[UPDATED 4/9/2018]A Filipino’s guide on how to apply for a Type C Bulgarian Visa

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Bulgaria is not a popular destination for most Filipino passport holders. Unlike Netherlands, Norway, France, and Brussels, only a few know what’s in store in this Southeast European country so who would think of getting one? Even myself, I didn’t expect that I’ll go through the hassle of applying for a Bulgarian visa until I received an invitation from my boyfriend’s family in Haskovo, a city in the southern part of Bulgaria.

What is a Bulgarian visa?

It is a travel document that passport-holders of certain countries need to obtain in order to enter Bulgaria for a certain period of time. It is NOT a Schengen visa which gives the holder a freedom to travel within the Schengen zone. Just like other visas, a Bulgarian visa can be (1.) Short-term (Type C), (2.) Long-term (Type D), and (3.) Airport transfer (Type A).

For the sake of those who do not know it yet, here’s a brief description of the following visa types:

Short-term (Type C) visa: For stays not exceeding 90 days within a 6-month period. (eg: Tourism, Private Visit)

Long-term (Type D) visa: For stays that are 6 to 12 months long. (eg: Education, long-term business trip)

Airport Transfer (Type A) visa: For transiting Bulgaria towards your final destination. Not everyone needs this so be sure to check your case if you need one.

For this article, I will be talking about how I applied for a Type C Bulgarian visa. I know this visa is not really a hype in the Philippines because when I looked for blogs online, I almost didn’t find anything in the search results. So for my fellow Filipinos who need to obtain a Type C Bulgarian visa, here’s a piece of all the struggles I went through to get one. Hopefully, through this post you’ll be able to get enough information to get started with your application.

Note: Even though there are travel agencies that offer Bulgarian visa assistance, I did all these on my own since I couldn’t afford the agency fees. HAHA. #pulubi

Where to apply for a Bulgarian visa in the Philippines?

Probably the first question that you have in mind. I couldn’t find a definite answer on the internet when I was still preparing for the application but good thing I asked the Bulgarian Consulate in the Philippines for some clarifications. The assistant Bulgarian Consulate, Ms. Agnes Arro, answered my inquiries and here are what I learned from her:

  1. Filipinos applying for Type C visa for tourism should apply to the Bulgarian Embassy in Vietnam.
  2. Only those who are going to apply for Type C visa for work can apply through the Consulate in Manila.

Shocked by this news, I immediately emailed the embassy in Vietnam and was relieved by what I learned:

  1. Schengen visa holders can apply for Type C tourist visa through the Bulgarian Consulate in Manila.
  2. Personal appearance is still required.
  3. A cover letter must be provided since the application will still be sent to the Embassy of Bulgaria in Vietnam.

And since I already have a Schengen visa from the trip last February, I don’t have to go to the embassy in Vietnam. Upon my application, I sent the consulate in Manila a copy of the email stating that I can apply through them.

Location of the Consulate of Bulgaria:

Consulate of Republic of Bulgaria
Unit 706 Midland Mansion Condo
839 Pasay Road Legaspi Village Makati City
Tel # 894-5128 / 894-5127 TeleFax 894-5127
Look for Agnes Arro

When I went there, I was hesitant at first because what I saw was an old building. I thought I was in the wrong location because TBH, it was not what I expected. The elevator scared the hell out of me too because it was already very rusty and it was not stable. I just prayed that the cables will not snap and lead me to death. Luckily, it didn’t! HAHA!

4/9/2018 UPDATE! So recently, I just found out that they already moved to a new location.

LG 58 Cityland Pasong Tamo Tower, Calle Estacion, Makati

It’s in front of PNR Pasay Road Station. Thank you so much Ms. Lyn Gargoles, one of the readers of this post, who informed me of the updated address. I have never been there but I hope the new location is better than the old one.

For those who are applying directly to the embassy in Vietnam, here is some information that you might need:

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Hanoi
Address: №5 Nui Truc str., Van Phuc Hanoi, P.O. Box 10
Tel.: +84 24 3845 2908
Fax: +84 24 3846 0856
Оut-of-hours  hotline:
+84 123 940 9129
Official hours of the Consular Office:
Mon – Fri, 9 am – 12 pm
Е-mail: Embassy.Hanoi@mfa.bg

I was really impressed with the prompt responses that I got from the Embassy in Hanoi. To be honest, they even replied faster than the consulate that we have in Manila.

How to apply for a Bulgarian visa?

Here are the requirements that I submitted for my (Private visit) visa application:

  1. Valid passport (should expire at least 3 months after the intended date of departure from Bulgaria, must have at least 2 blank pages, and has been issued within the last 10 years)
  2. Visa Application Form
  3. Passport size photo – must follow the guidelines
  4. Invitation from Bulgarian Host – the original copy must be submitted and should be notarized by the Bulgarian authorities.
  5. Medical insurance of not less than 30,000 EUR – the insurance should be valid in Bulgaria. In my case, I only bought the insurance from the Consulate of Bulgaria in Manila. You can also apply without the insurance but you have to get one once the visa is already approved. You will then receive your visa after you submitted a copy of your insurance policy.
  6. Proof of financial capacity – this should be EUR 50 per day of stay in Bulgaria. I submitted my bank statement for the last 3 months, credit card statements, ITR, and payslip for the last 3 months.
  7. Declaration by host person for accommodation and financial support during the visit – Even though I provided my bank statement and proof of financial capacity, I still submitted a letter signed by my host (my boyfriend’s grandma) which states that she will shoulder the accommodation and the extra expenses during my stay in Bulgaria.
  8. Copy of flight booking – what I did was very risky because my plane ticket was already paid even without the visa yet. So I prepared my documents carefully to make sure I wouldn’t miss anything and decrease my chance of getting approved. Don’t follow what I did though. You can ask for a travel agency to reserve the flight for a certain fee and pay it once the visa is approved.
  9. Proof of rootedness – this is one of the most important documents in every visa application. You have to convince the officers that you are not planning to stay illegally in their country. I submitted a Certificate of Employment and Leave of Absence signed by my employer.
  10. Cover letter – since I applied through the Consulate in Manila, they required me to make a cover letter which explains my intention of traveling to Bulgaria and my relationship with the inviting person.
  11. Other supporting documents – I also submitted a copy of my host’s ID, my boyfriend’s passport, and some pictures as proof that we knew each other personally. IMO, I think it is better to show them more proofs than to miss something. The goal is to really convince the officers that you are not planning to be an illegal immigrant so give them proofs that can shut down their speculations. There’s also a risk of submitting a lot of documents. So be sure that all your documents support each other. Always double check triple check if there are any documents that do not coincide.

Aside from the requirements, here are the important things that you should know too:

  1. Visa fee – Visa fee is EUR 60. In my case, I had to pay the visa fee directly to the Embassy in Vietnam via wire transfer (outward remittance). I was instructed to go to the nearest BPI branch which was the one in Greenbelt 3. I paid the EUR 60 along with the bank charges so I paid ₱6432.45 in total.
  2. Courier fee – The consulate need to send my passport to Vietnam and back to the Philippines. I was also surprised that I had to shoulder the expenses. I wanted to complain but I decided to just let it go since I badly need the passport (to visit my boyfriend).
  3. Insurance fee – I don’t have an insurance for this trip so I got one from Pacific Cross Philippines through the Consulate in Manila. The fee depends on your itinerary. I got mine (CEB-HKG-IST-SOF and vice versa) for ₱2,876.00. 
  4. Processing fee – The Consulate of Bulgaria in Manila asked for a processing fee of ₱500.00.
  5.  (for seaman’s book, it costs $70).

 

How much did I spend?

Excluding the plane ticket from Cebu to Manila (vv) and other expenses going to and from the consulate in Manila, here’s a breakdown of my expenses:

 

So there you have it, folks! I hope this gives you some ideas how to apply and what to expect when applying for a Bulgarian Type C visa through the Consulate of the Republic of Bulgaria in Manila. I got my visa after 10 business days. If you have enough time to spare in Vietnam, you can apply for the visa there and let me know how did your application go. If you think I missed something, feel free to comment them down below too. Also, please don’t forget to pin the image below and share this guide with your Filipino friends!

Bulgarian visa guide pin

 

 

27 COMMENTS

    • Hi Ira. Nice to see you here and thank you for reading my blog. Applying for a Schengen visa depends on the country you’re staying the longest/ first point of entry. 🙂 If you have more questions, you can send me a message in my Facebook page.

  1. Hi! My British boyfriend and I are Planning to travel Bulgaria for the ski season. And I would surely quit job here in the Philippines as we are planning to stay there for 3 months. Do you think I can get Bulgarian visa?

    • Cherry if you can prove co-habitation with your British boyfriend you can apply for a visa as the family member of an EU citizen. If it’s for your first visa you will be required to go to Hanoi. Doing this your boyfriend could apply for a residence certificate and you could also apply for residence permit and stay for more than 90 days. I got mine as protection against Brexit, I’m now an EU citizen whatever happens but having a little trouble getting my Filipino girls certificate because we are not co-habituating.

  2. One type you missed out is a visa for the partner of an EU citizen. My Filipino had 3 weeks with me in our co-owned house in Bulgaria this year. She had to go to Hanoi to apply for it and they demanded the 60 euro fee but later refunded it. Exempt fee, exempt proof of accommodation, exempt proof of finance, exempt insurance, exempt evidence of travel arrangements. because she is family member of an EU citizen. Shes about to reapply for a 90 day visa and was told by Ms Lam in Hanoi that she could apply in Manila to Ms Arro. hanks for the info on new address will check that out.

    • Great input Ted D. Thanks for this! I think this rule applies to all partners of an EU citizen regardless of which country they’re applying for a visa. Is this what they call “Verification Against EU Law”? I have heard about this before but was hesitant of the validity of this rule. This is my first time hearing from a Filipino who actually experienced it.:)

      • Well its easier for the spouse on an EU citizen. But Bulgaria is rare because it classes un-married partners as “family members” so they can also apply for a 90 day type C visa which might be of interest to Cherry.. As it’s second issue my partner can apply for a 12 month multi entry one as well. After using a 12 month one she could then apply for a five year multi entry. The relevant law is EU Directive 2004/38/ec but I guess that’s not of interest to your followers looking to go there on holiday. A Bulgarian visa is also valid for Romania Croatia and Cyprus providing first entry is to Bulgaria, so trips to those other countries is possible which might be of interest to holiday makers.

        • Oh another one to mention is the pensioners visa. Anyone from anywhere in the world, if they have a certificate showing they receive a pension, no matter what age they are, can apply for a visa and go and live in Bulgaria even work there. I think it might need to be over the average or minimum wage but don’t quote me on that. I’m a pensioner and bought my village house for £3500 pounds, it’s a lot more relaxed than in the holiday locations.

        • Hi Ted! Thank you for the information. This is what we badly needed. We are currently in Vietnam now, a bit worried since it has been 10 business days since I applied to the Bulgarian embassy in Hanoi and haven’t heard anything from them yet. My British boyfriend was with me during my application, hopefully it will help.

          • The problem is, I just read your comment and we were not informed that a live in partner can be considered as a family member in Bulgaria so I did not put it in thd form and just left it blank. 🙁

  3. I see above you give the email address of the Bulgarian Embassy in Hanoi. An email to there will go to the ambassador who will pass you over to her assistant and then block you. It’s probably better to contact Ms Lam who is in the consular section her email is bgemb.assistant@gmail.com.

      • And the email for Agnes Arro at the consulate in Manila is agnesarro@yahoo.com. I can confirm the new address above is correct. My partner tried phoning Friday and Monday but phone was not answered she phoned today Tuesday and got a reply so maybe she only works part time.

    • Hello Kem,

      I think if you’re applying for purely tourism then it’s ok. I applied for visiting friends/family so I have to provide an invitation letter. I’m not really sure how it goes for your case though. You can send a message to the consulate for the complete requirements

  4. Hello! Thanks for posting this. It helped me a lot since I am also planning to visit my boyfriend in Bulgaria. 😊

    I would like to ask how you aquire the medical insurance (worth not less than 30000 eu), did you include it on the breakdown of expenses?

  5. Hi, can I just walk in the Embassy to submit my docs for Type C tourist visa in Bulgaria (I have a valid Type C Schengen Visa but it is only single entry) or did you schedule an appointment? I have been trying to call the embassy however no one is picking up the phone. I sent them an email 2 weeks ago but it took them a week before responding, and my vacation leave is coming up soon. 🙁

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