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1. Entry, stay and work of Foreigners in Bulgaria

Foreigners residing in Bulgaria on legal grounds have all rights and obligations under the Bulgarian Constitution, except those for which Bulgarian citizenship is required.


Citizens of the European Union

EU citizens do not need a visa to stay in Bulgaria. They may enter and leave the territory of Bulgaria with an identity card or passport for up to three months. When the conditions of EU law are met, EU citizens may reside in Bulgaria for longer than five years or permanently, for the purpose of which a certificate is issued.


Third-country nationals

Third-country nationals have the right to a transit through the territory of Bulgaria without a visa under the terms and conditions set by EU legislation. When an agreement between the EU and a third country is in force on the conditions for issuance of a visa, entry and residence of nationals of that country, the procedures under the respective agreement apply.


Foreigners may reside in Bulgaria for short-term periods (90 days from the date of entry), continuous stay (1 year), long-term (with an initial authorized period of 5 years and renewable) and permanently – for an indefinite period.


Among the foreigners who can obtain continuous residence permit are:

  • Persons who engage in commercial activity in the country, by means of which at least 10 jobs for Bulgarian citizens have been opened;
  • Foreign specialists staying in the country under international treaties;
  • Representatives of foreign companies.


Among the foreigners who can obtain a permanent resident status are:

  • Persons who have invested or increased their investment over BGN 1 million through acquisition of:
    • shares in Bulgarian companies traded on the Bulgarian regulated market;
    • bonds and treasury bills as well as derivative instruments issued by the state or municipalities, with a residual maturity of not less than 6 months;
    • ownership of assets of a Bulgarian company with more than 50% state or municipal participation in the capital in accordance with the Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act;
    • state or municipal shares owned of a Bulgarian company in accordance with the Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act;
    • Bulgarian intellectual property;
    • rights under concession contracts operating in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  • Persons who have invested over BGN 1 million over 1 million in Bulgarian licensed credit institution for a period of not less than 5 years;
  • Persons who have invested at least BGN 6 million in the capital of a Bulgarian company whose shares are not traded on a regulated market;
  • Persons who have received a certificate for class investment / priority investment project.

Among the foreigners who do not require work permits are:

  • Foreigners with long-term or permanent residence in Bulgaria;
  • Managers of companies or branches of foreign entities;
  • Members of boards of directors of companies who do not work under an employment relationship;
  • Commercial representatives of foreign companies.


Stay and work of third-country nationals

Short-term stay (up to 90 days)

  • On the basis of work permit, except for certain cases, e.g. :
  • persons managing business companies/branches of foreign legal entities;
  • members of managing boards and boards of directors of business companies who are not employed under an employment contract;
  • family members of a foreigner holding a long-stay permit;
  • family members of EU nationals, etc.

Long-term stay (up to 1 year)

Long-term stay (5 years with an extension option)

Under the procedures for Bulgarian nationals (without work permit) unless there are any additional requirements in respect of the particular work set by a regulatory document.

Residence (unlimited period)


Issue of work permits

Competent authority

  • National Employment Agency


  • The employer submits the required documents to the Employment Service Directorate according to the foreigner's place of work.
  • The administration may require additional documents to certify the satisfaction of the conditions.
  • The Employment Service Directorate shall send the documents to the executive director of the National Employment Agency accompanied by an opinion on the request.
  • The executive director of the National Employment Agency shall take a decision whether to issue or refuse to issue a permit.

Required documents

  • Fixed form request and statement;
  • Reasons for the request;
  • Three photographs of the foreigner;
  • Certified copy of the registration document or ID code proving the employer's identity;
  • Legalized documents evidencing the foreigner's education, specialty, legal capacity and/or acquired professional qualification, skills and experience;
  • Report by the employer on the foreigners working for the latter;
  • Report on the average staff employed under employment contracts for the previous 12 months;
  • Employment contract;
  • Other documents related to the specifics of the job and required by a regulatory documents;
  • Copy of a valid document for travelling abroad with a validity term no shorter than 7 months;
  • Regarding senior management staff and experts of a foreign legal entity: official legalized document certifying the job occupied by the foreigner in the structure of the foreign legal entity in the last 12 months.


  • 3 days from filing of the documents they are sent to the National Employment Agency;
  • The executive director of the National Employment Agency takes a decision within 1 month