Do I need to speak the local language?
Should I relocate to Varna with my own car or sell it and buy a local one?
Do I have the right to address Bulgarian courts?
Do I need a Bulgarian lawyer?
How much is the cost of an air return ticket to Varna?
What are the prices in Bulgaria?
What is the climate like in Bulgaria?
What are the Bulgarian people like?
What type of schools and hospitals are there in Bulgaria?
What types of shops are there in Bulgaria? What is the Bulgarian Currency?
What airports and flights are there to Bulgaria?
How can I register a foreign car in Bulgaria?
Can I get Sky TV?
Are the properties freehold?
How are we going to make a living once we move abroad?
Can I save taxes when registering my incomes in Bulgaria?
What do I need to do if I am a victim of crime in Bulgaria?
What is the crime rate in Bulgaria?
Can I bring my pet with me?
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Q: Do I need to speak the local language?

A: The Bulgarian language is Southern Slavic. It is mutually intelligible with Macedonian, and fairly closely related to Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Slovenian.

In general many people in Bulgaria speak English. More people now want to learn English, due to so many British people buying properties in Bulgaria over the past few years. Therefore, most young Bulgarians speak English very well so you will not have any problems communicating but if you’re planning to stay in Bulgaria permanently you’d better try to learn the language.

Some people may seem to pick up new languages effortlessly, however, it is usually the case that they have been raised around different cultures and languages, which often makes learning a new language more natural to them. By attending one of the Bulgarian classes available in Varna, you may learn the language in 4 months. This will help you learn more about the Bulgarian culture, history, traditions and customs.

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Q: Should I relocate to Varna with my own car or sell it and buy a local one?

A: If your car’s value is less than £1500, the best thing to do is to sell it and rent or buy another in Varna, considering the cost of shipping and re-registering a UK car. There are numerous dealers of brand new and 2nd hand cars within the city of Varna and in the nearby commercial zones (no essential difference to UK prices). Furthermore, a UK car is right handed while in Bulgaria most cars are left handed. It is a good idea to ask a Bulgarian acquaintance to do the negotiation for you, so you may get 20% lower price than yourself.

In the meantime you may rent a car. You may find various companies, which offer rent-a-car services in Varna. They offer the newest vehicles at the Bulgarian car hire market. You may rent a car, a SUV, a van or a limousine for driving in Bulgaria and abroad at the best prices. You can choose from Opel, Chevrolet, VW, Citroen, Renault, Daewoo, Seat, Ford, Astra, Zafira, Vivaro, Toyota Land Cruiser and Avensis, Mercedes, Suzuki Grand Vitara and Nisan<, etc.

All prices are in Euro and do not include 20% VAT and fuel. Prices vary from € 16 to € 70 per day. They include: unlimited mileage, full insurance, paid all required taxes, 24/7 emergency phone line, free of charge delivery from 6 a.m. till 10 p.m.

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Q: Do I have the right to address Bulgarian courts?

A: All citizens who may be potential parties to penal procedures are equal before the law. No privilege or restrictions on the basis of nationality, origin, religion, sex, race, education, social or material status, are allowed.

The language used in penal procedures is Bulgarian. If a person does not know Bulgarian, he may use his native language, as well as another language. An interpreter is appointed in such cases.

Defendants have the right to be defended. Defendants, as well as other citizens taking part in penal procedures, have access to all procedural tools necessary for protection of their rights and legal interest.

The court and the pre-trial authorities inform the defendant and the other persons who are parties to penal procedures, on their procedural rights, and provide them with the opportunity to exercise such rights.

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Q: Do I need a Bulgarian lawyer?

A: A foreign national can be represented either by a Bulgarian lawyer or a lawyer of the country of origin.

Under the Bar Act, a foreign national who has earned the right to work as a lawyer under the legislation of his own country, may stand before the judicial authorities of Bulgaria as the counsel for the defence or the ward of a national of his country in a penal trial. He may stand together with a Bulgarian lawyer in case this is provided by force of an agreement between Bulgaria and the respective foreign country, or on the basis of reciprocity, following a request thereof submitted to the Chairman of the Bar Association. The countries for which the principle of reciprocity is applicable are determined by the Minister of Justice, upon the request of the Chairman of the Bar Association.

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Q: How much is the cost of an air return ticket to Varna?

A: Please find below table with approximate flight charges from various destinations throughout the world to Varna:

From city Price From city Price
Amsterdam € 331.93 Dublin € 264.90
Athens € 469.80 Larnaca € 435,60
Barcelona € 434,02 London € 272.29
Belfast € 331.86 Moscow € 391.06
Berlin € 354,46 New York € 922.22
Brussels € 497,46 Paris € 421,34
Budapest € 152.03 Stockholm € 382.22
Copenhagen € 849.47 Tel Aviv € 1,077.62
Dubai € 968.26 Zurich € 513.04

For other cities, lower prices, further details and bookings visit: http://www.skyscanner.net/flights-to/bg/cheap-flights-to-bulgaria.html?o1=4&ps1=100

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Q: What are the prices of transport, household, electrical appliances, furniture, communications, food, properties and other products and services in Bulgaria?

A: Please find below table with average prices:

Type Price in €
Transport
car renting (€/day) € 21
petrol (per litre in €) € 0,93
diesel € 0,88
gas
vinettes (€) 34€/year
car insurance (per year) 50-200€
Household
water 0,47 €/m³
electricity Day – 0,051 €/ kW/h; Night – 0,0194 €/kW/h
gas 517 €/1000m³
Electrical appliances
TV – LG 32LG5600 500 €
washing machine – Zanussi ZWF-265W 185 €
fridge – Samsung rl-40wgps 400 €
oven – Indesit K-3N55 250 €
boiler 75 €
Furniture
bed 250 €
table 250 €
chairs 70 €
sofa 400 €
kitchen cupboards 500 €
Communications
internet 10 € /month
telephone 0,05 €/impulse
Food
milk (per liter) 0,60 €
eggs 1 €
bread 0,50 €
fruits bananas – 1,1 €; apples – 1 €
vegetables potatoes – 0,35 €; cabage-0,40€
meat chicken fillet- 5€; beef steaks- 8 €
Other
cigarettes 1,60 €
beer 0,89 €
spirits vodka -10 €; wine – 2,5 €
restaurants 10€ pp
bars 20€ pp
Properties
price/sq.m 1000 €
taxes Stamp duty + notary fees -3.5%; Annual – 0,1875% property tax + 0,2% garbage tax

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Q: What is the climate like in Bulgaria?

A: You can enjoy four lovely and tender seasons in Bulgaria – a beautiful blooming spring, a dry and hot summer perfect for spending a holiday at a sea resort, a long and pleasant autumn, and a mild winter with snowfalls and lots of opportunities for skiing.

Always lit by the sun Bulgaria has between 2200 and 2500 hours of sunlight per year. Average temperature during the summer season (April – September) is + 23 °C, while during the winter season (December – February) it is 0°C. The average yearly temperature is + 10.5 °C.

The average January temperature in Sofia ranges between – 4°C and + 2°C. The July temperature ranges between + 16°C and + 27°C. Along the Black Sea, the average January temperature ranges between – 1°C and + 6°C, and the July temperature ranges between + 19°C and + 30°C.

The climate in Northern Bulgaria is moderate continental, while the climate in Southern Bulgaria is intermediate continental tending to Mediterranean. The climate in the regions with an altitude of 1900-2000 m above sea level is mountainous and along the Black Sea coast it is maritime.

The climate is exceptionally favourable for growing vines, fruits and vegetables, and oil yielding rose, a valuable raw material for perfumery, medical and the food, wine and tobacco industries, and for which Bulgaria has been renowned in Europe for centuries.

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Q: What are the Bulgarian people like?

A: Bulgarians are hot blooded and emotional. In big cities you will find many stressed and hard working people while in the rural areas you can enjoy contacts with friendly and welcoming people. They are a kind and gentle race. In general Bulgarians are open and friendly people, always willing to help and advise a foreigner in need.

Generally Bulgarian men and women are calm and peaceful and very charismatic. It is rare to hear the raised voice of a Bulgarian, even children appear unspoilt and quiet, men and women live very healthy lives. As for the teenagers, they are just as rebelious as teenagers all around the world.

After the post-socialism changes about 1 million (the population of Bulgaria is 8 million) mostly young and skillful people immigrated to western, richer countries. Some remained abroad but few returned bringing investments and ideas. Many of the people who remained were disappointed from the changes in the country and a big part of them still lives quite poorly. In order to survive many people returned back to nature and in the countryside you can see people using horses for pulling carts or digging the ground, picking up herbs and developing alternative and traditional medicine, destiling alcohol from the wine or fruits they have produced… The wild spirit in mountain areas still resists the globalization.

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Q: What type of schools and hospitals are there in Bulgaria?

A: All schools in Bulgaria are free and state controlled and were modeled after those in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). A major aim of the Bulgarian educational system is to supply technical and skilled workers to meet the growing demands of the developing industry. Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. In the late 1980’s approximately 1,091,100 pupils attended elementary schools in Bulgaria, and about 402,800 students were enrolled in secondary, vocational, and teacher-training schools.

The country has about 30 institutions of higher learning, including the University of Sofia and various specialized professional institutes. Total yearly enrollment in the late 1980’s amounted to approximately 116,400 students.

There are primary and high schools in all towns in Bulgaria, and only primary schools in many villages. In Varna an English High School is located. Quite a few schools in Sofia, Varna and other Bulgarian towns welcome international students.

When it comes to the availability of doctors, medical clinics and hospitals it all depends on where you are headed. In the main towns, cities and resorts there is a far greater availability of general services – both private and state funded – but as soon as you venture into the more rural areas of Bulgaria you will find it harder to find any form of medical assistance (this is certainly worth bearing in mind if you’re thinking about living in Bulgaria and you prefer a rural retreat). You may have to travel long distances just to see a GP or to buy basic medical supplies.

In-patient treatment is provided by public and private hospitals. However, you should ask to be referred to a hospital that has a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund, as they will cover the cost of treatment. After being discharged from hospital, you are entitled to maximum two examinations as part of your in-patient care.

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Q: What types of shops are there in Bulgaria and can I pay with my credit card or Traveller’s Cheque? What is the Bulgarian Currency?

A: The main shopping area of Varna is the Kniaz Boris and Vladislav Boulevards. There are shops for Cosmetics and Perfumes, Fashion Clothes, Home Furnishing, Jewellery, Music, Optics, Photo, Sport Items, Supermarkets and Hypermarkets, Malls, etc. Bulgarian and imported products, handicrafts, wines, spirits and confectionery can all be found. Shops and stores are generally open Mon-Fri 1000-2000, Sat 1000-1400.

Bulgarian currency is Lev (BGN) = 100 stotinki. Notes are in denominations of BGN 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of 1 Lev, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 stotinki. The Lev is tied to the Euro at a fixed rate; €1 = BGN1.955. Notes dated 1997 and earlier are now out of circulation.

A bordereaux receipt indicating the amount of currency exchanged will be given, and must be kept until departure. Visitors are advised to exchange money at banks and at large hotels. Travelers should not change currency on the black market , and they should exercise caution when exchanging money in bureaux de change since some have been known to dupe customers with misleading rates of exchange. No store, bank or change bureau will accept mutilated, torn or excessively dirty foreign currency. ATMs are widespread, although it is best to check with the relevant bank/card provider prior to travel.

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in large cities, in larger hotels and car hire offices, and in some restaurants and shops, mainly in Sofia and Varna. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services that may be available. However, Bulgaria is still a country that operates mainly on cash, rather than credit cards.

Traveller’s Cheques are accepted in major hotels and restaurants. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Banking Hours are Mon-Fri 0900-1600.

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Q: What airports and flights are there to Bulgaria?

A: There are four airports in Bulgaria, in the towns of Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv and Bourgas. The national carrier Air Bulgaria, as well as many foreign airlines link the country to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America. Below are listed air companies flying to and from Bulgaria:

Air Company

To/From Sofia

To/From Varna

To/From Bourgas

Aegean Airlines

All-year-round

Aeroflot-Don

excl. Nov-Dec

Summer

AeroSvit Airlines

All-year-round

Summer

Summer

Air Bashkortostan

Summer

Air Berlin

Summer

Summer

Air Finland

Summer

Air France

excl. Nov-Jan

Air Lazur

yes

Air Lingus

All-year-round

Summer

Air Malta

All-year-round

Air Méditerranée

Summer

Summer

Air VB

yes

Air VIA

Summer

Summer

AlItalia

excl. Nov-Jan

ArkeFly / TUI Netherlands

Summer

Summer

Armavia

Summer

Atlant-Soyuz Airlines

Summer

Aurela Air

Summer

Austrian Airlines

All-year-round

All-year-round

Ave.com

Summer

Aviajet

Summer

AvioDelta

yes

AvioStart

yes

BH Air

yes

Summer

Summer

Belair Airlines

Summer

Belavia Belarusian Airlines

Summer

British Airways

excl. Nov-Dec

All-year-round

Bulgaria Air

All-year-round

All-year-round

All-year-round

Bulgarian Air Charter

Summer

Summer

CSA Czech Airlines

All-year-round

Summer

Summer

Centralwings

Summer

Condor

Summer

Summer

Cyprus Airways

excl. Nov-Jan

Donbassaero

Summer

Easyjet Airline

All-year-round

EgyptAir

Summer

EL AL Israel Airlines

excl. Nov-Jan

Europe Airpost

Summer

Finnair

Summer

Summer

First Choice Airways

Summer

Flightline

Summer

Flybaboo

excl. Nov-Jan

Flynordic.com

Summer

Georgian National Airlines

Summer

Germanwings

All-year-round

Summer

Hamburg International

Summer

Summer

Hello Airline

Summer

Hemus Air

Summer

Iberworld Aiirlines

Summer

Jetairfly

Summer

Summer

Jet Time

Summer

JetX Airlines

Summer

Summer

Kavminvodyavia

Summer

Summer

KD Avia

Summer

Kogalymavia

Summer

LatCharter Airlines

Summer

Llc Globus

Summer

LOT Polish Airlines

All-year-round

LTU

Summer

Lufthansa

All-year-round

Luxair

Summer

Summer

Malév Hungarian Airlines

All-year-round

All-year-round

Summer

Malmö Aviation

Summer

Summer

Monarch

Summer

MyAir

Summer

Norwegian Air Shuttle AS

Summer

Summer

Novair

Summer

Summer

Olympic Airways

Summer

Pulkovo Airlines

Jan-Mar

Rossiya

yes

Summer

Summer

Royal Wings

Summer

SAS Scandinavian Airlines

Summer

Summer

S7 / Siberia Airlines

Summer

Summer

Samara Airlines

Summer

Seagle Air

Summer

SkyEurope Airlines Hungary

Summer

SkyEurope Airlines

excl. Nov-Dec

Summer

Summer

Smartlynx Airlines

Summer

South Airlines

Summer

Swiss International Air Lines

excl. Nov-Dec

Summer

Tarom

All-year-round

Tatarstan Airlines

Summer

Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium

Summer

Summer

Thomas Cook Airlines UK

Summer

Summer

Thomas Cook Scandinavia

Summer

Summer

Thomsonfly

Summer

Transaero Airlines

Summer

Summer

Transavia Airlines

Summer

Summer

Travel Service

Summer

Summer

Travel Service Hungary

Summer

TuIfly Nordic

Summer

Summer

Tui – Thomson – By – UK

Summer

Turkish Airlines

All-year-round

Ukraine International Airlines

Summer

UM Airlines

Summer

Ural Airlines

Summer

Summer

VIM Airlines

Summer

Summer

Vip Wings

Summer

Xl Airways Germany

Summer

Wizz Air

All-year-round

All-year-round

All-year-round

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Q: How can I register a foreign car in Bulgaria?

A: Motor vehicles owned by foreign natural or legal persons must be registered at Road Police sectors specified by the Road Police Division of the National Police Service Directorate of the Metropolitan Directorate of Interior or Regional Directorates of Interior within 14 days from the date of issue of the customs document of import or document of property acquisition in this country .

You may find more information at: http://retirement-homes-bulgaria.com/relocation/legal-advisor/car-registration/

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Q: Can I get Sky TV?

A: If you have at least a 50 cm dish you can get all Sky channels. You need a standard digital decoder with dual card slots, and the Sky Digibox. The dish must be aimed at Hellas 2 which is 5 degrees west of due south. This provides repeater signals from various other satelites.

In the standard decoder you must insert a uk ‘sky freeview’ card. This is the card they provide for users to access channels that are usually free to air in the UK. The output from the decoder is fed into the Sky digibox (with the usual sky card pre-enabled by a friend or family in UK). Bingo – Sky TV and a load of other channels as well.

Please contact http://www.insatinternational.com/ for more details.

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Q: Are the properties freehold?

A: In Bulgaria there are freehold and leasehold properties, depending on the buyer’s interest. At www.buy-sell-bulgaria.com all properties are freehold.

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Q: How are we going to make a living once we move abroad? Can we work in Bulgaria?

A: Under the Foreign Nationals Act, foreign citizens with permanent residence in Bulgaria are allowed to work under the same conditions, which are valid for Bulgarian nationals.

Foreign citizens have the right of employment on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria if they:

  • Are hired by an employer in the accordance with the Labour Codex
  • Are commissioned for a particular term by a foreign employer within the framework of offering services on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria
  • Wish to be self-employed Employment could be performed only after the issue of a Work Permit by the National Employment Agency.

The work permit is issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which will allow you to apply for Type D visa allowing you to stay for 12 months (see above). If you plan to work in Bulgaria for a salary, your potential employer will organise a work permit, which will usually be dependent on the job being one that cannot be filled by a Bulgarian (e.g. teaching English).

You may find more information regarding employment in Bulgaria at http://retirement-homes-bulgaria.com/relocation/work/

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Q: Can I save taxes when registering my incomes in Bulgaria?

A: Residents are liable for their world-wide income. Non-residents are liable only for their income derived from Bulgarian sources. Foreign experts are taxed only on their Bulgarian-source income irrespective of the duration of their stay in the country. Any income derived by an individual from the conduct of business on the territory of Bulgaria or under an employment contract or derived from rendering services is considered to be from a Bulgarian source. Incomes derived from the use of real estate and capital gains from the sale of real estate located in the country, as well as incomes from transactions with quotas/shares in local companies and incomes from securities transactions with securities issued by the Bulgarian state and municipalities are also incomes from a Bulgarian source.

You may find more information at http://retirement-homes-bulgaria.com/relocation/financial-advisor/taxation/

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Q: What do I need to do if I am a victim of crime in Bulgaria?

A: Foreign nationals need to contact the Consular Relations Directorate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the competent law enforcement and judicial authorities.

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Q: What is the crime rate in Bulgaria?

A: Like many Eastern countries, Bulgaria suffers its fair share of crime. However knowledge is power and crime can be avoided if you are fully aware of the possible hazards and take the necessary precautions. Here you will gain an insight into the crime and police situation in Bulgaria. The petty street crime is especially prevalent in busy cities. Pick-pocketing and bag snatching can occur in crowded streets or markets. Typical incidents are:

– Con artists can be common on public transport and in train or bus stations. They pose as “instant friends” or government officials. There have been incidents where tourists have been drugged and robbed after accepting valium tainted drinks from these new acquaintances. Always ask “officials” for identification.

– Racism – as in many countries, people with dark skin have sometimes been victims of hostile attitude and ethnic slurs.

– Taxis can sometimes overcharge tourists, particularly at airports and the train stations. To avoid this, use reputable taxi companies whose cars have meters and clearly marked rates. Pre-negotiate a fare to avoid excessive payment if a metered taxi cannot be found.

– Car theft – the main targets are four wheel drive vehicles and luxury cars. Very few are tracked down.

– House robberies happen in Bulgaria, as with properties anywhere in Europe today. In modern developments, security personnel are on duty and modern security systems are in place. For other property, you would be well advised to put bars on your windows, change the lock on your newly purchased property and be vigilant about locking doors and windows when away. Remember to get a contents insurance policy.

It is worth reporting a crime immediately to the police as they do help recover money and valuables on some occasions.

The National Police Service is a specialized operation and search as well as guarding service of the Ministry of Interior. It carries out its activity independently and in co-operation with other state bodies, organizations and citizens.

The National Police Service has the following main tasks:

  • maintaining public order;
  • prevention, detection and investigation of crimes;
  • countering the criminal activities of local and cross-border criminal groups or organizations;
  • guarding the state border and carrying out border control, combating illegal migration and traffic of human beings;
  • prevention of terrorist acts and neutralization of terrorist and diversion groups;
  • organization and implementation ofsites of superior importance;
  • administrative control over the residence of foreigners in Bulgaria;

The crime rate in Bulgaria has been a bit lower than the average in EU countries since August 2005, stated minister Petkov upon presenting the MI’s report for the last two years. He cited Germany as an example, where there are 8000 crimes per 100 000 people as compared to 1700 in Bulgaria. He said that premeditated murders and hate crimes have decreased in the last two years. Car thefts have dropped by 33%. There have been less rapes, murders of newborns and robberies. Only incidences of arson and drug-related crimes have increased.

To report a crime dial 166 (from Varna). For the Varna Regional Directorate of the Interior Affairs (RDIA) call +359 52 225 118.

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Q: Can I bring my pet with me?

A: Bulgaria is a member of the EU Pets Passport Scheme. Control over the import of live animals to Bulgaria is the responsibility of the National Veterinary Medical Service at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest.
If you wish to take a pet to Bulgaria, you will be required to provide the border veterinary authorities with:

– An immunisation passport with an ID number, description of the pet, and information about vaccinations and anti-parasite treatment, issued by a licensed vet in the country of origin;

– A medical certificate for the pet, issued by a governmental or another authorized veterinary doctor, which verifies that the pet has passed a medical examination within 24 hours before the date of its export; has been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before and no more than 12 months before the date of export; that the pet’s country of origin has had no registered cases of rabies in the last six months, and that if under three months old the pet has been kept indoors since its birth.

Full details of the documentation required should be obtained from the Bulgarian Customs Agency’s website or the website of the Bulgarian embassy in your home country.

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