All foreign visitors to Bulgaria must register with the local police station within five days of arrival. This involves simply providing the address of where you’re staying, your name and your passport details (number and expiry date).
If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, police registration will normally be carried out automatically for you, but you must remember to register yourself if you’re renting privately or staying with friends. Most border guards won’t take issue if you’ve stayed only a few days without registering, but if you’ve stayed for several weeks without registering you may be liable for a large fine (or considerable hassle).
You’re also recommended to register with your local embassy or consulate – registration isn’t usually compulsory, but most embassies likes to keep a record of their country’s citizens in Bulgaria in case of a major accident or natural disaster.
Application for a short-stay visa (Type C)
For a short-stay visa (entitles you to entry Bulgaria for a period of up to 90 days), you must provide:
- a current passport (valid for three months from the date of entry),
- a passport-size photograph,
- confirmation of a booking at a hotel in Bulgaria or the adress of a private residence where you will be staying,
- a ticket for return or onward travel or
- proof that you have enough funds to support your stay in Bulgaria.
The multi-entry short-stay visa requires all of the above, plus:
- a photocopy of the personal information pages of your passport,
- proof of possession of enough money to cover accommodation and subsistence costs (equivalent to €100 euros per day)
and, if you don’t have onward travel or return airfares arranged:
- proof of having €300 euros to cover the cost of leaving Bulgaria.
Long-stay visa (Type D)
Apply for a Type D visa at the Ministry of Interior within 90 or 30 days of your arrival. An application requires a number of documents, including the following:
- the application form and two passport-size photographs;
- a current passport;
- evidence of having formed a limited company, a certified copy of the company’s tax registration document and a court certificate that the company is solvent, and evidence that you’ve hired Bulgarian citizens;
- a certificate from the National Social Security Institute that you’re contributing to social security and have no outstanding tax payments;
- a certificate from the tax office showing the amount of taxes paid (if applicable);
- a recent bank statement and a bank certificate that you’re solvent;
- evidence of accommodation in Bulgaria and the address.
To work in Bulgaria, you will need a work permit, issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which will allow you to apply for Type D visa allowing you to stay for 12 months (see above). If you plan to work in Bulgaria for a salary, your potential employer will organise a work permit, which will usually be dependent on the job being one that cannot be filled by a Bulgarian (e.g. teaching English).
If you’ve retired and plan to move to Bulgaria permanently, you need to apply for a Type D visa. Furthermore, you will need to prove that:
- you’re entitled to retirement income in your home country,
- produce evidence that you have a valid Bulgarian bank account and
- that you have accommodation and an address in Bulgaria.
Once you’ve obtained a Type D visa, you have 12 months to apply for a residence permit.
Immigration is a complex and ever-changing subject, and the information provided here is intended only as a general guide. You shouldn’t base any decisions or actions on the information contained herein without confirming and checking it with the relevant Bulgarian embassy or consulate.
This article is an extract from Buying a Home in Bulgaria from Survival Books.