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.
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.
On 25 January 2012 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a decision according to which by the date of Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area, our country will unilaterally apply a visa-free system for holders of valid Schengen visas. They will have the right to enter and reside in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of no more than three months in any six-month period from the date of the first entry, without needing to have a Bulgarian short-stay visa. The decision entered into force on 31.01.2012.
Since the date of its accession to the EU in 2007, Bulgaria has been applying Council Regulation (EC) № 539/2001 of 15.03.2001 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
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:
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.
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:
The following persons are exempt from presenting proof for subsistence, accommodation and transportation:
The following persons are exempt from presenting an insurance policy:
The following persons are exempt from fees for visa application processing
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
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.