How to Enter Bulgaria

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

A U.S. passport is required for U.S. citizens who are not Bulgarian nationals. U.S. citizens are authorized to stay in Bulgaria for a total of 90 days within a six-month period without a Bulgarian visa. This law is strictly enforced. You can file an application to extend your stay beyond the original 90 days for urgent or humanitarian reasons, but the application must be submitted to regional police authorities no later than five days prior to the end of the original 90-day period. Travelers who have been in the country for 90 days and then leave will not be able to re-enter Bulgaria before the six-month period expires. Travelers using official or diplomatic passports must secure visas prior to arrival. Please plan and apply for your visa early. Upon entering the country, Bulgarian immigration authorities request that all foreigners declare the purpose of their visit and provide their intended address.

For further information on entry and exit requirements and the most current visa information, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria at 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel. (202) 387-7969 (main switchboard (202) 387-0174), or the Bulgarian Consulate at 121 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10021; tel. (212) 935-4646. If you intend to live or work in Bulgaria for more than 90 days within a six-month period, or for more than six months within a year, you must obtain a “D” visa prior to arrival. U.S. citizens must apply for a “D” visa at a Bulgarian embassy or consulate in the country in which they legally reside. If you wish to obtain a “D” visa while already present in Bulgaria -- having entered as a tourist, for example -- you must leave Bulgaria and apply at the Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate in the United States nearest to your home. Visit the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Bulgarian Embassies/Consulates websites for more information on visas. The U.S. Embassy in Sofia also provides Bulgarian entry requirements and a link to the “D” visa application online. Bulgarian authorities require original photo identification. Visitors to Bulgaria are required to carry their original passports with them at all times. U.S. citizens with Bulgarian residence permits are not required to carry their passports. U.S. passport cards are recognized as proof of citizenship and identity, but are not accepted for use for international air travel to and from Bulgaria.

Traveling with Bulgarian Citizen Minors: Bulgarian authorities are particularly strict in matters involving the travel of Bulgarian children. If a dual or multi-national Bulgarian child is traveling out of Bulgaria with only one parent or another adult, the absent parent(s) must sign a certified/legalized declaration authorizing temporary custody for travel purposes. This declaration must be presented to Bulgarian Immigration on departure. If the declaration is signed in Bulgaria, it must be certified by a Bulgarian notary public. If signed in the United States, the declaration must be certified by a notary public and the court in the jurisdiction where the notary is licensed. The declaration must include an apostille issued by the individual state's Secretary of State or Governor’s office, and a Bulgarian translation by a licensed translation company to be certified by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please note that Bulgarian authorities do not require such documentation for minors who are not Bulgarian. However, in cases of minor children who do not have Bulgarian citizenship, but one or both parents are Bulgarian citizens, Immigration officials may request a certified/legalized declaration authorizing custody for travel purposes.

Special Travel Circumstances in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is still largely a cash economy. Due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity, credit cards should be used sparingly and with extreme caution. Skimming devices, surreptitiously attached to ATMs by criminals, are used to capture cards and PINs for later criminal use, including unauthorized charges or withdrawals, and are common in Bulgaria. If you choose to use credit cards, we recommend you use ATMs located in banks or malls as opposed to the more vulnerable locations on the street. You should check your account status regularly to ensure its integrity. In connection with such scams, be extremely wary of friendly bystanders near ATMs who offer assistance. Any time a card is not returned, you should immediately report the card as lost/stolen to the card-issuing company.

You may exchange cash at banks or Exchange Bureaus, but should know that Exchange Bureaus sometimes post misleading rate quotations that confuse travelers. People on the street who offer high rates of exchange are usually con artists intent on swindling unwary travelers. Damaged or very worn U.S. dollar bank notes are often not accepted at banks or exchange bureaus. Major branches of the following Bulgarian banks will cash travelers’ checks on the spot for Leva, the Bulgarian currency, or another desired currency: Unicredit Bulbank, Bulgarian Postbank, First Investment Bank, and United Bulgarian Bank (UBB). UBB also serves as a Western Union agent and provides direct transfer of money. There are also many Western Union branches in major towns and cities. Most shops, hotels, and restaurants, with the exception of the major hotels, do not accept travelers’ checks or credit cards. Only some local banks can cash U.S. Treasury checks and the payee may need to wait up to a month to receive funds.

Corruption remains an important concern of the Bulgarian government. The Commission for Coordinating of the Activity for Combating Corruption manages the efforts of each government agency’s internal inspectorate in fighting public corruption and engages in public awareness campaigns. Complaints of public corruption can be made by mail to the Ministry of Finance, 2A Knyaz Dondukov Blvd., 1055 Sofia, Bulgaria and 1 Slavyanska St., 1000 Sofia, 359 2 987 06 97; or to the Ministry of Finance by phone at 080018018. For more information, visit the Ministry of Justice website.

If you are planning to import an automobile to Bulgaria, be aware that customs duties on personal automobiles can be high.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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