake sale. For the amount of £600 (*subject to preliminary documents review) you can liquidate your company and transfer the property to your own name.

Call us or email us for a review of your company documents and to get a final quote from us for liquidation of your limited company and transferring the property to your own name.

Bulgarian property solicitors' role in the conveyancing process

Bulgarian property solicitorMany Brits who buy property in Bulgaria don't bother instructing a Bulgarian property solicitor. This is either due to the belief that the estate agents in Bulgaria are regulated as in UK (which is not true) or simply because they don't believe that something wrong could happen.

Real estate agents want just to sell

Real estate agents in Bulgaria are not regulated, so their only goal is to sell you anything. They will probably show you tons of properties and will try to persuade you to buy it. They don't have ethical code, nor you can file a complaint against them in a special professional regulatory body. There used to be an idea to codify the rights and obligations of real estate agents in Bulgaria, but it failed. Whether this was on purpose or not, it's hard to say.  This situation creates a loophole in the law, allowing all kind of property scam. In this case it is a wise idea to instruct a property solicitor, who will initiate a full property research on the deeds and seller.

Instructing a Bulgarian property solicitor

Bulgarian and UK conveyancing process have many similarities, but also a huge amount of differences. In that connection your current UK solicitor is unlikely to be able to act diligently and replace entirely the legal background of a Bulgarian qualified property solicitor. Your UK solicitor could act in terms of supervising the application of the general principals of conveyancing and watch out for any suspicious legal actions performed by the instructed Bulgarian solicitor. Also your UK solicitor may assist you in certification of the conveyancing documents, needed to complete the purchase or sale of your Bulgarian property.

Choosing a qualified Bulgarian property solicitor is not easy. You can find many recommendations in Internet property forums like My Bulgaria, but there are also many estate agents/solicitors who stand behind  fake Brit profiles and basically recommend themselves. The easiest way to find a qualified Bulgarian property solicitor is 'the word of mouth' method. If you have any friend or relative who has been through the conveyancing process and have used a Bulgarian solicitor, just ask for the contacts of this solicitor.

What exactly does the property solicitor in the conveyancing process

It really depends on what you have instructed the solicitor for - purchase or sale. In the general case of purchase, the solicitor will check the current status of the property you are buying: if there are any registered encumbrances such as mortgages, liens, injunctions, pending lawsuits etc. The solicitor should check also the authenticity of the current owner's title deed and if the seller is the actual owner and if he/she has the full powers to dispose the property. If there are any suspicious facts in documents, the solicitor will require additional information and/or documents from the seller in order to establish if it is safe to buy this property or not.

On a separate note, the draft of the new title deed can be prepared by your solicitor too. Many notaries don't bother preparing the title deeds so in this case it is mandatory your solicitor to prepare the title deed draft. Even if the notary prepares the title deed draft, your solicitor should review it in order to  confirm that what you will be signing is actually what you want to buy and the terms of the purchase are the same as agreed with the seller.

[infobox type="attention"] A note to those who rely only on notaries when buying property:  Notaries are not obliged to check for encumbrances on the property, subject to the purchase. They only are obliged to check the ownership status. In that sense relying only to a notary for the conveyancing is not a wise move. [/infobox]

If you need a qualified Bulgarian property solicitor, call us or email us for a quote for our services.

Bulgarian property solicitors' role in the conveyancing process

Bulgarian property solicitorMany Brits who buy property in Bulgaria don't bother instructing a Bulgarian property solicitor. This is either due to the belief that the estate agents in Bulgaria are regulated as in UK (which is not true) or simply because they don't believe that something wrong could happen.

Real estate agents want just to sell

Real estate agents in Bulgaria are not regulated, so their only goal is to sell you anything. They will probably show you tons of properties and will try to persuade you to buy it. They don't have ethical code, nor you can file a complaint against them in a special professional regulatory body. There used to be an idea to codify the rights and obligations of real estate agents in Bulgaria, but it failed. Whether this was on purpose or not, it's hard to say.  This situation creates a loophole in the law, allowing all kind of property scam. In this case it is a wise idea to instruct a property solicitor, who will initiate a full property research on the deeds and seller.

Instructing a Bulgarian property solicitor

Bulgarian and UK conveyancing process have many similarities, but also a huge amount of differences. In that connection your current UK solicitor is unlikely to be able to act diligently and replace entirely the legal background of a Bulgarian qualified property solicitor. Your UK solicitor could act in terms of supervising the application of the general principals of conveyancing and watch out for any suspicious legal actions performed by the instructed Bulgarian solicitor. Also your UK solicitor may assist you in certification of the conveyancing documents, needed to complete the purchase or sale of your Bulgarian property.

Choosing a qualified Bulgarian property solicitor is not easy. You can find many recommendations in Internet property forums like My Bulgaria, but there are also many estate agents/solicitors who stand behind  fake Brit profiles and basically recommend themselves. The easiest way to find a qualified Bulgarian property solicitor is 'the word of mouth' method. If you have any friend or relative who has been through the conveyancing process and have used a Bulgarian solicitor, just ask for the contacts of this solicitor.

What exactly does the property solicitor in the conveyancing process

It really depends on what you have instructed the solicitor for - purchase or sale. In the general case of purchase, the solicitor will check the current status of the property you are buying: if there are any registered encumbrances such as mortgages, liens, injunctions, pending lawsuits etc. The solicitor should check also the authenticity of the current owner's title deed and if the seller is the actual owner and if he/she has the full powers to dispose the property. If there are any suspicious facts in documents, the solicitor will require additional information and/or documents from the seller in order to establish if it is safe to buy this property or not.

On a separate note, the draft of the new title deed can be prepared by your solicitor too. Many notaries don't bother preparing the title deeds so in this case it is mandatory your solicitor to prepare the title deed draft. Even if the notary prepares the title deed draft, your solicitor should review it in order to  confirm that what you will be signing is actually what you want to buy and the terms of the purchase are the same as agreed with the seller.

[infobox type="attention"] A note to those who rely only on notaries when buying property:  Notaries are not obliged to check for encumbrances on the property, subject to the purchase. They only are obliged to check the ownership status. In that sense relying only to a notary for the conveyancing is not a wise move. [/infobox]

If you need a qualified Bulgarian property solicitor, call us or email us for a quote for our services.

Collecting outstanding maintenance fees from Condominium owners

collecting condominium maintenance feesHoliday apartment owners find themselves in the gray area of Condominium regulation. Most of the holiday apartments are located in the so called closed complexes (also called gated apartment complexes or aparthotels), but the Condominium Ownership Management Act (COMA) dedicates only one article to those kind of buildings. This is quite insufficient, having in mind the big amount of such buildings across Bulgaria - mostly located in Black Sea resorts and the ski resorts.

The problem with condominium common parts maintenance fees

COMA has been drafted mainly to regulate residential condominium buildings, where residents live permanently in the building throughout the whole year. Therefore payment of common parts maintenance is not an issue since all residents are using the common parts of the building e.g. staircase, lifts etc. The Act provides an exception for those owners who don't normally inhabit their apartments. Pursuant Art. 51 they have the options to pay less or even not pay at all any common parts maintenance fees.

The situation with the holiday apartment buildings is quite the opposite. These buildings are mostly uninhabited during the year and owners are either renting out or using the premises themselves only in the high holiday season - in the summer for Black Sea properties and in the winter for mountain properties.

This of course creates the problem about who should pay for maintenance of the common parts in case no one is living there permanently. The loophole of Art 51 COMA creates the option of ALL apartment owners to claim the exception and not pay their common parts maintenance fees. The moral dilemma is if no one pays, then how the building should be maintained and stay in proper condition? Surely all owners would like the building to be attractive so they can rent out their premises. Moreover, if most of the apartment owners decide to pay, even if they don't reside there permanently, there will be always owners who would not pay. This of course could be legal, but not moral, as the other apartment owners are not obliged to bears other owners' financial liabilities.

Collection of unpaid condominium maintenance fees

Whether non-paying owners claim the exception or not, the management body of the Condominium Owners Association (or Condominium, depending on the structure) can enforce the payment obligation of every owner. COMA provides the right of the chairman of the management committee (or the manager) of the condominium to apply for payment order in the local District court for collection all outstanding maintenance fees. The court can issue the payment order approximately within a month and the order can be enforced through a state or private enforcement agent.

Despite some of the owners can claim the non-payment exception in Art. 51, there is a legal way to enforce collection of maintenance fees from such apartment owners. The fact that they are not living permanently in Bulgaria is not a problem as the court order can be enforced in all European Union member states. All legal expenses the Condominium makes will be accounted on the name of the debtor and will be collected from him - including the fees you will be paying to your solicitor.

Instructing your solicitor to initiate court debt collection

Before you instruct your Condominium solicitor, you should have prepared all relevant documentation, including the minutes from the General Meeting, where the amount of the common parts maintenance fees are set. This amount of the maintenance fees has to be set by a decision of the General Meeting of the condominium. If the GM hasn't set a fees maturity date, the condominium manager should send a notice to all non-paying apartment owners. These are just preparatory proceedings, so the actual court proceedings are successful. If the preliminary actions haven't been done or haven't been done properly, the court proceedings will not be successful. Again, you should pass all relevant documentation to your solicitor who would advices you both on the preliminary work that needs to be completed and on the following court case legal work.

If you require a legal consultation on condominium legal case, feel free to contact our solicitors team.

Collecting outstanding maintenance fees from Condominium owners

collecting condominium maintenance feesHoliday apartment owners find themselves in the gray area of Condominium regulation. Most of the holiday apartments are located in the so called closed complexes (also called gated apartment complexes or aparthotels), but the Condominium Ownership Management Act (COMA) dedicates only one article to those kind of buildings. This is quite insufficient, having in mind the big amount of such buildings across Bulgaria - mostly located in Black Sea resorts and the ski resorts.

The problem with condominium common parts maintenance fees

COMA has been drafted mainly to regulate residential condominium buildings, where residents live permanently in the building throughout the whole year. Therefore payment of common parts maintenance is not an issue since all residents are using the common parts of the building e.g. staircase, lifts etc. The Act provides an exception for those owners who don't normally inhabit their apartments. Pursuant Art. 51 they have the options to pay less or even not pay at all any common parts maintenance fees.

The situation with the holiday apartment buildings is quite the opposite. These buildings are mostly uninhabited during the year and owners are either renting out or using the premises themselves only in the high holiday season - in the summer for Black Sea properties and in the winter for mountain properties.

This of course creates the problem about who should pay for maintenance of the common parts in case no one is living there permanently. The loophole of Art 51 COMA creates the option of ALL apartment owners to claim the exception and not pay their common parts maintenance fees. The moral dilemma is if no one pays, then how the building should be maintained and stay in proper condition? Surely all owners would like the building to be attractive so they can rent out their premises. Moreover, if most of the apartment owners decide to pay, even if they don't reside there permanently, there will be always owners who would not pay. This of course could be legal, but not moral, as the other apartment owners are not obliged to bears other owners' financial liabilities.

Collection of unpaid condominium maintenance fees

Whether non-paying owners claim the exception or not, the management body of the Condominium Owners Association (or Condominium, depending on the structure) can enforce the payment obligation of every owner. COMA provides the right of the chairman of the management committee (or the manager) of the condominium to apply for payment order in the local District court for collection all outstanding maintenance fees. The court can issue the payment order approximately within a month and the order can be enforced through a state or private enforcement agent.

Despite some of the owners can claim the non-payment exception in Art. 51, there is a legal way to enforce collection of maintenance fees from such apartment owners. The fact that they are not living permanently in Bulgaria is not a problem as the court order can be enforced in all European Union member states. All legal expenses the Condominium makes will be accounted on the name of the debtor and will be collected from him - including the fees you will be paying to your solicitor.

Instructing your solicitor to initiate court debt collection

Before you instruct your Condominium solicitor, you should have prepared all relevant documentation, including the minutes from the General Meeting, where the amount of the common parts maintenance fees are set. This amount of the maintenance fees has to be set by a decision of the General Meeting of the condominium. If the GM hasn't set a fees maturity date, the condominium manager should send a notice to all non-paying apartment owners. These are just preparatory proceedings, so the actual court proceedings are successful. If the preliminary actions haven't been done or haven't been done properly, the court proceedings will not be successful. Again, you should pass all relevant documentation to your solicitor who would advices you both on the preliminary work that needs to be completed and on the following court case legal work.

If you require a legal consultation on condominium legal case, feel free to contact our solicitors team.

Airline Licence and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from Bulgaria

airlince licenceStarting an airline business is not so difficult as it seems. There are few things to consider when you decide to get an airline licence and the first one is obtaining an Air Operator Certificate. There are some prerequisites before you apply for AOC. The first one is registration of a air carrier company. You can either register a Bulgarian company or apply though an already registered company, based in another EU member state.

Initial requirements for applying for Airline Operator Licence

The law requires that the company keeps a minimum capital of 160,000 BGN (about 80,000 euros). This capital needs to be put as initial registered company capital. The distribution between the shareholders is not regulated i.e. it can be as agreed between the company shareholders.

Before you operate, you need to obtain an Air Operator Certificate on the name of the company. This certificate is issued as a confirmation that the company complies with all legal air operator's requirements for:

[list3]

  1. Organisation and Infrastructure
  2. Quality system
  3. Operations manual
  4. Training and checking
  5. Maintenance
  6. Records
  7. Equipment
  8. Pre-flight preparation
  9. Release of flight/dispatch
  10. Flight inspection
  11. Navigation
  12. Flight documentation

[/list3]

All the details about the aforementioned subjects are mainly technical and workflow processes documentation and has to be available upon applying. The inspector from Directorate General "Civil Aviation Administration" has to check documentation's conformity with the current legislation before the AOC is granted. The technical documentation is tailored for the particular company, depending on its size and needs.

The air carrier company will also need to have a general third party liability insurance. Estimating costs of such insurance is available only upon request from the client, as it depends on the company size, needs and activity (carrying passengers or cargo).

Buying or Leasing Airplanes

The company will need to have at least one leased or own airplane before it applies for AOC. If the company will be leasing a plane it will have to pay a fee of 1000 BGN (about 500 Euro) per plane, for registering it in the special Airplane Lease Register, held in the Directorate. The state fee for obtaining an AOC is 10,000 BGN (about 5000 euros).

Term of the AOC and Airline operator licence

The AOC is granted initially for 12 months and can be further extended for 2 more years. Every year after the first one, the company will be subject to thorough checks by the inspectors of the Directorate. The company will have to prove financial stability. This is quite a subjective matter, but generally the air carrier company accounts has to be verified by a certified charted accountant/auditor and the auditor has to confirm that the company is financially stable. The auditor's fees depend on the particular auditing company/professional. A further quote for this service is available upon written request.

After the air carrier company obtains the AOC, it needs to apply for air carrier licence (airline operator licence). This will enable it to actually fly the airplanes. The state fee is 1500 BGN (about 750 euros). The licence term is indefinite, but the air carrier company needs to renew its AOC because it is a prerequisite for holding the air carrier licence (airline operator licence). The fee is the same, no matter if you apply for general licence or area-specific licence.

Our fee for handling the process and the work concerning issuing both licences (AOC and airline operator licence) is available upon email or phone request. If you need assistance with the plane leasing documentation (review of lease contracts, make legal suggestions and amendments to the contracts etc.) our lawyers can assist you in this matter too.

Airline Licence and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from Bulgaria

airlince licenceStarting an airline business is not so difficult as it seems. There are few things to consider when you decide to get an airline licence and the first one is obtaining an Air Operator Certificate. There are some prerequisites before you apply for AOC. The first one is registration of a air carrier company. You can either register a Bulgarian company or apply though an already registered company, based in another EU member state.

Initial requirements for applying for Airline Operator Licence

The law requires that the company keeps a minimum capital of 160,000 BGN (about 80,000 euros). This capital needs to be put as initial registered company capital. The distribution between the shareholders is not regulated i.e. it can be as agreed between the company shareholders.

Before you operate, you need to obtain an Air Operator Certificate on the name of the company. This certificate is issued as a confirmation that the company complies with all legal air operator's requirements for:

[list3]

  1. Organisation and Infrastructure
  2. Quality system
  3. Operations manual
  4. Training and checking
  5. Maintenance
  6. Records
  7. Equipment
  8. Pre-flight preparation
  9. Release of flight/dispatch
  10. Flight inspection
  11. Navigation
  12. Flight documentation

[/list3]

All the details about the aforementioned subjects are mainly technical and workflow processes documentation and has to be available upon applying. The inspector from Directorate General "Civil Aviation Administration" has to check documentation's conformity with the current legislation before the AOC is granted. The technical documentation is tailored for the particular company, depending on its size and needs.

The air carrier company will also need to have a general third party liability insurance. Estimating costs of such insurance is available only upon request from the client, as it depends on the company size, needs and activity (carrying passengers or cargo).

Buying or Leasing Airplanes

The company will need to have at least one leased or own airplane before it applies for AOC. If the company will be leasing a plane it will have to pay a fee of 1000 BGN (about 500 Euro) per plane, for registering it in the special Airplane Lease Register, held in the Directorate. The state fee for obtaining an AOC is 10,000 BGN (about 5000 euros).

Term of the AOC and Airline operator licence

The AOC is granted initially for 12 months and can be further extended for 2 more years. Every year after the first one, the company will be subject to thorough checks by the inspectors of the Directorate. The company will have to prove financial stability. This is quite a subjective matter, but generally the air carrier company accounts has to be verified by a certified charted accountant/auditor and the auditor has to confirm that the company is financially stable. The auditor's fees depend on the particular auditing company/professional. A further quote for this service is available upon written request.

After the air carrier company obtains the AOC, it needs to apply for air carrier licence (airline operator licence). This will enable it to actually fly the airplanes. The state fee is 1500 BGN (about 750 euros). The licence term is indefinite, but the air carrier company needs to renew its AOC because it is a prerequisite for holding the air carrier licence (airline operator licence). The fee is the same, no matter if you apply for general licence or area-specific licence.

Our fee for handling the process and the work concerning issuing both licences (AOC and airline operator licence) is available upon email or phone request. If you need assistance with the plane leasing documentation (review of lease contracts, make legal suggestions and amendments to the contracts etc.) our lawyers can assist you in this matter too.