Visas

Important: Negative COVID-19 test required to enter the United States

Effective January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test (a viral detection test for SARS-CoV- 2 approved or authorized by the relevant national authority), taken within 72 hours of the departure of their flight to the U.S.  Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding.  ​Airlines must deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery.  This requirement is separate from the visa application process.  All Presidential Proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19 remain in place, and continue to apply to subject potential travelers regardless of their test results or vaccination status.  Travelers holding a National Interest Exception also remain subject to all applicable pre-departure testing requirements.  For more information on waivers to the testing requirement please click here.

Diversity Visa 2020 Applicants: Those holding diversity visas issued in 2020 that are still valid may seek entry to the United States immediately, despite the visa annotation, “Entry Subject to PP 10014.” Individuals whose DV-2020 visas have expired may not be issued replacement visas; however, individuals who received diversity visas in 2020 as a result of orders in the court case Gomez v. Trump may travel to the United States on an expired visa as the court ordered the government to treat these visas as though they were issued on the date P.P. 10014 was rescinded. The court did not specify for how long the visas would be considered valid. Additionally, it may be possible that the court order could be changed or modified in some important respect. Therefore, applicants wishing to benefit from the order are encouraged to travel as soon as practicable as the order could change.

The Secretary of State has granted a national interest exception for Diversity Visa (DV) applicants for the 2020 fiscal year (DV-2020) who hold a valid immigrant visa and are subject to the geographic COVID-19 Presidential Proclamations. In addition, diversity visa applicants for DV-2020 who were not issued visas before September 30, 2020 for any reason including P.P. 10014 will not be interviewed, scheduled, or reconsidered for visas, as those applicants were only eligible for issuance of a visa through the end of the 2020 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2020.

The United States Embassy in Bulgaria remains unable to resume routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services at this time. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date.

Currently, the United States Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, is processing only applications for C1/D visas, limited H visas (involved in critical supply chain for the food industry), emergency or mission critical B1/B2 visas, K1 fiancé visas and other immigrant visas currently backlogged. Please note that immediate family visas (IR1, IR2, CR1, CR2, IR5, and IH3 visas) have priority over all other immigrant visa categories. As a result, expect significant delays for Family Preference (FP) cases, Employment Preference (EP), and Diversity Visa (DV) cases until further notice. Processing of B1/B2 and C1/D visa renewals ​which meet the requirements for an interview waiver will continue.

The MRV fee is valid and may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased until September 30, 2022. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/bg/bg-niv-expeditedappointment.asp  or e-mail us at: niv_sofia@state.gov to request an emergency appointment.

The Presidential Proclamations suspending the entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within 14 days in certain countries prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States (Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, and 10041), remain in effect. Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021. For details about these Presidential Proclamations click here.

Interview waiver applications: If you already have a full-validity B1/B2 or C1/D visa which is still valid or which expired less than 48 months ago, you may be eligible to renew your visa without an interview appointment.  For interview waiver information, please visit: http://ustraveldocs.com/bg/bg-niv-visarenew.asp.

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

See our Directory of Visa Categories on travel.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.

Nonimmigrant Visas

Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.

Immigrant Visas

For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the U.S.

visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A visa entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission; it does not guarantee entry. An immigration official at the port of entry determines the visa holder’s eligibility for admission into the United States.

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

Who Needs a Visa?
Anyone who is not eligible to enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), or is not a citizen of Canada or Bermuda.

Please note:  If you were born in the United States or hold dual citizenship with the United States, you must enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sofia is open Monday through Friday, except for American and Bulgarian official holidays.

IMMIGRANT VISA UNIT (permanent residence in the United States)

This unit provides assistance for immigration on the basis of family relationship, adoptions, fianceé petitions, employment-based petitions and the Diversity Visa Lottery. Оnly by appointments.

Telephone: +359 (2) 937 5100 (from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00) for returning residents, permanent residents whose permanent resident card was lost or stolen, or for urgent cases.

E-mail: iv_sofia@state.gov

Postal Address from the U.S.:
Consular Section, Attn: Immigrant Visa Unit
Department of State
5740 Sofia Place
Washington, DC 20521-5740

Postal Address from outside the U.S.:
U.S. Embassy, Consular Section
Attn: Immigrant Visa Unit
Ul. Kozyak 16
Sofia 1408, Bulgaria

NONIMMIGRANT VISA UNIT (for temporary stays in the United States)

Оnly by appointments.

Call Center service is available:
Monday – Friday:
9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. for callers from Bulgaria and
7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for callers from the U.S.

The call center is closed on Saturdays, Sundays, December 25, and January 1

Telephone number from Bulgaria: 02 4916 461
From the U.S.: 1-703-988-7106
Skype: ustraveldocs-Bulgaria

Call center agents provide information in English and Bulgarian.

Interview Appointment Information:
Fax: +359 (2) 937-5209
E-mail: nivappt_sofia@state.gov

Inquiries about Nonimmigrant Visas may be made only in writing and addressed to the attention of Chief of Consular section:
Fax +359 (2) 937-5209
E-mail:niv_sofia@state.gov

Postal Address from the U.S.:
Consular Section, Attn: Nonimmigrant Visa Unit
Department of State
5740 Sofia Place
Washington, DC 20521-5740

Postal Address from outside the U.S.:
U.S. Embassy, Consular Section
Attn: Nonimmigrant Visa Unit
Ul. Kozyak 16
Sofia 1408, Bulgaria

FRAUD PREVENTION UNIT

Telephone: +359 (2) 937-5147
Fax: +359 (2) 937-5209
E-mail: SofiaFPU@state.gov

Postal Address from the U.S.:
Consular Section
Attn: Fraud Prevention Unit
5740 Sofia Pl.- Dept of State
Washington, DC 20521-5740

Postal Address from outside the U.S.:
U.S. Embassy, Consular Section
Attn: Fraud Prevention Unit
Ul. Kozyak 16
Sofia 1408, Bulgaria

The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.

We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:

  • We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
  • We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
  • We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
  • We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
  • We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
  • We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
  • We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
  • We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.

Furthermore, if you are a:

  • Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
  • Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
  • Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.

At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:

  • Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
  • Complete your application fully and accurately.
  • Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
  • Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.