Visiting and Staying in Bulgaria

A new migration policy was adopted after the accession of Bulgaria to the EU. Depending on whether the foreigner is a EU citizen or not, there are two legal regimes related to residence of foreigners in Bulgaria.

EU citizens

Every citizen of a member-state of the European Union, of a member state of the European Economic Area or citizen of the Swiss Confederation can visit, stay and leave Bulgaria.

Short-term visit - up to three months

If the visit is within a three-month period, no visa or a permission is required. Either a passport or a national ID card upon customs check can be requested.

Long-term visit - up to five years

If you plan your visit to last longer than three months, and no longer than five years, a long term residence permit is required. Depending on the purpose of your visit, the national authorities shall issue a specific permission of residence. The Migration Directorate shall issue you a long-term residence permit if you meet one of the following conditions:

  1. You are worker or self-employed person in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  2. You have health insurance and the necessary finance for covering the costs for residing in Bulgaira without posing burden to the social benefit system;
  3. You are enrolled in an educational institution for educational purposes, including vocational training, and you meet the requirements under item 2.

You have to submit an application to the Migration Directorate prior the date on which the three-month period mentioned above expires. Usually the Directorate issues a permit for a period which is equal to the time for which your purpose of stay lasts.

Permanent residence - no limitation period

You can receive a certificate for permanent residence if you have resided continuously for five years in the Republic of Bulgaria and you meet one of the following conditions:

  1. (i)You have worked during the last year as of the the moment of terminating the contract as an employee, (ii) or as of the the moment of termination of your activity as self-employed person, (iii) have reached the retirement age or have a ground for earlier retirement and have resided continuously in the Republic of Bulgaria for more than three years;
  2. You are an employee or self-employed persons who do not work due to permanent disability and have resided continuously in the Republic of Bulgaria for more than two years;
  3. You are an employees or self-employed person and your disability is a result of an employment accident or a professional disorder;
  4. You are an employee or self-employed person, who have continuously resided and worked in the Republic of Bulgaria for three years and work as such in another member-state, while at the same time preserving your place of residence in the Republic of Bulgaria and come back in the country at least once a week.

After the application has been approved, the Directorate issues the permanent residence certificate. Additionaly, a Bulgarian foreigner ID card is issued. You should thereafter identy yourself before Bulgarian state authorities with this ID card

If you plan staying for more than three months in Bulgaria or intend to live here, see what MHLegal can assist you on.