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Bulgaria Study Visa: Process and Requirements

Bulgaria Study Visa: Process and Requirements
Alpina ChariMar 8, 2024

In recent years, Bulgaria has become a popular hub for international students, attracting students from all over the world. The number of international students in Bulgaria has been growing, with over 17,000 international students recorded in the 2022-2023 academic year, representing 8.1% of the total student population. This surge can mostly be attributed to high-quality institutions in the country such as Sofia University and the Technical University of Sofia, to name a couple. It is also compounded by the fact that Bulgarian universities are highly affordable in comparison to some of the other popular educational hubs in Europe and beyond. The average tuition fee for non-EU students ranges from 1,750 to 3,850 EUR per year, depending on the university and program. Moreover, the cost of living is remarkably low, with students needing approximately around 500 EUR per month to cover their living expenses. The employment market in Bulgaria is also expanding, particularly in the IT sector, providing career opportunities for graduates. As such, there isn’t a better time to study in Bulgaria than now. To legally study and work in Bulgaria, international students must obtain a Bulgaria study visa. In the article, we will detail the Bulgarian student visa, including eligibility, cost, processing times, and more. 

Bulgaria Study Visa: Highlights 

Purpose To permit international students to study in Bulgaria
Benefits Study, live, and part-time work (20 hours/week) in Bulgaria
Duration Typically valid for one year, renewable annually
Extension  Possible upon completing studies, with a residence permit application
Processing Time  Usually 15 days to 2 months

Bulgaria Study Visa: Details 

The Bulgarian study visa (Type D visa) offers a range of benefits for international students. It is a long-term visa that allows multiple entries into Bulgaria and is an essential prerequisite for obtaining a Bulgarian residence permit. The visa is typically issued for one year, aligning with the duration of the educational program or research activity.  

Upon arrival in Bulgaria with a valid visa, non-EU students must also obtain a residence permit from the Migration Directorate. This permit’s validity is usually aligned with the study program’s duration, up to a maximum of one year, and can be renewed accordingly. It’s important to note that once the study program concludes, the residence permit ceases to be valid, necessitating either departure or application for a different permit.  

Students on a Bulgarian study visa can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during official holidays, without the need for a separate work permit. This provides a valuable opportunity to gain work experience and manage living expenses. After completing their studies, students have nine months to seek employment and must register with the Employment Agency to use brokerage employment services.  

Regarding extending the visa, it’s crucial to understand that Type D visas are non-extendable. However, holders of a valid D visa can apply for a Bulgarian residency card, which starts with a validity of 3 to 12 months and can be renewed. The process for extending a residence permit involves providing a valid passport, proof of accommodation, financial stability, and health insurance coverage for the extended stay, 

Suggested Read: International Students’ Guide to Cost of Living in Bulgaria 

Bulgaria Study Visa: Eligibility 

  • Applicants must have a passport or travel document valid for at least 12 months.
  • A high school diploma or equivalent certificate is required to apply for a student visa.
  • Enrollment in a full-time course at an approved university or college in Bulgaria is mandatory.
  • Students need to demonstrate they have sufficient financial resources to support their stay in Bulgaria. This typically involves showing access to at least 4,000 BGN (Bulgarian Lev) per year and covering tuition fees.
  • A valid health insurance policy for the duration of the stay in Bulgaria is required.
  • Evidence of accommodation arrangements in Bulgaria must be provided
  • Applicants must also produce a valid medical certificate, showcasing that they are in good health. 

Suggested Reading: Admission and Eligibility for Medical Studies in Bulgaria

Application Process 

  • Begin by filling out the application form online. You’ll need to provide personal information, educational background, work experience or training, and foreign language proficiency.
  • Select your desired university and course.
  • After completing the form, submit your application through the online system.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application online, you will receive a filled-out PDF document via email.
  • Print this document, sign it, and prepare it for submission along with certified copies of your documents.
  • Pay the handling fees via bank transfer. The fees vary depending on the number of programs you apply for, with the first program costing 50 EUR and each additional program costing 15 EUR.
  • Book an appointment with the nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.
  • Attend the appointment and submit your signed application form and the required documents.
  • After submitting your application, the processing time can take up to two months.
  • During this period, the embassy or consulate will review your application and make a decision.
  • If your application is successful, you will be issued a Type D visa, which allows you to travel to Bulgaria for educational purposes.
  • With this visa, you can study, live, and work part-time in Bulgaria for up to 20 hours a week.

Remember, this is a general guide, and the exact process may vary slightly depending on the specific requirements of the Bulgarian embassy or consulate where you apply.

Suggested Reading: Study Medicine in Bulgaria in English

Documents Required 

Here’s a detailed list of the documents required for a Bulgarian study visa:

  • Application Form: Complete the visa application form in English or Bulgarian and sign it in two places (by the applicant or by parent/guardian for minors under 18).
  • Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months after your intended departure from Bulgaria, with at least two blank pages issued within the last 10 years.
  • Photograph: Provide a recent full-color photograph (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) against a light-colored background. Your face should take up 70-80% of the photo, and your eyes must not be red. Photos with dark glasses or head coverings are not accepted unless worn for religious reasons.
  • Medical Insurance: Submit proof of medical insurance valid across the entire EU.
  • Financial Proof: Bank statements showing financial self-sufficiency, typically the equivalent of half a year’s tuition fees.
  • Travel Tickets: Provide copies of your travel tickets to Bulgaria.
  • Previous Visas: If applicable, photocopies of any previous Bulgarian or Schengen visas.
  • Admission Proof: Proof of admission to a Bulgarian educational institution

Suggested Reading: Job Opportunities After Medical Studies in Bulgaria

Cost and Processing Time for Bulgaria Study Visa

The cost of obtaining a Bulgarian study visa, also known as a Type D visa, is generally around 100 EUR, which is the standard fee applicable across various Bulgarian embassies. It’s important to note that there might be concessions available for certain groups such as students and accompanying teachers, which could potentially reduce the visa cost.

When it comes to processing times, applicants should be prepared for a wait. The general processing time for a Bulgarian study visa can vary significantly, ranging from 15 days to approximately two months. This timeframe is influenced by several factors, including the specific requirements of the embassy or consulate where the application is submitted, as well as the individual’s circumstances. Typically, the processing period is about four to eight weeks, but this is an estimate and can change based on the embassy’s workload and other considerations.

Suggested Reading: Cost of Medical Studies in Bulgaria

What to Do if Your Visa Application is Rejected? 

If your Bulgarian study visa is rejected, it can be a distressing situation, but there are steps you can take to address it:

Understand the Reason for Rejection: Upon receiving the rejection notice, carefully review the reasons provided by the immigration authorities for the visa refusal. Understanding the grounds for rejection will help you determine the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

Seek Legal Advice: Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or advisor specializing in Bulgarian immigration laws. They can provide personalized guidance based on your circumstances and may assist you in appealing the decision or reapplying for the visa.

Review and Gather Documentation: If the rejection was due to insufficient or incorrect documentation, review the requirements again and ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork in order. Collect any additional supporting documents that may strengthen your application, such as proof of financial stability, accommodation arrangements, or acceptance letters from educational institutions.

Appeal the Decision: Depending on the reasons for the rejection and Bulgarian immigration policies, you may have the option to appeal the decision. Follow the instructions provided in the rejection notice regarding the appeals process, including any deadlines and required documentation.

Reapply for the Visa: If an appeal is not feasible or successful, you may choose to reapply for the study visa. Take into account the reasons for the initial rejection and make necessary improvements to your application. Ensure that all documents are accurately filled out and up-to-date to increase your chances of approval.

Consider Alternative Options: If obtaining a Bulgarian study visa proves to be challenging, explore alternative study destinations or programs that align with your academic and career goals. Research countries with more flexible immigration policies or consider online or distance learning options.

Stay Informed: Stay updated on any changes to Bulgarian immigration regulations and procedures that may affect your visa application. Utilize official government websites, embassy resources, and reputable immigration news sources to stay informed.

Maintain a Positive Attitude: Dealing with visa rejection can be disheartening, but it’s essential to remain positive and resilient throughout the process. Seek support from family, friends, or support groups to cope with any emotional stress associated with the situation.

Suggested Reading: Study Dentistry In Bulgaria in English 


In conclusion, the process of obtaining a Bulgarian study visa can be considered relatively hassle-free, especially when compared to the complexities associated with visa applications for other countries. Nevertheless, it is crucial to approach this process with diligence. Prospective students should invest time in thorough research to understand the specific requirements and nuances of the Bulgarian visa application process. Seeking guidance from reliable sources, such as official government websites or trusted educational consultants, can provide valuable insights and prevent common pitfalls. Additionally, preparing a well-structured and comprehensive application is paramount. This includes ensuring that all necessary documents are accurately completed, up-to-date, and presented in the prescribed format. Attention to detail and adherence to the guidelines can significantly enhance the likelihood of visa approval, paving the way for a smooth transition to studying in Bulgaria. For more information and guidance regarding the Bulgarian study visa, and other queries, feel free to reach out to our admission experts at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!

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To obtain a study visa for Bulgaria, you need to apply at the nearest Bulgarian consulate or embassy in your home country. You will typically need to provide proof of enrollment in a Bulgarian educational institution, a valid passport, financial means to support yourself, and proof of accommodation.

Requirements for a Bulgaria study visa include a letter of acceptance from a recognized Bulgarian educational institution, proof of sufficient funds to cover living expenses, valid health insurance, a clean criminal record, and a passport with at least six months of validity beyond the intended period of stay.

Yes, students with a valid study visa for Bulgaria are allowed to work part-time during their studies, typically up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during holidays. However, it’s important to check the specific regulations and restrictions set by Bulgarian authorities.

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