Unused Schengen Visas No Longer Valid for Entry To Bulgaria

Unused Schengen Visas No Longer Valid for Entry To Bulgaria

In a move aimed at bolstering its immigration control measures, Bulgaria has recently implemented a more stringent visa policy and affects visitors with a Schengen visa.

Under Bulgarian visa policy, foreign nationals who hold a valid Schengen visa do not need a Bulgarian tourist visa to visit the country. But this has changed since 25 April 2023. In line with the revised visa policy, any foreign visitor who holds a valid Schengen visa but has not used it to enter a Schengen member state prior to reaching Bulgaria will not be permitted entry to the country.

“Holders of a double or multiple entry Schengen visa are only entitled to enter the Republic of Bulgaria if the double or multiple entry Schengen visa has been used at least once to enter a Schengen country,” the statement of the Bulgarian embassy reads.

This means that all those who have just recently obtained a Schengen visa from any of the issuing countries will have to make an entry to any of the 27 member countries or the issuing country in order to be allowed entry to Bulgaria.

Authorities stated that this new rule implementation will help establish stronger security at the international borders. This visa policy will also help in aiming to put an end to illegal immigration. 

Do You Need A Tourist Visa To Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a European Union country thus EU/EEA nationals can stay in the country for up to 90 days. The country also applies a visa-free system for holders of valid visas and residence permits issued by Romania and Cyprus for a stay of up to 90 days.

Although Bulgaria is not a Schengen member, it applies a visa-free system for holders of valid double or multiple-entry Schengen visas. 

The holders of Schengen visas have the right to stay for a period of validity of their Schengen visas and permitted duration of stay, but no more than three months in any sixth-month period from the date of first entry. Any time you spend in Bulgaria does not affect the number of days you spend in the Schengen area.

Holders of passports issued by over 90 different countries such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, are exempt from visa requirements for Bulgaria.

The following countries need to apply for a tourist visa to enter Bulgaria.

AngolaGuinea-BissauNorth Korea
BahrainIndiaPalestinian Territory
BangladeshIndonesiaPapua New Guinea
BhutanIvory CoastRussia
BotswanaJordanSao Tome and Principe
Burkina FasoKazakhstanSaudi Arabia
CambodiaKosovoSierra Leone
Cape VerdeKyrgyzstanSouth Africa
Central Africa RepublicLaosSuriname
Congo (Dem. Rep.)LibyaTajikistan
Congo (Rep.)MadagascarTanzania
Dominican RepublicMaliTunisia
Equatorial GuineaMoroccoUganda

Have you visited Bulgaria? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

Check out the deals we have found below and tell us your travel plans.

Check out the offers and discounts from:

And because of the pandemic, don’t forget to get your travel insurance, which will cover you for flight disruptions and pandemic related matters.

IaM can help with your visa application to Europe, the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

Some of our posts include affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of these products, we might get a small commission. For more information, check out our TOS.


Leave a Reply