Here’s what you need to know.

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Bulgaria became a member state of the Schengen Area last Sunday, March 31, along with Romania, removing its internal air and sea border controls with other Schengen Area countries.

Since the same date, the country has started implementing new visa rules affecting all people who need a visa to enter its territory, although it adheres to the European Union’s common visa policy. Importing, since he became a member. 1 January 2007 State, Schengen Visa Info Report.

According to Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry, as of March 31, the country has begun issuing Schengen visas at several destinations in accordance with Schengen rules, despite the fact that internal checks remain in place at its land borders.

It also states that short-stay visas issued by Romania and Bulgaria before that date will remain valid until they expire.

However, holders of these national short-stay visas will only be able to travel to the Republic of Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus, but not to other Schengen member states.

Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This means that travelers with such visas who wish to travel to other countries in the Schengen area must obtain a regular Schengen visa.

Residence permits and long-stay visas issued by Bulgaria are also valid, but their holders are also able to travel freely within the Schengen zone. However, they cannot exceed the permitted stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.

Bulgaria already issues Schengen visas at 60 destinations in 9 countries.

Bulgaria has gradually started issuing Schengen visas to many countries. The country’s consulates will no longer handle the processing of applications, instead authorities have outsourced the process to VFS Global, a company specializing in providing visa services.

60 visa processing centers processing Bulgarian Schengen visas have so far opened in 60 locations in nine countries, as follows:

  1. China (Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Nanjing, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xi’an)
  2. India (New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Mumbai, Pune)
  3. Indonesia (Jakarta, Bali)
  4. Kazakhstan (Nur Sultan, Almaty)
  5. Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
  6. Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novorossiysk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saratov, Ufa, Vladivostok)
  7. Singapore (Singapore)
  8. Turkey (Ankara, Istanbul, Antalya, Bursa, Diyarbakir, Edirne, Gaziantep, Izmir)
  9. United Kingdom (London, Edinburgh, Manchester)

The time spent in Bulgaria is now counted towards the 90/180 days period of authorized stay.

For almost a week now, travelers cannot use Bulgaria and Romania as a base to ‘recharge’ their authorized 90-day stay within 180 days in the Schengen area.

Each stay in Romania and Bulgaria now counts towards the total number of days spent in the Schengen zone.

Previously, time spent in Bulgaria or Romania did not count towards this period. Third-country travelers, especially from visa-free countries, often used Bulgaria as a base to recharge their authorized period of stay in the Schengen zone, and then return to member states.

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