Internship Legislation and Student Visa in Bulgaria

Unlocking Internship Opportunities and Student Visas in Bulgaria

Bulgaria, nestled in the heart of the Balkans, is a hidden gem that beckons students and young professionals with its dynamic culture and thriving prospects. This Eastern European nation boasts a rich tapestry of traditions, shaped by a blend of Bulgarian, Ottoman, and Slavic influences. Its strategic location offers a gateway to the European market, making it a magnet for global enterprises and educational institutions, ensuring that students gain access to a vibrant international network and the chance to collaborate with some of the world’s top firms.

Delve into a world of limitless opportunities and gain invaluable insights into internship regulations and student visa requirements in Bulgaria. Piktalent is your trusted source for up-to-the-minute, tailored information. Whether you’re an EU national or hailing from outside the EU, contemplating an internship in this Balkan haven, here’s the scoop you’ve been seeking.


EU citizens

For EU citizens aspiring to intern in Bulgaria, understanding the legislative framework is crucial to ensure a seamless and enjoyable stay. 

EU citizens enjoy the privilege of relaxed visa requirements for internships in Bulgaria. For stays within 90 days, there are no formal visa requirements. However, for extended internships exceeding this duration, EU citizens must adhere to specific requirements and obtain a certificate allowing them to reside in Bulgaria for up to 5 years. 

1. Residence Permit for Internships

To secure a residence permit, EU citizens must fulfill the legislative requirements arising out of the EU. This involves obtaining a TIN number, crucial for receiving any financial contribution during the internship. The form of fiscal residence from the National Revenue Agency needs to be duly filled to facilitate this process. More details can be found here.

2. Extensions

For those seeking to extend their stay beyond the initial internship period, adherence to the specific legislative requirements is mandatory. This may involve additional documentation and compliance with the extended visa and residence permit stipulations.

3. Work While Interning

Interns in Bulgaria are entitled to work during their internship period. However, adherence to the stipulated work hours and the terms of the internship agreement is essential to avoid any legislative discrepancies. Being an EU member, Bulgaria allows other EU citizens to work without the need for any additional permits. Interns from the EU can work either part-time or full-time, without specific restrictions on working hours.

4. Financial Compensation

Interning in Bulgaria is a transformative experience. As of 2023, the average stipend for non-mandatory internships lasting over three months stands at EUR 300 per month. While this figure serves as a general benchmark, variations might occur based on the industry and specific roles. 

5. Insurance & Health Considerations

Bulgaria mandates compulsory public health insurance. EU citizens are required to possess the European Health Insurance Card along with national insurance. Regular preventive examinations are recommended, aligning with the country’s occupational health and safety regulations.

6. Minimum Salary & Tax Considerations

Interns in Bulgaria may or may not be entitled to remuneration, depending on the terms of their internship.

However, if remuneration is provided, the employer owes the intern employment remuneration that is not less than the minimum wage set for the country, which is BGN 780.00 per month or BGN 4.72 per hour as of 2023. This minimum wage is applicable from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, and the amounts are before tax.

It is crucial for both employers and interns to be aware of these regulations to ensure compliance and to foster fair and equitable working conditions. Regarding health insurance contributions, the rate remains unchanged at 8% in 2023. The applicable thresholds for social security and health insurance contributions are a minimum monthly income of BGN 710 and a maximum monthly income of BGN 3,400.

Even though the minimum income for social security contributions remains the same, the minimum salary was increased to BGN 780 as of 1 January 2023. Therefore, the minimum income for social security contributions of employees who receive the minimum salary should be BGN 780. The median monthly disposable salary (after tax) can vary significantly depending on the role and seniority level, and it is essential for individuals to consider the cost of living and taxation when evaluating potential earnings in Bulgaria.

7. Internship Agreement & Supervisor Role

The internship agreement is a distinctive employment agreement focusing on achieving specific goals and expectations set by both the intern and the employer. The intern, considered a type of employee, works under enhanced control by a supervisor, who oversees the results and the manner in which the intern achieves these results. The supervisor, appointed by the employer, must have at least 3 years of professional experience in the area in which the intern aspires to get practical skills. The supervisor’s responsibility is additional to his/her employment obligations, and this separate duty has to be subject to an additional agreement.

8. Termination & Certification

The internship agreement is terminated with the expiration of the agreed term (6-12 months) but can also be terminated in advance by either party by giving 15 days’ written notice. Following the termination of the employment agreement, the employer certifies the outcomes of the internship.

Step-by-Step Guide for EU Citizens Undertaking Internships in Bulgaria

Step 1: Obtain Necessary Documentation

Step 2: Understand Visa & Application Requirements

  • Within 90 Days: No formal requirements for stays within 90 days.
  • Beyond 90 Days: For extended stays, adherence to EU regulations is crucial, necessitating specific certificates for residency beyond five years.

Step 3: Secure Insurance

  • Healthcare Insurance: Bulgaria mandates common healthcare insurance. EU citizens require a European Health Insurance Card and national insurance.

Step 4: Adhere to Preventive Care Regulations

  • Occupational Health and Safety: Employers are not obligated to offer preventive care to trainees, but foreigners working in Bulgaria should undergo preventive examinations in alignment with the country’s prevailing regulations.

Step 5: Establish Residency Proof

  • Lease Agreement: While not obligatory, having a lease agreement as a tenant serves as proof of residence in the country.

Interning in Bulgaria offers a plethora of learning and cultural experiences. By meticulously following the legislative norms and staying informed about the necessary documentation and compliance requirements, EU citizens can look forward to a rewarding and enriching internship journey in Bulgaria.

Non-EU citizens

Navigating the legislative landscape for internships in Bulgaria can be intricate, especially for Non-EU citizens. This guide is your beacon, illuminating the path to a rewarding internship experience in Bulgaria.

1. Unlocking Opportunities: Essential Documentation & Internship Contracts

Before embarking on Bulgarian internships, secure a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the National Revenue Agency, crucial for accessing financial contributions. Refer to the comprehensive TIN Guide for smooth navigation.

In 2023, Bulgaria recognized various internship contracts, ensuring clarity and legality in internship relationships. All contracts must be in written form, with GDPR rules adhered to during the hiring process.

2. Gateway to Bulgaria: Visa, Application Insights & Internship Permissions

For EU Citizens, a 90-day stay is permitted without formal requirements. For extended stays, adherence to EU regulations is crucial.

Non-EU Citizens require a valid travel document and, if necessary, a visa. Different types of residence and work permits, including the Single Residence and Work Permit and the EU Blue Card, are available, ensuring seamless internship opportunities for all.

3. Safeguarding Your Health: Insurance & Occupational Safety during Internships

Bulgaria mandates common healthcare insurance for all interns. EU citizens can leverage their European Health Insurance Card along with national insurance, while non-EU citizens must secure national insurance.

Bulgarian legislation ensures occupational health and safety rights for all interns, regardless of their work location, with specific provisions for remote interns to prevent isolation and foster a cohesive work environment.

4. Ensuring Well-being: Preventive Care & Intern Rights

Interns in Bulgaria should undergo preventive examinations to ensure a healthy and safe internship experience, aligning with the country’s prevailing regulations.

The nature of the relationship with the employer is crucial in determining the rights and protections of interns, with specific considerations for independent contractor interns.

5. Establishing Your Nest: Tenancy Contracts & Legal Modifications

Securing a lease agreement is crucial for establishing your base in Bulgaria and serves as proof of residence in the country.

Any modifications in the internship relationship require the written consent of both parties, ensuring transparency and mutual agreement in any changes made to the internship contract.

Embarking on an internship in Bulgaria is about immersing oneself in the rich culture, exploring the scenic landscapes, and embracing the learning opportunities. Ensure your documents are in order, understand your rights and responsibilities as an intern, and step into a world of endless possibilities in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Working Visas

Job regulations for foreigners
More information on Visa Types and Application

a) Application Process

Applications should be submitted no earlier than 3 months before the intended travel, personally or through an authorized agent, except in humanitarian cases. All fields in the application must be filled in legibly in typed letters, and the application must be signed by the applicant personally.

b) Documents Required

  • A photocopy of the first page of the foreign travel document.
  • A full-color photograph 3,5 cm х 4,5 cm against a light-colored background.
  • Medical insurance is valid for the EU member states for the whole period of the trip, covering all costs for repatriation and for urgent medical care and emergency hospital treatment for the period of the stay indicated in the visa. The insurance amount cannot be less than 30 thousand euros.

c) Visa-Free Regime

As of 21 April 2023, holders of Schengen visas, long-stay visas, and residence permits have the right to enter and reside in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without needing a Bulgarian visa type “C” for transit residence or planned stay.

d) Visa Application Centers

To facilitate applicants, Visa Application Centers operated by the VFC Global Company are available in various countries including Russia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. More Information

e) Special Considerations for Internships

For internships, Visa D is typically the most relevant, and applicants must ensure that all internship contracts and documentation align with the visa requirements. The nature of the internship, the duration, and the stipulations of the host organization in Bulgaria will all play a crucial role in the visa application process.

Updated Insights and Considerations
  • Visa-Free Regime Enhancements: As of 21 April 2023, Bulgaria has expanded the visa-free regime, allowing holders of certain documents to enter and reside in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without the need to hold a Bulgarian visa type “C”.
  • Visa Application Centers Expansion: The VFC Global Company operates Visa Application Centers in numerous countries, aiding applicants in the submission process and providing enhanced services.
  • Schengen Area Aspirations: Joining the Schengen area remains a key priority for Bulgaria, with the government committed to meeting the high Schengen standards and securing reliable external borders.
Deep Dive: Specifics and Details
  • Visa-Free Regime Documents: The comprehensively listed documents include a Uniform visa, Long-stay visa, Residence permit, and Visa with limited territorial validity, allowing holders to enter Bulgaria after the visa has been used in a country that fully applies the Schengen acquis.
  • Recognition of Visas and Residence Permits: Bulgaria recognizes national visas and residence permits issued by Romania and Cyprus as equivalent to its national visas for transit or for a planned stay on its territory, not exceeding 90 days within a period of 180 days.
  • Application Considerations for Minors: For under-aged children traveling without their parents or trustees, a copy of the birth certificate and a notary-certified power of attorney from both parents/ trustees agreeing to their child traveling unaccompanied by them must be submitted.
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Frequently Asked Questions

No, EU citizens can intern in Bulgaria for up to 90 days without a visa. For longer internships, they must obtain a residence permit.

EU citizens need a TIN number, fiscal residence form, and health insurance for a residence permit. More details can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria website.

Yes, interns can extend their stay, but they must comply with specific legislative requirements and obtain necessary documentation.

Yes, EU citizens can work part-time during their internship without additional permits, as Bulgaria allows it for EU members.

As of 2023, it’s around EUR 300 per month, though variations may occur based on industry and role.

EU interns must have European Health Insurance Card and national insurance, with regular preventive examinations recommended.

The minimum wage for interns in Bulgaria is BGN 780 per month or BGN 4.72 per hour as of 2023.

A supervisor, with at least 3 years of professional experience, oversees and guides interns to achieve specific goals. Their role is separate from their regular employment and requires an additional agreement.

The agreement can end with the agreed term or by giving 15 days’ notice by either party. After termination, the employer certifies the internship outcomes.

Non-EU citizens need to secure a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency. In 2023, various internship contracts were recognized, requiring written agreements adhering to GDPR rules.

EU citizens can stay for 90 days without formalities, while Non-EU citizens need valid travel documents and may apply for different permits like the Single Residence and Work Permit or the EU Blue Card for extended stays.

All interns in Bulgaria must have common healthcare insurance. Occupational health and safety rights are ensured for all interns, including provisions for remote interns to prevent isolation.

Interns must undergo preventive examinations. Rights and protections depend on the nature of the employer-intern relationship, with special considerations for independent contractor interns.

Tenancy contracts are essential for establishing residence in Bulgaria. Any modifications in the internship relationship require written consent from both parties for transparency.

Bulgaria expanded its visa-free regime, allowing certain document holders to enter without a Bulgarian visa type “C.” Visa Application Centers by VFC Global are available in multiple countries, aiding applicants. Bulgaria is also aspiring to join the Schengen area.

Recognized documents include Uniform visas, Long-stay visas, Residence permits, and Visas with limited territorial validity. Bulgaria acknowledges visas and permits issued by Romania and Cyprus as equivalent to its national visas for certain stays.

Minors traveling alone must submit their birth certificate and a notary-certified power of attorney from both parents or trustees allowing their unaccompanied travel.

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