Schengen Area

General information
Bulgaria and the Common European Union Visa Policy
The Republic of Bulgaria applies the Common European Union's Visa Policy under the terms of the Accession Treaty as of 1 January 2007.
According to Art. (4) of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania, the provisions of the Schengen acquis referred to in Annex II to the Act are binding and applicable in the Republic of Bulgaria as from the date of accession (1 January 2007) will be applied from the date of the Council decision on our accession to the Schengen Area.
Bulgaria and the Schengen area
Accession to the Schengen Area is a top priority for our country.
The Bulgarian Government is strongly committed to implementing one of the main national priorities - Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Area. A well-functioning coordination between ministries and agencies involved at both political and expert levels has been set up to implement it.
In the process of preparation, efforts are directed at achieving high Schengen standards and securing reliable external borders.
In order to meet the Schengen criteria, all necessary actions have been taken to timely align national legislation with the European legislation, update our internationally contractual legal base, provide the necessary modern technical equipment and infrastructure and strengthen the administrative capacity, best practices of EU Member States.
Currently, Bulgaria issues only national visas that do not grant entry into the Schengen area.
Visa-free regime for holders of Schengen visas for up to 90 days
From January 25, 2012, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria decided to unilaterally apply a visa-free regime to the holders of valid Schengen visas until the date of their full accession to the Schengen Area. They shall have the right to enter and reside in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for a period not exceeding three months within each six-month period from the date of first entry without the need for a Bulgarian short-stay visa. The Decision entered into force on 31.01.2012.
From the date of accession to the EU in 2007, Bulgaria started implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15.03.2001. It establishes the visa regime vis-à-vis third countries whose nationals are required to hold a visa are exempted from the visa requirement when crossing the external borders of the Member States


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