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A friend of mine who is a citizen of Indonesia with UK residency (but not citizenship) would like to meet up with me somewhere with a cheap undeveloped beach. (I'll be hitchhiking from Georgia.)

The problem is there's tons of unexpected rules and fees for Indonesians to get a visa for these places.

I can't see anywhere that having UK residency helps but maybe I missed it. Also whether having a Schengen visa first might make it easier to get a visa for Bulgaria or Romania.

Yes we have looked at the relevant government visa sites but it's a lot to take in and keep sorted. We're wondering if somebody might have first hand experience. Maybe some things are not as strict as the websites make them look. Maybe we missed something for one country that makes it easier or cheaper than the others.

Does anybody know this stuff already?

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I'm interested in this as well, have you found a solution (in particular for Romania)? –  Szabolcs Jul 25 '12 at 10:18
    
@Szabolcs: No my Indonesian friend got fed up with the process when the time she had to wait for her Schengen interview overlapped with when we were supposed to be travelling. She gave up and went to Jordan instead )-: –  hippietrail Jul 25 '12 at 10:22
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I wrote an answer anyway. I know about the difficulties ... we only used the visa-free 5-day transit possibility for Schengen visa holders when visiting Romania, but still needed to make sure that the entry and exit points are different. It requires a lot of planning, and the 5 days (still not clear if it's "on 5 separate days" or 5 times 24 hours) are very short (including travel). –  Szabolcs Jul 25 '12 at 10:33
    
Yes she was going to do the same, get the Schengen visa and fly into Hungary, but it spoiled our plan to spend most of her time hopping between the unspoiled beaches in Romania and Bulgaria with only 5 days! –  hippietrail Jul 25 '12 at 10:44
    
Yes, that is my preferred solution as well. Fly to Hungary, take the train/bus to Romania, then fly out of Romania at a different exit point (or the inverse). Affordable train tickets are available for any day (unlike flight tickets), so staying within the 5 days limit is easier and the separate entry/exit points are taken care of as well. The train ride might take 15 hrs to Bucharest though (to Brasov it's 12). –  Szabolcs Jul 25 '12 at 10:49
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2 Answers 2

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria doesn't mention anything on their website about a relaxed visa regime for holders of Schengen visas or resident permits, so it's safe to assume this doesn't provide any additional benefits.

However, a holder of a Schengen visa can stay up to two days in Bulgaria provided that the arrival and departure countries are different (applies to flights as well) -- this is equivalent to obtaining a short-stay visa type "C" for the purposes of transit through the country.

No transit visa is required for passage of citizens of third states when they produce any of the following documents:

  • Schengen (single) visa, long-stay visa, permit for stay issued by any of the Schengen area states;
  • national short-stay visas, long-stay visas and permits for stay issued by Romania and Cyprus;

See section II.1 for the full text of the conditions and requirements.

This probably won't be an option for you due to the additional restrictions, but it's worth mentioning.

For planned stay (normal tourist/business visa, type "D"), this does not seem to be an option. It probably won't hurt if one inquires at the Indonesian embassy in Bulgaria:

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
1700 Sofia, 5 “Josef Waldhart” Str.
Phone no.: 962 52 40, 868 32 20, 962 61 70
Fax: 962 44 18
e-mail:kbrisofia@indonesie.bg

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I have been researching Romanian visas about 1.5 years ago, and I also inquired at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at that time (which, by the way, gave me some unclear and contradicting information...). I took another look at their website now and the following may be relevant for your case:

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