HOW TO CHANGE YOUR CITIZENSHIP AGENT

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What if you have applied for Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment (or have just started the procedure for obtaining visa D or residency card.). But for one reason or another, you have decided to change your citizenship agent. So what are your options? Is this possible at all? And are there any risks associated with that (yes, there are, so read till the end)?

Our assistance when you encounter that your agent is not what you have expected

We are constantly being contacted by Citizenship by Investment (CBI) candidates who wish to change their agents. The reasons for that can be divided into the following 3 categories, based on the type of the agent involved:

#1. The foreign (international) agent

This is the most frequent scenario. You have been lured from the advantages of the Bulgarian CBI by a pushy international (non Bulgarian) agent, who has convinced you that he is the best in the field. We personally know of many such artists operating from all corners of the world. For example, if you walk down in JBR in Dubai, you will find plenty of them. If you are doing some private banking in Switzerland, your personal manager will most probably direct you to somebody who is “highly recommended and trusted in the field”. Unfortunately however, 99% of these international agent have zero knowledge of how the Bulgarian CBI works. And the majority of them will keep 95% of what you have paid them for themselves. The remaining 5%, they will eventually be willing to allocate to pay someone in Bulgaria to do the job. And here is where your application will simply die.

#2. The scammer

Definitely there are much more scammers out there in the wild than there are international citizenship agents who know nothing about Bulgaria (see the previous paragraph). In the investment citizenship business however, the scammers have tough times convincing the client that they are adequately qualified. This is the reason why there are less clients who come to us after they have been stung by scammers than those who seek help after being let down by foreign international agents. Still, there are plenty of Bulgarian citizenship candidates who have been made to believe that the person they have entrusted will take good care of their application. The most frequent sign to be on alert that you might get scammed is when you are told things that deviate (positively) from the real condition of the Bulgarian CBI program. Such can be for instance that the investment can be easily financed for free or that the time-frame for obtaining citizenship is less than one year.

#3. The legitimate agent

This is the least likely scenario, but also happens from time to time. Nothing lasts forever, even the good relation between a client and a legitimate service provider. It is possible that you have been lucky enough to contract with legitimate Bulgarian entity that is qualified and empowered to process your citizenship application. At the same time, different factors may be directing you towards a decision to end the business relation and engage with another agent. Such factors are most often:

  • poor communication with the agent;
  • excessive (at least in your opinion) fees that are being charged;
  • non ability of the agent to provide certain additional services, i.e. investment advice, tax support, residential address for the CBI program, etc.

THE SOLUTION

Obviously, it is you who will decide whether to get rid of your current agent. In cases #1 and #2, the choice is obvious – the faster you run, the better.

Under scenario #3, we would recommend you to think whether you don’t expect too much for too little. We have had many clients coming to us from our competitors, who (the competitors) we believe to provide reasonable quality services. Still, those clients were telling us horror stories, which we know can not be true. But the coin has always two sides. The agent may be sincerely believing in the quality of his services, while the client simply has higher expectations. These expectations may be unreasonable, but at the end “the Client is always right“.

So if you have decided to end the relation with your current citizenship agent, we are here to help.

In many cases, the clients who come to us are saving on their total application fees, not withstanding the fact that they have already paid their agent too.

THE RISKS

Under scenario #1 and #2 there is only one thing you should worry about – whether your “agent” has messed up something with your application. Speaking from experience, this is (very) rarely the case. Both the “international agents” and the “scammers” don’t bother doing anything at all (doing anything cost money). The “international agents” are also not authorized in Bulgaria, so the harm they can do is well limited. So you should be safe most probably.

If you have been using the services of legitimate Bulgarian agent, the situation may be a bit more complicated. There are the following things for you to consider under this scenario:

Take care of your obligations and pay off your debts

In order to obtain Bulgarian citizenship, the candidate has to be approved by the “National Security Agency” (NSA). This approval is absolutely essential! And contrary to what many tend to think, such an approval is not merely an administrative formality. The NSA doesn’t only check the criminal record of the applicant. They will thoroughly verify whether there are any irregular patterns of the applicants behavior.

And now imagine yourself not having settled your (financial or other) obligations towards your first agent in Bulgaria. If you believe in your right to be unsatisfied of your agent and you think that you can just run away, think twice. Most agents will think otherwise and will bring you to court if they believe you owe them something.

Get legal statement in writing (VERY IMPORTANT)

And now imagine the NSA finding out (and they will) that you are already being sued in Bulgaria. Being sued in the country even before you have received (or even applied for) your citizenship. Do you think that you will stand any chances of being approved?

So, before you say good bye to your Bulgarian agent, please get a statement in writing from him that your business relation has been terminated and you have settled all your debts and obligations in full.

Such a statement is usually much easier to obtain at the time when you leave. Later, when the agent finds out that you have gone to the competition, things may get more complicated.

Not all statements are the same

In the legal world, every word matters. If you are to inquire such a statement from your agent, we recommend you contacting us for support. We will draft the document for you free of charge if you are moving with us. In case you are not sure who will be processing your application further, we can draft it for a standard nominal fee.

We would also only work with clients who come from other (legitimate) agents if they can present such a statement. The reason is two-fold. First, we wouldn’t like to jeopardize our reputation and have your citizenship application being rejected with us, as your agents. And secondly, the world of the CBI in Bulgaria is small and we all know each other. We would not engage in business relation with a client who has been unfaithful towards our colleagues. Naturally, we expect the same from our partners and sincerely believe they share the same values.

If you need any assistance with your Bulgarian citizenship by investment application, please contact us at once!

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