UK nationals who have been legally living in Bulgaria before December 31, 2020 when the UK withdraws from the EU may continue to live, study, and work in Bulgaria through rights established through the Withdrawal Agreement. UK nationals who are residents of Bulgaria by the end of the Brexit transition will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and their rights will be protected if they remain a resident. UK nationals should make sure they are registered as residents.
Entry and Residency Requirements
New residency requirements will apply to UK nationals after the Brexit transition. Starting on January 1, 2021, all UK nationals who are residing in Bulgaria must obtain a new residency permit. They must apply for a new residency permit by December 31, 2021 at the latest or before then if their current residency permit expires sooner. Individuals who do not obtain a new residency permit before the deadline may be fined, but their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will not change.
UK nationals who have not yet applied for Bulgarian residency, or who move to Bulgaria before January 1, 2021 must apply for residency at the nearest Migration Directorate office. They will receive the new residency permit, even if they apply before the end of 2020. UK nationals who are applying for a new residence permit after moving to Bulgaria, or those who are applying for a new permit before December 31, 2021, must furnish a passport and supporting documentation showing that they are employed or studying in Bulgaria, or that they are financially independent and have health insurance. Dependents and family members can join UK nationals in Bulgaria if the UK national meets at least one of the criteria above.
UK nationals and their dependents who have lived in Bulgaria for five consecutive years or more can apply for a permanent residency permit through the Migration Directorate.
The Bulgarian government will provide additional details as available for UK citizens who want to move to the country after the Brexit transition.
Starting on January 1, 2021, individuals can travel for up to 90 days in a 180-day period in the Schengen area without a visa for tourism purposes. Individuals who are traveling for other reasons, including work, study, business travel, or longer stays, must meet Bulgarian entry requirements.
Working in Bulgaria
UK nationals who are residents in Bulgaria before December 31, 2020 will retain their rights to work if they remain residents.
Residents should note that a UK criminal records check, called a DBS check, may be required for some jobs. Residents can request a Bulgarian criminal records certificate from the Judicial Records Register from a Bulgarian Regional Court or the Ministry of Justice.
Starting in January 2021, individuals who live in Bulgaria and commute to work in another EU/EFTA country may need to have a permit showing that they are a frontier worker.
UK nationals can continue to travel to Bulgaria and other Schengen countries through December 31, 2020 with their current UK passports, provided the passport is valid for the duration of their stay. UK nationals can apply for a new passport from Bulgaria.
Starting on January 1, 2021, a valid passport is required to enter or exit the country. Passports must have at least a six-month validity, except for individuals transiting Bulgaria or who fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. Individuals must renew their passport prior to traveling if they have less than six months remaining on their passport.