Navigating the Bulgarian Visa Application Process

A step by step guide to navigating the Bulgarian visa application process. Review this guide to gain a better understanding of how the process works and how to complete it successfully. Welcome to Bulgaria can help you every step of the way. Contact us if you have any questions, or to apply today!

The Bulgarian Visa Application Process – Step by Step!

Step 1: Choose a Visa Type

There are three kinds of visas available for people who wish to visit Bulgaria. The type A visa is for transit only. The type C visa is for short term stays up to 90 days. The type D Visa is for foreigners who intend to establish residence in Bulgaria.

If you are planning to stay in Bulgaria for more than 90 days, you must choose the D Visa and follow the appropriate process for completing the Bulgarian visa application process.

Step 2: Choose a Basis for Your Application

Candidates for a Bulgarian type D visa may choose one out of many different options as the basis for their application. Some of the more popular bases are as a student, retiree, NGO volunteer, religious worker or trade representative. Take a look at the complete list of options taken from Article 24, Paragraph 1 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.

Step 3: Collect Your Supporting Documentation

All of the supporting documentation must be collected before filing your visa application with the Bulgarian consulate. Some of the items are easy to produce; others can take up to several weeks to prepare. We have prepared a  Bulgarian visa application resource page with tips and links to make the process as easy as possible. Please start early and make sure you keep all of the documents in a safe place until you have them collected and are ready to submit the completed application.

Step 4: Complete the Bulgarian Visa Application Form

Once you have all of the supporting documentation for your visa application, download the application form and fill it out. If you are a client of Welcome to Bulgaria, we will do this for you.

Step 5: Schedule Your Interview

Bulgarian regulations require you to file for your visa at the Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate nearest to your home address. Call a few days in advance to make an appointment for your interview. This is an important step, because most consular offices have limited hours for receiving visa applications. Normally all parties to the application, including children, are required to appear.

Check out our guide to Bulgarian diplomatic posts abroad for directions to the embassy or consulate nearest you.

Step 6: Wait for a Decision

Once you have submitted your application and supporting documentation to the embassy or consulate nearest you, they will forward your application to Bulgaria for processing and approval. The approval process for type D visas can last up to 40 working days (8 calendar weeks), so please leave plenty of time for processing before your expected date of departure.

Step 7: Pick Up Your Visa

When the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued its decision, the embassy or consulate will contact you to arrange for delivery of the visa. At that point you will need to present all of the relevant passports at the consular office to have the visas affixed. Once you have the visa in your passport you may travel to Bulgaria.

Step 8: Arrival and Visa Activation

The validity timeframe for your D visa begins when it is issued by the country, and you have 90 days to activate it by entering the Bulgaria.

Upon entry at a border station for the Republic of Bulgaria, your visa will be activated and you can then apply for a residence permit. Your D visa will be valid until the date of expiration printed on the visa. Please be mindful of the timeframe required to collect all of the supporting documentation for your residence permit application so that you complete the process before the expiration of your D visa.

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