Caretaker Health Minister amends rules on admission to Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov has issued an order temporarily banning, as of May 19, entry to the country for people arriving from India and a number of other countries, with an exception for Bulgarian citizens and permanent residents, who on arrival must go into 10-day quarantine.

The temporary ban also applies to people arriving from Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Brazil and a number of countries and territories in Africa, with the same

exception for Bulgarian citizens and permanent residents and the same quarantine requirement.

The African countries to which the ban on entry to Bulgaria does not apply are Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Central African Republic, Gabon, “the Republic of the Congo” – the order does not specify whether the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo – Brazzaville or both is meant by that – Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar.

However, arrivals from that list of African countries are subject to a number of requirements before being admitted, through a number of options.

They may be admitted to Bulgaria if presenting a document proving a completed cycle of vaccination against Covid-19. This document must contain the names of the person in Latin script, matching the names in the travel document, the date of birth, dates on which the doses of vaccine were given, trade name and batch number of the vaccine, name of the manufacturer or holder of the marketing authorisation, the country from which it comes and the name of the issuing authority.

They also may be admitted if showing a negative PCR or antigen test for Covid-19. This document also must match the names in the travel document, be in Latin script, contain the data of the medical institution that performed the test, including name, address and other contact details, and the date that the test was performed.

Katsarov’s order says that children up to the age of five coming from certain countries may enter Bulgaria without a negative PCR or antigen test being required.

The list includes children who are Bulgarian citizens, citizens of EU member countries, Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan, New Zealand, China, Rwanda, Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Russia, Israel, Kuwait, Belarus and Turkey.

The order sets out those who may enter Bulgaria provided they show a negative PCR from no more than 72 hours earlier or an antigen test from no more than 48 hours earlier, and may also show certificates of completed vaccination or of having undergone Covid-19 between 15 and 180 days earlier.

This list includes the same countries as that for the children under five, as well as long-term or permanent residents of Bulgaria, members of their families, holders of Type D visas and people who have a residence permit in an EU member state or Schengen country.

Bulgarian citizens and permanent residents who do not show one of the required documents must go into 10-day quarantine, either at home or at a place of accommodation that they state to the health inspectorate.

The order also sets out categories of people, irrespective of citizenship, who may enter Bulgaria unless arriving from one of the countries subject to the temporary entry ban.

These categories include medical professionals and social workers, provided that the journey is related to their profession, people involved in the supply of medicinal products and personal protective equipment, foreign officials including heads of state and government, military personnel and humanitarian workers, trade, economic and investment representatives directly involved in projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act, seasonal agricultural and tourism workers, people travelling for educational purposes where this cannot be done online, organisers and participants in international sports competitions, and organisers and participants in international cultural events. The full list, in Bulgarian, can be found at this link.

There is also a list of people who may enter Bulgaria without the need to show a PCR or antigen test, vaccination certificate or proof of having undergone Covid-19.

This list includes international bus drivers, international lorry drivers, crews and maintenance staff of vessels and aircraft, frontier workers, pupils and students resident in Greece, Turkey, Serbia, North Macedonia and Romania and who travel daily or at least once a week to Bulgaria to study, as well as pupils and students who live in Bulgaria and who travel daily or at least once a week to Greece, Turkey, Serbia, North Macedonia and Romania.

The list, which can be found at the same link as above, also includes people passing in transit through Bulgaria, if they can guarantee their immediate departure from the country.

(Photo of Sofia Airport: Interior Ministry press centre)

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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