What is it like to visit Bulgaria
Entry requirements for Bulgaria
Coronavirus / Covid-19: Current notice for travelers
The worldwide travel warning was lifted on October 1, 2020. Instead, the Federal Foreign Office issues differentiated travel and safety information for each individual country. We are currently warned or discouraged against unnecessary tourist trips to a large number of countries.
Before you travel to Bulgaria, please check the entry regulations as well as the travel and safety information from the Federal Foreign Office as well as the applicable quarantine regulations and test regulations of the federal states for return travelers. Please note that the situation is developing dynamically and can change at any time.
The following official websites are available for this purpose:
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Entry to Bulgaria at a glance
Since joining the European Union, Bulgaria's entry requirements for German citizens have been made considerably easier.
Bulgaria's entry regulations allow you to stay indefinitely without a visa. From 90 days you are obliged to register with the police at a location in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian authorities have not made any further demands.
On arrival you first have to go through a border control and can enter the country after a short time. The requirement is the possession of a European passport or an identity card. Bulgaria also allows Schengen visa holders to enter the country without another residence permit.
What are the entry requirements for Bulgaria?
Bulgaria has been an official member of the European Union since the turn of the year 2007 and aims to join the Schengen Agreement in the future. Accordingly, Bulgaria's entry requirements for German citizens and other Europeans have been made considerably easier. You no longer need a visa to enter the Balkan Republic. This regulation also applies to holders of Schengen visas and national visas in the EU. Do you have German papers, enjoy complete freedom of travel within Bulgaria and can stay in the country for an indefinite period of time. You can even look for a job and live in the country permanently. The requirement is the possession of a valid passport, a temporary passport or an identity card. Minors under the age of twelve need their own identification document with a photo. Non-EU citizens with a valid Schengen visa can stay in Bulgaria for up to three months within a six-month period. Minors traveling alone require a certified declaration of consent from their parents or guardians.
Are you wondering whether it is safe to vacation in Bulgaria? We have compiled all the information you need about the security situation in Bulgaria for you.
What can I expect at the border crossing?
At the borders of the Bulgarian Republic, go through the checkpoint. Here you present your documents, your passport details are recorded and you may report to customs. Video recordings and scanning processes take place at some points. In a registration form, all non-EU citizens indicate which destinations they are heading for and what purpose they are pursuing by entering the country. Anyone staying in Bulgaria for less than 90 days does not need to register on site. If you are staying for a longer period of time, you should be registered with the police at the responsible immigration authority. Here you will receive a so-called certificate for EU citizens in which your current place of residence is entered. You should always carry the paper with you when traveling in the country.
How can non-EU citizens apply for a visa?
For non-EU citizens it is possible to apply for short and long-term visas of category C and D.
You can also purchase a transit visa for transit travel by car or train as well as airport transit visas. The relevant form at the Bulgarian embassy has to be filled out. In addition, passport photos, the passport in the original and as a copy, a valid health insurance and possibly the flight tickets are required. Proof of funding is often asked for. For short trips, you should budget € 50 per day, but not less than € 500 in total. For long-term visas, a personal interview with the diplomatic mission abroad about the reasons for your stay is mandatory.
Which customs regulations are important?
The import and export of foreign currency and Bulgarian currency is duty-free up to an amount of € 10,000 in cash. Anything in excess of this amount must be officially declared when crossing the border. The notifiable monetary values also include securities and travelers checks. Corresponding forms are also available in German, among others. Under certain circumstances, there may be inquiries about the origin even with higher cash amounts below € 10,000. Anyone who does not comply with their duty to declare risks the entire seizure of the money plus fines. Alternatively, you can of course access your finances via the local ATM. With credit and debit cards you can easily withdraw money and pay electronically in many shops, restaurants and hotels. In the case of precious metals, the free quantities are 37g gold and platinum in the raw or processed state, as well as coins and 60g as jewelry. Silver can be imported and exported up to a weight of 300g.
For luxury foods, the free allowances of the European Union apply to a large extent. If you are entering from another member state, e.g. by plane from Germany or by land from Romania or Greece, you can carry up to 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars or 1,000 g of smoking tobacco with you. In addition, 10l of high-proof spirits, 20l of intermediate products such as port wine and sherry, 90l of wine and 110l of beer are allowed. On the return journey, the exemptions are now lower: only 200 cigarettes are allowed on the way back to Germany. The regulations for alcohol and tobacco products only apply to adults. In the case of higher quantities of luxury foods, it may be necessary to credibly demonstrate on entry and exit that they are not intended for sale.
All forms of weapons, ammunition, pornography and illegal intoxicants are strictly prohibited. If you need prescription medication, it makes sense to have a medical certificate with you. This should preferably be in Bulgarian or at least in English. No live poultry may be brought into the country from third countries such as Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Meat products from the CIS countries, Turkey or from African and Asian countries are prohibited in Bulgaria.
Archaeological objects, i.e. valuable stones from historical sites and old coins, are under special protection in Bulgaria's entry regulations. For the export of such objects you need a certificate from the Ministry of Culture in Sofia. This must be presented at the border controls.
Out and about in Bulgaria with animals
All pets brought to Bulgaria require an EU pet passport. This is only to be issued by certified veterinarians and must document the vaccination history of the four-legged friend. In addition, dogs and cats should have a microchip. It is important that the animal is currently vaccinated against rabies. The only exceptions are younger specimens under four months. In total, you can bring up to five animals per person. For entry from third countries without a pet passport, a certificate must be available stating that there are no infectious diseases and that there are sufficient rabies antibodies in the blood. The check-up should not be older than three months.
In addition to these formalities, it must be clarified whether your four-legged friend can withstand the rigors of a long journey. The stress for the animal is comparatively low by car or train. On the plane you pay an extra charge for taking it with you. Dogs and cats can usually enter the cabin up to a weight of around 8kg including the transport box. Otherwise, the transport will take place in the luggage compartment. In this case, it is best to put a personal item of clothing in the box so that the animal can perceive your presence.
Can I travel to Bulgaria by car?
The entry fee per car, which was levied until 2005, has recently been discontinued. The national driving license and the green insurance card are sufficient for a stay in the country. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to the vignette requirement for Bulgarian motorways and country roads. You can easily pay the toll at the border crossing. Usually the costs are € 13 per month and € 5 for a week. The annual vignette costs 34 € for cars with trailers and minibuses. Prices are higher from eight seats. There are no longer any import and travel restrictions for vehicles since Bulgaria joined the EU.
Read the traffic rules of the Bulgarian Republic in advance. These state, among other things, that from the beginning of November to the end of February you also have to drive with dipped headlights during the day. As in Germany, the alcohol limit is 0.5. The speed is limited to 50 km / h in urban areas and 90 km / h outside of urban areas. You can drive 140km / h on motorways. Winter tires are only required for vehicles registered in Bulgaria. Always carry a safety vest with you in the car, which you should wear when entering the road outside of built-up areas.
What medical information is important for traveling to Bulgaria?
Bulgaria's entry regulations do not require any compulsory vaccinations. Nevertheless, the Federal Foreign Office and the Robert Koch Institute advise you to have standard vaccinations such as tetanus, diphtheria and polio refreshed. In addition, immunization against hepatitis A is useful. If you are planning an individual trip to the rural regions, you should also get vaccinated against hepatitis B and rabies. If you come into contact with a rabid animal with this protection, you must be given another dose of the vaccine within the next three days.
The subject of TBE is relevant for hiking trips. The disease is transmitted through tick bites. In addition to active vaccination protection, you should also wear long clothes in the woods and apply repellants if possible. In this way you also prevent infection with Lyme disease, for which there is currently no serum. Before you start your journey, it is best to visit a tropical medicine doctor who will advise you on all necessary vaccinations. The costs are covered by many statutory and private health insurance companies in Germany.
Medical care in Bulgaria is well below the level in Germany. You pay the costs for the treatment in advance at the general practitioner and in the hospital. The prices are often comparatively high. With a formal receipt, you can apply for reimbursement from your health insurance company after your return. In the state clinics, you present the European insurance card, which is then used to easily settle all emergency treatments. Should you still be asked for a down payment, you can insist on a statement via EHIC and refer to your insurance company if you have any questions. For some private doctors in tourist areas such as Golden Sands and Sunny Beach, private doctors have demanded treatment costs that are well above the standard in recent years. Ask in advance what the price will be. International travel health insurance is recommended for extended benefits. This also covers, among other things, repatriation and treatment by private doctors.
This article was last updated on October 12th, 2020.
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