Bulgaria and the European Union’s Common Visa Policy
Since 1 January 2007 the Republic of Bulgaria has been applying the European Union’s Common Visa
Policy, subject to the terms of the Accession Treaty.
According to Article 4 of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Bulgaria
and Romania, the provisions of the Schengen acquis specified in Annex ІІ to that Act shall be
binding on and applicable in the Republic of Bulgaria from the date of accession (1 January 2007),
while the rest shall be applicable from the date of the Council’s decision on Bulgaria’s accession
to the Schengen area.
Bulgaria and the Schengen Area
Joining the Schengen area is a key priority of our country. The Bulgarian government is highly
committed to fulfilling one of the key national priorities – Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen
area. A well-functioning coordination between ministries and institutions has been established to
this end on political and expert level.
The efforts in the preparation process have been focused on meeting the high Schengen standards and
securing reliable external borders.
In order to meet the Schengen criteria Bulgaria undertook all necessary actions in view of
harmonizing immediately the national to the European law, updating our international base of
treaties, providing the relevant state-of-the-art technical equipment and infrastructure and
enhancing the administrative capacity whereby our country uses the best practice of the EU member
Currently Bulgaria issues national visas only. Those visas do not give their holders the right to
enter the Schengen area.
Visa-free regime for holders of Schengen visas for a stay of up to 90 days
On 25 January 2012 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a decision according
to which by the date of Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area, our country will unilaterally
apply a visa-free system for holders of valid Schengen visas. They will have the right to enter and
reside in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of no more than three months in any
six-month period from the date of the first entry, without needing to have a Bulgarian
short-stay visa. The decision entered into force on 31.01.2012.
Council Regulation (EC) № 539/2001 of 15.03.2001
Since the date of its accession to the EU in 2007, Bulgaria has been applying Council Regulation (EC)
№ 539/2001 of 15.03.2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas
when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement.
More information about the Visa Regime for foreigners with ordinary passports for a short stay (until
90 days) you can obtain HERE.
More information about the Visa Regime for foreigners with diplomatic and service passports you can