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    Foreigners who are citizens of 46 specific countries (for example the EU-countries, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, etc.) can reside in Bulgaria without visas for a period of 90 days within a period of six months as from their first entry in the country, unless an international agreement provides for a different period (shorter or longer).  U.K citizen can reside in Bulgaria without visas for a period of 30 days. After the expiry of this period they must either :

* leave the country and enter again for another 90 days, but only if the previous six-month period has already expired (if the individuals spend the 90 days in Bulgaria before the expiry of the six months period and still wish to continue their stay in Bulgaria within these six months, they will have to obtain residence permits or visas, that is see below), or

* extend their residence requesting the issuance of a visa (a visa is issued for a period not longer than 12 months). However, even in case a multiple entry visa for 12 months is obtained by the individual, he/she will be allowed to stay in Bulgaria only up to 90 days at a time.

All other foreigners require a visa to enter the country.

    In order for an expatriate to reside in Bulgaria for longer than 90 days (in 12 months), he/she should obtain a residence permit from the police department as per the foreigner's address in Bulgaria.

    Unfortunately, in the common cases there are only a few possibilities for an expatriate to obtain a residence permit, including but not limited to:

* registration as a representative of a company where at least 10 Bulgarian citizens are employed
* obtaining a work permit prior to conclusion of an employment agreement with a Bulgarian employer
* being a foreign specialist sent to Bulgaria under an international agreement.

Points to note

    Business trip    Permissible for any foreigners to conduct preliminary meetings, but once work starts, a work permit is required.

    Concessions / special arrangements for particular nationalities    There are special visa arrangements for particular nationalities (approximately 46 countries).

    Generally, there are no special work permit arrangements (Bulgaria is a party to the Marrakech Agreement).

    Work permit    Required for all foreign employees employed in Bulgaria (not applicable to representatives of companies, for example, managing directors, executive directors, board members, etc.).

        Birth certificate required?    No.

        Academic certificates required?    Yes, for the issuance of a work permit.

        Police clearance required?    Registration of address with the relevant regional police department is required, unless the foreigner stays in a hotel. This registration should be made within 48 hours of the individual's arrival in the country.

        Timing    Approximately four weeks from the date of filing the application for a work permit and an additional 10 days for the issuance of a residence permit.

        Personal attendance at Embassy required?    Yes.

        Separate residence permit?    Yes.

        Registration at town hall in Bulgaria?    Yes.

        Application procedure    The process of obtaining work permits is one and the same for each foreign citizen.

        The process is started by filing a work permit application by the employer at the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour. Upon submission of the request from a Bulgarian employer for issuance of a work permit, the foreign individual should be overseas.

        Penalties for non-compliance    Both the foreign employee and the local employer can be subject to significant fines.

        Spouse work rights?    The spouse may apply separately for a work permit.

        All members of the family of a foreign individual who has already obtained a residence permit have the right to obtain residence permits as well.

        Separate application for family members?    Yes.

        Recognition of common law relationship?    No.

        Other issues    Bulgarian residence permits are administered by the regional departments of the Ministry of Inner Affairs and the Ministry of Labour.

        In view of the number of documents and procedures required by the respective authorities, we recommend the use of a relocation agent or consultant to deal with all registrations on each employee's behalf.


        It is possible to obtain a work permit and work in Bulgaria but this is normally arranged prior to arrival in Bulgaria.  If you have been offered work in Bulgaria you should make enquiries at the Bulgarian Consulate to obtain the required permit.  Working in Bulgaria without this permit is forbidden.


        For general details and information of the social security agreement between the UK and Bulgaria explaining National Insurance contributions and benefits visit


        United Kingdom retirement pension is payable in Bulgaria at the rate which is payable as if you were in the United Kingdom.


        There are government run and private hospitals in Bulgaria. It is advisable to take out private medical insurance cover to ensure you can obtain the level of treatment you require.  Costs of course will vary on the level of services required and covered.


        Any earnings from property lettings in Bulgaria are subject to tax in Bulgaria.  For tax issues and double taxation relief and for information on your tax liabilities look through: “Personal Income Tax Act “ and “Double Taxation Treaties” on web address:

Helpful information in Internet:

Law for the foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria

Telephone numbers of Bulgarian Embassy in  UK

0044 2075813144
0044 2075849400

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

186 Queen's Gate
Tel: (0044 20) 7584-9400; 7584-9433; 7584- 131-44
Fax: (0044 20) 7584-4948

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