Visa for Bulgaria
Bulgaria and the European Union’s Common Visa Policy
Since 1 January 2007 the Republic of Bulgaria has been applying the European Union’s Common Visa Policy, subject to the terms of the Accession Treaty.
According to Article 4 of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania, the provisions of the Schengen acquis specified in Annex ІІ to that Act shall be binding on and applicable in the Republic of Bulgaria from the date of accession (1 January 2007), while the rest shall be applicable from the date of the Council’s decision on Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area.
Bulgaria and the Schengen Area
Joining the Schengen area is a key priority of our country. The Bulgarian government is highly committed to fulfilling one of the key national priorities – Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area. A well-functioning coordination between ministries and institutions has been established to this end on political and expert level.
The efforts in the preparation process have been focused on meeting the high Schengen standards and securing reliable external borders.
In order to meet the Schengen criteria Bulgaria undertook all necessary actions in view of harmonizing immediately the national to the European law, updating our international base of treaties, providing the relevant state-of-the-art technical equipment and infrastructure and enhancing the administrative capacity whereby our country uses the best practice of the EU member states.
Currently Bulgaria issues national visas only. Those visas do not give their holders the right to enter the Schengen area.
Visa-free regime for holders of Schengen visas for a stay of up to 90 days
By a Government Decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria from April 12, 2023 (promulgated SG No. 36 of 2023), amendments and additions were made to Decision No. 459 of 2014 for approving the application of Decision No. 565/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 15, 2014, and for repealing Decision No. 48 of 2012.
As of 21 of April, 2023, holders of the following comprehensively listed documents have the right to enter and reside in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without the need to hold a Bulgarian visa type "C" for transit residence or planned stay:
- „Uniform visa” with the meaning of Art. 2, par. 3 of the Visa Code, valid for two or multiple entries, and after the visa has been used in a country fully applies the Schengen acquis;
- „Long-stay visa” in regarding with Art. 18 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement and after the visa has been used in the country that issued the visa;
- “Residence permit” in accordance with Art. 2, par. 16 of Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code);
- “Visa with limited territorial validity” in accordance with Art. 25, par. 3 of the Visa Code, valid for two or multiple entries, and after the visa has been used in a country fully applies the Schengen acquis;
- National visa for short-stay period or national visa for long-stay period, issued by Cyprus or Romania in relevance by laying down a uniform format for visas established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1683/95 of 29 May 1995, valid for two or multiple entries, and after these documents have been used for enter in the country that issued them; or а residence permit, issued by Cyprus or Romania in relevance by laying down a uniform format established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002, unless visas and residence permits are placed on travel documents that those Member States do not recognize or on travel documents issued by a third country with which they do not have diplomatic relations;
- National visa for short-stay period, national visa for long-stay period or a residence permit issued by the authorities of the Republic of Croatia until December 31, 2022, or until their validity expires.
The documents referred in points 1-4 are not recognized if they are placed on travel documents issued by a third country with which the Republic of Bulgaria does not maintain diplomatic relations.
Visa-free regime for holders of valid visas and residence permits issued by Romania and Cyprus
The Republic of Bulgaria shall recognize the following documents as equivalent to its national visas for transit or for a planned stay on its territory, not exceeding 90 days within a period of 180 days:
- National visas for short-stay period or national visas for long-stay period, issued by Cyprus or Romania in relevance by laying down a uniform format for visas established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1683/95 of 29 May 1995, valid for two or multiple entries, and after these documents have been used for enter in the country that issued them;
- Residence permits, issued by Cyprus or Romania in relevance by laying down a uniform format established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002, unless visas and residence permits are placed on travel documents that those Member States do not recognize or on travel documents issued by a third country with which they do not have diplomatic relations
Regulation (EU) 2018/1806
Since the date of its accession to the EU in 2007, Bulgaria has been applying Council Regulation (EC) № 539/2001 of 15.03.2001 who was codified by Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 of the European parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement.
Types of visas
- Visa A (for airport transit) - more information
- Visa C (for a short stay for the purpose of transit or a planned stay) - more information
- Visa D (for a long stay) - more information
Requirements when entering the country
A foreigner may enter the Republic of Bulgaria if he/ she is a holder of a regular foreign travel document or another equivalent document as well as a visa if required.
A foreign citizen wishing to apply for a Bulgarian visa shall hold a regular travel document that meets the following requirements:
- its validity expires at least 3 months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria or in case of multiple visits - after the last scheduled date of departure from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria;
- contains at least 2 blank pages for visa purposes;
- has been issued within the last 10 years.
Visas are issued by the diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Visa applications forms are submitted not earlier than 3 months before the date of the intended travel, personally or through an authorized agent, with the exception of humanitarian cases.
Visa applications for minors or judicially disabled persons shall be submitted by their legal representatives or by persons expressly authorized to do so.
Visa applications for underage persons or persons with limited judicial disability shall be submitted by their legal representatives, trustees or by persons expressly authorized to do so.
Requirements when filling in visa applications
All fields in the application shall be filled in legibly in typed letters. The names shall be filled in with Latin letters (the way they are spelt in the foreign travel passport). The rest of the information shall be filled in in English or Bulgarian. The application shall be signed by the applicant personally. The members of the family of European Union citizens shall fill in only those fields of the visa application form which indicate their family relationship.
Obligatory personal interview when applying for a type “D” visa
No exception shall be made from the requirement for a personal interview when applying for a long-stay visa.
Documents to be submitted with the visa application:
- A photocopy of the first page of the foreign travel document;
- A photocopy of the last Bulgarian and Schengen visas or visas for the UK and the US, if any
- A full color photograph 3,5 cm х 4,5 cm against light-colored background (the same holds for a child entered in the passport) – a full-face photo with clear, large enough face which takes up 70-80% of the photo; eyes must be red; the following is ineligible: photos with dark glasses; non-professional photos or cut out of amateur photos
- A medical insurance valid for the EU member states for the whole period of the trip, covering all costs for repatriation and for urgent medical care and emergency hospital treatment for the period of the stay indicated in the visa. The insurance amount cannot be less than 30 thousand euro
- Tickets (original and copy) or ticket booking conformation or financial means
- Copy of the technical passport of the car of the trip
- For under-aged children travelling without their parents or trustees the following documents shall be submitted:
- a copy of the birth certificate
- original and photocopy of a power of attorney notary certified by both parents/ trustees or by one parent trustee that they agree their child to travel unaccompanied by them.
The following persons are exempt from presenting proof for subsistence, accommodation and transportation:
- Members of the families or the households of European Union, European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation citizens;
- Persons applying for a visa for a long stay in view of gathering their families, in relation to a refugee status acquired or asylum in the Republic of Bulgaria – pursuant to a written decision of the State Agency for Refugees with the Council of Ministers
- Holders of service and diplomatic passports
The following persons are exempt from presenting an insurance policy:
- Members of the families or the households of European Union, European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation citizens
- Holders of service and diplomatic passports
- Seamen who meet the criteria of Convention №108 of the International Labour Organization when submitting applications for short-stay visas with the purpose of transit
- Persons who can be deemed to be insured or can cover expenses in unforeseen circumstances due to their social or service status.
The following persons are exempt from fees for visa application processing
- Foreign citizens who as of the date of the visa application are under 6 years
- Members of Bulgarian and EU citizens’ families
Visa Application Centers (Outsourcing Centers)
In order to facilitate visa applicants, and to provide a better and quicker service, Bulgarian Consular Services started, on stages, accepting visa application forms through the so called Visa Application Centers (Outsourcing Centers), operated by the VFC Global Company, specialized in providing visa services. For now, visa application forms could be submitted in this way at the Visa Application Centers situated in the following countries and cities:
Moscow, Sankt Petersburg, Ekaterininburg, Novosibirsk, Kazan, Samara, Nijni Novgorod, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Rostov on Don, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Ufa, Sochi and Kaliningrad.
Kiev, Odessa, Lvov, Lutsk, Ivano-Frankovsk, Donetsk, Kharkov and Simferopol
United Arab Emirates
Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Riyadh and Jeddah
Ankara, Istanbul, Edirne, Bursa, Gaziantep, Adana and Izmir.
Astana and Almaty
More detailed information about the Visa Application Centers’ locations, as well as regarding the terms and regulations of submitting the visa application forms you could find on the phones of the respective Bulgarian diplomatic Missions abroad and their websites.