1. General principles
The legal status of foreign nationals in Bulgaria is governed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria Act (1998), the Regulation on the Application of the Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria Act (2011), the Ordinance on the Terms and Procedure for Issuing Visas and Determination of the Visa Regime (2011), Law on Entry, Residence and Departure of European Union Citizens and Members of Their Families from the Republic of Bulgaria (2007) and the Ordinance on the Terms and Procedure for Issuing of Work Permits to Foreign Nationals in Bulgaria (2002). Generally, the Bulgarian legislation concerning foreign citizens is in compliance with the EU acquis communautaire related to immigration policy. Effective from 31 January 2012, Bulgaria unilaterally applies the Schengen acquis.
The legal status of the citizens of any of the Member States of the European Union, the States which are parties to the European Economic Area Agreement and the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter “European citizens”) in Bulgaria is governed by the Law on Entry, Residence and Departure of European Union Citizens and Members of Their Families from the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as by the applicable Acts of the EU legislation.
European citizens who wish to enter and stay in Bulgaria do not need a visa. Foreigners are divided into two categories – such who must be in possession of visa when crossing the borders of the Republic of Bulgaria and such who are exempt from that requirement.
Visa requirements and the exemption of such requirements for Foreigners are governed by the EU legislation, agreements of the European Union with third countries for visa regime and the effective Bulgarian legislation.
Foreigners who wish to reside in Bulgaria on a long-term basis (in any case more than three months within each
six-month period) shall be issued residence permit. European citizens who intend to stay in Bulgaria longer than three months are issued residence certificates instead of residence permits.
Foreigners may work in Bulgaria only after obtaining a work permit, unless otherwise stipulated by the law.