The brightest Holidays are coming only after a few days, but the Bulgarian immigration authorities are as furious as ever. Any non compliance with the norms of the Bulgarian Law for the Foreigners are being punishes mercilessly under art. 20 of the said Law:

Art. 20 of the Foreigners Law

The issuance of a visa or entry into Bulgaria of a foreigner shall be refused when (the foreigner):

  1. by his actions has endangered or may endanger the international relations, security or the interests of the Bulgarian state or for whom there is evidence that it is acting against national security;
    1a. there is data that he commits, incites, participates in the preparation, assistance or training for the performance of terrorist activity or that the purpose of its entry is uses the country as a transit point to a third country on whose territory to perform these actions;
  2. with his actions he has discredited the Bulgarian state or has damaged the prestige and the dignity of the Bulgarian people or their entry into the country may damage the relations of the Republic of Bulgaria with another state;
  3. there is information that he is a member of a criminal group or organization or that he commits or intends to commit smuggling and illegal transactions with weapons, explosives substances, ammunition, pyrotechnic articles, strategic raw materials, dual-use items and technologies, as well as illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and precursors and raw materials for their production;
  4. information is available that he carries out human trafficking and illegal migration (of people) in or out of the country;
  5. has been expelled from the Republic of Bulgaria not less than 10 years ago and has not reimbursed within 6 months from the expulsion the funds spent for that by the state;
  6. has been convicted of an intentional crime committed on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, which according to Bulgarian law shall be punished by not less than one year of imprisonment;
  7. has made an attempt to enter the country or to pass through it through use of false or forged documents, visa or residence permit;
  8. it can be assumed that it will spread a serious contagious disease, suffer from a disease which, according to the criteria of the Ministry of Health or the World Health Organization, poses a threat to public health, or does not have a vaccination certificate, or comes from an area with a complicated epidemic and epizootic situation;
  9. does not have provided maintenance and the necessary compulsory insurances during his stay in the country and means, providing an opportunity for his return;
  10. information is available that in the last two years he has violated the border, passport-visa, currency or customs regime of the Republic of Bulgaria;
  11. during previous residence has violated the labor or tax legislation of the country;
  12. there are no visas or tickets for the next countries on the route;
  13. a coercive administrative measure has not been imposed on the person not to enter the country;
  14. is included in the information file of the foreigners undesirable for the country under Art. 21a, para. 1;
  15. N/A
  16. is applying for a visa with an irregular passport or a travel document replacing it;
  17. fails to reliably prove the purpose and conditions of the declared residence or transit, or airport transit;
  18. has already resided on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for 90 days within the last 180 days as a holder of a short-term visa residence or under the conditions of visa-free regime for short-term residence;
  19. is a person for whom a signal has been submitted to the Schengen Information System for refusal of entry;
  20. during a previous residence in the country has systematically committed violations of public order;
  21. there is evidence that the purpose of entry is to reside in the country as an immigrant without a special permit;
  22. there is evidence that the purpose of its entry is to use the country as a transit point for migration to a third country;
  23. has submitted a document with incorrect content or has declared incorrect data;
  24. there are reasonable doubts as to the authenticity of the attached documents for issuance of a visa, the truthfulness of their content, the reliability of the statements by the foreigner or his intention to leave the country within the permitted period of residence;
  25. a coercive administrative measure under Art. 41, unless voluntary return is allowed.
    (2) In the cases under para. 1, a visa may be issued or entry may be allowed on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for humanitarian reasons or when this is required by the state interest or by the fulfillment of international obligations.

Subjectivity all around

As you can see, the majority of the articles are extremely subjective. The Bulgarian authorities have basically all the power in their hands to refuse visa or entry of a foreigner into Bulgaria. But while many of the articles will or will be not applied, p.18 is compulsory (imperative).

Overstay will result in future denial of entry into Bulgaria

The nature of Art.10 is imperative. The wording of the law (The issuance of a visa or entry into Bulgaria of a foreigner shall be refused) is such that the authorities WILL deny entry or visa issuance. Not that the immigration office MAY deny entry or visa. This is why breaking any immigration law may have very harsh consequences.

P.18 of Art.10 of the Foreigners Law

In short, if you overstay your visa, you will be denied another visa and will be not able to visit Bulgaria.

If you overstay you visa-free stay (usually 90 days), you will be denied entry to Bulgaria.

Harsh? Sure. But the immigration laws are tough.

Exceptions to the general rule

There are certain exceptions to the legal texts so even if you have overstayed, you can still get around and maintain your legal status in Bulgaria. You will be still able to visit again or obtain another visa, but only if you are pro-active and know what you are doing.

If your visa is about to expire or has already expired, please liaise with our office asap. The same applies if you have overstayed your 90 visa-free days.


  1. Art 20 section 8 seems to be demanding that potential applicants for visa D be vaccinated against “SARS Cov-2”
    Is not having the covid vaccination grounds for refusal of visa?

    1. Author

      Hello Tim,
      Could you please reference the law or other legal document you are referring to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *