I am an Indian national.

My flights are Mumbai (BOM) to Sofia (SOF) return. Port of Entry & Exit: Bulgaria

I am planning to visit Italy, France and Switzerland. Staying in Bulgaria is not part of my travel itinerary but can stay if need be. I can take a separate flight to Milan on same day.

Which visa(s) should I be applying for: Bulgarian visa and a Schengen visa, or just a Schengen visa for Italy?

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    Huh? Bulgaria is not a Schengen member, so it cannot possibly be your point of entry (or exit) into the Schengen area. If you fly from Mumbai to Sofia to Milan, then Milan will be your point of entry to the Schengen Area. Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


You need a Schengen visa.

You must apply to the embassy/consulate of the Schegen country that is the main destination of your trip; note that this is not necessarily the same as the country you will go to first! What counts is your purpose for going to each country; if the purpose is the same for all three (say, general tourism), then the one you'll be in the most time will be your main destination. And if even that doesn't pinpoint a main destination, then (and only then!) you fall back to looking at the first Schengen country.

Once you have a Schengen visa, assuming that it is valid during your entire trip, it will also let you enter Bulgaria. Bulgaria is not itself a Schengen member, but it unilaterally allows holders of valid Schengen visas to enter for short visits nevertheless, without needing a separate visa for Bulgaria.

If your stay in Bulgaria extends beyond the time period your Schengen visa is valid in, then you need to apply for a separate Bulgarian visa too.

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    Single-entry Schengen visas cannot be used to enter Bulgaria, if I recall correctly.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 12:19
  • @phoog: Romania requires 2 or multiple entries, but none of the sources I could find for Bulgaria (including government ones such as mfa.bg/en/pages/109/index.html) mention such a rule. Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 12:22
  • @phoog (Valid) Single visas are OK too, as implicitly stated in Timatic (for Romania it states only double or multiple visas are accepted) timaticweb.com/cgi-bin/…
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 13:02
  • Thanks Henning. I made the airline reservations after reading your precise and clear summary of rules.
    – Ankit
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 9:21

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