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The situation is I live in Poland, citizen of Armenia, my temporary residence card is being reissued based on the new work permit I already have on hands and [new residence card] may be ready in a month or so, in the meantime I want to travel to Bulgaria to join my friends for about a week. My question is can I travel across the EU (Bulgaria is outside Schengen) with a legal and effective work permit (even translated into the language of the country in question) while my new residence card is still not ready?

In addition, I can get a confirmation paper that I have applied for a new residence card.

Thank you beforehand :) p.s. I'm going to call the Bulgarian embassy in Poland on Monday - any help before then is really appreciated!

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As Armenia is not an EU country, Armenian citizens do not automatically have the same rights as EU citizens.

Bulgaria is outside the Schengen area but they say they allow visa-free travel for holders of a Schengen visa.

I'd be surprised if Bulgaria considered a Polish work-permit to be equivalent to a Schengen visa. However I don't really know.

I'd expect an Armenian citizen to need a valid passport and visa to enter Bulgaria.

According to Wikipedia, for Armenians travelling to Bulgaria.

Visa not required for a maximum stay of 90 days within 180 days for valid visa holders or residents of the European Union member states

The EU say

If you have a valid residence permit from one of those Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa.

I'd guess a work permit is not an acceptable alternative to a residence permit and therefore insufficient evidence to prove you are a resident of the EU - but I may be wrong.

I think your plan of contacting the Bulgarian embassy well in advance of travel is best.

  • thanks for your reply. You're right about Bulgaria treating EU residence permit as a valid Schengen visa equivalent - I was there last year with my then active residence card and had no issues getting the stamp in the passport at the airport, even though was asked a couple of minor questions about my stay (vacation). It's different this time around and the question is if work permit can pass off as a residence visa. Will see on Monday. It's really said to realize your freedom of movement depends on your country of origin. – Arman McHitarian Jul 14 '17 at 14:06
  • Just found on the work permit document it says that the person whom this document is given to is granted permanent residence in order to work based on his qualification. So it sounds that work permit is actually more than just a work permission document: it also grants you residence permission. More on this on Friday, maybe there's hope to see the Bulgarian sun this summer :) – Arman McHitarian Jul 14 '17 at 14:25
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    @Arman: That sounds good. You could post that as part of an answer to your own question, maybe after getting confirmation. – RedGrittyBrick Jul 14 '17 at 14:29

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