The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:
- the whole of Bulgaria based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
A temporary travel ban on all passengers arriving from the UK, travelling for non-essential purposes, remains in force. There are some limited exemptions to this ban but, if they apply to you, you must carry with you the correct documentation to satisfactorily demonstrate that you qualify for an exemption. Additionally, those exempt from the travel ban must show a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival in Bulgaria (undertaken up to 72 hours before arrival) although some travellers can opt for a quarantine of 10 days on arrival in lieu of a PCR test. Please see Entry requirements.
Travel to Bulgaria is subject to entry restrictions
- UK nationals and other non-Bulgarian nationals arriving from the UK continue to be denied entry to Bulgaria for non-essential purposes due to an ongoing Ordinance from the Bulgarian Ministry of Health and EU-wide COVID-19 restrictions which bans travel from the UK.
- Exemptions include travel by Bulgarian Citizens and their non-Bulgarian immediate family members, and by British and third-country nationals legally resident in Bulgaria and their immediate family members who ordinarily reside with them. Even if you are able to board a flight or other form of transport to Bulgaria, you will need to show proof of residency with a valid visa or residency permit or equivalent document and proof of relationship status upon arrival to Bulgaria. Failure to do so could result in denial of entry and a requirement to return to the UK at your own expense.
- The temporary travel ban imposed by the Ordinance remains in place at all air, road, rail and sea border crossings into Bulgaria.
- The ban is currently expected to remain in place until 31 January.
- All arrivals to Bulgaria from the UK, with some very limited exceptions, are required to provide evidence of a PCR test with a negative result undertaken up-to 72 hours before arrival. Bulgarian citizens, residents and their immediate family members may opt to undertake a 10-day official quarantine period upon arrival to Bulgaria in lieu of taking a PCR test.
- The 10-day quarantine period or requirement to provide evidence of a negative PCR test result does not apply to hauliers and others in transit by road through Bulgaria, and crew members of vessels and aircraft.
- You may also be subject to quarantine measures if arriving from or via another country.
- Many land border crossings in the region are also restricted or closed for passenger traffic.
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.
Preparing for your return journey to the UK
If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:
Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.
If you’re planning travel to Bulgaria, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Sporadic protests occur across Bulgaria. You should avoid all protests, keep up to date with media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities. Such protests can become violent without warning and are best avoided. There are currently ongoing protests against the Government in Sofia city centre around the National Assembly and President’s buildings that should be avoided.
Be aware of pickpockets, bag thefts and street attacks on visitors in city centres and coastal resorts especially in crowded areas like buses, trains and busy streets. There has been an increase in thefts on the bus from Nessebar to Sunny Beach. Keep valuables in a safe. See Crime
There are regular reports of robberies and threatening behaviour by taxi drivers in Sunny Beach. There has also been an increase in the number of unlicensed taxis from Sofia airport overcharging passengers. If you’re travelling from the airport, make sure you take an official, licensed taxi. There is an official taxi rank in the arrivals hall. See Local travel
Terrorist attacks in Bulgaria can’t be ruled out. On 30 December 2016, the Bulgarian authorities announced heightened security measures in all cities, winter ski resorts, and places where large gatherings are expected. See Terrorism
There have been reports of holidaymakers being encouraged to submit a claim for personal injury if they have experienced gastric illness during their stay. You can find more information about the action you can take if you have suffered a personal injury on the Citizens Advice website. You should only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness. If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Bulgaria.
If you’re living in or moving to Bulgaria, visit our Living in Bulgaria guide in addition to this travel advice.
If you need to contact the emergency services in Bulgaria call 112. English speaking operators are available. See Health
Carry a copy of the information pages of your passport at all times as proof of identity.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.