Visas and Work Permits 7 min

Work permits and visas in Bulgaria: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
January 15, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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Companies that hire international employees reap certain benefits from global employment, such as increased team diversity, access to global opportunities, and the ability to find talent at competitive rates. However, international hiring does come with its share of obligations. To hire a candidate in Bulgaria, the employer must comply with all local labor laws and immigration regulations. 

With the rise of remote working, many countries have enforced immigration rules by mandating that all people working in the nation do so lawfully and with the correct visas. Individuals who intend to work in Bulgaria for the short or long term must have the appropriate visa and work permit.

This in-depth guide will explain the types of visas available to employees looking to work or relocate to Bulgaria. We’ll also take you through the process of applying for the visa, and how using an employer of record (EOR) can make immigration law compliance easy for globally expanding companies.

The importance of immigration compliance in Bulgaria

Employers must be aware of the legislation in each nation where employees will be working, whether permanently or temporarily. An employer must be familiar with Bulgarian immigration rules and regulations surrounding immigration, relocation, and how to obtain the type of visa an employee requires in various scenarios.

With the rise of remote work and an increasing number of digital nomads, governments are beginning to enforce their immigration rules for remote work. There are repercussions if an employee does not get the proper visa or overstays their visa. An employee, for example, might be penalized, deported, or barred from ever entering the country again.

Employers may also risk significant fines or the denial of future visa applications. Working with an employer of record like Remote can help ensure compliance with immigration laws.

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Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Bulgaria?

Individuals from the European Union (EU) and several other countries do not need a visa to work in Bulgaria and do not need any permits at all for the first three months. A certificate of residence is required of any workers from the EU if they intend to live and work in Bulgaria for longer than 90 days.

Employees who are not citizens of EU countries will need a visa to work in Bulgaria. Individuals from outside the EU may qualify for an EU Blue Card, which could let them enter and work in Bulgaria.

How is the Schengen Visa applicable?

The Schengen Visa is not applicable as Bulgaria is not in the Schengen zone. Employees living in an EU country wishing to enter and work in Bulgaria do not need a visa for up to 90 days.

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable?

The European Union Blue Card, also known as the EU Blue Card, is a residence and work permit for workers who are not from the EU or EEA. The EU Blue Card is supported by 25 European countries, including Bulgaria.

The EU Blue Card allows highly qualified individuals outside the EU to enter the EU to work. Applicants must have higher qualifications, such as a university degree, a high salary, travel documents, and an employment contract already in place.

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Bulgaria?

Non-EU or EEA citizens will need to get a Bulgarian work permit to be able to live in Bulgaria and work in the country. There are several types of visas.

What is Bulgaria’s Type A Visa?

The Type A Visa is a short-term transit visa that is issued to foreigners holding a regular passport from their country to temporarily stay in the airport zone to change planes. Holders of the Type A Visa are not entitled to leave the transit room. This visa is valid for three months.

What is Bulgaria’s Type C Visa?

The Type C Visa is the Bulgarian short-stay visa issued to foreigners for transit or a planned stay.

Type C visas can also be used for planned stays with an overall duration of 90 days every six months. The validity term of planned-stay visas is between one and five years.

What are the long-stay visa types in Bulgaria?

What is Bulgaria’s Type D Visa?

The Type D Visa is a long-stay visa in Bulgaria. This visa can be issued for six months or up to one year for certain applicants such as students or scientific researchers.

Requirements for the long-stay visa include having:

  • A home

  • Health insurance

  • Sufficient subsistence means at least the minimum wage

Applicants for the Type D visa must be interviewed personally in the Bulgarian embassy in their home country.

How do you get a work visa for Bulgaria?

Eligible applicants are foreigners who hold a travel document that expires three months after the date of departure from Bulgaria, has two blank pages, and has been issued within the past ten years.

There is a free application form that can be printed and filled out in either English or Bulgarian. The applicant will indicate on the application form the type of visa being requested and the purpose of the visit, and attach the required set of documents. 

Applications are submitted in person to a diplomat or consular representative of Bulgaria not earlier than three months from the date of the visit. Those seeking a Type D long-stay visa must attend a personal interview. Type A and Type C visas typically take 15 calendar days to process, while Type D visas typically take 35 calendar days to process.

Employees who want to relocate to Bulgaria may apply for the appropriate visas and, eventually, permanent residency. Remote can make moving easier.

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Bulgaria?

By sponsoring an employee, a company can guarantee to the government of a nation that their employee can legally live and work in that nation. To make the process of employee relocation smooth and stress-free, consider working with an employer of record who can handle the process for you. 

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria currently does not have a specific visa for digital nomads though digital nomads may apply for a long-stay Type D visa to live and work in Bulgaria. The steps to applying for work permits and visas for digital nomads are the same as the procedures and requirements listed above. 

How Remote makes compliance in Bulgaria so much easier

Employee relocation can be a difficult experience for both the employer and the employee. The company needs to make sure its team members have the proper work visa to work legally in the country. They’ll also have to learn how to stay compliant with employment laws, immigration regulations, and tax practices. 

Instead of spending time and resources to open a local entity in Bulgaria, meet immigration requirements, organize taxes, and set up employee management processes, companies can work with a reliable EOR. Remote can help you with every aspect of international employment including immigration, compliance, foreign payroll, and benefits.

Download Remote’s Relocation Guide for guidance and insights on how you can manage the process of employee relocation easily. Or contact our Mobility experts to learn how we can help you hire or relocate employees globally.

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