Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria (January 28, 2021)

Location:  Bulgaria
Event: Health Alert: Ministry of Health Order Update and Extension

The January 26, 2021 Ministry of Health announcement revises and extends entry restrictions and quarantine requirements through April 30, 2021, and introduces a negative PCR test requirement for persons entering Bulgaria.

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 January 29, to April 30, 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 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, the United Kingdom (UK) and Northern Ireland, 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 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 and participants in examination commissions in cases where 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: Starting January 29, 2021, travelers must present a negative result from a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test done within 72 hours before entering Bulgaria. The PCR test document must include the full name of the traveler as per the identification document that person is travelling with; the name, address, and contact of the laboratory that executed the PCR test; and, the date and form of testing (PCR).

The following travelers are allowed exemptions from the PCR test requirement: (1) international bus and truck drivers; (2) aircraft and vessel crews; (3) frontier workers; and, (4) persons transiting the country.

Bulgarian citizens and persons with the status of permanent or long-term or residence status in Bulgaria and the members of their families, who do not present a document for a negative PCR test, will be placed under 10-day quarantine.

  • 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

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