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Bulgaria – Visas

Visa Regulations for Entering Bulgaria

Bulgaria has specific visa requirements for non-European Union (EU) citizens who wish to visit, study, work, or reside in the country. The main type of visa required for entry into Bulgaria is a short-term visa, also known as a Schengen visa, for stays of up to 90 days.

Important Rules to Be Aware of:

  1. Purpose of the trip: Visitors must have a clear reason for their visit, such as tourism, business, or study. This must be stated on the visa application.

  2. Valid Passport: All visitors must have a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining.

  3. Health Insurance: Visitors must have health insurance coverage for their stay in Bulgaria.

  4. Proof of financial means: Visitors must prove they have enough financial means to support themselves during their stay in Bulgaria.

  5. Return ticket: Visitors must have a return ticket or evidence of onward travel arrangements.

To successfully navigate these regulations, it is recommended that visitors research the visa requirements and gather all necessary documentation before applying for a visa. Applying for a visa early is also advisable to avoid any delays or last-minute issues.

Types of visas available in Bulgaria

  1. Short-term visa (Schengen visa): A short-term visa is required for stays of up to 90 days for tourism, business, or family visits.

  2. Long-term visa: A long-term visa is required for stays longer than 90 days for purposes such as work, study, or family reunion.

  3. Student visa: A student visa is required for non-EU students who wish to study in Bulgaria for a period of more than 90 days.

  4. Work visa: A work visa is required for non-EU citizens who wish to work in Bulgaria for a period of more than 90 days.

  5. Residence permit: A residence permit is required for non-EU citizens who wish to reside in Bulgaria for a period of more than 90 days.

Visa Exemptions in Bulgaria


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Citizens of EU member states do not require a visa to enter Bulgaria. Citizens of countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

Relationship Between Visas and Residency in Bulgaria

Visas are required for entry into Bulgaria for stays of more than 90 days for purposes such as work, study, or family reunion. Residency permits are required for stays longer than 90 days for non-EU citizens. The process of obtaining a residency permit involves obtaining a long-term visa and then applying for a residency permit once in Bulgaria.

Reliable Information on Visas for Entry into Bulgaria

Expats can find reliable information on visas for entry into Bulgaria by visiting the following websites:

  1. Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.mfa.bg/en

  2. Bulgarian Embassy in their home country: Expats can find information on visa requirements by visiting the Bulgarian Embassy in their home country.

  3. Schengen Visa Info: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/bulgaria-visa/

  4. Bulgarian Immigration Agency: https://www.imi.government.bg/index.php?lang=en

To enter Bulgaria, US and UK citizens may need a visa, depending on the purpose and length of their stay.
To apply for a visa, it is recommended to submit the application at least 15 days before the intended arrival date in Bulgaria.

The relevant authority for visa applications is the Bulgarian Diplomatic Mission or Consulate in the applicant’s home country.

Relevant forms and more information on visa requirements can be found on the website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.mfa.bg/en/pages/45

Where to Apply for a Visa for Bulgaria

US citizens can apply at the Bulgarian Consulate General in New York or at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Washington D.C.

UK citizens can apply at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in London.

Relevant Documents for Bulgaria

When applying for a Bulgarian visa, the following documents are typically required:

  • A completed and signed visa application form
  • A valid passport with at least two blank pages
  • Two recent passport-size photos
  • A proof of travel arrangements (e.g. flight reservation)
  • A proof of accommodation in Bulgaria
  • A proof of financial means for the duration of stay
  • Health insurance covering the period of stay in Bulgaria
  • Any additional documents required for the specific purpose of stay, such as a letter of invitation or proof of employment.

Translations of foreign language documents into Bulgarian or English may be necessary.

More information on required documents can be found on the website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.mfa.bg/en/pages/45

Visa Application Processing Time for Bulgaria

The processing time for a Bulgarian visa can vary, but it usually takes about 7-10 working days from the date of the application submission.

It is recommended to submit the application well in advance to avoid any potential delays.

Visa Application Cost for Bulgaria

The visa fee for Bulgaria varies depending on the type of visa and the applicant’s nationality.

As of 2021, the fee for a short-stay visa (C-type visa) for US citizens is $160, while for UK citizens is €60.

It is recommended to check the latest visa fee information on the website of the Bulgarian Diplomatic Mission or Consulate in the applicant’s home country.

There may be additional costs associated with obtaining the required documents, such as fees for passport photos or health insurance.


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