See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bulgaria for information on U.S. - Bulgaria relations.
A valid U.S. passport is required for U.S. citizens. Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least three (3) months from the expected date of departure from Bulgaria. U.S. citizens may stay in Bulgaria for a total of 90 days within any six-month period without a Bulgarian visa. This law is strictly enforced. Travelers who have been in the country for 90 days and then leave will not be able to re-enter Bulgaria before the six-month period expires. Please plan and apply for your visa early.
Traveling with Children Under 18 Years Old: Regulations apply to Bulgarian minors, Bulgarian-U.S. dual citizen minors, and U.S. citizen minors when one or both parents are Bulgarian.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Bulgaria.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue to plot possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
When traveling or living in Bulgaria, you should:
Crime: ATM skimming, credit card fraud, and traffic incidents remain the most common threats to U.S. citizens in Bulgaria. The majority of incidents involving U.S. citizens are monetary in nature, though incidents of racism, ethnic slurs, and harassment of African-Americans and religious minorities have occurred. Report crimes to the police by dialing 112.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (359) (2) 937-5101.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency telephone line in Bulgaria is 112 for police, fire, or ambulance services.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Special Circumstances: Bulgaria is still largely a cash economy.
Corruption remains an important concern of the Bulgarian government. You may refer complaints of public corruption by e-mail to the Ministry of Justice at email@example.com or by phone to +359 2 987 0697. All grievances must be submitted in the Bulgarian language.
If you plan to import an automobile to Bulgaria, be aware that customs duties on personal vehicles can be high. All documents must be originals or certified copies and contain an apostille. See more information on the Bulgarian Customs Agency website
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Bulgaria. LGBTI individuals are stigmatized by society in Bulgaria and societal discrimination against LGBTI individuals is widespread. LGBTI individuals engaging in public displays of affection may attract unwelcome attention or harassment.
While there is no legal barrier to organize an LGBTI event, pride event participants were attacked in the past. Some pride parades were also postponed on police request due to concerns that they could not effectively protect those participating in a LGBTI event.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Local law requires improved access to buildings for persons with disabilities and new public projects take this requirement into account; however, this law is rarely enforced in older buildings.
Bulgarian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, and access to health care. Societal discrimination persists against persons with disabilities.
Commuting in Bulgaria is nearly impossible for disabled individuals. Buses, trams, and trolleys are generally old, extremely crowded, and lack accommodation for disabled travelers. Even in newer public vehicles access is extremely limited and disabled travelers rely on fellow passengers to help them on and off the vehicle.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Visitors are required to maintain medical insurance for the duration of their stay in Bulgaria. You may be required to show proof of medical insurance at the port of entry.
Bulgarian medical personnel are knowledgeable, however most hospitals and clinics are not equipped with appropriate medical supplies and are not maintained to Western standards.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with Bulgaria’s Customs Agency to ensure the medication is legal. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Tuberculosis continues to be a health concern in Bulgaria.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: The Bulgarian road system is largely underdeveloped.
Traffic Laws: Driving in Bulgaria is dangerous. Aggressive driving habits, lack of safe infrastructure, and a mixture of late model and old model cars on the country’s highways contribute to a high fatality rate in road accidents.
Public Transportation: Sofia’s metro system and the extensive bus network are reliable modes of transportation. Taxi cabs are also plentiful but are known to overcharge passengers. Do insist on use of the meter when using a taxi cab.
For specific information concerning Bulgarian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please visit the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Visit the European Commission site for latest information on speed limits, traffic fines and regulations.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Bulgaria’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Bulgaria’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Bulgaria should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select “broadcast warnings”.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
Bulgaria and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since January 1, 2005.
For information concerning travel to Bulgaria, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Bulgaria.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Bulgaria. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Bulgarian Central Authority (BCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice, Legal Child Support Department. The BCA reviews Hague applications for completion, initiates location efforts for missing children, and if appropriate, approaches taking parties about whether or not abduction situations may be resolved voluntarily. The BCA can be reached at:
The Ministry of Justice
Legal Child Support Department
Central Authority of the Republic of Bulgaria
1, Slavyanska Street
Telephone: +359 (2) 923 7302
Fax: +359 (2) 987 1557
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Bulgaria, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the BCA. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the BCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Bulgarian prior to court proceedings commencing. The BCA can assist with translations, although the case processing may occur more expeditiously if applicant parents provide translations. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Bulgarian central authorities. Fees for privately retained attorneys are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Bulgaria. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Bulgaria. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Legal representation is required in a Hague Abduction Convention case in Bulgaria. It is not mandatory for a parent or legal guardian to retain a private attorney, however, as the BCA will appoint a lawyer from the Ministry of Justice to present the applicant parent’s Hague case to the specialized Hague court in Bulgaria (the City Court of Sofia). This service is free of charge. Parents or legal guardians may hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and to advise them as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the BCA as soon as possible after the BCA receives the Hague application. The Ministry of Justice lawyer will continue to participate in advancing the Hague petition in court even if an applicant parent retains private legal representation.
The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
While Bulgaria does not offer a formal, structured mediation program, the Ministry of Justice maintains a list of mediation providers (in Bulgarian only). The average fee for a mediation procedure, regardless of how many sessions are necessary, is about $500. Costs are typically divided equally between the parties.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.
Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).
Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.
Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.
Please check back for update.
Comments: Court records are requested as a substitute.
Sofia, Bulgaria (Embassy)
U.S. Embassy Sofia
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20521-5740
Address: 16, Kozyak St., 1408 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone Number: +359-2-5100
All visa categories for all of Bulgaria.