Legal status and visa requirements for those who were forced to leave Ukraine
Since 2017, Bulgaria, as part of the EU, has an agreement with Ukraine on visa-free travel. It guarantees the opportunity for all Ukrainian citizens to enter the territory of our country only with their biometric passports and to stay for up to 90 days.
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian citizens automatically had the right to seek protection in Bulgaria without these conditions being met, they do not have a valid passport to travel abroad.
Due to the emergency situation, the entry of people running from the war in Ukraine is allowed those who:
- have an old passport format without biometric data;
- have an ID card;
- have driving license;
- have a birth certificate – for children up to 14 years;
- do not have any of these documents, but have other official documents that indicate their identity – for example certificates, passes, diplomas, membership cards, bank cards, employment records, property documents and the like;
- do not have absolutely any documents – exceptionally and after an inspection by Border Police officers.
It is allowed to enter Bulgaria by car, regardless of whether or not there is international insurance. More information about car insurance after entering Bulgaria: guaranteefund.org.
It is also allowed to enter Bulgaria with pets, regardless of whether they have identification with a chip accompanying passports or vaccination certificates. The relevant Bulgarian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure for these cases. More information on this issue – see: www.bfsa.bg or write to e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refugee status/ asylum seeker status/ temporary protection status
The Bulgarian government has adopted an act determining where and how people running from the war in Ukraine will be able to register in Bulgaria and obtain their Bulgarian residence documents as refugees under temporary protection.
This document is called the “Registration card of a foreigner who has been granted temporary protection”.
After the expiration of 1 year, the term of temporary protection may be extended.
This period could be terminated earlier if the war ends and peace and independence are restored in Ukraine.
More information on temporary protection and where the places are where you can issue a document for temporary protection, go to: ukraine.gov.bg
After the registration in Bulgaria and the receipt of the Registration Card of a foreigner who has been granted temporary protection by law, several important rights arise, without the need to obtain other registrations or permits. These rights apply for the duration of the temporary protection granted to them.
- to remain on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria;
- right to work and seek vocational training;
- appropriate accommodation or means of accommodation if necessary;
- social assistance;
- medical care in emergencies;
- to return freely to their country of origin.
The government announced that from March 7, 2022 it will provide a fixed amount of money per day for each Ukrainian citizen accommodated in private hotels, as well as in holiday resorts and bases of municipalities and government agencies.
- social assistance
- emergency medical care: People from vulnerable groups– children under the age of 18, unaccompanied children, pregnant women, single parents with minors, the elderly and people with disabilities, serious health problems, mental disorders victims of trafficking or suffering torture, rape or other severe forms of violence – have the right to full medical care as Bulgarian citizens.
- free education for children under 18: For more information on where and how to apply for school enrolment – read more here: mon.bg
- free kindergarten for children up to 6 years: For more information on where and how to apply for enrolment in kindergarten – read more here: mon.bg
- to return freely to their country of origin if they wish.
- bank accounts and debit/credit cards – the country’s legislation allows Ukrainian citizens to open a bank account for basic operations. This account is opened in BGN and through it many payment operations can be performed – depositing, withdrawing money at a cash desk or ATM, transfers, including online. According to the law, banks offer payment services on this account free of charge or for a reasonable fee, regardless of the number of services provided through the account. Ukrainian citizens can use their Visa or MasterCard debit and credit cards within the daily limit set by Ukrainian banks and up to the guaranteed limit for the specific card.
Learn more about stay in Bulgaria:
- Up-to-date information on Ukrainian citizens entering Bulgaria is provided on the website of the Council of Ministers
- Information on legal aid for citizens arriving from Ukraine from the Ministry of Justice
- Registration Offices for Temporary Protection can be found here:
- Bulgarian Helsinki Committee’s program for the legal protection of refugees and migrants running from the war in Ukraine of the has opened a hotline for legal assistance.
You can call on the following phones
Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 17.00 – 00359 2 980 20 49 // 00359 2 981 33 18
Monday to Friday, 08.00 to 18.00 – 00359 8888 19 745 (hotline)
Saturday and Sunday, 10.00-12.00 / 13.00-16.00: 00359 8888 19 745 (hotline).
Access to the healthcare services
Medical care for Ukrainians in Bulgaria
To get medical care in emergencies there is no need to be registered. Also, people from vulnerable groups – children under the age of 18, unaccompanied children, pregnant women, single parents with minors, the elderly and people with disabilities, serious health problems, mental disorders victims of trafficking or suffering torture, rape or other severe forms of violence – have the right to full medical care as Bulgarian citizens.
For all other medical services in Bulgaria, they need to obtain Bulgarian residence documents as refugees under temporary protection. This document is called “Registration card of a foreigner who has been granted temporary protection”. After the expiration of 1 year, the term of temporary protection may be extended.
Where can the Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine go for healthcare services?
If they require emergency medical care, they should dial the international emergency phone number 112 or 150 emergency phone numbers for Bulgaria.
Here the displaced persons from Ukraine will find hospitals and doctors offering free medical care for everyone fleeing from the war in Ukraine. The doctors listed on this page speak Ukrainian or Russian and are volunteers from the National Association of Volunteers of the Republic of Bulgaria.
People, who have temporary protection in Bulgaria, from vulnerable groups use the necessary medical care under the conditions and by the order for the Bulgarian citizens. The status for granted temporary protection is certified by a registration card of a foreigner, issued by the State Agency for Refugees (Art. 41, para. 1, item 5 of the LAR).
People from the vulnerable groups are minors, unaccompanied minors, people with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, single parents with minor children, victims of human trafficking, people with serious health problems, people with mental disorders and people who have suffered torture, rape or other severe forms of mental, physical or sexual abuse.
Visiting family doctors
People who pay individually for their health insurance, have the right to choose a general practitioner (personal doctor). If they did not choose a GP while they were in the process of being granted international protection, they can do so even after they have been granted refugee or humanitarian status.
As an asylum seeker, their health insurance is covered by the State Agency for Refugees (SAR). Once they have been granted refugee or humanitarian status, they are obliged and personally responsible to pay their monthly health insurance contributions.
Registration forms for the selection of a general practitioner are available here.
Services for People Living with HIV
Offices for anonymous and free HIV counselling and testing (KABKIS) at the Regional Health Inspectorates:
Antiretroviral treatment (ART)
Ukrainians who have the status for temporary protection can consult doctors and receive ART treatment in treatment facilities for with HIV / AIDS patients (more details here):
- Specialised Hospital “Professor Ivan Kirov” (Address: Boulevard “Akademik Ivan Evstratiev Geshov ” 17, 1431 Sofia Center, Sofia).
- University Hospital “St George” JSC (Address: bulevard “Peshtersko Shose” 66, 4001 Western Industrial Zone, Plovdiv).
- University Hospital “St. Marina” (Address: bul. “Hristo Smirnenski” 1, 9010 Varna).
- University Hospital “Dr. Georgi Stranski “ (Address: bul. Georgi Kochev 8А, 5809 Pleven Center, Pleven).
- Hospital “Professor Doctor Stoyan Kirkovich” (Address: ul “General Stoletov”Stara Zagora Centre, Stara Zagora).
Services for People Living with Hepatitis B or C
Hepatitis B or C testing, hepatitis B vaccination, and hepatitis B or C treatment availability
Tests for hepatitis B and hepatitis C are conducted in the laboratories of the RHI (Regional health inspection).
Quantitative determination of hepatitis B virus DNA is recommended if:
- The person has risk factors for hepatitis B infection (men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, frequent change of sexual partner, other chronic liver diseases, chronic kidney disease, over 60 years of age and diabetic and after travel to countries with a high incidence of hepatitis B). This is for prophylactic purposes.
- The person has jaundice.
- The person is receiving chemotherapy or taking medicines that suppress the immune system.
- The person is being treated for hepatitis B.
- The person fleeing the war in Ukraine wants to get a hepatitis B vaccine (to test the immunity of people who have already been vaccinated or to screen for infection in those who have not been vaccinated).
- All newly arrived refugees (including infants and children, regardless of vaccination history) who were born in or lived in countries with an intermediate (2% to 7%) or high (≥ 8%) prevalence of chronic HBV infection should be tested for HBV infection.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection risk factors include, but are not limited to:
- Injecting drug use
- Preparation of coagulation factor concentrates.
- Obtaining transfusions or hard organs.
- Some exposure to HCV (such as needles involving HCV-positive blood).
- HIV infection
- Signs or symptoms of liver disease (e.g., abnormal liver enzyme tests, jaundice, abdominal pain or bloating, fatigue).
- Home contact with hepatitis C.
- Traditional / unregulated tattoos or FGM / C history (limited data).
It is reasonable to test all adults (≥ 18 years) who originate or have lived in countries with a high moderate (2% to 5%) or high (≥ 5%) prevalence of HCV infection.
Routine HCV screening is not recommended for people over 18 years of age unless there are risk factors. Children born to HCV-positive mothers can be tested before the age of 18 months, but in these cases, the result of testing a child’s HCV antibodies may be false positive for the passively acquired maternal antibody. In such cases, the child should be tested for HCV RNA. It is prudent to screen all children who are from or have lived in regions with a high moderate (2% to <5%) or high (≥ 5%) prevalence.
For more information check the resources:
If screening abroad is not documented, persons (including infants and children, regardless of vaccination history) who were born in or lived in countries with an intermediate (2% to 7%) or high (≥ 8%) prevalence of chronic HBV infection should be screened for serological markers of hepatitis B, including HBsAg, HBsAb and HBcAb. If HBsAg is negative, the person should be offered vaccination.
Patients with chronic hepatitis B in Bulgaria have access to interferon and neural stem cells (NSCs) therapies, which are free for everyone with health insurance. Lately, different ones have come in, such as tenofovir disoproxil-based medicines (so-called generics), which by their basic composition and mechanism of action do not differ from the original drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The only difference is the salts used as an additive (fumarate, maleate, phosphate, etc.). Some of the medication is charged extra at the expense of the patient, as their price is above the limit paid by the NHIF.
For more information check the resources:
Treatment options available for hepatitis related liver diseases
The treatment for hepatitis related liver diseases is prescribed in one of the 15 specialized clinics for the treatment of chronic hepatitis in Bulgaria. It is through a special protocol, which is commissioned by the National Health Insurance Fund and subsequently considered in accordance with the applicable requirements for granting treatment.
- Acibadem City Clinic Tokuda Hospital (www.tokudabolnica.bg)
- Acibadem City Clinic University Hospital (www.acibademcityclinic.bg)
- UMHAT “Alexandrovska” (www.alexandrovska.com)
- UMHAT “St. Ivan Rilski” (www.rilski.com)
- UMHAT “Queen Joanna” – ISUL (www.isul.eu)
- Sofiamed University Hospital (www.hospitalsofiamed.bg)
- Military Medical Academy – MMA (www.vma.bg)
- Medical Institute of the Ministry of Interior (www.mvr.bg)
- II MHAT (www.vtorambal.com)
- UB “Lozenets” (www.lozenetz-hospital.bg)
- UMHAT “Dr. Georgi Stranski” (www.umbalpleven.com)
- UMHAT “St. Marina” (www.svetamarina.com)
- UMHAT “Prof. Dr. Stoyan Kirkovich “ (www.umbal-kirkovich.org)
- UMHAT “St. George” (www.unihosp.com)
- Kaspela University Hospital (www.kaspela.com)
Support systems (harm reduction/safer use, social support or psychosocial support) available for the Ukrainians undergoing therapy for hepatitis C or related liver diseases
If the person has TB symptoms
They can go to any of the listed medical institutions to to see a general practitioner, who will direct them to the necessary tests and specialists.
If TB was already diagnosed in Ukraine and the person needs to continue treatment:
Diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis are carried out in the regional medical institutions:
Blagoevgrad Specialised Hospital Blagoevgrad Ltd. Address: ul. “Tsanko Tserkovski” 4, 2700 Blagoevgrad Center, Blagoevgrad
Burgas Specialised Hospital Burgas Address: ul. “General Gurko” 64, 8001 Burgas Center, Burgas
Varna Specialised Hospital Varna Address: ul. “Manush voyvoda” 11A
Veliko Tarnovo SHATPPD Dr Treiman Address: 5003 g.k. Sveta gora, Veliko Tarnovo
Vidin Hospital “Sveta Petka” Address: ul. “Tsar Simeon Veliki” 119, 3701 g.k. Geo Milev, Vidin
Vratsa Specialised Hospital Vratsa Address: ul. “General Leonov” 93, 3001 Vratsa Center, Vratsa
Gabrovo Specialised Hospital Gabrovo Address: ul. “Doctor Kiril Vaglenov” 1, 5304 Southern Industrial Zone, Gabrovo
Dobrich Hospital Dobrich Address: ul. “Panayot Hitov” 249300 Dobrich Center
Kardzali Hospital “Doctor Atanas Dafovski” Address: bul.Belomorski 53, 6600 Baykal, Kardzali
Kyustendil Hospital “Nikola Vasiliev” Address: pl. “17-ti yanuari” 1, 2501 Gerena, Kyustendil
Lovech/ Troyan Specialised Hospital Troyan Address: ul. “Vasil Levski” 253, 5602 Bukovets, Troyan
Montana Hospital Corp. Dr. Stamen Iliev Address: ul. “Sirma voyvoda” 4, 3403 Bolnitsa, Montana
Pazardzhik Specialised Hospital Pazardzhik Address: ul. “Bolnichna” 154400 Pazardzhik Center
Pernik Specialised Hospital Pernik Address: Golo Bardo area, 2307 Pernik
Pleven Dr. Georgi Stranski University Hospital Address: bul. Georgi Kochev 8А, 5809 Pleven Center, Pleven
Plovdiv University Hospital “St George” Address: bulevard “Peshtersko Shose” 66, 4001 Western Industrial Zone, Plovdiv
Razgrad University Hospital “St Ivan Rilski” Address: ul. “Kosta Petrov” 2, 7200 Varosh, Razgrad
Ruse Specialised Hospital “Dr. Dimitar Gramatikov” Address: ul. Lilia 1, 7002 Ruse Center, Ruse
Silistra Medical Center Silistra Address: ul. “Petar Mutafchiev” 80, 7500 Silistra Center, Silistra
Sliven Hospital Dr. Ivan Seliminski Sliven Address: bul. “Hristo Botev” 1, 8801 Sliven Center, Sliven
Smolyan Hospital “Dr. Bratan Shukerov” Address: bul. Bulgaria 2, 4700 g.k. Nov centre, Smolyan
Sofia – city Specialised Hospital “St. Sofia” Address: Boulevard “Akademik Ivan Evstratiev Geshov ” 19, 1431 Sofia Center, Sofia
Sofia – region Pulmonary Hospital – Sofia Area Address: bul. „Slivnitsa“ №309, Sofia
Stara Zagora Specialised Hospital Stara Zagora Address: ul. “Armeyska” 11, 6007 Tri chuchura – North, Stara Zagora
Targovishte City Hospital Targovishte Address: g.k. West
Haskovo Specialised Hospital Haskovo Address: g.k. Bolyarovo
Shumen Medical Centre Shumen Address: ul. “Vasil Aprilov” 639705 Shumen Center
Yambol Hospital “Sv. Panteleimon” Address: ul. “Panayot Hitov” 308600 Yambol Center
Ukrainian citizens can get help by contacting the Bulgarian Red Cross
Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination for children
Every child from Ukraine who has received temporary protection in the Republic of Bulgaria, certified by the received Personal Number of a foreigner, has the right to immunizations. For this purpose, a doctor from the regional health inspectorate in the area where one and one’s child will reside, or the general practitioner of choice, will prepare an individual immunization plan for the necessary immunizations by type of vaccine and number of doses. Therefore, it is necessary to bring all available medical documents certifying the vaccines given to the child so far.
Useful links to browse more on TB treatment within Bulgaria for Ukrainians:
Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) services
Ukrainian OAT patients can bring their doctor’s prescription, but in case such documents are submitted in a foreign language, they must be included with an accurate translation into Bulgarian. The translation must be performed by a licensed translator who has a concluded contract with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What OAT drugs are available in the country?
Methadone, buprenorphine. The Mental Health and Addiction Prevention Directorate is responsible for providing opioid substitution therapy. For further advice on accessing care, it is best to speak to one of the non-governmental organisations listed above or contact the government helpline for Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine at (02) 9055555 or (+380) 322465075.
Ukrainians need a special prescription for OAT which can be prescribed by doctors (holds an MoH permission). Ukrainians should therefore visit a doctor and to do this they need the registration card for foreigners (issued by the State Agency for Refugees), an ID card and a passport.
OAT treatment fees
Methadone is available free of charge to people with temporary protection status, but buprenorphine is not.
The Mental Health and Addiction Prevention Directorate is responsible for providing opioid substitution therapy. For further advice on accessing care, it is best to speak to one of the non-governmental organisations listed above or contact the government helpline for Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine at (02) 9055555 or
Replacement and maintenance programs using narcotics (opioid agonists and agonist antagonists) can be provided at the following types of medical facilities that operate with physicians specialised in psychiatry, toxicology or internal diseases:
- individual practices for psychiatric care
- group practices for specialised psychiatric care
- medical center
- diagnostic consultative centers
- psychiatric dispensary
- a medical institution providing psychiatric care.
А list of 30 medical establishments where opium agonist treatment programs are implemented is given on this site.
Take-home dosages availability
Short-term detoxification with methadone, performed in outpatient settings, requires active and daily monitoring of the patient.
Minimum age for people who use drugs to receive OAT
Most methadone programs in the country accept only patients who are over 18 years old.
General requirements and access to healthcare
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