The Bulgarian passport is a type of document issued to Bulgarian nationals for international travel. Passports can also serve as evidence of their Bulgarian citizenship. The Bulgarian Ministry of Interior Affairs is responsible for the renewal and issuance of Bulgarian passports.
Immigration to Bulgaria has come in waves all throughout history. This was further enhanced upon its accession to the European Union last January 1, 2007.
Foreign nationals who wish to travel inside Schengen countries and Cortia as well as European Union member states are not required to carry passports. Instead, they can use their national identification cards or Ids.
There are different types of Bulgarian passports. These include regular, service, and diplomatic passports.
Regular passport – The Bulgarian regular passport is available to all citizens of Bulgaria.
Service passport – Issuance of this type of passport is solely for employees upon request by the respective directorate or government agency.
Diplomatic passport – This passport is for high-ranking state officials, diplomats and their immediate families.
Bulgarian immigration issue a visa-free travel for residents of states under the European Union. Bulgaria also extends its visa-free policy for a maximum of thirty (30) days to EEA (European Economic Area) countries and to a range of other countries such as United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, Japan, Korea, Romania, and Australia.
A visa is issued only to valid passport holders and the visa is valid for three months until after the intended stay. The purpose of travel and their residence while in Bulgaria needs to be submitted on paper at application.
Visa application processing can usually take up to 10 working days, since each application needs to receive clearance by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry in Sofia.
Foreigners entering Bulgarian territory on a motor vehicle have to present a document of ownership for that vehicle, if such ownership is not explicitly shown in the vehicle’s registration documents.
Bulgarian Visa Types
Bulgarian Business Visa
Bulgarian business visas are granted with single or double entry permits. These are valid for 3 to 6 months. They are temporary visas, and holders are not allowed to undertake a position of employment throughout their stay in Bulgaria. This visa is ideal for foreigners who need to visit Bulgaria for business matters such as conferences or meetings. The requirements for obtaining this type of visa include:
• a passport with at least a 6-month validity;
• 1 passport-type photograph;
• a letter from the company in the applicant’s country stating the duration and purpose of the individual’s trip; and
• a letter of invitation from a company in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian Multiple Entry Visa
Bulgarian multiple entry visas are usually issued to individuals with business contacts within the country of Bulgaria. This multiple entry visa is valid for 3 months. The Bulgarian Embassy allows extensions provided that the foreign national gives the passport before the visa’s date of expiration. To obtain this Bulgarian multi entry visa, applicants must submit all requirements.
Bulgarian Tourist Visa
Bulgarian tourist visas are usually granted for a maximum validity of 3 months beyond the date of issuance. This allows the holder to visit Bulgaria for a maximum stay of 30 days. The requirements for non-US citizens who wish to acquire a Bulgarian tourist visa include:
• a passport with at least 6 months validity;
• fully completed and signed application form;
• a copy of a declaration form;
• 1 passport-type photograph;
• Copy of the Green Card or a valid visa bank of the applicant’s own country;
• Invitation from a Bulgarian host;
• Onward or return ticket; and
• Proof of medical insurance
Upon arriving in Bulgarian premises, the applicant must have medical or travel insurance covering emergency medical expenses, repatriation, transportation, mortal remains, hospitalization, and funeral services.
Dependent Immigration and Spouse Immigration
Bulgarian tourist and business visas are short-term visa solutions for those who do not want to stay for long periods in Bulgaria. Bulgarian tourist and business visas are only valid for a limited amount of days. The visa holder is obliged to return to their homeland before the visa’s expiration date.
Bulgarian visas do not make provisions for those unmarried partners, spouses, dependent children or civil partners in case they want to accompany the main applicant. All candidates should obtain a Bulgarian visa in their own rights.
All applicants for a Bulgarian visa will need supporting documents such as a valid passport from the country of origin and evidence of residency. Applicants must also present their host’s certificate of residency in Bulgaria. They must also provide return tickets or travel documents relevant to their next destination.
The candidate must provide a letter from a relevant corporation or company in Bulgaria and the organization in the candidate’s home country to be eligible for a business visa. The letters must give details of the proposed length and purpose of the trip. The letter must confirm the individual or entity shouldering the financial responsibility for the candidate throughout their stay in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce should authorize the letter in order to make it legitimate and official.
Bulgarian Immigration Permit
All foreigners staying in the territory of Bulgaria for more than 30 to 90 days require a residence permit. This depends on their nationality and the purpose of their stay. The residence permits are valid for 12 months and can be renewed at the end of its validity. The holder’s dependants are also granted a permit. There are different types of residence permits issued according to the applicant’s employment status such as employee, pensioner, and freelance professional.
When foreigners marry Bulgarian citizens or foreigners permanently residing in Bulgaria, they must abide by the Bulgarian rules and submit the needed requirements.
Foreign nationals must bring the following when applying for permanent residence permits:
• original copy of marriage certificate;
• documents containing evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their entire stay in Bulgaria; and
• a document containing information about approved permanent residence of the spouse issued to a foreigner by the state administrative control bodies.
Foreign pensioners need to produce documents detailing their retirement income and a bank account in Bulgaria with a Bulgarian address.
Applicants must obtain a short or long stay visa in their home country to apply for a residence permit. These individuals must also travel to the territory of Bulgaria. They should apply for the appropriate residence permit upon entering Bulgaria.
Foreigners working in Bulgaria for 3 months or less will not require a work permit, but they have to register with the employment agency. Foreign nationals working in Bulgaria for more than 3 months will need a work permit to be legally employed. A number of legal terms and conditions must be satisfied before the issuance of a Bulgarian work permit. These foreign nationals need to submit an application form both to the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and an accredited employment agency.
A mandatory requirement for initially obtaining a work permit is granted by a long stay visa. Foreign nationals on short stay visas may not seek employment or apply for a work permit in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s Migration Policy
The democratic changes in Bulgaria and the processes of globalization changed the country’s migration conditions. The regulation of migration is among the major priorities of the Bulgarian Government. The aim of this policy is to improve the security of Bulgarian citizens and to prevent trafficking and illegal migration. This new Bulgarian migration policy aims to control illegal immigrants from entering Bulgaria while respecting the fundamental human rights and freedom as guaranteed by international treaties and European Union Standards.
Bulgarian Citizenship Act
This act specifies the procedures and conditions for the acquisition, loss, and reinstatement of Bulgarian citizenship. A Bulgarian citizenship is ruled by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Any citizen from other states will only be considered a Bulgarian citizen in accordance to Bulgarian legislation. Adoption will not change the citizenship of an individual.
Bulgarian Foreigners Act
The changes to Bulgaria’s Foreigners Act were approved by the Cabinet of Bulgaria on May 2005. Now, Bulgaria’s Foreigners Act encompasses not only foreigners but also family members of Bulgarian nationals not considered as European Economic Area or EU citizens. Now, foreigners entering Bulgaria need to declare a minimum amount of fifty euros every day for personal finances. This excludes cases of specific agreements on cultural, educational or scientific exchanges. Before, the sum was fifty lev (almost half of the new requirements).
Bulgarian Immigration Program
The new immigration program was lately put in place by the Bulgarian department of immigration to facilitate and speed up the system for foreign nationals applying as business immigrants. The program allows high net worth individuals and members of families from obtaining their Bulgarian permanent residence status with all the advantages of a European Union permanent residence. Applicants must invest the sum of 500000 US dollars before they can get a permanent residence in Bulgaria. This will be returned to them without interest by the end of a 5-year period. The Bulgarian business immigrant should prove that they have a minimum amount of money obtained legally and not under criminal investigation.
As for fees for visa applications, the kind of visa applied for. Payments should be paid in cash or by postal order to the Bulgarian Embassy. Cheques are not honored. Aside from the actual visa fee, a processing fee of 14 euros is required.