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If you are considering opening a private security company in Bulgaria, you should know that this activity can be conducted only after obtaining a private security licence.
The definition of “private security activity”, the procedure for obtaining the licence and the necessary documents are specified in the Private Security Activity Act and the respective sub-legislation. Private security companies can provide any of the following services: physical security, security of individuals, protection of property, protection of events, protection of real estate, etc. It is important to note that if the company wants to provide more than one type of security services, it must have an explicit permit for each type of security activity separately. Security activities can be armed or unarmed. The company can be licenced to operate on the whole territory of Bulgaria or only within a specific area. Depending on the above listed options, the licensing fee is different.
Private security activities can be carried out either by registered Bulgarian legal entities (i.e. the first step towards starting this activity is the registration of a Bulgarian company) or such activity may also be performed by a company registered in any of the other EU member states.
The application for a private security licence is filed with the General Directorate “National Police” in Sofia. The application can also be physically filed in any of the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of Interior at the registered office of the company or electronically – with an electronic signature, but in any case, it will be processed and reviewed in the Headquarters in Sofia. Along with the application the applicant is required to present the compliance documentation, including various declarations, and certificates. Some of the compliance documents refer to the partners, for example, a criminal record and a medical certificate for lack of mental illness. Others apply to the company, such as: certificate of absence of tax liabilities, lack of insurance liabilities, etc.
A basic requirement for obtaining the licence is that all company shareholders and members of the management body of the applicant company should have a clean criminal record. Additionally, all of them should present a medical certificate showing that they do not suffer from any mental diseases that might prevent them from understanding the nature and significance of their actions, i.e. not to be “non-compos mentis” or under judicial disability.
Apart from the above, which applies both to directors and owners, the law sets further requirements for the managers/directors or executive. They must be at least 18 years of age, able-bodied, to be of Bulgarian, European or Swiss citizenship, not to have been convicted of a crime of a general nature (either by the prosecution or by private individuals through a lawsuit), to be clinically healthy. Those employed as guards should have a professional qualification of “Security Guard”. The manager of the security company can be an individual which has at least higher education, while security guards are required to have at least secondary education diploma.
Where the partners and the manager of the security company are foreign persons, all documents must be issued by the relevant authority in their country of residence, accompanied by apostille and official translation into Bulgarian.
A further prerequisite for obtaining a licence is to submit samples of service card, uniform and logo of the security company.
The licence fee must be paid to the moment of submitting the application. According to the type of security activity and according to the territory on which it will be carried out, the fee varies between BGN 500 and 6,000. Usually the application is processed within one month from its filing. However, if there are any incompliances with the legal requirements, the regulator will send a notification to the applicant giving the latter 45 days to correct the identified discrepancies.
The licence application can be filed either personally by the company manager or via an authorized licensing lawyer who can convey the whole procedure via a power of attorney.