Bulgaria visa

There’s plenty to see in Bulgaria, from visiting one of the historical sites (of which there are many) to relaxing on one of the famous beaches.
But if you’re planning a trip to one of these sunny beaches or to the beautiful capital Sofia, you may need to apply for a Bulgarian visa.

This article provides guidance on the application process, requirements and some frequently asked questions related to Bulgarian visas.


Who Needs a Bulgaria Visa?

Citizens of several countries can come to Bulgaria for short-term stays without a visa, including Schengen countries, the United States, Australia and Canada. All non-visa exempt foreign nationals must apply for a Bulgarian visa to be allowed to enter the country.

However, all children under six years of age (even those from countries that require a visa) are visa-free to enter Bulgaria.

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Algeria
  3. Angola
  4. Armenia
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Bahrain
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Belarus
  9. Belize
  10. Benin
  11. Bhutan
  12. Bolivia
  13. Botswana
  14. Burkina Faso
  15. Burundi
  16. Cambodia
  17. Cameroon
  18. Cape Verde
  19. Central African Republic
  20. Chad
  21. The People’s Republic of (PRC) China
  22. Comoros
  23. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  24. Congo-Brazzaville
  25. Cote d’Ivoire
  26. Cuba
  27. Democratic Republic of Korea
  28. Djibouti
  29. Dominican Republic
  30. Ecuador
  31. Egypt
  32. Equatorial Guinea
  33. Eritrea
  34. Ethiopia
  1. Fiji
  2. Gabon
  3. Gambia
  4. Ghana
  5. Guinea
  6. Guinea-Bissau
  7. Guyana
  8. Haiti
  9. India
  10. Indonesia
  11. Iran
  12. Iraq
  13. Jamaica
  14. Jordan
  15. Kazakhstan
  16. Kenya
  17. Kosovo
  18. Kuwait
  19. Kyrgyzstan
  20. Laos
  21. Lebanon
  22. Lesotho
  23. Liberia
  24. Libya
  25. Madagascar
  26. Malawi
  27. Maldives
  28. Mali
  29. Mauritania
  30. Mongolia
  31. Morocco
  32. Mozambique
  33. Myanmar
  34. Namibia
  35. Republic of Nauru
  1. Nepal
  2. Niger
  3. Nigeria
  4. Oman
  5. Pakistan
  6. Palestinian Authority
  7. Papua New Guinea
  8. Philippines
  9. Qatar
  10. Russia
  11. Rwanda
  12. Sao Tome and Principe
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Senegal
  15. Sierra Leone
  16. Somalia
  17. South Africa
  18. Sri Lanka
  19. Sudan
  20. Surinam
  21. Swaziland
  22. Syria
  23. Tajikistan
  24. Tanzania
  25. Thailand
  26. Togo
  27. Tunisia
  28. Turkey
  29. Turkmenistan
  30. Uganda
  31. Uzbekistan
  32. Vietnam
  33. Yemen
  34. Zambia
  35. Zimbabwe

What Countries are Exempt from Bulgaria Visas?

The following countries are exempt from holding a visa when traveling to Bulgaria for a period of less than 90 days.

  1. Albania*
  2. Andorra
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Australia
  6. Austria
  7. Bahamas
  8. Barbados
  9. Belgium
  10. Bosnia and Herzegovina*
  11. Brazil
  12. Brunei
  13. Canada
  14. Chile
  15. China, Hong Kong
  16. China, Macao
  17. Columbia
  18. Costa Rica
  19. Croatia
  20. Cyprus
  21. Czech Republic
  22. Denmark
  23. Dominica
  24. El Salvador
  25. Estonia
  26. Finland
  27. France
  28. Georgia*
  29. Germany
  30. Greece
  31. Grenada
  32. Guatemala
  1. Honduras
  2. Hungary
  3. Ireland
  4. Iceland
  5. Israel
  6. Italy
  7. Japan
  8. Kiribati
  9. Latvia
  10. Lichtenstein
  11. Lithuania
  12. Luxemburg
  13. Macedonia*
  14. Malaysia
  15. Malta
  16. Marshall Islands
  17. Mauritius
  18. Mexico
  19. Micronesia
  20. Moldova*
  21. Monaco
  22. Montenegro*
  23. Netherland
  24. New Zealand
  25. Nicaragua
  26. Norway
  27. Palau
  28. Panamas
  29. Paraguay
  30. Peru
  31. Poland
  32. Portugal
  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Republic of Korea
  3. Romania
  4. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  5. Saint Lucia
  6. Saint Vincent and Grenadines
  7. Samoa
  8. San Marino
  9. Serbia*
  10. Seychelles
  11. Singapore
  12. Slovakia
  13. Slovenia
  14. Solomon Islands
  15. Spain
  16. Sweden
  17. Switzerland
  18. Taiwan
  19. Timor-Leste
  20. Tonga
  21. Trinidad and Tobago
  22. Tuvalu
  23. Ukraine*
  24. United Arab Emirates
  25. United Kingdom
  26. Uruguay
  27. The United States of America
  28. Vanuatu
  29. Vatican City State
  30. Venezuela

*Visa exemption for Bulgaria applies only to biometric passport holders.
Additionally: As Bulgaria is part of the European Union, all other EU member states as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are also visa-free for Bulgaria for long stays (over 90 days) ) as well as for Bulgaria work permit.
required due to EU free movement laws.


What Are the Types of Bulgarian Visas?

Bulgaria visas, much like Schengen visas, are divided into three main categories:

Bulgaria Airport Transit Visa (Visa A)

The Bulgaria Transit Visa, as the name suggests allows the holder to transit in a Bulgarian airport on their way to another destination. The visa does not allow the holder to leave the airport and actually enter the country of Bulgaria.

The Bulgaria airport transit visa is issued for a single or double entry. On special occasions, it may be issued for multiple entries for validity of three months.

Bulgaria Short-Stay Visa (Visa C)

Bulgaria Short-Stay Visa (Visa C) is issued for tourism, business, and personal visit purposes for stays of up to 90 days within a six-month period. This type of visa is usually issued for one entry. Additionally, you can count your remaining days in the Schengen area using our calculator.

You can get a multiple-entry Bulgaria short-stay visa, valid for up to one year, if:

  1. You travel for business purposes.
  2. You are a family member of a Bulgarian/EU/EEA citizen
  3. You are a family member of a Bulgarian permanent resident

Additionally, you can also get a Bulgarian short-term stay visa for transit purposes if you transit through Bulgaria. The Republic of Bulgaria is on its way to another country. If you have a Bulgarian short-stay visa for transit purposes, you can only stay in Bulgaria for two days. It is usually issued for single or double entry and is valid for 12 months.

In certain cases, you may be able to obtain a multiple-entry short-term visa for transit, at the discretion of the Bulgarian embassy or consulate.

Bulgaria Long-Stay Visa (Visa D)

Bulgaria Long-Stay Visa (Visa D) is for foreigners who want to stay in Bulgaria permanently or permanently, e.g. for work, study purposes practice or retire.

It is usually issued for a maximum period of one year and you must have a residence permit upon arrival in Bulgaria. It allows its owner to have multiple entries into the country.


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How to Travel to Bulgaria if You Don’t Need a Visa?

If you don’t need a visa to Bulgaria, you can go there with just your passport, which must be valid for at least six more months and have at least two blank pages.

The immigration officer at the border checkpoint will then put the necessary stamp on the blank pages, allowing you to enter and stay in the country.

Bulgaria Visa Requirements

When submitting a Bulgaria visa application, you must have several required documents, such as:

  1. Bulgaria visa application form, completed in typed letters and signed.
  2. Your passport/travel document, which must have at least two blank pages in order to affix the visa.
  3. Photocopies of the personal information page on your passport as well as any previous visas
  4. Photocopies of any other permission to stay in a foreign country (visa, residence permit), even if it’s not affixed to your passport (if applicable)
  5. A recent passport-size picture of yourself, in line with Bulgaria visa picture requirements:
    • Dimensions: 3,5 cm х 4,5 cm
    • Recent
    • Professionally taken
    • Set against a light-colored background
    • You must be facing forward, with a neutral facial expression
    • Your face must cover 70-80% of the picture
    • You may not wear tinted eyeglasses or decorative headgear
  6. Travel itinerary/flight ticket.
  7. Proof of travel insurance of at least €30,000 for the duration of your stay covering any repatriation or medical emergency expenses.
  8. Hotel reservation, or proof of another form of accommodation.
  9. Proof regarding the purpose of travel.
  10. Proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself during your stay, such as bank statements.
    You must have a minimum of €50 per day, but no less than €500 – or the equivalent of that in your country’s currency.
    • You may also submit proof you’ve pre-paid accommodation or that someone in Bulgaria will undertake the cost of sustaining you there, such as a person or company/institution.
  11. Certificate of police clearance (if necessary).

Documents must be consolably legalized (with Apostille stamp or otherwise). 

Additional Requirements for Bulgaria Tourist Visa

Additional documents required for a regular tourist visa to Bulgaria include:

  1. Invitation letter from host to Bulgaria. If you go on business or private vacation, you must have an invitation letter from the relevant person/legal authority. The letter must be legalized by a notary and the Directorate General of Migration of the Ministry of the Interior in Bulgaria.
  2. Hotel reservation or proof of other form of accommodation.
  3. Proof of onward/return flight booking or proof that you have enough funds to purchase the ticket.
  4. If you are traveling in an organized group/with a travel agency: Travel voucher from the travel agency.

Additional documents required for:

  1. Medical treatment visa for Bulgaria
    • Discharge declaration from the hospital in your country
    • Certificate from the Bulgarian medical institution admitting you as well as the treatment plan value
  2. Cultural exchange: Invitation letter from Bulgarian medical organization. Ministry of Culture or with the mayor of the city that hosts you.
  3. Bulgaria Sports Visa: Invitation letter issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Youth and Sports or by the relevant sports club.

Short stay visa for Bulgaria (also known as C visa or tourist visa) is issued mainly for tourism, business, leisure, medical purposes or for private residence.

However, Bulgaria also issues type C visas for transit purposes, issued to foreigners passing through Bulgarian territory (i.e. enter through one country’s border and exit through another country’s border).

Additional documents required for Bulgaria transit visa C

Additional documents you need to submit when applying for Bulgaria transit visa C are:

  1. Copies of any other permission to stay in a country, even if they are not affixed to the passport (if applicable).
  2. If you drive a car, you need an additional €200 or the equivalent in your country’s currency.

Bulgaria Visa Requirements for Airport Transit Visa

When applying for a Bulgaria Airport Transit Visa, you need the following additional documents:

  1. Copy of any other permission to stay in a country, even if it is not affixed to the passport (if applicable)
  2. Book airline tickets for the remaining leg of the trip with original and photocopy of airline ticket.

Bulgaria Student Visa Requirements

In addition to the above requirements, when applying for a Bulgaria student visa, you must also have the following documents:

  1. Certificate of acceptance issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education (original) .
  2. Original copy of your transcript/academic certificate.
  3. Travel insurance from your country of residence.
  4. Proof of private health insurance in Bulgaria.
  5. Proof of payment of tuition by the educational institution.
  6. Extract of criminal record or conviction certificate from your country of residence.
  7. Proof of financial means for students: You must demonstrate that you have at least €4,000, or equivalent, in your own or your parents’ bank account.

Bulgarian work visa requirements

If you want to apply for a Bulgarian work visa, the Bulgarian employer must first apply for a work permit for you. Your employer must apply for a work permit to the Bulgarian Employment Agency by sending the following documents:

  1. Work permit application form.
  2. Proof of private health insurance in Bulgaria.
  3. Travel insurance from your country of residence.
  4. Extract of criminal record or conviction certificate from your country of residence.
  5. A letter explaining the reason for the request.
  6. Labor contract.
  7. Copy of your passport/travel document valid for at least another 7 months.
  8. Three passport-sized photographs of yourself.
  9. Certified copy of your employer’s registration document or identification code.
  10. Documents related to your training, skills and qualifications, previous professional experience, etc.
  11. A report of the number of employees your employer has had under an employment contract in the previous 12 months.
  12. Any additional documents related to your work.

Bulgaria family reunion visa requirements

You can apply to bring non-EU family members to Bulgaria if:

  1. You are a Bulgarian citizen
  2. EU nationality
  3. Holder of a long-term residence permit in Bulgaria

You can bring your spouse or partner (with whom you lived with) and any children under 18 years of age.

In addition to the requirements listed above under the long stay visa, the Bulgaria visa requirements for the family reunion visa include:

  1. Marriage certificate.
  2. Proof that you have been living together for at least one year (if not married).
  3. Travel insurance from your country of residence.
  4. Birth certificate or adoption documents, if applicable.
  5. Proof of private health insurance in Bulgaria.
  6. Extract of criminal record or conviction certificate from your country of residence.
  7. Any other documents proving relationship or custody of children.

Bulgaria Visa requirements for minors

If a minor is traveling to Bulgaria alone or with someone other than their parent/legal guardian, they must present:

  1. Copy of birth certificate.
  2. Notarized power of attorney, certified by both parents/legal guardian (or guardian, if the child does not have both parents), attesting that they approve of the child’s travel someone comes along. Include both the original and a photocopy.

The Bulgarian embassy or consulate may request additional documents as they see fit. Always check in with the Bulgarian embassy/consulate before applying.

You should submit these documents at the Bulgarian representation in your countries, such as an embassy or consulate. You must do so in person.

However, Bulgaria also allows foreigners to apply for a visa through an approved visa application agency.

How to Apply for a Bulgarian Visa?

  1. Begin by clicking on the “Login” button, which can be found in the menu on the right side of the screen.
  2. If you haven’t registered yet, please register yourself first. After registering, proceed to log in to the panel.
  3. Once you are logged in, navigate to the menu on the left side of the panel.
  4. Select the “Visa Application Form” option from the menu.
  5. Fill out this form with the required information.
  6. Finally, submit the completed form.

Do I Have to Attend a Bulgaria Visa Interview?

The Bulgarian embassy or consulate to which you are applying may require you to undergo a visa interview, at their sole discretion.

If you apply for a long-term visa, you must pass the Bulgaria visa interview, no exceptions.

Additionally, Bulgarian consulates and embassies also accept applications submitted through authorized visa agencies.
Check to see if it’s available in your country.

How Long Does it Take to Process a Bulgaria Visa?

A Bulgarian visa is processed in about 10-15 working days. However, the times may change depending on the specific circumstances and the Bulgarian embassy or consulate.

How Long is a Bulgaria Visa Valid For?

The validity of the Bulgarian visa depends on the type of visa you are applying for. Short stay visa to Bulgaria is valid for up to 90 days within a six month period.

If you transit through Bulgaria, your short-stay visa for transit purposes is valid for a maximum of 2 days per entry.

Long-term visas to Bulgaria can be valid for up to six months or one year, depending on the purpose of your trip.

What Are the Bulgaria Visa Fees?

The Bulgaria visa fees are:

  • For a short-stay or an airport transit Bulgaria visa:
    • For adults: €80
    • For children between 6-12 years of age: €40
  • For a long-stay Bulgaria visa:
    • For stays of up to six months: €100
    • For stays of up to one year: €200

Do I Need a Visa for Studying or Working in Bulgaria?

Yes, you do. Any foreign national who wants to live in Bulgaria long-term, such as for studying or working, needs to obtain authorization to live in Bulgaria long-term (ie. a Bulgarian residence permit.) Everyone needs a residence permit for Bulgaria, even EU nationals. However, non-EU nationals also have to apply for a long-stay visa prior to travelling. Residence permit applications are submitted after the foreigner is in Bulgaria.

There are three types of residence permits in Bulgaria:

  1. Extended residence permit, issued to third-country nationals for a maximum period of one year.
  2. EU long-term residence permit, also known as residence certificate, is issued to EU citizens for a period of 5 years.
  3. Permanent residence permit, issued to European citizens who have lived in Bulgaria for at least 5 years. This type of license gives its holder the same rights as Bulgarian citizens, except the right to vote or participate in politics.


Is Bulgaria Part of the Schengen Area?

No, Bulgaria is not yet an official member of the Schengen area.
However, they are making efforts to obtain membership of the Schengen zone visa-free regime.
Currently, Bulgaria only issues domestic visas.

Can You Travel to a Schengen Country With a Bulgaria Visa?

No, because Bulgaria is not admitted to the Schengen area, you cannot use a Bulgarian visa to visit a Schengen country. Therefore, you will often have to apply for a separate visa for Schengen countries.

You can only enter and stay in Bulgaria with a Bulgarian visa. On the other hand, you can enter Bulgaria if you have a valid Schengen visa or visas for Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, which are also candidates for admission to the Schengen area.


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