For holders of diplomatic and official passports:
A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days
For holders of national passports and other travel documents:
A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days
Holders of emergency travel documents in transit require a visa
ENTRY REGIME FOR CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Passengers arriving from Serbia are admitted to the territory of the country without the need to present documents for COVID-19.
ENTERING AND LEAVING THE COUNTRY
Citizens of the Republic of Serbia may enter Bulgaria ― an EU member state ― if they have a travel document issued in the past ten years and valid for at least three months after the planned date of leaving the country.
Holders of biometric passports of the Republic of Serbia do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days during a period of six months. The visa-free regime does not apply to holders of travel documents of the Republic of Serbia issued by the Coordination Directorate of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, nor to holders of emergency travel documents in transit.
Bulgaria does not allow entry to its territory to citizens of third countries who have an entry ban issued by one or several Schengen countries. Those currently within Bulgaria’s territory, with an imposed entry ban, will be removed from the country.
When entering the country, the competent bodies may request evidence of possession of sufficient funds for staying in Bulgaria. Sufficient funds are considered to be EUR 50 per day of stay (evidence could be cash in this amount, a bank account statement of available balance, traveller's cheques, credit cards, proof of paid accommodation), plus an additional EUR 200 if travelling by car.
When entering or leaving the country, funds of up EUR 10,000 (or corresponding value in another currency) in cash or other payment instruments need not be declared in writing to the customs. However, amounts of EUR 10,000 or over must be declared to the customs, by filling out the Declaration on Funds and submitting it to the officer at the customs point where the person is entering or leaving the territory of Bulgaria. In that case, travellers must go through the so-called red corridor of the customs point. Persons under 16 years of age will have the adult person travelling with them declare funds on their behalf.
When crossing the Bulgarian state border, jewellery made of precious metals and/or jewels exceeding a certain amount are also to be declared.
Special regulations apply when taking out 20,000 lev or more (or the corresponding value in another currency) from Bulgaria.
Without payment of customs fees and taxes, a traveller from a third country (country outside the EU) may bring into Bulgaria goods for personal or family needs, or as a gift, as follows: 1) a traveller crossing the land border ― up to a value of EUR 300 (or corresponding value in Bulgarian lev); 2) a traveller crossing the air or maritime border ― up to a value of EUR 430 (or corresponding value in Bulgarian lev).
In addition to the above goods, all travellers over 17 years of age may bring into the country, without payment of customs fees or taxes, certain quantities of the following:
Tobacco products: a) travellers crossing the border by air ― 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; b) travellers crossing the land and maritime border ― 40 cigarettes or 10 cigars or 20 cigarillos or 50 grams of smoking tobacco. A traveller may any of the tobacco products bring into the country, but their total amount may not exceed the permitted limit (e.g. a traveller crossing the air border may bring 50 cigarillos and 25 cigars into the country).
Alcohol and alcoholic beverages. 1 litre of alcohol and alcoholic beverages stronger than 22% or 2 litres of alcohol and alcoholic beverages with less than 22% of alcohol and another 4 litres of non-sparkling wine and 16 litres of beer. Any combination of alcohol and alcoholic beverages per passenger, with the exception of non-sparkling wine and beer, may not exceed the permitted limit (e.g. the traveller may bring into the country half a litre of alcohol with over 22% of alcohol and 1 litre of alcohol with less than 22% of alcohol).
Pets (dogs, cats) brought into Bulgaria for non-commercial purposes must be permanently marked in accordance with the regulation on labelling animals (microchipped) and must have their passport, filled out and issued by an authorised veterinarian, containing data on vaccination and revaccination.
The fee for driving on Bulgarian roads (road toll) is paid by purchasing an electronic vignette. It is recommended to purchase an e-vignette immediately upon crossing the border, at the sales point located immediately after the customs ramp, on the left side, which is always open.
Irregularities in the work of the customs service may be reported to the so-called Service Desk in one of the following ways:
1) as a registered user of the Service Desk (through https://servicedesk.customs.bg),
2) by e-mail to: ServiceDesk@customs.bg, or 3) by telephone: 02/98 59 49 80
The Bilateral Agreement on Social Security does not cover all healthcare costs. According to the Agreement, a person staying in Bulgaria as a tourist and having a certified Serbian (national) health card only has the right to emergency medical assistance as required by their health state, to eliminate immediate danger to life and health.
If you require emergency medical assistance in Bulgaria, but prior to travelling you did not obtain the SRB/BG 111 certificate (Certificate on the right to in-kind benefits during a temporary stay in Bulgaria), you may request the healthcare institution to issue you with this certificate, under the prescribed procedure, through the Bulgarian national health insurance fund (NZOK), or you may refer them to the Serbian Embassy to obtain the necessary information. The certificate is issued by the competent branch of the Health Insurance Fund of the Republic of Serbia, based on the place of residence of the insured person in Serbia. It is recommended, due to the urgency, to conduct the communication between the two countries’ funds by e-mail, and to have the original documentation subsequently delivered by mail.
Since, according to Bulgarian regulations, the costs of expendable materials (such as prosthesis, implants, various aids, most often needed during surgery) are to be borne by the patient, Bulgarian hospitals insist on advance payments of these costs (which may be very high). At the moment, there is no legal basis for the Serbian Health Insurance Fund to refund such expenses upon return to Serbia. For that reason, you are advised to take out a health insurance prior to travel.
It is also recommended to call the emergency services (for an ambulance) at the 112 number, and to request to be sent to a hospital which is in the NZOK system to avoid paying the costs of emergency medical assistance.
HEALTH SITUATION — Serbian citizens who do not have a valid health insurance card in Serbia, pay for the medical services received, as per the price list of the given healthcare institution. The best healthcare institutions are the University Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment and Emergency Medicine ‘N.I. Pirogov’ (MHATEM, address: Totleben Boulevard 21, 1606 Sofia, telephone operator: 02 915 44 11, 02 952 11 61, emergency assistance: 02 915 42 13, www.pirogov.eu), and the Military Medical Academy (address: St. Georgi Sofiyski 3, 1606 Sofia, telephone number: 02 922 60 00, www.vma.bg).
SECURITY SITUATION — There are no serious threats to visitor safety in Bulgaria, but caution should be exercised due to the risk of thefts. Visitors are advised to leave their vehicles on parking lots under surveillance (particularly those with video surveillance) and to always lock them. However, under no circumstance should bags with personal documents, mobile telephones, electronic devices, valuables or money, or other items of value be left inside the vehicles (not in the trunk, not on the seat of the vehicle, and particularly not in the parking lot in front of Jumbo on the road from Sofia to the border). Such items should always be carried on one’s person, protected and kept safe.
Thefts should always be reported at the nearest police station and a certificate (a written confirmation) of the reported theft should be requested. If citizens of the Republic of Serbia have their travel documents stolen, it is only on the basis of such a police certificate that the Serbian Embassy will be able to issue them an emergency travel document for return to Serbia.
Since police stations often do not have certified court interpreters for the Serbian language, they accept it if the person reporting the theft hires a Bulgarian national who speaks Serbian. Alternatively, if the Serbian citizens who were victims of theft also speak English, they may request the police to hire an interpreter for the English language.
Although seismic activity is increased across 98 percent of the Bulgarian territory, for the moment no serious consequences of earthquakes have been registered, likely due to compliance with the prescribed norms in the construction of buildings.
TRANSPORT — The international airports are in Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas and Varna. Maritime ports: Varna and Burgas. The Danube ports: Ruse, Lom, Vidin, Silistra, etc. Railway lines connect tourist destinations on the Black Sea with the capital, along with all major settlements in the country.
Motorways in the country connect Sofia to the Black Sea, as well as the border with Turkey, Greece, and Serbia. Some of them have been completed (A1 and A4), others have been mostly built (A2, A3 and A6) or they are at the early stages of construction (A5):
A1 ― Motorway Trakija (part of Corridor 8) from Sofia to Burgas,
A2 ― Motorway Hemus, from Sofia to Varna,
A3 ― Motorway Struma, from Sofia to the border crossing Kulata (with Greece),
A4 ― Motorway Marica, connecting MW Trakija (transport node Orizovo) with the border crossing Kapital Andreevo (with Turkey),
A5 ― Motorway Cherno More, from Varna to Burgas,
A6 ― Motorway Europe, from Sofia to the border crossing Kalotina.
Traffic rules and road signals in Bulgaria are in line with the European standards, thus talking on a mobile telephone is only permitted using a hands-free system and it is mandatory by law to drive with the headlights on. Violation of certain traffic rules carries a fine as well as a measure of temporary revocation of the driver’s licence for one month, and/or temporary removal of the vehicle from traffic (for the same duration) which, in practice, leads to the confiscation of the vehicle registration papers.
According to Bulgarian regulations, it is prohibited to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, with the concentration of alcohol in blood exceeding 0.5 permilles, and/or after the use of narcotics or their analogues. Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol with the concentration of alcohol in blood up to 1.2 permilles constitutes a misdemeanour, and above 1.2 permilles constitutes a criminal offence. Regular control of drivers and tests for the presence of alcohol and narcotics are performed on Bulgarian roads.
A green card and an international driving permit are not necessary to drive in Bulgaria. Driving a motor vehicle requires a national driver’s licence and vehicle registration papers. During/for a temporary stay in Bulgaria, the driver’s licence of the Republic of Serbia issued on the new form is accepted. . A provisional driving license issued by competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia, is not recognized on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Citizens of the Republic of Serbia who have a regulated residence in the Republic of Bulgaria may exchange their Serbian driver’s licence for a Bulgarian one without re-taking the driving test.
The following speed limits for passenger vehicles (B category) apply in Bulgaria: 50 km/h in settlements, 90 km/h outside settlements, 140 km/h on a motorway, and 120 km/h on the so-called rapid road.
An electronic vignette (for more information, go to: www.bgtoll.bg) can be purchased online, through a mobile application, through a self-service terminal or at the cashiers in commercial facilities or petrol stations, as well as in regional administration offices of the Road Infrastructure Agency. Driving without a purchased e-vignette is a misdemeanour sanctionable by Bulgarian law (payment of a compensatory fee and a fine). Road traffic is controlled by reading vehicle licence plates, with the use of approximately 300 fixed cameras along the roads and mobile cameras in approximately 105 patrol vehicles. At the country exit, the customs authorities perform a mandatory check to verify whether the road toll had been paid, i.e. an e-vignette purchased, for the vehicle leaving the country.
OTHER — The local currency in Bulgaria is the lev (BGN). To avoid potential fraud, exchange money only in authorised places. Exchange offices and banks offer better exchange rates than hotels.
Hotels, restaurants, hypermarkets, larger shops, and petrol stations accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards, whereas smaller shops mainly accept cash only.
Travellers to Bulgaria should be aware of the one-hour time difference (+1 hour) in Bulgaria. The international calling code for Bulgaria is 00 359 (+359), whereas the internet domain is ‘.bg’.
The single number for all emergencies (police, ambulance, fire brigade) is 112.
Registration of foreigners’ residence is done in writing at the department of administrative control of foreigners or at the police station covering the territory in which the foreigner resides. The obligation of registering a foreigner’s residence falls on the natural or legal person providing accommodation to the foreigner, and the registration must be done within three days of starting to provide the accommodation, and in the case of hotels, by 06:00 hours the very following day.
Contact details of the Bulgarian border police and customs service:
1) Главна дирекция Гранична полиция (Chief Directorate of the Border Police), 1202 София (Sofia), бул. Мария Луиза 46 (Maria Luisa Boulevard), telephone number: 02 983 18 65, fax: 02 988 58 67 (line open 08:30−17:30) and 02 982 53 90 (line open 17:30−08:30), e-mail: email@example.com, website: https://www.mvr.bg/gdgp.
For more information, visit the Tourist Portal of Bulgaria, http://www.bulgariatravel.org.
During your stay in the Republic of Bulgaria, for consular assistance and protection you may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Sofia, at the following telephone number: 00 359 2 946 16 33 (35), or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.