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Bulgaria – Driving Licenses

General rules for driving licenses in Bulgaria

Foreign nationals visiting Bulgaria can use their own valid driving license for up to 12 months or until the expiration of the license, whichever comes first. If the license is not in a language that uses the Latin alphabet, an International Driving Permit (IDP) must be presented alongside the license.

After this initial period, foreign nationals must either obtain a Bulgarian driving license or apply for an extension to use their foreign license in Bulgaria. The process for obtaining a Bulgarian driving license typically involves taking a driving test, although some countries have agreements in place that allow for license exchange without the need for a test.

License exchange agreements

Bulgaria has agreements with several countries that allow for license exchange without the need for a driving test. These countries include:

  • EU member states
  • EEA member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway)
  • Switzerland
  • Andorra
  • San Marino

Foreign nationals from these countries can exchange their driving license for a Bulgarian one by visiting the Regional Road Transport Inspectorate (RRTI) office in the region where they are residing. They will need to provide a valid ID, their foreign driving license, and pay the relevant fees.

For those not from these countries, a driving test will need to be taken to obtain a Bulgarian driving license.

Procedure for obtaining, exchanging, and renewing a driving license

To obtain a Bulgarian driving license, foreign nationals will need to go through the following steps:


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  1. Register with a driving school and take a driving course, if required.
  2. Pass a medical exam at a certified medical center.
  3. Pass a theoretical exam at the RRTI office.
  4. Pass a practical driving test at the RRTI office.

To exchange a foreign driving license for a Bulgarian one, foreign nationals will need to visit the RRTI office in the region where they are residing. They will need to provide a valid ID, their foreign driving license, and pay the relevant fees.

To renew a Bulgarian driving license, a renewal application must be submitted to the RRTI office at least one month before the expiration date. The application must include a valid medical certificate, a recent photograph, and proof of payment of the renewal fee.

Contact details of relevant government departments or agencies

The relevant government department for driving licenses in Bulgaria is the Regional Road Transport Inspectorate (RRTI). The RRTI is responsible for issuing, exchanging, and renewing driving licenses in Bulgaria.

The contact details for the RRTI are as follows:

International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recognized in Bulgaria, and foreign nationals must present an IDP if their driving license is not in a language that uses the Latin alphabet. The IDP is valid for one year and must be obtained in the driver’s home country.

Penalty system for motoring offences

The penalty system for motoring offences in Bulgaria is based on a points system. Each offence is assigned a number of points, and when a driver accumulates a certain number of points, their driving license may be suspended or revoked.

Some common motoring offences and their corresponding points include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: 10 points
  • Speeding: 6 points
  • Driving without a valid driving license: 6 points
  • Failing to stop at a red light: 4 points

In addition to points, fines may also be imposed for motoring offences. The amount of the fine depends on the severity of the offence and can range from BGN 50 to BGN 1,500.

If a driver accumulates 20 points within a period of two years, their driving license will be suspended for a period of up to six months. If a driver accumulates 30 points within a period of three years, their driving license will be revoked, and they will need to retake the driving test to obtain a new license.

It is important to note that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is taken very seriously in Bulgaria, and severe penalties can be imposed, including imprisonment.

In conclusion, foreign nationals visiting Bulgaria can use their own driving license for up to 12 months or until its expiration, whichever comes first. After this initial period, a Bulgarian driving license must be obtained or an extension applied for. Foreign nationals from certain countries can exchange their driving license for a Bulgarian one without the need for a driving test. The relevant government department for driving licenses in Bulgaria is the Regional Road Transport Inspectorate (RRTI), and an International Driving Permit is recognized in the country. The penalty system for motoring offences in Bulgaria is based on a points system, with severe penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


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