Since joining the European Union, Bulgaria’s entry requirements for German citizens have been considerably simplified.
Bulgaria’s entry requirements allow you unlimited residence without a visa. From 90 days you are required to register with the police at a location in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian authorities have not made any further demands.
Upon arrival, you must first go through border control and can quickly enter the country. You must have 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. Have German papers, enjoy complete freedom of travel within Bulgaria and can stay in the country indefinitely.
You can even find a job and live permanently in the country. The prerequisite is a possession of a valid passport, a temporary passport or an identity card. Minors under the age of twelve need their own ID document with photo.
Non-EU citizens with a valid Schengen visa can stay in Bulgaria for up to three months within a six-month period. Minor children travelling alone require a certified declaration of consent from their parents or guardians.
What can I expect at the border crossing?
At the borders of the Bulgarian Republic, you go through the checkpoint. Submit your documents here, your passport details will be recorded and you may have to report to customs. At some points, video recordings and scanning processes take place.
In a registration form, all non-EU citizens state which destinations they are heading for and what purpose they are pursuing with their entry. Those who stay in Bulgaria for less than 90 days do not have to register on-site.
For longer stays, register with the relevant immigration authorities. 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 travelling 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 categories C and D.
In addition, you can acquire a transit visa for transit trips by car or train, as well as airport transit visas. Please fill out the appropriate form at the Bulgarian Embassy. In addition, passport photos, the original and a copy of the passport, valid health insurance and possibly the flight tickets are required. Proof of funding is often asked for.
For short trips, € 50 per day, but not less than € 500 in total, should be planned. In the case of long-term visas, a personal discussion in the diplomatic mission about the reasons for a stay is mandatory.
Which customs regulations are important?
The import and export of foreign currency and Bulgarian currency are duty-free up to an amount of € 10,000. Anything that exceeds this amount must be officially declared when crossing the border.
The notifiable monetary values also include securities and traveller’s checks. Corresponding forms are also available in German. Under certain circumstances, even with higher amounts of cash below € 10,000, there may be questions regarding the origin.
Those who fail to comply with their declaration obligation risk the complete confiscation of the money plus fines. Alternatively, you can, of course, get your finances from the on-site ATMs. With credit and debit cards, you can conveniently withdraw money and pay electronically in many shops, restaurants and hotels.
For precious metals, the free quantities are 37g gold and platinum in the raw or processed state as well as a coin and 60g as jewellery. Silver can be imported and exported up to a weight of 300g.
The free quantities of the European Union largely apply to luxury foods. 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 1,000g smoking tobacco with you.
In addition, 10l of high-proof spirits, 20l intermediate products such as port wine and sherry, 90l wine and 110l beer are allowed. On the return trip, the free quantities 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.
With higher quantities of stimulants, it may have to be credibly shown when entering and leaving that they are not intended for sale.
All forms of weapons, ammunition, pornography and illegal intoxicants are fundamentally prohibited. If you need prescription medication, it makes sense to have a medical certificate with you. This should preferably be issued 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 African and Asian countries are prohibited in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian archaeological items, i.e. valuable stones from historical sites and old coins, are particularly protected in Bulgaria’s entry requirements. You need a certificate from the Ministry of Culture in Sofia to export such items. This is to be presented at the border controls.
Out and about in Bulgaria with animals
All pets brought to Bulgaria need the EU pet passport. This must only be issued by certified veterinarians and must document the four-legged friend’s vaccination history. Dogs and cats should also have a microchip. It is important that the animal is currently vaccinated against rabies. Only younger copies under four months are excluded.
You can bring up to five animals per person. For entry from third countries without a pet passport, there must be a certificate stating that there are no contagious diseases and that there are sufficient rabies antibodies in the blood. The control should not be older than three months.
In addition to these formalities, it must be clarified whether your four-legged friend can take the strain of a long trip. The stress for the animal is comparatively low by car or train. On the plane you pay a surcharge for taking it with you.
Up to a weight of around 8kg including a transport box, dogs and cats can usually enter the cabin. Otherwise, transport takes place in the luggage compartment. In this case, it is best to put a personal piece of clothing in the box so that the animal can perceive your presence.
Can I travel to Bulgaria by car?
The flat rate for an entry per car up to 2005 has recently disappeared. The national driver’s license and the green insurance card are sufficient for a stay in the country. Nevertheless, you should note 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. From eight seats, the prices are higher. There are no more import and travel restrictions for vehicles since Bulgaria joined the EU.
Read the traffic regulations 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 the low beam on 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 town. You can drive 140km / h on highways. Winter tires are only required for vehicles registered in Bulgaria. A safety vest is always to be carried in the car and should be worn when entering the lane outside of the village.
What medical information is important for trips to Bulgaria?
Bulgaria’s entry requirements do not require compulsory vaccinations. Nevertheless, the Federal Foreign Office and the Robert Koch Institute recommend that standard vaccinations such as tetanus, diphtheria and polio be revitalized. In addition, immunization against hepatitis A is useful.
If you are planning an individual trip to the rural regions, you should also get a vaccination 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 topic of TBE is relevant for hiking trips. The disease is transmitted by tick bites.
In addition to active vaccination protection, you should also wear long clothing in the woods and, if possible, apply repellents. In this way, you also prevent infection with Lyme disease, against which there is currently no serum. Before you travel, it’s best to visit a tropical doctor who will advise you on all the necessary vaccinations.
The costs are covered by many statutory and private health insurance companies in Germany.
Medical care in Bulgaria is significantly below the level in Germany. At the general practitioners and in the hospital, you pay the treatment costs in advance. The prices are often comparatively high.
With a formal receipt, you apply for reimbursement from your health insurance provider after your return. In the state clinics, you present the European insurance card, which is then used to easily bill for all emergency treatments. Should you still be asked for a down payment, you can always insist on an EHIC statement and refer to your insurance provider for inquiries.
For some private doctors in tourist areas like Golden Sands and Sunny Beach, private doctors have asked for treatment costs in recent years that are significantly above the standard. Ask in advance what the price will be. International travel health insurance is recommended for extended services. Among other things, this also covers return transport and treatment by private doctors.