Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Bulgaria International Travel Information
16, Kozyak Street
Sofia 1408, Bulgaria
Telephone: +(359) (2) 937-5100
Emergency After-HoursTelephone: +(359) (2) 937-5101
Fax: +(359) (2) 937-5209
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 citizen minors, Bulgarian-U.S. dual citizen minors, and U.S. citizen minors when one or both parents are Bulgarian.
· If a dual U.S.-Bulgarian minor travels on a Bulgarian and a U.S. passport, a declaration to leave Bulgaria in NOT required. If you fail to present the properly notarized and/or apostilled declaration, Bulgarian authorities will not allow you to depart the country with the child. The U.S. Embassy is unable to intervene in such circumstances.
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, and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 very difficult for disabled individuals. Buses, trams, and trolleys generally lack accommodation for disabled travelers. The Sofia metro is the most accessible system for disabled individuals, but its transportation network is limited. Disabled travelers should consider traveling with a friend or family member who can assist them in navigating the transportation systems in Bulgaria.
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 with rates higher than the United States and European Union, but Bulgaria has lower rates than most of its neighbors and has a rather low rate of multidrug resistant tuberculosis.
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 http://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”.