Getting Married in Bulgaria
If you are a U.S. citizen and wish to marry a Bulgarian citizen in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian authorities require that you make a statement before a U.S. consular officer, swearing that you are legally eligible to marry. The fee for notarization of this statement is $50. This service is conducted at the Consular Section Monday through Friday. Please contact the Immigrant visa unit at e-mail: email@example.com or call tel.: (359 2) 937-5100 – from 9:00 a.m. to noon to set up an appointment. The statement must include the full name of the American citizen (please bring your U.S. passport) and the full name, date of birth and current address of the Bulgarian citizen spouse. This statement is not required if the American citizen holds dual citizenship and is also a Bulgarian citizen.
The sworn statement must then be taken to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be authenticated, before you may get married. See the Family-Based Petitions section for details.
Marriage of U. S. Citizens Abroad
U.S. diplomatic and consular officers are not permitted to perform marriages. Marriages abroad are almost always performed by local civil officials. Marriages in Bulgaria are performed by officials at a civil wedding hall.
As a rule, marriages are not performed on the premises of an American embassy or consulate. The validity of marriages abroad does not depend upon the presence of an American diplomatic or consular officer, but upon adherence to the laws of the country where the marriage is performed. Marriage ceremonies in Bulgaria are performed at civil wedding halls.
In general, marriages that are legally performed and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. Inquiries regarding the validity of a marriage abroad should be directed to the Attorney General of the state in the United States where you reside or intend to reside. Upon obtaining the apostille seal on a marriage certificate, which has been issued by Bulgarian authorities at a civil wedding hall, a Bulgarian marriage certificate (with certified English translation) may be presented to U.S. authorities as proof of a legally contracted marriage.
Marriages in Bulgaria are subject to the residency requirement. One of the parties to the marriage should be either a citizen of Bulgaria or domicile in the country.
Getting Married in the United States
If you are a U.S. citizen and wish to have a Bulgarian citizen come to marry you in the United States, you must file an I-129F (fiancé) petition with the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. The Consular Section cannot process I-129F petitions. Please contact USCIS to obtain the proper forms and instructions. Once USCIS has approved the petition, you and your fiancé(e) will be notified and the petition will be sent directly to the Consular Section in Sofia. Once the petition has been received in Sofia, you may schedule an interview appointment for the Bulgarian fiancé(e) by telephoning the Immigrant Visa Unit at +359-2-937-5100, weekday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Please note that these interviews are scheduled for Monday through Thursday mornings.