Types of visas and permissions for entering Bulgaria

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Types of visas and permissions for entering Bulgaria

Postby Admin » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:27 am

As a member of the EU, Bulgaria has become very attractive destination for traveling and settling of foreigners. Most of them are non EU-residents, so for their intentions to travel, invest and/or reside in Bulgaria, different legal procedures apply. There are several local statutes that regulate the legal status of foreigners and procedures for obtaining residential permits and visas in Bulgaria. As well there are several types of permitted residentships in Bulgaria – short term (up to 90 days), long term (up to 1 year), and permanent (with non-specified term). Below we will try to provide a brief guide to the different regulations and possibilities, but please do not accept it as a concrete advice on your case – a professional consultation by experienced legal practitioner and a contact with the related Authorities always should be made in order to clear your view on the specific case or issue.
Normally a foreigner, who is not an EU resident, can enter into the Republic of Bulgaria, if they hold, together with their passport, a valid travel or similar document, as well as visa, if such is required – depending on the reasons for the visitation and the long-term presence. Visas are issued by the various diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Bulgaria abroad. The applications for the issuance of visa should be submitted by the applicant personally or via their authorized representative within specific periods of time, which have been precisely stipulated in the related local legislation which governs these procedures. It is important to know that applications can not be submitted if the passport has expired or should expire in 3 months, or if the application is submitted more than three months before the planned travel towards Bulgaria.

There are several different types of Bulgarian visas/residence permits that can be issued by the official Bulgarian authorities towards non EU-residents.

VISA TYPE “A” /visa for airport transit/

The visa for airport transit is to be issued to foreign citizens, who hold, together with their passport, a valid travel document or similar document, issued by several countries, which names have been precisely detailed in Attachment N1 to Ordinance for the order and requirements for the issuance of visas. These countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
The above detailed legal requirement provides that citizens of these countries are legally allowed to pass transit through Bulgarian airports, flying to other destinations only if they hold visa type “A”. This type of visa is issued for different periods of time, depending on the personal intention of the applicant.
The local Bulgarian legislation sets up a concrete pack of documents that should be submitted by the applicant, when applying for the above detailed visa “A”. For more precise guidance it is advisable to contact a Bulgarian lawyer who can consult you if this type of visa may suit your needs.

VISA TYPE “C” /visa for short-term residence in Bulgaria/

The visa type “C” is normally issued by the Bulgarian authorities towards a foreign citizen who intends to reside in Bulgaria for several days before going to other countries, or when a foreign citizen has planned to visit/reside in Bulgaria for several days, having enough funds for such a stay.
The first type visa “C” gives the foreigner the right to enter legally Bulgaria once, twice or in rare cases several times, but for not more than 2 /two/ days. This type of visa is normally valid for a period of expire of one year and the total stay of the foreign citizen in Bulgaria cannot exceed more than 90 days for each 6 months period, calculated from the date of the first entrance in the country. It is important to note here that such visa is issued only in cases where the foreign citizen arrives from one country and is departing to third, different country /this means that the visa can’t be used to return to the same country, which they are coming from/.
The local Bulgarian legislation specifies a pack of several different documents that should be collected and submitted by the applicant, when applying for this kind of visa.

The second type of visa “C” entitles the applicant to enter in Bulgaria for planned trip once, twice or multiple times, but for not more than 90 days in a 6 months period, calculated from the date of the first entry, if they declare that they have enough funds for such a stay. The visa for short-term residence, allowing multiple entries, can be issued with an expiration period of 12 months, and in rate individual cases - for a period up to 5 years. There are specific provisions, stipulated in the local legislation, which describe the conditions for applying for such kind of visa, where one of these legal options should be chosen by the applicant.

When applying for this second type of visa “C” the foreign individual should present a big set of documents before the official Bulgarian authorities. One of these documents for example, is an invitation with embedded declaration, from local person-Bulgarian resident, from a local company or by a foreign company which has been registered in the Bulgarian Palace of Trade. When signing and sending such an invitation with embedded declaration, a local person who resides permanently in Bulgaria, declares that he/she is in position to secure a place where the foreigner can live during his stay, as well the local person states he will be co-liable for any damages caused by the foreigner to third parties during the term of residing in Bulgaria. Without the invitation with embedded declaration, the issuance of the visa is not possible.
For more precise guidance it is advisable to contact a Bulgarian lawyer who can consult you if this type of visa may suit your needs.

VISA TYPE “D”/ visa for long-term residence/

According to the local law visa type “D” is issued to foreigners, who want to reside for longer periods of time in Bulgaria, due to business reasons or just for holiday or retirement. The visa is issued for 6 months and entitles the foreign individual to reside in Bulgaria for a period of 180 days. Visa type “D” can be issued with an expiration period of one year only to foreign citizens who match several conditions, pointed in the local Bulgarian legislation, for example:
- perform business activities per the local Act for support of the investments;
- have legal reasons allowing a permanent residentship to be granted to them;
- have enough funds and intend to retire in Bulgaria.
- are married to a foreigner who resides permanently in Bulgaria.
- (after permission) working on a labor contract in Bulgarian or self-employed;
- performing business activity where being officially an employer of minimum 10 local individuals on a labor contracts,
and couple other options.
Depending of the concrete legal reason, on the base of which the foreign citizen applies for the issuance of this type of visa before the Bulgarian Consulate or Embassy, the set of needed documents is different. Necessary requirement for applying for this type of visa is a place to stay, enough funds, self-secure and medicare as provised by the local legislation. All the needed documents are precisely detailed in the local statutes, this is why if you intend to perform business or to retire in Bulgaria, then it is advisable in advance to consult yourself with a Bulgarian lawyer, who will advise you in details about the concrete case and the legal possibilities to obtain the most appropriate visa/residence permit in your case.

Certificate for permanent residentship (allowing you to work in Bulgaria on a labor contract too):

This permit does not have a specific period of expire and could be obtained by foreigners who live permanently within the country for the last 5 years, or have invested in the country 1 /one/ million leva, which is nearly equal to 500 000 Euros.
It is important to know that if you enter the country on one legal reason, there can not be increase of your permission to stay due to another, new legal reason.
It is important to point here also several conditions which, due to the local legislation, if apply, a visa/residential permit can not be issued, resp. the issued permit can be terminated:
- if the applicant does not have enough funds and personal insurance for the term of residing in Bulgaria.
- if the applicant does not present all the required documents, proving the reasons for entering in Bulgaria.
- if the applicant has not resided in Bulgaria at least 6 months through the last year.
- if the applicant has applied with fake documents or has declared untrue facts.
- if the applicant has performed a crime in Bulgaria
- if the applicant has tried to enter within the country using fake documents.
- due to personal medical conditions (heavy sickness, etc.)


The above represents only a brief explanation on procedures and needed documents for the issuance of visas/permissions for entry in Bulgaria of foreign citizens, who are not EU-residents. It is advisable to contact a lawyer, who will advise you about your concrete case and will guide you through the whole process. In all cases such guidance will save you time and money.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Bulgariandeals Team

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