Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister decrees rules for entering country from June 1

Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov issued an order on May 27 setting out rules on admission to the country from June 1.

Katsarov’s orders on these rules, as well as on anti-epidemic measures against Covid-19 within Bulgaria, follow the May 26 decision by the caretaker government to extend the Covid-19 epidemic declaration to the end of July.

The order places a temporary entry ban on people entering Bulgaria if arriving from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Brazil and a number countries and territories in Africa, including – among others – South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The countries and territories in Africa to which the temporary entry ban does not apply are Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Central African Republic, Gabonese Republic, “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, Madagascar, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, the Comoros, Madeira, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saint Helena and the Seychelles. However, requirements apply to people arriving from these countries.

These requirements, which apply irrespective of citizenship, provide for admission if showing a document of a completed vaccination cycle, proof of having undergone Covid-19 between 15 and 180 days before arrival.

The temporary ban on arrival from the listed countries does not apply to Bulgarian citizens or people with long-term or permanent residence in Bulgaria and members of their families. They must go into quarantine for 10 days at home or at a place of accommodation that they declare to the regional health inspectorate.

The order says that as of May 27, Romanian citizens arriving from the Republic of Romania can enter Bulgaria through all border checkpoints without the need to provide a document for a negative PCR result or an antigen test, a vaccination certificate or a positive result, certifying having had Covid-19.

The order specifies which countries’ citizens may enter Bulgaria, subject to showing a negative PCR or rapid antigen test done no more than 72 hours before arrival.

These countries are Bulgaria, member states of the European Union, Schengen parties (including San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City State) and their family members (including people actually cohabiting with them); the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States, Japan, New Zealand, China, Rwanda, Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, United Arab Emirates, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Russia, Israel, Kuwait, Belarus and Turkey.

Also allowed to enter, subject to the test requirement, are people with permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria and members of their families, those holding a Bulgarian Type D long-stay visa, those who have a residence permit in an EU or Schengen country and their family members – unless coming from the countries subject to the temporary entry ban.

Citizens and long-term and permanent residents of Bulgaria who do not provide proof of a negative test or of having undergone Covid-19 must go into 10-day quarantine.

Entering Bulgaria is also allowed for certain categories of people irrespective of their citizenship.

These categories include medical professionals, medical researchers, social workers and their supervisors, where the purpose of the journey is related to the profession they are pursuing; workers involved in the supply of medicinal products, medical devices and personal protective equipment, medical equipment, including its installation and maintenance; officials (heads of state, members of governments, etc.) and members of their delegations, as well as diplomats, members of the administrative and technical staff of foreign missions, employees of international organisations, military personnel, members of the security services and public order, and humanitarian workers in the performance of their duties, as well as members of their families; people travelling for humanitarian reasons as defined in the Foreigners Act; representatives of the trade, economic and investment activities and people directly involved in the implementation of projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act, analysis of projects of potential investors and other activities relevant to the economy of the country, as well as the members of their families, certified by a letter from the Minister of Economy; people directly involved in the construction, maintenance, operation and safety of the strategic and critical infrastructure of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as people engaged in shipbuilding and ship repair, as well as members of their families, organisers and participants in international sports competitions – for the time of the respective sporting event, athletes from abroad coming to the country for a certain trial period; athletes and coaches from abroad arriving in the country to participate in training camps, family members of foreign athletes and coaches; foreign citizens, for receiving a decree under the Bulgarian Citizenship Act for acquired Bulgarian citizenship, certified by a letter of the Ministry of Justice; organisers and participants in international cultural events – for the time of the respective cultural event, certified by a letter from the Minister of Culture, in which the names of the people and the place (address) of their residence in Bulgaria are indicated.

The order sets out who may enter Bulgaria without the need to show a negative test, proof of having undergone Covid-19 or a vaccination certificate.

These are bus drivers engaged in international carriage of passengers, lorry drivers carrying out international transport of goods, crews or vessels and aircraft and their maintenance teams, frontier workers, pupils and students living in Greece, Turkey, Serbia or Romania and travelling daily at least once a week to Bulgaria for study purposes, as well as pupils and students living in Bulgaria and traveling daily or at least once a week to Greece, Turkey, Serbia or Romania for study purposes; people passing in transit through Bulgaria, in the cases when the immediate departure from Bulgaria can be guaranteed; children up to five years of age, who are family members of citizens of countries allowed to enter Bulgaria.

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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