As an international non-EU student accepted to study at the American University in Bulgaria, you need to have a long-term student visa, type D. The visa should be issued on the grounds of article 15, paragraph 1 of the Bulgarian Law for Foreigners.
To obtain it, you need to apply at the Bulgarian embassy in your country, or in a neighboring country if your country has no Bulgarian embassy or consulate, not earlier than 3 months before the traveling date and no later than one month before that date. Because the visa process is slow and time-consuming, you must allow time for it. Please keep in mind that it takes at least 30 working days for the Bulgarian Embassy to issue the visa.
Please keep in mind that you should apply for a visa no later than July 15 if you have been accepted for the fall semester and no later than November 15 if you have been accepted for the spring semester.
Here’s an outline of the process:
The first thing you must do is to collect the following documents:
- A notarized copy of your high school diploma with the grades and the subjects studied.
- If you are a first year student, a document certifying that your high school diploma gives you the right to continue your education in the higher education institutions in the country where you graduated from high school. This document is issued by the Ministry of Education in your country or by your high school. See sample here.
- If you are a transfer student, an original transcript from the university.
The documents above should meet some legalization requirements* and should have a Bulgarian translation done and certified by the Bulgarian Embassy in the country where you apply for the visa.
If the Bulgarian Embassy does not provide any translation, you should send the documents to the International Students Office. Then, they will be given to an authorized agency for certified Bulgarian translation.
* Legalization requirements:
- If your country has signed the Hague convention (Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Morocco, Tajikistan, Turkey, or USA) you must get an “Apostille” before translating the documents. An “Apostille” certificate is needed to legalize a document for use in another country. You may find the competent authority providing “Apostille” here
- If you are from a country that is not a member of the Hague convention (Bangladesh, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, or Turkmenistan) the documents must be first verified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then by the Bulgarian Embassy.
- If you are from Albania, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan the documents do not need legalization with an Apostille or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- A photo in jpg format (600×600 pixels OR 363×545 pixels)
- Two clear and legible copies of the front page of your international passport, with your names written in the Latin alphabet, the date, and place of birth. (If you have dual citizenship, please mail a copy of each passport). Important: The expiration date of the passport must be at least 18 months after the date of applying for a visa.
Please upload scanned copies of the above-mentioned documents in the AUBG Student Application Portal, receive approval and express mail the hard copies to the International Students Office at AUBG.
If the documents are not translated by the Bulgarian Embassy, you should also express mail them to the International Students Office at AUBG.
- We will forward the above-mentioned documents to the Regional Department of Education to issue a Certificate for recognized secondary education. It costs 35 BGN which will be charged to your student account.
- We will submit the Certificate for recognized secondary education to the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria. It takes at least two weeks for the Bulgarian Ministry of Education to issue an enrollment certificate in Bulgarian. When it is ready, you will receive it by email.
- We will mail the AUBG documents to you by DHL. Make sure you have given your exact mailing address and telephone number. Please be aware that the mailing expenses will be charged to your student bill.
Finally, you need to apply for a long-term visa D in person at the Bulgarian embassy/ Consulate. Please submit the following documents:
- One completed application form; (see sample here)
- Certificate from the Ministry of Education – they will send it to you via email (please print it and include it in your visa application);
- Certificate, stating that you are accepted at AUBG, you will live on campus, and you will have insurance upon arrival – provided by AUBG;
- A document proving that you have paid your tuition – issued by the AUBG Student Billing Office upon request, ONLY if you have paid your tuition. For students on scholarship: a scholarship letter in Bulgarian, provided by AUBG. Please contact the Bulgarian embassy and ask if they require this document;
- Document proving that you can cover your living expenses – a valid bank account with the equivalent of 4 000 BGN;
- Valid passport;
- Two copies of the passport;
- One picture (3,5×4,5cm);
- If you are 18 or over, you will need a Police clearance report* issued in your home country, certifying that you have never been convicted.
- If you are under 18 years old at the time you apply for a visa, you will need a Declaration-agreement from your parents that you can travel abroad and apply/receive a D visa and prolonged residence status in Bulgaria because you will be studying at the American University in Bulgaria.*
*More information on the translation and legalization requirements for these two documents will be sent to you later on. The last two documents need to be legalized and translated into Bulgarian by a Bulgarian Embassy.
Double-check with the embassy where you will apply if these are all the required documents as the visa procedure is subject to change.
You may find useful information about the Bulgarian Embassies at mfa.bg/en
Make sure that you submit original documents and two copies to the Bulgarian Embassy.
When the visa is ready, go to the Bulgarian embassy to pick it up. Make sure you carry your passport with you. Please notify the International Student Services Office that you have received your visa.
You may travel to Bulgaria after the visa is entered into your passport. Please do not buy a non-refundable ticket until you receive your visa.
In order to stay legally in Bulgaria as a student, you must have a Bulgarian ID card. This is Bulgarian Law and there can be no exceptions. Please be aware that the expenses for its issuing are in addition to visa fees. You may obtain one only if you enter Bulgaria with a student visa (type D). One of the documents needed for your Bulgarian ID application is a police clearance report/parents declaration. You can use the same document from your visa application but only within six months after the issuing date unless there is a shorter validity specified on the document. More details about the Bulgarian ID card procedure will be given to you during the Orientation week upon arrival on campus.
Office of International Student Services
American University in Bulgaria
America for Bulgaria Student Center, room 6206
12 Svoboda Bachvarova Str.