Immigrating to Bulgaria

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Business Travel

The term business visit, from an immigration perspective defines a short trip that does not require work permits and authorizations in Bulgaria. As such the business traveler is only allowed to undertake specific business activities allowed by Bulgarian legislation, during which visitor represents interest of employing company based outside of Bulgaria.

business visitor

Business visitors must generally limit their activities and may undertake the following:

  • attend business meetings or conferences
  • explore opportunities for potential customers
  • engage in fact-finding activities

In certain cases a foreign national may convert from visitor to work permit status without leaving the country. Please contact Move One to confirm whether a visit may be classified as business.

VISA EXEMPT

Nationals of the following countries may enter Bulgaria without a visa for up to 90 days (for stay over 90 days residence permit must be arranged):

  • EU/EEA & Swiss nationals

Nationals of the following countries may enter Bulgaria without a visa for up to 90 days within 180 days period:

  • Albania – biometric passports
  • Andorra
  • Antigua Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia – biometric passports
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Macao
  • Macedonia – biometric passports
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro – biometric passports
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • San Marino
  • Serbia – biometric passports
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan – passports which includes ID card number
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican
  • Venezuela

Complete list of visa exempt countries can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.

VISA REQUIRED

bulgaria business visa
Business Visa

Nationals not specified above must obtain a short-stay visa (type C) for business purpose before entering Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is a signatory of the Schengen Agreement, however full accession to to Schengen is not yet in effect, therefore Bulgaria issues national visas only which do not allow entry into the Schengen area and foreigners traveling as business travelers coming from visa free countries, or countries which require Schengen visas, must present their passports at the Bulgarian borders for inspection.

Foreigners may enter Bulgaria without a Bulgarian visa if they have a permanent residence in a Schengen member state or if they possess a valid multiple entry Schengen short-stay visa (type C).

bulgaria visa application form
Visa Application Form

A foreigner must apply for a short-stay visa (type C) at a Bulgarian embassy or consulate abroad.

STANDARD DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:

  • Passport
  • 1 Photo
  • Application form
  • Copy of round trip ticket or itinerary or proof of financial coverage for leave from Bulgaria
  • Proof of financial means amounting to a minimum of EUR 50 per day
  • Health insurance
  • Invitation letter from employer certified by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce

For specific requirements visitors should contact the consulate where application is to be lodged. List of Bulgarian consulates is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.

bulgaria address registration
Address Registration

Upon arrival to Bulgaria, all nationalities must register at local immigration office:

  • In case visitor is staying in a hotel, registration is handled by the hotel.
  • Visitors staying in private accommodations must register at local immigration office within 5 days after arrival.

Visa regime for family members is defined in the same way as for business travelers. Family members may apply for a short-stay visa together with main applicant, and their status during travel will be identified as dependent.

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Work Purpose

In order to carry out paid activities in Bulgaria a work authorization is required valid for a predetermined period of time and allowing the foreigner to hold a temporary job in the country. The process for obtaining work and residence authorization depends on factors including but not limited to nationality, company type and payroll.

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Answers to the following questions will determine what immigration process must be followed for a foreign employee:

  • Nationality?
  • Location of company (city within Bulgaria)?
  • Location of payroll (home or host)?
  • In case of home payroll, grounds for assignment (agreement or other)?
  • Job position and description?
  • Estimated start date of assignment?
  • Length of assignment?
  • Has the foreigner lived in Bulgaria / does the foreigner currently reside in Bulgaria and if so, on what status?
  • Does foreigner hold any valid residence/work permit for another countries within the EU?
  • Will family members join?
  • Respective nationalities of family members?

STANDARD PROCESS FOR NON-EU NATIONALS

The standard process outlined below is a common scenario for a visa citizen employee working as a local hire in Bulgaria based on Bulgarian payroll. For a specific case please contact Move One.

bulgaria work force demand
Work Force Demand

Work Force Demand

Based on certain factors, the labor office might run a search on the Bulgarian labor market to verify if any Bulgarian citizens could fill in the specific position at the host company. Work permit application can be submitted only if the position cannot be filled in locally.

Highest educational degrees are required in order to prove that foreigner is qualified for a specific position and has unique skills which cannot be found locally.

bulgaria work permit
Work Permit

Work Permit

A company must submit a work permit request to the local immigration office in the jurisdiction where its headquarters is located. A work permit authorizes a specific foreign national to work for a specified company.

APPEARANCE: A4 paper size

ISSUING AUTHORITY: Labor office

VALIDITY: Up to 1 year

EXTENSION: Possible

DOCUMENT LOCATION: With company

bulgaria work visa
Work Visa

Visa Application

On the basis of a work permit approval, a foreigner must visit a Bulgarian consulate abroad in order to apply for a work visa (type D).

STANDARD DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:

  • Passport
  • 2 Photos
  • Application Form
  • Criminal Record Certificate
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Work permit

For specific requirements visitors should contact the consulate where application is to be lodged. List of Bulgarian consulates is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.

bulgaria residence permit
Residence Permit

Residence Permit

A foreigner must visit a local immigration office within 5 days after arrival in order to apply for a temporary residence permit. A residence permit gives the right to reside on the territory of Bulgaria.

APPEARANCE: Plastic, credit card size

ISSUING AUTHORITY: Immigration office

VALIDITY: For the period of the work permit

EXTENSION: Possible

ORIGINAL LOCATION: With foreigner

STANDARD PROCESS FOR EU NATIONALS

For a specific case please contact Move One.

bulgaria residence permit
Residence Permit (EU)

Residence Permit

Within 90 days of arrival, a foreigner must visit a local immigration office in order to apply for a residence permit. A residence permit gives a foreigner the right to reside on the territory of Bulgaria

APPEARANCE: Plastic, credit card size

ISSUING AUTHORITY: Immigration office

VALIDITY: Up to 5 years

EXTENSION: Possible

DOCUMENT LOCATION: With foreigner

Notification to Labor Office

A host company must submit a registration form to the local labor office in order to notify them about foreigner’s start of employment.

*The time-frames are an estimate and authorities can shorten or extend it according to their requirements. Immigration procedure vary depending on many variables therefore specific information about the foreigner and / or family member will be needed to better clarify the specific procedures that will be involved.

HEALTH / SOCIAL SECURITY

  • Local hires must be registered in the national health system by their employers, who must pay a contribution on their behalf per each month of an employment. Registered foreigners may access certain benefits (free medical care, maternity leave, occupational sickness and accidents coverage) either by presenting their ID cards at the appropriate medical institutions, or presenting a social security certificate which is available on foreigner’s request.
  • European Union nationals who are covered by health insurance in one European country but are physically located in Bulgaria may receive limited treatment in Bulgaria if they posses a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

TAX

  • Local hires and in some circumstances foreigners on assignment, must be registered with the tax authority. A foreigner must obtain a personal tax number from the National Revenue Agency as part of the work permit process. Foreigner has choice to receive the number as a certificate or card format.
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Following foreigners may be exempt from the work permit requirement:

  • EU/EEA & Swiss nationals
  • Foreigners residing on the territory of Bulgaria on the basis of a long-term residence permit issued by Bulgaria or by another European Union Member State for the purpose of employment
  • Foreigners working based on international agreements facilitating mutual work permit exemptions
  • Asylum seekers
  • Foreigners on short-term assignments no longer than 90 days within one year do not need a work permit for:
    • installation or the warranty repair of imported machinery and equipment
    • training in the operating of equipment or the delivery of ordered equipment, machines or other items
    • training as part of an export contract for the supply of goods under a license agreement
    • control and coordination of the performance of a tourist services contract between a foreign tour-operator and a Bulgarian tour-operator or hotel-keeper.
family

Family members may accompany a main traveler on a long-term assignment. Requirements must be reviewed individually per each case.

VISA EXEMPT

Certain nationals do not need a visa to enter Bulgaria, however residence permit must be arranged for long-term stay.

VISA REQUIRED

Dependents must obtain a visa and a residence permit on the basis of the main traveler’s application.

  • Marriage and birth certificates are required for family member applications and must be legalized.
  • Only spouse, and children under 18 qualify for dependent visas.
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  • Processing times for applications may vary depending on individual circumstances, therefore assignments must be planned well in advance.
  • All foreign documents need to be officially translated into Bulgarian.
  • Degree certificates are required for the work permit application.
  • Employment of foreign nationals cannot exceed 10% of the overall number of employees in a company.
  • Bulgaria has minimum salary requirements. If those requirements are not met, this can cause delay or denial of a work permit and visa application. The minimum salary is announced by government periodically.
  • Passports must be valid for at least 180 days beyond the intended departure from Bulgaria.
  • Non-EU citizens are required to provide a criminal record certificate for their application, which can be time consuming to obtain.
  • Non-EU citizens must undergo a medical examination in Bulgaria and be free of infectious diseases.
money

FOREIGNER

  • Non compliance with legislation in force and staying on territory of Bulgaria without required documentation may result in a fine of up to 5000 lev (approximately 3,500 US dollars), deportation, as well as a ban from entering Bulgaria for a period of time defined by authorities.

COMPANY

  • Failure to follow the law may result in fines of 20,000 lev (approximately 14,000 US dollars). and the suspension of company’s operations.
document

Vital Documents

Vital documents are official records issued by government institutions to individuals, essential as proof of identity and status. Move One offers support for the procurement of vital documents in Bulgaria, as well as their legalization for use outside the country.

bulgaria birth certificate
Birth Certificate

A birth certificate documents the birth of an individual, naming a child’s biological parents, indicating the date of birth and the place where the child was born. Birth certificates may be required as supporting documents during immigration procedures.

BIRTH CERTIFICATES IN BULGARIA

  • A Bulgarian birth certificate is issued in the local registry office, where a child’s birth was registered. A birth certificates is issued in the Bulgarian language and includes details of the individual as well as the individual’s parents.
  • It is possible to obtain a duplicate of an original birth certificate. Issuing time and required application documents may vary depending on the registry office processing the request.
  • Not all formats of Bulgarian birth certificates may be legalized for international use, therefore holders should check for the specific requirements in advance of arranging certificate legalization.
bulgaria marriage certificate
Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate serves as proof of an act of marriage between two individuals. Marriage certificates may be required as supporting documents during immigration procedures.

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES IN BULGARIA

  • A Bulgarian marriage certificate is issued in the regional governmental office where the marriage was registered. A marriage certificates is issued in the Bulgarian language and includes details of the husband, wife as well as the witnesses.
  • It is possible to obtain a duplicate of an original marriage certificate. Issuing time and required application documents may vary depending on the regional office processing the request.
  • Not all formats of Bulgarian marriage certificates may be legalized for international use, therefore holders should check for the specific requirements in advance of arranging certificate legalization.
bulgaria apostille
Apostille Stamp

Public documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, criminal record certificates and notarial attestations of signatures, frequently need to be used abroad. However, before a public document can be used in a country other than the one that issued it, its origin must often be authenticated.

CONSULAR LEGALIZATION

The traditional method for authenticating public documents to be used abroad is called legalization and consists of a chain of individual authentications of the document. This process involves officials of the country where the document was issued as well as the foreign consulate of the country where the document is to be used.

APOSTILLE

A large number of countries have joined a treaty that simplifies the authentication of public documents to be used abroad. This treaty is called the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. It is commonly known as the Apostille Convention. Where it applies, the treaty reduces the authentication process to a single formality: the issuance of an authentication certificate by an authority designated by the country where the public document was issued. This certificate is called an apostille.

Apostille requirements:

  • the country where the document was issued must be party to the Apostille Convention
  • the country in which the document is to be used must be party to the Apostille Convention
  • the law of the country where the document was issued must consider the document to be a public document
  • the country in which the document is to be used must require an apostille in order to recognize it as a foreign public document

Bulgaria is a signatory to the Hague Convention, therefore documents issued in Bulgaria may be authenticated with an apostille for use in a country which is also a signatory member of the convention.

*International travelers should note that immigration procedures vary depending on many factors and specific information about the transferee and / or family members. Please get in touch with Move One to discuss your specific case by sending an email to immigration@moveoneinc.com.