The Bulgarian authorities have announced that the country is waiving the old border rules for those who enter on Schengen visas.
By the new decision of the Bulgarian authorities, which officially came into force at the end of April, all foreigners who have a valid Schengen visa, but not yet used, will be denied entry to the territory of Bulgaria.
“Holders of double and multiple entry Schengen visas have the right to enter the Republic of Bulgaria only if the double or multiple entry Schengen visa has been used at least once to enter the country of the Schengen Agreement,” the Bulgarian embassy said in a statement.
This means that anyone who has recently received a Schengen visa in any of the issuing countries will have to enter any of the 27 participating countries or the issuing country to be allowed to enter Bulgaria.
Bulgaria itself is a country in the European Union, but it has yet to become a member of the Schengen area. At the same time, Bulgaria has a visa-free regime for all holders of valid Schengen visas.
Bulgaria has been applying the common EU visa policy since 2007 and is working towards entering the Schengen area.
“Joining the Schengen area is a key priority for our country. The Bulgarian government is determined to fulfill one of the key national priorities – Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area,” the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov recently said that his country might be able to meet the requirements set by the Netherlands by October of this year.
Recall, the Netherlands last year demanded that Bulgaria comply with the requirements for the fight against corruption and judicial reform to lift the Schengen veto.
While October remains somewhat of a target date for meeting all requirements, Bulgaria expects to join the Schengen no later than the end of 2024.