New International Students: FAQ

Visa process-steps 

1. Read the visa letter carefully and collect the documents listed in the first part.
2. Mail all of them at once to the following address:

Pavlina Pavlova
Office of international Student services
American University in Bulgaria
ABF Student Center
12 Svoboda Bachvarova St.
Blagoevgrad 2700
BULGARIA

AUBG will forward your documents to the Ministry of Education in Sofia.

4. Wait to receive certificates for your visa application. AUBG will mail them to you.
5. Check with the Bulgarian Embassy what other documents you need.

You may find your embassy at: https://www.mfa.bg/en/

6. Apply for visa type D at the embassy.

Documents

Documents prepared by you and mailed to the Office of International Student Services:

What documents do I need to mail to the Office of International Student Services?

You need to send 2 copies of your passport, 2 passport-size photos, a medical certificate, a document certifying that your high school diploma allows you to continue your education*, a high school diploma, and the transcript with the grades during the years of study in your high school. The last three documents should be legalized with:

  • an Apostille if your country has signed the Hague Convention;
  • notary verification for countries with which Bulgaria has bilateral legal aid agreements;
  • stamp of the Foreign Ministry in  your country and legalization at the Bulgarian Embassy for all other countries.

After the legalization, the documents need to be translated in Bulgarian in one of the two ways below:

  • by the Bulgarian Embassy in the country where the document is issued;
  • by a translation agency authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.

*If you have studied at a university, you may mail a transcript instead of document about continuing education if the university is recognized by ENIC- NARIC. You may check by your self here.

What documents do I need to mail if I am coming as a transfer student?

You need to mail two passport-size photos, two clear and legible copies of the front page of your international passport, a medical certificate, an official transcript from the university you are currently attending, and a notarized copy of your high school diploma with all the grades during your full course of study at the high school. The last three documents should be legalized with:

  • an Apostille if your country has signed the Hague Convention;
  • notary verification for countries with which Bulgaria has bilateral legal aid agreements;
  • stamp of the Foreign Ministry in  your country and legalization at the Bulgarian Embassy for all other countries.

After the legalization, the documents need to be translated in Bulgarian in one of the two ways below:

  • by the Bulgarian Embassy in the country where the document is issued;
  • by a translation agency authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.
What is an Apostille?

This is a special certificate/stamp which refers to the legalization of a document for international use. Documents with a conformant Apostille are accepted for legal use in all the nations that have signed the Hague Convention.

What do I need to do if my country has signed the Hague convention? 

Find the competent authority providing Apostille here.

May I send another document instead of my diploma?

No, the Ministry of Education will issue your certificate only when they have a copy of the diploma. If you still do not have your diploma, do not send a letter saying when you will get it. Please wait until you receive your diploma, legalize it and send it immediately, together with the other required documents.

What should the medical certificate state?

The medical certificate for visa purposes is a document with general information about student's health status. It is issued by your doctor in your home country. There is no special form.  No need of AIDS, blood or other tests. You may find a sample here.

The AUBG Health Center will later send a form “Health certificate for admissions in the residence hall". It is required for admission to the residence hall only and should not be used for visa purposes. The form is available here.

Who can issue the document certifying that I have the right to continue my education?

It can be issued either by the Ministry of Education or by the school you graduated from and then signed by the principal or someone from the authorities. If there are some problems with these intuitions you may go to the department of education in the municipality.

From which years in the high school should be the transcript with the grades?

The last 3 or 4 years, not from the 1st year till the end.

Should I notarize the copy of the passport?  

No.

What should I do if I get my diploma at the end of June/ beginning of July and I cannot apply for a visa by July 15?

AUBG administration is aware of this problem. Try your best to prepare all the documents mentioned in the visa letter and mail them immediately after you get your diploma. You should send all the documents at once. Please do not mail anything unless you have all the documents ready. If there are no problems with your documents, the time should be sufficient to obtain the visa.

When will I receive the certificate from the Ministry of Education?

It takes at least two weeks for the ministry to issue the certificate. We will express mail it to you as soon as we receive it but we do not know when exactly this will happen. Please keep in mind that the mailing expenses will be charged to your student account. Please give your exact mailing address:

Contact Person
Street №.
Country
City, Postal Code
Telephone number

While waiting to receive your documents from AUBG, you may check with the embassy what other documents you need for the visa application and collect them. You also may complete the application form here.

   
Documents prepared by AUBG

Which documents will AUBG provide?

Certificate from the Ministry of Education; enrolment certificate from AUBG; housing letter; health insurance letter certifying that the student will have insurance upon arrival; document proving that you have paid your tuition( it is issued ONLY after you pay your fees).

What if there is no DHL office?

We send the visa documents to our students via DHL, but if there is no DHL office in your town, please check which the nearest town with a DHL office is. Please give the address of that office so that we may send your documents there. Thank you.

Documents to be submitted to the Bulgarian Embassy in order to apply for a student visa type "D"

The originals and one copy of:

  • One Application Form;
  • Certificate from the Ministry of Education – mailed by AUBG  after receiving the documents in the visa letter;
  • Enrollment certificate from AUBG  - provided by AUBG;
  • Housing letter- provided by AUBG;
  • Health insurance letter certifying that the student will have insurance upon arrival - provided by AUBG;
  • A bank certificate with an equivalent of 3 800 BGN deposit from a bank in your home country;
  • A scholarship letter in Bulgarian, provided by AUBG (Only for students on scholarship 

    which completely covers the tuition fee);

  • A document proving that you have paid your tuition;
  • Passport valid for 18 months and 2 passport copies;
  • 2 pictures;
  • Police report for students who are 18 or over*;
  • Declaration from parents and birth certificate for those who are under 18*.

The Police report/ Parents Declaration should be legalized with:

  • an Apostille if your country has signed the Hague Convention;
  • notary verification for countries with which Bulgaria has bilateral legal aid agreements;
  • stamp of the Foreign Ministry in  your country and legalization at the Bulgarian Embassy for all other countries.

After the legalization, the documents need to be translated in Bulgarian in one of the following ways:

  • by the Bulgarian Embassy in the country where the document is issued;
  • by a translation agency authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.

PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK WITH THE EMBASSY WHERE YOU WILL APPLY if these are all the required documents.

The students need to apply for a long-term student visa, type D, issued on the grounds of article 15, paragraph 1 of the Bulgarian Law for foreigners. The visa is multiple entry and the purpose of travel to Bulgaria is “studying”.

Deadlines

When should I apply for a visa at the embassy?

International Student Services (ISS) advises you to apply immediately after receiving the documents from AUBG. You must take into account that delays are possible as it take at least 30 working days for the visa to be issued.

How long does it take to process the documents in the Bulgarian institutions and to get the visa?

After the Applications are submitted to the Embassy, the visa requests are sent to Bulgaria to Visa Center, then to the Migration Department – Sofia, after that to the Migration office – Blagoevgrad, to the local National Security Agency and then to the Central National Security Agency in Sofia.  The approval goes back through the same institutions and finally the embassy issues the visa.

As you can see, it takes time and not everything is under our control. In the worst case, you may miss the first days of the Orientation. Please keep us updated.

I will be late for classes because of a visa delay. What should I do?

Please notify AUBG. We always send letters to the Bulgarian authorities in charge of visa issuing and we ask for speeding up the process. 

However, the whole process includes many procedures and steps, which are beyond our control.

We do not advise you to buy tickets to Bulgaria before you have received your visas.

There's a backup plan if you are from Albania/ Moldova/ Macedonia/ Serbia/ Ukraine/ Georgia, you have applied for your D visa and it has been delayed:

You may come with your biometric passport. Entering with your biometric passport will mean that you will have a tourist status, which will not allow you to stay more than 90 days and obtain an ID card. That’s why you will need to go back to your country to pick up your visa during the semester.

Please, apply as soon as you receive the documents from us.

You must apply for a student visa D. This is the only way you can obtain a Bulgarian ID card  which is necessary for your stay.

How late can I come to AUBG?

AUBG academic policy requires students to arrive on campus and sign in no later than the end of the third day of classes. We cannot make exceptions to the policy.

Please contact the Dean of faculty and explain him the situation you are in.

When should I pay my AUBG fees? 

The deadline set by AUBG is August 10. However, if the Embassy requires a document proving that you have paid, you should pay your fees now and ask Daniela Kovacheva (daniela@aubg.bg) to issue you a certificate. Then I will mail it to you together with the other documents. Please check with the Embassy where you will apply for a visa.

Tourist visa

Can I come with Schengen visa/my biometric passport without a D visa?  

Can I come with Schengen visa/ my biometric passport without a D visa?

No. Holders of Schengen visas/ biometric passports are allowed to enter Bulgaria and stay in the country as tourists (not as students) up to 90 days in a row in any six-month period.

As you are coming as a student who will stay more than 90 days, you must come with D visa and then apply for a Bulgarian ID card before the visa expires.

You may apply simultaneously for student D visa and for tourist C visa. You can enter Bulgaria with the C visa which will allow you to stay up to 90 days. When the D visa is ready and before the 90-day period expires, you have to go back to the Embassy and pick it up.

Parents

Can I bring my family?

Your parents may come to Bulgaria as tourists. Please check if they need an entry visa here. Please keep in mind that AUBG does not provide assistance in obtaining a visa for your parents. They may use travel agency’s services.

Where may my parents stay during orientation?

AUBG is a university where students come to study and we do not provide housing for parents. You can find some information about hotels in Blagoevgrad at

The Cardinal Hotel is very close to Skaptopara residence hall.

Arriving in Blagoevgrad

What is the earliest day to arrive on campus?

New students are supposed to be on campus the day before the Orientation program begins.

The dates are always given on the AUBG website https://www.aubg.edu/first-year-students

What should I bring with me?

Please visit the following link:

www.aubg.edu/first-year-students

Transportation: How to get from Sofia to Blagoevgrad?

It takes about 2 hours to get from the Sofia airport to Blagoevgrad. You have the following options:

  • a bus ( see the timetable here)
  • a train (see the timetable here

The ticket is 11 leva. Please keep in mind that the bus/train stations are far away from the airport. You should take a public transportation to get there. From Sofia airport to the central bus station (the central railway station is next to it) in Sofia you can use the subway or take a taxi. You can find information about the Sofia subway here.

We also offer pick-up service from Sofia airport to Blagoevgrad and the students pay for it. AUBG has two minivans. Each can accommodate up to 8 passengers. The price per person depends on the number of passengers.

If you want to use the AUBG van, you should send an e-mail to Asya Tsvetkova (atsvetkova@aubg.edu) with exact arrival information:

Name of the students travelling and their ID
Arrival date
Arrival time
Flight number
Last destination you are flying from

If the AUBG car is not available, we may arrange a taxi from Blagoevgrad to pick you up from Sofia. It will cost about 100 leva.

A map of Blagoevgrad is available on the AUBG website at www.aubg.edu/maps-directions

Bulgarian ID card

Are the Bulgarian ID card expenses paid only once or annually?

The expenses for the BG ID card (160 BGN) are paid annually.                      

How soon after arrival do the students have to open a bank account and apply for the Bulgarian ID card?

The students are required to open a bank account in Blagoevgrad in order for their Bulgarian ID card to be issued. They should do that within the validity of the D visa but not later than 14 working days before it expires.

After receiving the bank certificate they can use the money for whatever they need.

What about ELI students - does it also apply to them? 

Yes. ELI students should apply for a BG ID card if the duration of the visa does not cover the whole period of staying in Bulgaria. If it covers, they might not apply for a card, but they will need a new visa D in case they continue to study at AUBG.

Do I need a Declaration agreement from parents or Police report if I am under 18 now but I will turn 18 upon arrival in Bulgaria?

Students who are under 18 at the time of applying for a visa submit Declaration – agreement from parents. If they turn 18 within the validity period of the visa, they have two options:

  • To apply for a BG ID card as soon as they arrive before they turn 18 and submit Declaration – agreement from parents ( it should say parents give permission to apply for a Bulgarian ID card, or to extend their stay in Bulgaria.
  • To apply for a BG ID card after they turn 18 and before the visa expires and submit a Police report.

Further Information

What dates does the academic year start and end?

Please check the academic calendar here.

Dual Citizenship

If you have dual citizenship and one of them is EU, you may choose to enter Bulgaria with your EU passport. In this case you will not need a visa. The EU passport will allow you to stay for up to 3 months. Before this period expires, you should apply for a long-term certificate of EU citizen. You may find the procedure here (click on EU Students).

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