Bulgaria’s Health Ministry announced on November 30 travel restrictions on inbound travellers that will be in force between December 1 and January 31 2021.
The restrictions include a long list of exemptions – Bulgarian nationals, citizens of EU member states and Schengen visa-free travel area countries, the United Kingdom, persons with permanent residence permits in Bulgaria and other EU member states, the Schengen area or the UK. Family members of nationals from EU member states, the Schengen area and UK are also covered by the exemptions.
Additionally, nationals of a number of third countries are excluded from the travel restrictions: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Israel, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Tunisia, Rwanda, Uruguay, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Family members of such nationals are not covered by the exemptions.
A number of professions are also excluded from the travel restrictions, including medical professionals, scientists and social workers travelling for work-related reasons, transportation sector personnel, seasonal agriculture and tourism sector workers, border workers, state officials and trade representatives, organisers and participants in cultural or sports events.
All the persons exempted from the restrictions can also transit through Bulgaria, provided their “immediate departure” can be guaranteed, the Health Ministry’s order said.
All the persons covered by the exemptions can enter Bulgaria without needing to present a negative PCR test for coronavirus, if their departure point is another country in the EU or Schengen area, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Rwanda, Uruguay, Georgia, Belarus or Serbia.
If travelling from any other country, a negative PCR test for coronavirus, done in the 72 hours before entering Bulgaria is required.
An exception is made for Bulgarian nationals and holders of permanent residence permits who arrive from these countries without a negative PCR test. They are required to self-isolate for 10 days but the quarantine can be lifted by the regional health inspectorate if the persons in question have a negative PCR test result after arriving in Bulgaria.
A number of travellers are exempt from the PCR test requirement – Bulgarian, EU and British nationals travelling for humanitarian reasons or as part of trade missions, bus and lorry drivers on international routes, aircraft crews and Bulgarian nationals serving on ships, medical professionals and people involved in the delivery of medical goods, foreign officials and their staff, as well as border workers.
A PCR test is not required for people who are only transiting Bulgaria.