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Chestita Baba Marta!

pizho and penda chestita baba marta

Today the streets of Bulgaria are strewn with red and white. Makeshift tables and pegboard displays are piled high with martenitsi of all shapes and sizes. Simple red and white yarn figures, wrist bands of red and white rope with solitary bead ornaments, elaborate wreaths and folk symbols with red and white woven into their designs — all part of Baba Marta, the holiday appointed to herald the coming of spring.

[What is a martenitsa? Learn more here]

There are many reasons to rejoice on Baba Marta. Let’s briefly review my favorite three:

Celebrate Friendship

Selecting a few choice martenitsi and handing them out to friends is a simple way of telling others you care about them.

Over the years I’ve received – and enjoyed – some rather elaborate productions, but the martenitsi I’ve cherished most are a handful of simple, homemade miniatures that I know where chosen just for me. They come from the most unexpected people, and for that carry even more special meaning.

Share Wishes for Good Health

Baba Marta opens the door to greet everyone we meet — friends, colleagues, neighbors, even strangers — with genuine wishes for good health in the coming year. It turns our focus to the good around us. It encourages one to overlook small irritations. It joins us together in human fellowship.

Set a Watch for Springtime

It isn’t every year that we enter March proclaiming, “Spring is in the air!” Sometimes it still feels like the depths of winter. Yet somehow, each year the wind and gales of fickle March give way in fits and starts until and a morning comes when we realize the time has come, and spring is here.

Spring conjures thoughts of song birds singing, gardens and grass under foot, warmth and sunshine overhead. It’s worth looking out for. Wearing a martenitsa helps keep us focused on the bright things just ahead, even as we slog through the last weeks of winter.

Chestita Baba Marta!

Chestita Baba Marta! Let these joyous words burst forth and carry us into warmer days. Happy Spring.

Learn more about Baba Marta on Bulstack

chestita baba marta

Bulgarian Calendar Highlights 2017

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Important dates are easy to forget while living in a foreign country. So, to help you avoid embarrassment this year, we have compiled a short list of Bulgarian calendar highlights for 2017.

Bulgarian Public Holidays

Bulgaria celebrates 11 public holidays each year. Orthodox Easter and Christmas are multiple day affairs. All the rest are single day commemorations.

In late 2016, the Bulgarian parliament adopted new rules for handling holidays falling on weekends. Any holiday falling on a Saturday or Sunday will be followed by a “day off” or “days off” to compensate for the weekend disruption and loss of an expected day off from work. As a result of this you should have a few extra opportunities to plan long weekend breaks during the year.

Here is the complete list of Bulgarian Public Holidays in 2017:

  • Sunday 1 January – New Years Day
  • Monday 2 January – Day off in place of New Years Day
  • Friday 3 March – Liberation Day
  • Friday 14 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 15 April – Holy Saturday
  • Sunday 16 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 17 April Easter Monday
  • Friday 1 May – Labor Day
  • Saturday 6 May – Bulgarian Armed Forces Day
  • Monday 8 May – Day off in place of Bulgarian Armed Forces Day
  • Wednesday 24 May – Day of Slavic Literacy and Culture
  • Wednesday 6 September – Bulgarian Unification Day
  • Friday 22 September – Bulgarian Independence Day
  • Wednesday 1 November – Day of the Bulgarian Revivalists
  • Sunday 24 December – Christmas Eve (Бъдни Вечер)
  • Monday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Wednesday 27 December – Day off in place of Christmas Eve

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Holidays 2017

There are church celebrations and commemorations almost every day of the year, but for a list of Bulgarian calendar highlights we are limited to only the best known and most important events:

  • Friday 6 January – Epiphany (BG: Богоявление)
  • Saturday 7 January – Feast of St. John the Baptist (BG: Ивановден)
  • Thursday 2 February – Presentation of Jesus (BG: Сретение Господне)
  • Saturday 25 March – Feast of the Annunciation – (BG: Благовещение)
  • Saturday 8 April – Feast of St. Lazarus – (BG: Лазаровден)
  • Sunday 9 April –  Palm Sunday (BG: Цветница)
  • Friday 14 April – Good Friday (BG: Разпети петък)
  • Saturday 15 April – Holy Saturday
  • Sunday 16 April – Easter Sunday (BG: Великден)
  • Monday 17 April – Easter Monday
  • Tuesday 18 April – Second Day After Easter
  • Saturday 6 May – Feast of St. George – Gergyovden (BG: Гергьовден)
  • Thursday 11 May – Feast of Ss. Cyril and Methodius
  • Thursday 25 May – Ascension Day – Spasovden (BG: Възнесение Господне – Спасовден)
  • Sunday 4 June – Pentecost (BG: Петдесетница)
  • Monday 5 June – Whit Monday (BG: Свети Дух)
  • Thursday 29 June – Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul (BG: Петровден)
  • Thursday 20 July – Fest of St. Elijah (BG: Илинден)
  • Sunday 6 August – Transfiguration of Our Lord (BG:Преображение Господне)
  • Tuesday 15 August – Assumption of the Virgin Mary (BG: Успение на Пресвета Богородица)
  • Friday 8 September – Birth of the Virgin Mary (BG: Рождество на Пресвета Богородица)
  • Thursday 14 September – Holy Cross Day (BG: Кръстовден)
  • Saturday 14 October – Feast of St. Petka of Tarnovo (BG: Петковден)
  • Thursday 19 October –  Feast of John of Rila (BG: Преп. Йоан Рилски Чудотворец)
  • Thursday 26 October – Feast of St. Dimitar (BG: Димитровден)
  • Wednesday 8 November – Feast of the Archangel Michael (BG: Архангеловден)
  • Tuesday 21 November – Presentation of the Virgin Mary (BG: Въведение Богородично)
  • Wednesday 6 December – Feast of St. Nicholas – Nikulden (BG: Никулден)
  • Monday 25 December – Christmas Day (BG: Рождество Христово)
  • Tuesday 26 December – Feast of the Holy Virgin (BG: Събор на Пресвета Богородица)
  • Wednesday 27 December -Feast of St. Stephen (BG: Стефановден)

In addition to those listed here, it is worth investigating the feast day celebrated in your neighborhood church, as well as feast days celebrated in towns where you do business or have other regular contacts. We find that even non-religious Bulgarians are pleased when foreigners remember their local traditions.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Fast Dates 2017

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church observes two major fasts during its liturgical year. A fast is a period of time set aside for self denial and meditation, partially reflected in temporary dietary restrictions.

The Great Fast, or Great Lent, takes place during the seven weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. In 2017 Clean Monday, the official beginning of the Great Lent, is Monday 27 February.

The Nativity Fast takes place during the 40 days leading up to Christmas Day. It begins on 15 November each year. In 2017, that date falls on a Wednesday.

Foreigners often encounter fasting through restaurant menus. Many Bulgarian restaurants offer fast friendly food (BG: постна храна) on a special  fasting menu (BG: постно меню) during these times of year.

European Summer Time 2017 Beginning and Ending Dates

European Summer Time, also known as Daylight Savings Time in other parts of the world, is the practice of moving clocks ahead one hour to make the most of the extra daylight available during the summer months.

In 2017, European Summer time will begin at 01:00 on Sunday, 26 March and will end at 02:00 on Sunday, 29 October. Move your clock one hour ahead in March, and one hour back in October.

More Bulgarian Calendar Highlights for 2017

No list of Bulgarian calendar highlights would be complete without mentioning some of the less formal, yet culturally significant days during the year.

  • Wednesday 1 February – Remembrance Day for Victims of the Communist Regime
  • Wednesday 1 March – Baba Marta
  • Wednesday 8 March – International Women’s Day
  • Saturday 22 April – Earth Day
  • Friday 15 September – First Day of School
  • Friday 8 December – Student’s Day

A Special Note for Men in Bulgaria

Since we’re on the topic of calendars and dates, I’d like to take a moment to help out my fellow men living in Bulgaria. Here are a few dates you will need to look up for yourself, if you don’t already have them committed to memory:

  • Your wedding Anniversary
  • Your spouse or significant other’s birthday
  • You children’s birthdays, especially those not living in Bulgaria
  • Birthdays and anniversaries of other close relatives and friends

If you know what’s good for you you’ll stop reading for a moment and place a reminder for these dates in your mobile phone. Do it right now! Need to learn how? Get instructions for doing this on your iphone or android phone.

15 Must Read Expat Bulgaria Blogs

expat bulgaria blogs

Expat Bulgaria blogs are the new personal memoir. A hundred years ago the personal memoir was a wonderful way for foreigners in Bulgaria to record their impressions and preserve them for posterity.  Travelers and diplomats kept copious records in tattered notebooks, later shaping them into books to be published and given out to friends. Such historical records offer an excellent impromptu glimpse into turbulent times from every era.

Today the privately published travelogue has given way to the expat blog, and the reading world is richer for the ease of internet age communication. Sharing life and impressions with all the world is only a few keystrokes away.

A cursory google search reveals that Bulgaria has attracted quite a diverse group of online promoters, or defenders, if you like, who keep the blogosphere afloat with frequent riffs on what life is like for foreigners in bulgaria.

Each expat Bulgaria blog has a personality all its own. Some are broad, more travel guide than personal story. Others are topical, taking on board the task of drilling down into a special interest or vocation. Some simply share one person’s take on the life of foreigners in Bulgaria. The curious reader could easily lose track of time, whiling away hours immersed in the Bulgarian milieu.

To help you out with that, we have created a Faber dozen blogroll of expat Bulgaria blogs, divided into general, topical and personal categories. Think of this as your hand curated collection of writings from people who call Bulgaria “home.”

Fifteen Must Read Expat Bulgaria Blogs

Here is the Welcome to Bulgaria Faber dozen collection of expat Bulgaria blogs for you to explore and enjoy:

General Blogs About Bulgaria

Bulstack Sharing news, events, history, sights and trivia about Bulgaria. In depth articles and thousands of pictures. Great for research.

Eat Stay Love Bulgaria More expat reference work than personal memoir, well worth bookmarking for revisiting as you explore different parts of the country. Produced by a team of writers.

Topical Bulgarian Blogs

Bulgarian Nature A photo gallery of Bulgarian birds, wildlife, insects, landscapes and people curated by an expat in southeastern Bulgaria.

Banskoblog One man’s attempt to be the expert on all things Bansko. He looks to be succeeding! A must visit for anyone interested in this fabulous ski resort. See this earlier shout out on Bulstack.

Personal Blogs About Life in Bulgaria

A Letter from the Back of Beyond Observations of rural life in Bulgaria by an Englishman who escaped the rat race by relocating to a small Bulgarian village.

Auntie Bulgaria Adventures of a British couple who bought a house in the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria.

Buckeye in Bulgaria The two year sojourn of an American Fulbright Program ETA (English Teaching Assistant). Lots of great cultural experiences.

Bulgaria Stories Thoughts from a Peace Corps volunteer who taught English in a Bulgarian high school. Now a book!

Melody Moves to Bulgaria The four year odyssey of an American teacher who came to work at the American University in Blagoevgrad. Real and personal.

New Start, New Life in Bulgaria Reflections on daily life in Bulgaria, including the unexpected. Keep a hanky nearby for this one.

Old School Bulgaria About life and remodeling an old school in Bulgaria. Captures both the joys and frustrations of such an endeavor.

Our Bulgarian Adventure Exploring the life and work of Al and Diane Mellinger, Free Methodist missionaries living in Petrich. No need to be religious to appreciate their good work.

Running for the Bus as the Doors are Closing Adventures of an American Peace Corps volunteer. Lots of fun, entertaining and illuminating stories about his experience in Bulgaria.

The Gud Life What it’s like looking for a simpler life in Bulgaria.

toBulgaria Personal blog of Riza Buzatova, an American woman who married a Bulgarian and fell in love with a country to boot. Lively, informative, a memoir of the old school. Many gems for the curious reader.

Six Ways to Get Bulgarian News in English Online

Bulgarian news in English

Bulgarian news in EnglishAt last count there were over 50 Bulgaria oriented websites providing news online, and some of them even offer Bulgarian news in English. The level of English cannot be taken for granted, but most of them do a reasonable job of editing to ensure a readable and understandable product for the english speaking eye.

Who Wants Bulgarian News in English?

Expats living, working, or studying in Bulgaria are starved for good reliable news sources providing Bulgarian news in English. The only English language newspaper ceased publication several years ago. The few English language Bulgarian magazines are good fluff, but hardly useful as news.

The international press isn’t much use for everyday news. They do a reasonable job on the big stories, but life is made up of a whole lot more than the political crises, local corruption, and mafia power struggles that tend to attract international attention.

For good everyday Bulgarian news in English, one has to turn to online sources. Fortunately there are a lot of them available to suit various tastes and interests.

Where to Get Online Bulgarian News in English

Here are our picks for the best all around English language Bulgarian news coverage online. Investing a few days reading some or all of them will give you a good feel for standard news feed material versus original content.

BTA webpage screen captureBulgarian News Agency (http://www.bta.bg/en) The Bulgarian News Agency (BG: Българска Телеграфна Агенция) is an autonomous national news organization chartered by Prince Ferdinand in 1898. For over 100 years it has served Bulgaria as a source of reliable news reports protected from political influence. As the sole Bulgarian representative among the European Alliance of News Agencies, it is the major source of news reports for use by other news outlets in the country.

europostEuropost (http://www.europost.eu/) A world news website with particular focus on the European Union and Bulgaria. Covers news, politics, analysis, business and culture. Covers many Bulgarian stories, including local interviews and commentary meaningful to expats in Bulgaria.

FOCUS Information AgencyFocus Information Agency (http://www.focus-fen.net/) Comprehensive news coverage offering lots of bite size news. Transcribed radio interviews in the opinion section provide interesting comments from leading Bulgarian figures and visitors to the country.

sofia news agencySofia News Agency (http://www.novinite.com/) The best of the Bulgarian real time news websites. It offers a good mix of international and local news, including interesting and high quality original stories. It consistently covers Bulgarian holidays, anniversaries, traditions and special events.

sofia globeThe Sofia Globe (http://sofiaglobe.com/) The most original of the Bulgaria news sources. More blog than newsfeed, the Sofia Globe publishes many exclusive articles and podcasts on eclectic Bulgarian themes. Not as prolific as a standard news website, but definitely worth following for their unique coverage. Owned and operated by an expat with long experience in Bulgaria..

standart-webpageStandart (http://www.standartnews.com/english/) Mainly boilerplate Bulgarian and international news. Useful link to printable pdf version of the daily Bulgarian language newspaper.


Help Keep Us Informed and Up to Date

These are just a few of the sources for Bulgarian news in English available online. If you here of something new, or have a favorite we might have missed, please leave a comment or reach out to us by email. Times change, and we can’t always stay on top of things as fast as we would like. We are always grateful for new tips to help keep our customers well informed!

Rumen Radev Wins Bulgarian Presidential Race



The Bulgarian Central Election Commission announced that Socialist backed General Rumen Radev prevailed against the ruling party candidate Tsetska Tsacheva in the run off Bulgarian Presidential election held on Sunday, 13 November.

With 100% of votes counted, the Bulgarian Central Election Commission reported that Radev received 2,063,332 votes (59.37%) to win by a commanding margin over Tsacheva, who took 1,256,485 votes (36.16%). There were 155,411 votes (4.47%) cast for “none of the above.” In total, 3,540,829 Bulgarian citizens went to the polls, a turnout of 51.62% out of 6,859,390 voters eligible to participate. This marked a small increase over the last presidential election in 2011.

Will Rumen Radev Move Bulgaria Closer to Russia?

Rumen Radev, the former head of the Bulgarian Air Force and a political novice, along with his running mate, Iliana Iotova, a socialist party insider, are often portrayed turning Bulgaria towards Russia in international affairs. I think that is too simplistic given the political climate in the country. For sure, Radev has spoken out often about his desire to end sanctions against Moscow, but he does so to support Bulgarian interests, not those of Russia. He is acutely aware of the damage done to the Bulgarian economy by forfeiting Russian participation and investment. In addition, his pro-Russian statements have been balanced by consistent support for Bulgaria’s NATO and EU commitments.

Radev’s Victory a Strike Against the Status Quo

The more important message of this election can be found in the diverse coalition of voters who supported Radev against the ruling party, and the large margin of victory he achieved over his opponent. As a candidate, Rumen Radev was an outsider running against the status quo, and that message seems to have resonated with a broad swath of the Bulgarian electorate. People here are frustrated by lingering economic malaise and rampant corruption among the governing class, and many feel the disciplined military officer might be just the tonic needed to cure what ails the country today.

How Borisov Overplayed His Hand

Tsacheva, for her part, seemed from the outset a lackluster candidate who did not embody the kind of presence necessary to mount a serious run for president. Borisov overplayed his hand with her nomination, which was quickly ridiculed from all corners of the political scene. The whole affair was classic Borisov bluster, in which he foolishly dared the populace to stand up against him.

The Prime Minister staked the future of his government on the outcome of this election, declaring early on that he would resign if his candidate failed to win the post. The Bulgarian people, tired of his bullying, delivered him a stunning rebuke. True to his word, Borisov tendered his resignation Monday morning when it was clear that the GERB candidate had lost the race.

What This Means for the Immediate Future

Following a GERB resignation Bulgaria is left without a functioning government, and it is unlikely any other parliamentary group will be able to muster the votes necessary to form one without new elections. Complicated Bulgarian election rules now leave the country without the possibility of new parliamentary elections before the end of March 2017. As a result, President Plevneliev will probably have to appoint the third caretaker government of his administration.

Grounds for Bulgarian Type D Visa Applications

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The Bulgarian Law for Foreigners lists 15 different grounds available to be used as the basis for a Bulgarian type D visa application:

  • Employee Status. Foreigners who possess a work permit issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor. Refer to Article 24 (1) 1 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Company or Business Activity. Foreigners who are engaged in commercial activity in the country who, as part of these activities, have employed Bulgarian citizens. Refer to Article 24 (1) 2 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Student. Foreigners who are accepted for full time enrollment in a registered Bulgarian Educational Institution. Refer to Article 24 (1) 5 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Foreign Specialist. Foreigners who are specialists residing in Bulgaria under the auspices of international agreements to which Bulgaria is a party. Refer to Article 24 (1) 4 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Spouse. Foreigners who are married to a Bulgarian citizen or who have married a foreigner permanently residing in Bulgaria. Also spouses of foreigners who have been granted leave to remain in the country. Refer to Article 24 (1) 5 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Company Representative. Foreigners representing a foreign commercial entity registered with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Refer to Article 24 (1) 6 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Parent. Financially independent parents of foreigners residing permanently in the Republic of Bulgaria. Refer to Article 24 (1) 7 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Medical Treatment. Foreigners who have been accepted at a medical clinic for treatment, who can prove they have sufficient financial means for their expenses. Refer to Article 24 (1) 8 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Media Representative. Journalists and other media personnel who have been properly accredited for Bulgaria. Refer to Article 24 (1) 9 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Retiree. Foreigners who receive a pension and can prove they have sufficient means to cover their cost of living in Bulgaria. Refer to Article 24 (1) 10 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Foreign Investor. Foreigners who perform activities under the Foreign Investment Act. Refer to Article 24 (1) 19-20 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Family Member. Foreigners who are dependents of a foreigner who holds a type D visa. Refer to Article 24 (1) 13 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Parent / Partner. Foreigners who are parents or partners (household assistants) of foreigners who hold a type D visa under Article 28 (5). Refer to Article 24 (1) 14 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Freelance Professional. Foreigners doing freelance work subject to clearance by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Refer to Article 24 (1) 15 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
  • Foundation Worker. Foreigners who wish to perform not-for-profit activities in the country, subject to approval by the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice. Refer to Article 24 (1) 16 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.


Useful Links:


Bulgarian Visa Regulations by Passport Country


Reference list of Bulgarian visa regulations by passport country for all countries of the world. This list is for reference only. Regulations are subject to change without notice, so please be sure to check with your nearest Bulgarian diplomatic station to confirm the particulars of your case.

Countries are listed in alphabetical order and include requirements for regular, diplomatic and service passports.

Country NameRegular PassportDiplomatic PassportService Passport
Albaniano (3)nono
Antigua & Barbudanonono
Argentinanono (5)no (5)
Austria no (1)nono
Belgium no (1)nono
Bosnia & Herzegovinanonono
Burkina Fasoyesyesyes
Vatican Citynonono
Great Britainno (1)nono
Venezuelanono (5)no (5)
Equatorial Guineayesyesyes
Germanyno (1)nono
Greeceno (1)nono
Denmarkno (1)nono
Dominican Republicyesyesyes
El Salvadornonono
Estoniano (1)nono
Iranyesno (5)no (5)
Irelandno (1)nono
Icelandno (1)nono
Spainno (1)nono
Italyno (1)nono
Cape Verdeyesyesyes
Cyprusno (1)nono
China (People's Republic)yesnono
China (Macau)nonono
China (Hong Kong)nonono
Congo (Democratic Republic of the)yesyesyes
Korea (People's Demcratic Republic of)yesnono
Korea (Republic of)nonono
Costa Ricanoyesyes
Ivory Coastyesyesyes
Latviano (1)nono
Lithuaniano (1)nono
Lichtensteinno (1)nono
Luxembourgno (1)nono
Macedoniano (3)nono
Maltano (1)nono
Marshall Islandsyesyesyes
Nauru Rebublicyesyesyes
New Zealandnonono
Norwayno (1)nono
Papua New Guineayesyesyes
Polandno (1)nono
Portugalno (1)nono
Puerto Riconoyesyes
Romaniano (1)nono
San Marinononono
Sao Tome & Principeyesyesyes
Saudi Arabiayesyesyes
United Statesnoyesyes
Saint Luciayesyesyes
Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesyesyesyes
Saint Kitts & Nevisnonono
Sierra Leoneyesyesyes
Slovakiano (1)nono
Sloveniano (1)nono
Solomon Islandsyesyesyes
Serbiano (4)nono
TaiwannoN/A (6)N/A (6)
East Timoryesyesyes
Trinidad & Tobagoyesno (5)no (5)
Turkeyyesno (5)no (5)
Hungaryno (1)nono
Finlandno (1)nono
France no (1)nono
Netherlandsno (1)nono
Central African Republicyesyesyes
Montenegrono (3)nono
Czech Republicno (1)nono
Switzerlandno (1)nono
Swedenno (1)nono
Sri Lankayesyesyes
South Africayesnono


(1) Citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Zone and Switzerland may exercise their right of free passage and are exempt from the the requirement to apply for long term residence through the type D visa regime. They are also exempt from the requirement to apply for and receive a work permit before entering Bulgaria.

(2) Citizens of the Republic of Turkey holding an ordinary passport and a valid visa issued by a Shengen Zone member state or a member of the European Union, or who hold a residence permit issued by a Shengen Zone member state, a member of the European Union, Switzerland or Lichtenstein, may enter the Republic of Bulgaria for transit purposes for a period of up to 5 days, when the direction of transit is from the Republic of Turkey towards the country which has issued the visa or residence permit, as well as when returning from the visa or residence permit issuing country to the Republic of Turkey.

(3) Only holders of biometric passports are exempt from visa requirements. Holders of non-biometric passports are subject to visa regulations according to the existing agreements between visa issuing authorities.

(4) Holders of Serbian passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Administration (in Serbian “Koordinaciona uprava”) are exempt from the biometric passport requirement.

(5) Citizens of these countries holding diplomatic and service passports may enter the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without a visa for a period of up to 30 days.

(6) The Republic of Bulgaria does not recognize diplomatic or service passports issued by Taiwan as valid travel documents.


Navigating the Bulgarian Visa Application Process

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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.

Happy Saint George’s Day!



Gergiovden is the 6th of May, the day of Saint George, patron saint of shepherds and also the Bulgarian Army. Bulgarians celebrate this day with a feast of roast lamb, and many locations stage military parades.

Гергьовден е празник, на който православната църква в България почита паметта на Свети Георги Победоносец, който е и патрон на Българската армия. Чества се и като главен празник на овчаря, като на много места се пече цяло агне и се приготват традиционни ястия с агнешко месо.