I'm going to Bulgaria in a week. I'm an Iranian passport holder, with an Italian residence permit. I read that I don't need to apply for a visa because I have a Schengen residence permit. Is that correct?


It is your Schengen visa that entitles you to enter Bulgaria, according the its Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Visa-free regime for holders of Schengen visas for a stay of up to 90 days

On 25 January 2012 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a decision according to which by the date of Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area, our country will unilaterally apply a visa-free system for holders of valid Schengen visas. They will have the right to enter and reside in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of no more than three months in any six-month period from the date of the first entry, without needing to have a Bulgarian short-stay visa. The decision entered into force on 31.01.2012.

  • The OP has a residence permit instead of a visa, though, and it looks like (somewhat strangely) residence permits are not covered by Bulgaria's unilateral visa exemption. Note that the next section explicitly speaks about exemptions for holders of "valid visas and residence permits issued by Romania, Cyprus and Croatia" so it's not as if the page you cite considers residence permits to be a form of visa. – hmakholm left over Monica Jul 5 '17 at 13:38
  • (On the other hand, here is a news item that explicitly claims that the Bulgarian decision applies to Schengen residence permits too). – hmakholm left over Monica Jul 5 '17 at 13:41
  • @HenningMakholm you can add it to my answer... I couldn't locate that. Doesn't the validity of an Italian resident permit coincide with a visa and OP didn't indicate permanent residency, as they're non-EU citizens and still use an Iranian passport. – Giorgio Jul 5 '17 at 15:12
  • x @Dorothy: No; a residence permit (whether permanent or time-limited) is an alternative to a visa, not something one is generally supposed to hold in addition to a visa. Se e,g. the borders code, art. 6.1(b). – hmakholm left over Monica Jul 5 '17 at 15:22
  • Our residence permit let us travel whitin Schengen area with no need for new visas, since Italy is in Schengen I assume it works for Bulgaria too! I hope so... – Anita Haghighi Jul 5 '17 at 20:59

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