Visas - Information on Visa requirements for Bulgaria

Visits to Bulgaria for up to 90 days in any six month period.

Part 1: How to calculate the 90 day rule There are two categories of visit to Bulgaria, long and short. The short form can be one or more visits up to a total of 90 days in any six month period. The best way to calculate this is to look at the end date of your proposed future visit, and count back 6 months. Total the number of days spent in Bulgaria during that entire six month period including the future trip. As long as they are less or equal to 90, you can book the future planned trip. What you can not do is stay for two periods of 90 days ‘back to back’ as this would exceed 90 days in a continuous six month period. Fines have been imposed on visitors who exceed the 90 day limit. This is based on passports being scanned at entry and departure.

Part 2: Holders of valid ordinary passports from the countries listed below do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria for one or more visits up to a total of 90 days within any period of six months.

Passport holders from the following countries do NOT need a visa to stay up to 90 days: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK (British Citizen Passport Holders only see Note 1 below), USA, Uruguay, the Vatican, Venezuela, SAR – China (Hong Kong, Macao)

NOTE 1: Holders of British Subject Passports should enquire at the Bulgarian Embassy in London or their nearest Bulgarian Embassy before planning to travel. They are NOT covered by the above rule and have been refused entry to Bulgaria if they do not hold a current visa.

Part 3: ALL holders of passports from countries NOT listed in Part 2 above need visas to enter Bulgaria and should apply to the nearest Bulgarian Embassy, see link below. A 'C' visa will be required for a short stay up to 90 days.

Part 4: General Notes on Short Visits. All passports must be valid in date for at least 3 months after the end of the intended stay and if a visa is required there must be a blank page available.

All children entering Bulgaria will need to have their own passport. Children included in their parents' passports will only be allowed in if the passport also contains their photograph.

The 90 day visa free entry does not necessarily entitle you to work in Bulgaria, a work permit may still be required.

As Bulgaria will not become a member of the SCHENGEN ZONE until 2009 at the earliest, tourists travelling on a Schengen visa from outside the above countries will also have to get a Bulgarian Visa.

Useful links
Bulgarian Embassy in London

List of all Bulgarian embassies

Information on the Schengen visa

Visits to Bulgaria for over 90 days.

Part 5: Longer and permanent stays in Bulgaria - The Long Stay Certificate (also known as the Durable Residence Certificate).

There are new rules now in force for longer or permanent stays in Bulgaria depending on whether the passport held comes from outside or inside the EU, as follows:

Part 6: For those who hold passports from countries outside the EU, a 'D' visa must be applied for at a Bulgarian embassy outside Bulgaria for long term stays. Visas can be applied for either in your home country or a trip taken to the Bulgarian embassies in neighbouring Romania, Greece or Turkey. The 'D' visa allows the holder to apply for a long stay at a main immigration office once the holder has arrived inside Bulgaria. A full list of documentation required for a D visa is available on the London Bulgarian Embassy site:

Part 7:For those who hold passports from countries inside the EU, ( Austria, Belgium, The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom):

New rules dating from January 1st 2007 allow for longer stays in Bulgaria than 90 days but this must be arranged once inside Bulgaria. This Long Stay Certificate is applied for at a police station that has an immigration office, these can usually be found in the main town or city of each Bulgarian administrative region. A stay for a period of over 90 days to five years can be applied for. As long as all the paperwork is to hand, the Long Stay Certificate should be issued the same day, and either no fee or a minimal fee is asked for.

As is often the case in Bulgaria, local immigration offices are implementing varying interpretations of the rules, and asking for different sets of paperwork.

Documentation for Long Stay Certificate:

There are various grounds on which you can apply for the Long Stay Certificate, the main ones are:
a) Being employed or self employed in Bulgaria.
b) Being self supporting.
c) Being a student in Bulgaria.

You will be asked for:
Birth Certificate
Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

If you are applying on the grounds of being employed or self employed, you will have to provide proof of this, either a contract from your employer or by showing the current status of your trading company i.e. the company registration documents, a declaration that the company is still active and the Bulstat card.

If you are applying on the grounds of being self supporting you need to show a letter from your Bulgarian bank proving ability to be self supporting, some local offices are asking that you have a total balance in that bank account of a least 1000 leva per adult and proof of access to Health Insurance (see Note 2 below).

Students have to provide a letter from their place of education.

In addition: You may have to produce your House deeds or proof of where you will be living and for proof of having been registered at some point during your current trip to Bulgaria.

NOTE 2: Health Insurance. You may find that your 'European Health Insurance Card' (the plastic replacement for the old E111) will satisfy the requirement for proof of Health Insurance. Check the date on your EHIC card, as you may only get a Long Term Certificate up to that expiry date. Other areas in Bulgaria are asking for proof of private medical insurance, as usually you can only show proof of this for one year ahead, this may limit the length of your Long Term Certificate.

Part 8: After five continuous years of residency in Bulgaria using one or more Long Stay Certificates you can apply for Permanent Residency. Under certain circumstances such as marriage to a Bulgarian Citizen, you can apply after a shorter period.

Useful links for Long Term Stay
A longer document relating to European Citizens only.