Last update 28 August 2023Diplomatic missions
Level 1: Without special recommendations
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Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands
Address: Duinroosweg 9, 2597 KJ, Den Haag, Nederland
Embassy telephone: +31 70 350 30 51
E-mail: [email protected]
Consular Office with the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in The Hague, Netherlands
Phone for consular information and to schedule an appointment for consular services: +31 70 358 46 88, every working day from 14:00 to 16:00
E-mail: [email protected]
Opening hours of the Consular Office:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 09:00 to 12:00 — for the submission of applications for identity documents, certification of powers of attorney, visas and all other consular services.
Wednesdays from 13:00 to 16:00 — for receiving of issued documents only.
Reception is only possible after a pre-arranged date and time for a visit on the Embassy's telephone lines or at the e-mail address: [email protected]
Payment of fees and fines due shall be made without exception by card only through a POS-terminal device.
An appointment to apply for a Bulgarian identity document (identity card and/or passport) can be made online by visiting the following web page:
Out of hours hotline: +31686213612 (in case of threat to the life and/or health of Bulgarian citizens due to natural disasters, industrial accidents, traffic accidents, crimes, etc.).
The Netherlands is the country with the lowest crime rate in all of Europe, and it has a very well organised police force. Some caution is necessary when travelling on public transport and visiting the old car market in the town of Utrecht, where thefts of money and documents take place.
No outbreaks of communicable diseases. No vaccinations are required upon entry into the country.
Customs requirements for the country can be found on the following file: /upload/95521/NLD-customs-requirements.pdf
The following speed limits apply in the Netherlands:
- in a settlement: 50 km/h
- out of settlement: 80 km/h
- class A roads and dual carriageways: 100 km/h
- Highways: between 06:00 and 19:00 — 100 km/h; between 19:00 and 06:00 — 120 km/h or 130 km/h (as indicated by traffic signs). When the peak hour lane is open, an adjusted maximum speed (80 or 100 km/h) is applied.
Video cameras, artificial bumps in the road and signs on motorways serve to limit speed. Sometimes there are video cameras in parked cars, equipped with special technical means, which film speeding cars. If you're caught speeding like this, you'll get a fine in the post later.
Use of a driving licence issued by the authorities of the Republic of Bulgaria (or another Member State of the European Union)
Bulgarian nationals can use their driving licences in the Netherlands for a certain period of time after moving to the country. If you have a driving licence issued by an EU Member State (including Bulgaria) or a country that is part of the European Free Trade Association, then you can use your national driving licence for up to 15 years from the year of issue. This rule applies to categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE. The driving licence must also be valid.
If your driving licence is for one of the categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E, DE, then you are entitled to use it in the Netherlands for 5 years, again subject to the rule that the licence must be valid.
If your driving licence was issued more than 15 years ago but has not yet expired, you will be allowed to drive for up to 2 years after you arrive to live in the Netherlands.
After the expiry of the aforementioned period, you must make the necessary arrangements to obtain a Dutch driving licence, i.e. you must replace your Bulgarian (national) driving licence with a Dutch one.
If your driving licence was issued by a Member State of the European Union (including the Republic of Bulgaria) or the European Free Trade Association after you have already moved to live in the Netherlands, you are not allowed to use it to drive on the roads in the Netherlands. In this case, you will need to replace it with a Dutch one, and you will need to submit the necessary documents to the municipality of your residence in the Netherlands.
Replacing a Bulgarian driving licence with a Dutch one
To be able to exchange your national licence for a Dutch one, you need:
- To be registered in the database of personal registration cards (Basisregistratie Personen (BRP);
- To have a valid identity document (Bulgarian identity card or passport) or residence card;
- Your driving licence must be issued in a member country of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association;
- To have a valid driving licence. If your driving licence has expired, you will need to submit additional documents. The Embassy's Consular Office could issue you with a service note to be used at the Traffic Office (RDW (Dienst Wegverkeer)). The same applies if your licence has been lost or stolen.
You will need to submit the following documents:
- Colour passport-size photo (more information on photo requirements can be found on the following page — https://open.overheid.nl/documenten/ronl-c9a185ce-d0fe-4e58-ade9-df82efac4cc4/pdf
- Your national (Bulgarian) driving licence;
- If you already have an old Dutch licence, you must carry that too;
- In certain cases, medical declarations and certificates are also required (for certain categories or when you are over 75 years of age) more information);
To exchange your licence for a Dutch one, you will need to visit your municipality of residence (where you are registered). You will need to bring the above documents with you. On the spot you will request the service you need and fill in an application for replacement of your national (Bulgarian) driving licence. The municipal administration will subsequently forward your application, together with all documents submitted, to the Road Traffic Office (RDW). It is important to know that only the municipality can send your file to the Office of Traffic Safety for review, it is not possible to do so in person.
If everything is in order with your file, the Road Traffic Office (RDW) will send you a reply within ten working days. The letter will inform you when you can collect your Dutch driving licence from the council offices. The replaced national (Bulgarian) driving licence will be sent to the Embassy of the country whose authorities issued it. Bulgarian driving licences are returned to the Bulgarian Embassy, so you will not get them back.
When travelling abroad, we strongly recommend that you register your stay outside Bulgaria to receive up-to-date information related to your stay in the country concerned, as well as to be able to receive the necessary assistance in the event of possible natural disasters, accidents, acts of terrorism or other unforeseen circumstances.
When abroad, you should comply with local laws and norms, as you will fall under their jurisdiction during your stay. We recommend that you inform yourself about them in advance.
If for any reason you are detained by local authorities in the Kingdom of Netherlands, request that you be put in touch with the Consular Office with the Embassy in Hague.
In the event of arrest, the Consular Office may, through the competent Bulgarian institutions, notify your relatives and, if you expressly request it, a consular officer may visit you at the place of detention or assist your relatives to visit you.
The Consular Office can insist on the appointment of a lawyer and an interpreter for you, as well as on respect for your fundamental human rights and ensuring that you are treated in the same way as nationals of the host country.
The Consular Office cannot release you from a detention order or seek special treatment for you during detention; give you legal advice or pay your legal costs; or represent you in legal proceedings.
If you fall victim to a crime or get into trouble during your stay, call the local 112 number for help, which will automatically detect where you are calling from and send the appropriate service to help you.
In the event of theft, loss or destruction of your identity documents, cash, travel tickets, etc., immediately notify the nearest police office in person and ask for a copy of the record establishing the event. Contact the Consular Office of the Embassy to declare a stolen or lost Bulgarian identity document and to apply for the necessary documents (Emergency Travel Document) to continue your journey or to return to the Republic of Bulgaria.
When travelling abroad, we recommend that you always carry a photocopy of your Bulgarian identity documents and/or birth certificate with you, separately from your original identity documents, which will help to issue a new Bulgarian identity document quickly and smoothly.
You need to have sufficient funds for your planned stay abroad. In case of theft or loss of these funds, you can seek financial assistance from the Consular Office only if your relatives or close persons deposit the amount you need with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finances and Property Management Directorate. The Embassy cannot provide you with loans or undertake to pay your food, transportation, hotel, legal or hospital bills unless the necessary funds have been deposited with the MFA of the Republic of Bulgaria.
There are no areas of increased natural disaster risk.
Web pages of the Sunday schools accredited by the Ministry of Education in the Netherlands, as well as the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in The Hague
- First Bulgarian School ‘ABV' in Amsterdam
The First Bulgarian School ‘ABV’ was established in 2013 and is registered in the list of projects approved by the Ministry of Education and Science for the school year 2018/2019, where it is listed under number 139. The school offers education in Bulgarian language and literature, history and geography of Bulgaria for children aged 2 to 7 years /in three different groups/, from 1st to 12th grade, as well as Bulgarian language education for adults.
- Bulgarian School ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’, Eindhoven
The Bulgarian School ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’, Eindhoven, was established in 2009. It has the noble mission to give children living in the southern and eastern regions of the Netherlands the opportunity to learn Bulgarian language, as well as to build and develop their knowledge of Bulgarian traditions and culture. The school offers education to children divided into nursery and pre-school groups, as well as classes from 1st to 6th inclusive.
- The Bulgarian School Sv. Sv. Cyril and Methodius in The Hague
The Bulgarian School Sv. Sv. Cyril and Methodius in The Hague is the first Bulgarian school in the Netherlands. It was established in 2006 in Leiden, and as of 2018 is based in The Hague. The school offers Bulgarian language and literature, history and geography of Bulgaria, Bulgarian folk and contemporary music for children from 4 to 18 years who live in the Netherlands.
- Bulgarian School ‘Elisaveta Bagriana’ in the city of Rotterdam (supported under Decree of the Council of Ministers No 90/2018)
- Bulgarian School ‘Vasil Levski’ in the city of The Hague (supported by the National Programme Native Language and Culture Abroad).
Bulgarian School ‘Vasil Levski’, The Hague, The Netherlands is part of a huge project. The school is one of the activities of the Cultural Information Centre ‘Het Andere Bulgarijе’, which aims to support the smooth stay of Bulgarian citizens in the Netherlands and to unite the Bulgarian community. The organisation is officially registered under all requirements of Dutch law. You can find it in the commercial register under KVK 83985336. The organization is entitled to carry out educational activities in accordance with Article 297 of the Law on Pre-school and School Education.
- Bulgarian Orthodox Church in The Hague ‘St. Archangels Michael and Gabriel’ It was founded in 2000 and opened with a solemn liturgy on November 19, 2000.
- Bulgarian Education and Culture Association
Offers weekly consultations for Bulgarians, translations, legal, accounting, financial and mortgage services, language courses, etc. Provides the necessary information, help or advice about life in the Netherlands, the rules of the system and everything that concerns your smooth stay in the country.
Travel papers and visas
After the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007, Bulgarian citizens, as citizens of an EU Member State, have the right to reside on the territory of another Member State for up to 90 days without any conditions or formalities, except the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport. These provisions also apply to family members of a Bulgarian citizen who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen and who hold a valid passport and residence card of a family member of an EU citizen. Those who do not have such a card must certify that they are family members of an EU national and then receive a free visa.
A residence ban may be imposed for reasons of public security, public order or public health.
Expiry of the identity card or passport shall not constitute grounds for expulsion.
Permanent residence is acquired in a Member State when EU nationals have been legally resident there for a continuous period of five years. This period shall not be affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months per year or absences of up to 12 months for valid reasons (military service, pregnancy, serious illness).
Short stay in the Netherlands (up to 3 months)
Bulgarian citizens who wish to visit the Netherlands or stay in the country for a short period do not need a visa or residence permit. As citizens of a Member State of the European Union, our compatriots can travel freely to the Netherlands. It is sufficient for Bulgarian citizens to hold a valid Bulgarian identity card and/or a valid Bulgarian passport to be admitted and reside in the territory of the country. This is sufficient for their stay in the Netherlands to be considered legal. Provided that Bulgarian nationals wish to work within the period, they are not required to present a work permit (in Dutch: tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV). Of course, our compatriots must not pose a risk to public order (this is a matter for the sovereign discretion of the competent administrative authorities of the Netherlands). Entry to the Netherlands may be refused where:
- The person has (or is suspected of having) tuberculosis. In this situation, citizens should receive treatment in their own country.
- You have previously been designated as an undesirable foreign national by the authorities in the Netherlands. This can happen if the competent administrative units in the country consider that you pose a threat to public order or national security.
If Bulgarian citizens intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than 4 months, then they must be entered in the population registers kept by the municipality (Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)) — more information is available in the publication below.
Residence in the Netherlands for more than 3 months
For residence in the Netherlands for a period longer than 3 months, there are additional conditions, apart from a valid identity document issued by the authorities in the Republic of Bulgaria. In all cases, there remains an obligation to register in the local population registers, which are kept by the municipality of residence in the Netherlands. The regime is different depending on your social status.
Economically active persons
If you're an employee or entrepreneur, or if you're looking for work in the Netherlands, then the so-called ‘real and effective employment’ rule applies, which means that:
- Your income should equal at least 50% of the amount of social assistance applicable to persons in your category;
- You must work at least 40% of the time accepted for a normal working week.
If your income is less, or you work fewer hours than the above, then you may also be treated as having a genuine and effective employment commitment. In this case, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) may take into account additional factors relevant to your specific situation.
When it comes to an economically active person looking for a job, there must be objective preconditions to ensure that there is a real possibility of finding work in the relevant field.
Economically inactive persons
If you do not work in the country, then you must:
- Have a health insurance;
- Have enough money to support you and your family members. Income is considered sufficient when it is equal to or higher than the minimum wage in the Netherlands plus holiday pay.
If your income is lower, then you will have to prove that the money you have is enough to support you (e.g. by providing evidence that your expenses are also low and that even on this low income you could support yourself).
The source of your income is irrelevant. This can be pensions, inheritance, alimony, compensation from abroad, income from own assets. You may also receive maintenance from your partner or another person.
Students in the Netherlands
You are required to:
- be registered at a school/university in the country;
- have health insurance in the country;
- have enough money to support you and your family members.
Working as an au pair
If you intend to work as an au pair with a host family in the Netherlands, then your au pair agency must also be recognised as a sponsor by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND). Only in this situation is the foster family allowed to pay you the so-called ‘pocket money’ of EUR 340 per month. In addition, you and the host family must meet all the requirements of the Dutch au pair policy.
If, on the contrary, you and the host family do not meet the conditions of the Dutch au pair policy, then the host family will have to pay you the national minimum wage. If the host family does not do so, the Dutch Labour Inspectorate (Arbeidsinspectie) can impose a financial penalty.
Registration with the municipality of residence
Registration for short stays (up to 4 months)
If you intend to stay in the Netherlands for less than 4 months within a 6-month period, you should register as a non-resident with your municipality of residence. This way you will be entered in the so-called ‘Register voor Niet-Ingezetenen — RNI’ (database with information on temporary residents). Registration is carried out in a municipality that has an administrative unit for registration of temporary residents — ‘RNI-loket’. At this stage, there is a total of 19 municipalities maintaining such a unit. Once this registration has been made, individuals receive a unique Citizen Service Number (Burgerservicenummer — BSN). It is necessary in public-law relations between the citizen and the state, such as the settlement of tax matters.
Registration for long-term residence (for a period longer than 4 months)
Bulgarian nationals who intend to reside in the Netherlands for a period longer than 4 months must be entered in the population registers kept by the municipality of residence in the Netherlands. They have to be registered in the database with personal registration cards (Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)). Registration shall be made in the municipality where the address at which the person legally resides is located. There are no additional fees for this procedure. After the registration Bulgarian citizens will receive a personal number for the service of the citizen (Burgerservicenummer — BSN), which is used in the provision of various types of public services by the Dutch public administration. It facilitates the procedures as it eliminates the need for additional presentation of personal information to the administrative structures in order to benefit from one or another administrative service. When moving from one municipality to another (change of address) you must notify the new municipality so that a correction can be made on your personal registration card.
In general, to register in the database of personal registration cards for persons, Bulgarian citizens must submit the following documents:
- Bulgarian identity card or Bulgarian passport;
- birth certificate (if it is issued in Bulgarian, then it must be provided with an Apostille and subsequently translated by a sworn translator; if a multilingual extract from a Bulgarian birth certificate issued at the Consular Office in the city of Plovdiv is submitted, then the certificate must be translated by a sworn translator. The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands, it is not necessary to affix an Apostille and the document does not need to be translated);
- If you are married — a certificate of civil marriage (if issued in Bulgarian, then it must be provided with an Apostille and subsequently translated by a sworn translator; if a multilingual extract from a Bulgarian certificate of civil marriage issued by the Consular Office in Plovdiv is submitted). The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands, it is not necessary to affix an Apostille and the document does not need to be translated);
- for children under the age of 16: their identity document, as well as a valid means of identification of the parent, guardian/custodian, and a document proving the relationship;
- proof of deregistration — provided you are moving from another part of the Netherlands: Aruba, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba or Sint Eustatius.
Depending on your housing situation, other documents may be required:
- if you have your own property — the original of the acquisition document (‘koopcontract’);
- if you are living in a rented property, you must produce the original of a valid tenancy agreement ('huurcontract') or the original of a document by which the main occupant of the property agrees to you living there, together with his/her ID;
- if you live in an institution such as a nursing home: original consent form signed by the institution.
Detailed information on the consular services provided by the Consular Office with the Republic of Bulgaria in Sofia. The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands, can be found on the website of the diplomatic mission under the ‘Consular services’ section — https://www.mfa.bg/embassies/netherlands.
What consular officers can do for you:
- Issue a travel document for you if you do not have one;
- Inform your loved ones in the event of an accident, serious illness or death and to provide any assistance possible;
- In case of arrest, inform your relatives, help them to visit you in prison and ensure that you are treated in the same way as nationals of the host country.
- Provide assistance in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as natural disasters and civil protests;
- Give you the most up-to-date travel information;
- Certify and authenticate a signature;
- Draw up civil status certificates (birth, marriage and death certificates);
- Forward civil status certificates already issued by the local authorities to the municipality of your permanent address in Bulgaria.
Legalizations and Certifications
In order for a public document issued by the competent authorities in the Netherlands to be recognised in Bulgaria and, conversely, for a Bulgarian public document to be recognised in that country, it must be translated and stamped with an Apostille in accordance with the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, concluded in The Hague on 5 October 1961, to which Bulgaria and the Netherlands are parties. The translation must be made by a sworn translator and his signature must be duly authenticated.