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Last updated: [01/15/21]
- Bulgaria has 210,951 reported cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
- Bulgaria has 8,396 reported fatalities from COVID-19 within its borders.
- Bulgaria is following WHO and ECDC guidance on threat mitigation.
- Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open. Supplies including food and medicine remain plentiful.
- Masks: All persons must cover their mouth and nose with a covering in all indoor public spaces (including hospitals, pharmacies, administrative institutions, shops, malls, churches, museums, and all public transportation including railway, bus and metro stations, and airports, etc.) as well as in open public spaces where there is a crowd of people and impossibility to observe a physical distance of 1.5 m.
- Group celebrations with the presence of more than 15 people indoors and outdoors (including weddings, balls, baptisms, etc.) are not allowed
Entry and Exit Requirements:
Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? No.
U.S. citizens are still prohibited from entering Bulgaria unless they meet one of the exceptions to entry restrictions found in the current Bulgarian Ministry of Health Order as posted on the Ministry of Health website. The entry restrictions went into effect on July 31, 2020 and extend to January 31, 2021. The restrictions apply to all persons, regardless of their citizenship, and all types of border crossings including by air (both commercial and private aircraft), sea, rail, and road transport.
Exceptions: Those excepted from entry restrictions include:
- (a) Bulgarian nationals (and their family members or persons who are in actual cohabitation with a Bulgarian citizen);
- nationals of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement States (including San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City), and their family members or persons who are in actual cohabitation with them;
- citizens of Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Belarus, Canada, Georgia, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates;
- 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 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, officials 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.
All persons exempted from entry restrictions are also allowed to transit the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
- Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? In most cases, yes.
- A PCR test is not required for nationals arriving in Bulgaria from EU Member States, and the Schengen countries (including Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City), as well as from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, the Republic of Belarus and Turkey. Persons arriving from these countries are not subject to a 10-day quarantine.
- Nationals of North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Israel, Kuwait and Ukraine can enter Bulgaria with a negative PCR test performed in the last 72 hours. The Bulgarian border authorities must be presented with a document written in Latin alphabet/script (i.e., PCR) including the result (Negative). The document must also contain the names of the person according to the identity document with which they travel, data about the laboratory that performed the test, and the date on which the PCR test was performed.
- 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. However, Bulgarian citizens, citizens of EU Member States 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 persons traveling for the reasons listed in points (b), (v), (d) and (i) above.
- Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes.
- Visa Extensions from the Bulgarian Migration Directorate: According to the current regulations, visitors may be eligible for a one-time extension of the 90-day visa-free stay. For more information, please visit a local Migration office or contact Migration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Is a curfew in place? No.
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No.
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? No.
- If a U.S. citizen falls into an excepted category and has a negative PCR test performed in the last 72 hours they will not be required to quarantine. For those who fall into an excepted category and do not have a negative PCR test performed in the last 72 hours, if admitted into the country they will be required to self-isolate/quarantine at home for 10 days.
- PCR testing is widely available at sites across the country, including hospitals and private laboratories. The fee is generally approximately $100. For more information email ACS_Sofia@state.gov.
- Are commercial flights operating? Yes.
- Sofia Airport remains open with reduced flights. Departure information is available at https://www.sofia-airport.bg/en/passengers/flight-information/departures.
- Is public transportation operating? Yes.
- All persons must cover their mouth and nose with a mask or covering on all public transportation including while in railway, bus and metro stations, and airports etc.
Fines for Non-Compliance:
- Those not in compliance with rules regarding social distancing, mask mandates, and quarantine directives may be fined or arrested.
- The Consular section continues to provide emergency services supporting U.S. citizens in Bulgaria including passports, voting assistance and emergency Special Consular Services. For additional information or to schedule a service please email ACS_Sofia@state.gov.
- As of November 19, 2020 the United States Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria is processing only applications for C1/D visas, limited H visas ( involved in the food industry), emergency or mission critical B1/B2 visas and certain immigrant visas including IR1, IR2, CR1, CR2 and IH3. Processing of B1/B2 and C1/D visa renewals which meet the requirements for an interview waiver will continue. Please see https://bg.usembassy.gov/visas/ for more information.
- The Bulgarian Ministry of Health has information for citizens and medical professionals on its website. (Bulgarian only)
- The Bulgarian government has created a COVID-19 United Information Portal. (Bulgarian only)
- Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Situation Center website. (Bulgarian only)
- Other links:
Advice to U.S. Citizens:
- U.S. citizens planning to depart Bulgaria should contact their airlines and consider contingency plans in case travel options become more limited in the future.
- International commercial flight options currently exist in Bulgaria.
- If you are a U.S. citizen in Bulgaria and need to renew a U.S. passport, please email ACS_Sofia@state.gov.
Advice to Non – U.S. Citizens:
- Currently, Presidential proclamations set entry restrictions for foreign nationals travelling to the United States. Please see https://bg.usembassy.gov/visas/visas-important-notifications/ to learn more.