The legal status of foreign nationals in Bulgaria is governed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Law for the Foreigner in the Republic of Bulgaria, the Regulation on the Application of the Law for the Foreigner in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Ordinance on Issuing Visas. Generally, the Bulgarian legislation concerning foreign citizens is in compliance with the EU aquis communautaire related to the immigration policy.

As from 1 January 2007 certain changes in the Bulgarian legislation concerning the status of the European citizens and a new definition of a “foreigner” were introduced by the Law for the Foreigner in the Republic of Bulgaria. As foreigners are considered all persons who are not citizens of any of the Member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter “Foreigners”).

As a result of this new definition of a foreigner, the Law for the Foreigner in the Republic of Bulgaria no longer applies to the status of the citizens of any of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter “European citizens”). Their legal status in Bulgaria is governed by the Law on entering, staying and leaving Bulgaria from the citizen of the European Union and the members of their families, as well as by the applicable Acts of the EU legislation.

European citizens who wish to enter and stay in Bulgaria do not need a visa. They enter and leave the country with an identity card or a passport. They can stay and reside in Bulgaria for a period up to three months starting from the date of their first entry without need to obtain any permits or certificates. On the other hand, the Foreigners whose status is governed by the Law for the foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria must obtain a visa before entering in Bulgaria unless they are subject to visa-waiver agreements.