State Department: Bulgaria - Consular Information Sheet, December 14, 1995
Bulgaria - Consular Information Sheet
Country Description: Bulgaria is a moderately developed European
nation undergoing profound political and economic changes. Tourist
facilities are widely available, but conditions vary considerably
and some facilities are not up to Western standards. Goods and
services taken for granted in other European countries are still not
available in many areas of Bulgaria.
December 14, 1995
Entry Requirements: For information concerning entry requirements,
travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria at
1621 22nd Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel.: (202) 483-5885
(main switchboard (202) 387-7969).
Medical Facilities: Although Bulgarian physicians are trained to a
very high standard, hospitals and clinics are generally not equipped
and maintained at U.S. or West European levels. Basic medical
supplies are widely available, but specialized treatments may not
be. Visitors must pay cash for medical and health services. U.S.
medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States.
Travelers have found that in some cases, supplemental medical
insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for
medical evacuation, has proven to be useful. Further information on
health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559.
Crime Information: There has been a recent rise in street crime,
much of which is directed against foreigners. Pickpocketing and
purse snatching are frequent occurrences as is theft from
automobiles, where thieves smash windows to remove valuables left in
sight. There have been a number of incidents in which tourists have
accepted offers of help from "friendly people" met by chance at the
airport, bus stations or train stations and have been drugged or
assaulted and robbed. Taxi drivers at Sofia airport are notoriously
dishonest and refuse to run their meters. Travelers who insist upon
a pre-agreed fare can avoid the more outrageous overcharging.
Automobile theft is also a frequent problem, with four wheel drive
vehicles and late model European sedans the most popular targets.
Very few vehicles are recovered.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad"
is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. It provides information on
protecting personal security while traveling abroad.
Currency Regulations: Bulgaria is largely a cash economy. Most
shops, hotels and restaurants still do not accept travelers' checks
or credit cards. Visitors can exchange money at change bureaus.
People on the street who offer high rates of exchange are confidence
tricksters intent on swindling the unwary traveler.
Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the
country in which they are traveling. Persons convicted of
possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are subject to
imprisonment and fines.
Aviation Oversight: In November 1992, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration assessed Bulgaria's civil aviation authority as being
in compliance with international aviation safety oversight standards
for Bulgaria's carriers operating to and from the U.S. The same
level of safety oversight would typically be applied to operations
to other destinations. For further information, travelers may
contact the Department of Transportation at 1-800-322-7873.
Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens may register in
the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated
information on travel and security within Bulgaria. The U.S.
Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, is located at 1 Suborna (formerly 1 A.
Stamboliski Boulevard); telephone (359) (2) 88-48-01 to -05. The
Consular Section of the Embassy is located at 1 Kapitan Andreev
Street in Sofia; telephone (359) (2) 80-10-12.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 2,
1994 to reflect the change in the telephone number for the U.S.
Embassy's Consular Section.