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Work Permits for Foreign citizens in Bulgaria
Work Permits for Foreign citizens in Bulgaria

Bulgarian Visa Formalities

General Information

Foreign citizens  may work in Bulgaria only after obtaining a work permit, unless otherwise stipulated by the law. The bases for obtaining a work permit are an employment contract, or a business trip to undertake certain activities.

As from the date of joining of Bulgaria the EU European citizens may be employed, self-employed or commissioned to a business trip and may work in Bulgaria
without restrictions and without the need of work permits.

Work permits required for Foreign citizens  should be requested by the local employer and are issued by the Bulgarian Employment Agency.

A number of legal terms and conditions must be met for the permit to be issued. Work permits are issued for a maximum duration of 1 year. If the terms and conditions for its issuance are still valid, the work permit may be renewed for an additional one-year term.

A mandatory prerequisite for initially obtaining a work permit is that the foreign national is granted a long-stay visa. Foreign nationals on short-stay visas may not seek employment or apply for work permits in Bulgaria.

Foreign nationals who generally do not require a work permit in Bulgaria

Outlined below is a list of the main categories of foreign nationals who may work in the country without a work permit:

  • Managers of companies or branches of foreign legal entities
  • Members of the Managing Board or Board of Directors of local companies, who are not employed on a labour contract
  • Trade representatives of foreign companies registered at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and
  • Foreign nationals with permanent residence in Bulgaria

Foreign nationals who may work on short-term assignments without a work permit

Foreign nationals may also be engaged to perform short-term assignments without a work permit under the following conditions:

  • They are sent on a business trip to Bulgaria by their foreign employer
  • The assignment in Bulgaria is no longer than 3 months within a period of one year
  • The assignment encompasses any of the following:
  1. the installation or the warranty repair of imported machinery and equipment;
  2. training in the operating of equipment or the delivery of ordered equipment, machines or other items;
  3. training as part of an export contract for the supply of goods under a license agreement;
  4. control and coordination of the performance of a tourist services contract between a foreign tour-operator and a Bulgarian tour-operator or hotel-keeper.

For all other categories of employees a work permit is required. It is usually issued provided that all requirements of the law are met (e.g. there is ratio requirement between foreign and Bulgarian employees: 1:10).

Employers must register Foreign citizens  and European citizens at the National Revenue Agency within 3 days from the start of their employment even if no work permit is required.


(according to the Bulgarian National Employment Agency)

Work Permits for Foreigners

  • Foreign citizens are entitled to employment in Republic of Bulgaria only after receiving an NEA Work Permit.
  • Work Permit could be granted only to individuals possessing skills, specialized knowledge, which are required but could not be found on the national labour market.
    Work Permit is only issued upon an employer request physical or legal entity, either registered in accordance to the Bulgarian legislation, or a party in international treaty as employer of the foreign physical and legal entity.
    The relevant application kit should be submitted in the LOD in accordance to the foreign employee's place of work.
  • The Work Permit is an official personal document for its holder and its possession gives the particular person the right of employment in Republic of Bulgaria for a pre-determined period of time in particular work placement, with a defined official position for an employer, which is physical or legal entity registered under Bulgarian low and has made the request for the work permit issue.
  • The Work Permit is issued for an up-to-one year term with the possibility of up to three years extension for executive personnel and more then three years for managerial level positions.
  • The Work Permit is a basis for the issue by the proper authorities of an entry clearance and residence permit with the same duration.
  • Alleviation of the Work Permit issuing conditions applies for the following:
  • Foreigner, whose employment on the country's territory originates for International treaties implementation
  • Internationally renowned scholars and intellectuals
  • High managerial personnel of companies established by foreign legal entities on Bulgarian territory
  • Foreign company specialists engaged in assembly, repair and set in operation of imported equipment
  • Specialists on production quality assessment

There is legally set fee for the issue of a Work Permit.

In accordance with article 40 of the Law for Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria (LFNRB), foreign nationals, physical or legal entities employed without appropriate permits are subject to sanctions.

There are cases when foreigners seeking employment in Bulgaria do not need work permits and that is reflected in the legal framework.

Such are the foreigners who have permanent residence status in Republic of Bulgaria or have been granted asylum or other humanitarian status.


(according to the Bulgarian National Employment Agency)

I. Registration terms for EEA citizens and a list of the required papers.

  1. Each person that is more than 16 years old and is actively seeking for a job has the right to make a registration as jobseeker in Employment Office. The requirements for registration are as follows:
    • EU, EEA or Swiss citizens;
    • Members of the family of an EU citizen that are not citizens of the EU, EEA or confederation Switzerland.


  2. The required documents for the registration of EEA citizens are:
          2.1. Identity card or passport.
          2.2. A paper indicating the address registration of the person:
               2.2.1. Certificate for the address registration on the territory of Bulgaria;
               2.2.2. Residence papers:
                    - Paper for continuous residence in Republic of Bulgaria it can be issued 3 months after the arrival in the country (it is issued by the Police);
                    - Paper for permanent residence in Republic of Bulgaria (it is issued by the Police after 5 years of permanent residence in the country);

  3. The required documents for registration as jobseeker of non EEA citizen, but an EEA citizen family member are:
          3.1. Passport.
          3.2. Translated and verified paper that ascertains that the person is an EEA citizen family member (marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption court order, certificate for the address registration of the EEA citizen family member, etc.).
          3.3. A paper that verifies the address registration on the territory of Republic of Bulgaria:
               3.3.1. Certificate for the address registration on the territory of Bulgaria.
               3.3.2. Residence papers:
                    - Paper for temporary residence which the person becomes until the paper for continuous residence is being issued (the paper is issued by the Police);
                    - Paper for continuous residence in Republic of Bulgaria it can be issued 3 months after the arrival in the country (it is issued by the Police);
                    - Paper for permanent residence in Republic of Bulgaria (it is issued by the Police after 5 years of permanent residence in the country).

  4. When seeking for a job or making use of the rights given by the Employment Promotion Act, the job seekers need to extend schooling diploma, vocational training certificate as well as papers showing their work experience.
          4.1. All papers, mentioned in item 4, need to be authorized by the issuing state.
               All papers issued by a member state that is a party in the Convention, abolishing the legislation requirements for foreign acts of state need to be sealed with "apostille".
               All papers that are issued by a country that has signed a legal assistance agreement with Bulgaria need a notarial attestation.
               All papers have to be enclosed with official translation certified by the Ministry of External Affairs.
          4.2. Medical certificate for reduced work ability, translated in Bulgarian.

  5. Jobseekers that meet the requirements mentioned in item 1 have to fill in the registration form in Bulgarian. If they want to be better acquainted with the content of the registration form, the jobseekers are given the opportunity to read it in English, French or German.

  6. Jobseekers that meet the requirements mentioned in item 1 may receive a certificate that contains information about the period that the person has been registered as jobseeker in Employment Office.

II. Rights and obligations of EEA citizens that has registered as jobseeker.

Jobseekers that meet the requirements mentioned in item 1 bear the same rights and obligations as all Bulgarian citizens concerning the Employment Promotion Act.


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