Event: Health Alert: Ministry of Health Order revises and extends entry restrictions and quarantine requirements through January 31, 2021.
Entry restrictions: U.S. citizens are still prohibited from entering Bulgaria unless they meet one of the exceptions to entry restrictions found in the current Ministry of Health Order. The entry restrictions apply to all persons, regardless of their citizenship, through all border crossings, by air (including commercial and private aircraft), sea, rail and road transport, and are in effect from December 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021, and are posted (in Bulgarian) on the Bulgarian Ministry of Health website.
Exceptions: Those excepted from entry restrictions include:
- (a) Bulgarian citizens (and their family members or persons who are in actual cohabitation with a Bulgarian citizen);
- citizens of the European Union, the United Kingdom (UK) and the Schengen Agreement States (including Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City), and their family members or persons who are in actual cohabitation with them;
- citizens of Albania, Australia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Georgia, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay;
- persons with permanent or long-term resident status in Bulgaria (and their family members);
- persons who hold Bulgarian visa type “D” for long-term residence; persons with resident status (and their family members) of Member States of the European Union, the UK, and the Schengen Agreement States (including San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City);
- (b) medical professionals, medical researchers, social workers, and their supervisors when traveling related to their duties;
- (v) workers involved in the supply of medicinal products, medical devices and personal protective equipment, medical equipment, including its installation and maintenance;
- (g) transport staff engaged in the international carriage of passengers and cargo, crews of commercial aircraft and other transport staff as required, including vessel crews and persons involved in the maintenance of vessels;
- (d) foreign officials, diplomats, members of the administrative and technical staff of foreign missions, employees of international organizations, military personnel, and humanitarian workers in the performance of their duties and their family members;
- (e) persons traveling for humanitarian reasons and their family;
- (zh) representatives of trade, economic, and investment activities directly related to: construction, maintenance, operation and ensuring the safety of strategic and critical infrastructure of the Republic of Bulgaria, implementation of projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act, analysis on projects of potential investors and other activities of importance for the economy of the country, certified by a letter from the Minister of Economy or another minister responsible for the respective activity, as well as persons engaged in shipbuilding and ship repair, and their family members;
- (z) seasonal agricultural and tourism workers;
- (i) frontier workers;
- (k) students traveling for activities related to the completion of the academic year of 2019/2020 or coming to study in the academic year of 2020/2021, as well as participants in examination commissions in case the exam cannot be taken online;
- (l) organizers and participants in international sports competitions—for the time of the respective sport event; foreign athletes coming to Bulgaria for a specific period of time; foreign contestants and their coaches entering the country for training camp purposes; family members of foreign athletes and coaches who hold Bulgarian visa type “D” for long-term residence, certified by a letter from the Minister of Youth and Sport, in which the names of the persons and the place (address) of their residence in Bulgaria are indicated. The letter shall be presented to the border control authorities;
- (m) foreign citizens, who are to receive a decree under the Bulgarian Citizenship Law for acquiring a Bulgarian citizenship, certified by a letter from the Minister of Justice; and,
- (n) organizers and participants in international cultural events—for the time of the relevant cultural event, certified by a letter from the Minister of Culture, in which the names of the persons and the place (address) of their residence in Bulgaria are indicated. The letter is to be submitted to the border control authorities.
All persons exempted from entry restrictions are also allowed to transit the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Transit is allowed only in the cases where it is possible to guarantee the immediate departure from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
PCR Testing/Quarantine: A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is not required for nationals arriving in Bulgaria from the EU Member States, the UK, and the Schengen countries (including Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City), as well as from Australia, Belarus, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. For the purposes of this order, the country from which the person arrives is the country of initial point of departure, regardless of the stay associated with his/her transit passing through other countries during his/her travel.
Travelers who fall into one of the above exception categories but whose travel to Bulgaria originates in any other country must present a negative result from a PCR test done up to 72 hours before entering Bulgaria and counted from the date of the conducted test, written in the document. The Bulgarian border authorities must be presented with a document showing a negative result, written in the Latin method (PCR), which contains the names of the person, according to the identity document with which he/she travels, data about the laboratory that performed the test, and the date on which the PCR test was performed.
However, Bulgarian citizens, citizens of EU Member States, the UK and the Schengen Agreement States who are traveling for humanitarian reasons as described in point (e) above or for economic activities as listed in point (zh) above are exempted from the PCR test requirement. Further exemptions, regardless of nationality, include bus and truck drivers, aircraft crew members and aircraft maintenance personnel, and persons traveling for the reasons listed in points (b), (v), (d) and (i) above.
For Bulgarian citizens, persons with Bulgarian residence permits, and their family members only: if arriving in Bulgaria without the required PCR test done in advance, they will be admitted and required to self-isolate/quarantine at home for 10 days. The quarantine may be canceled by the director of the relevant regional health inspectorate upon presentation of a document showing a negative PCR test result conducted up to 24 hours from entry into the country.
- The Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory (“Reconsider Travel”) for Bulgaria.
- Due to the very high level of COVID-19 in Bulgaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Notice for Bulgaria advising that travelers should avoid all travel to Bulgaria.
- Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.
- U.S. citizens who need assistance should contact the American Citizen Services Section at ACS_Sofia@state.gov.
Actions to take:
- Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
- Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions. If your travel has been disrupted, please contact your airline.
- Consult the CDC website on how to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Bulgaria.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.
- U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria
+359-2-937-5100 (business hours)
+359-2-937-5101 (after hours—emergencies only—arrest, death, or danger to the safety and security of U.S. citizens)
- State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Bulgaria Country Information
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