Moving and Removals to Bulgaria
Removals to Bulgaria are becoming more and more popular. Since it joined the EU, this beautiful Slavic country has been a huge hit with expats from all over the world. There are still a few matters to consider before you set off, including the “small” matter of the language and somewhere to live.Here is an overview of Bulgaria with all the essential info you need to know.
Removals to Bulgaria: About Bulgaria
Bulgaria attracted a large number of expats in recent years with its lower cost of living, beautiful landscape and economic opportunities.
A former Soviet Bloc nation, Bulgaria has been part of the EU since 2007 and has a developed economy which primarily centres on the private sector. Tourism, mining and energy are some of the most prominent industries and employers within the country.
Bulgaria is not part of the Eurozone, however, and has retained its own currency: the Bulgarian Lev (BGN). You may see prices displayed in Euros; this is simply for ease of reference for European visitors as the Lev is the only official currency of the country.
Removals to Bulgaria: Visa Requirements
The Bulgarian visa requirements match those of the EU since it joined the union in 2007. As such, EU members and selected other countries do not require visas to enter the country for a short-term visit.
If you wish to extend your stay beyond three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit. You will also need to register your presence with the police.
You will find essential links for British Expats in Bulgaria on the UK Govt website
Removals to Bulgaria: Language
The main language for the country is Bulgarian. Unlike in many other European countries, it is difficult to properly work and integrate if you don’t speak the lingo.
Bulgarian is a southern Slavic language which bears a close similarity to Macedonian. It uses the Cyrillic alphabet which is also used in Serbian and Russian. It isn’t the simplest language to learn but mastering the alphabet first will help.
Without learning Bulgarian, it will be difficult to communicate or understand official documentation or signs. Sofia is the area which has the greatest population of English speakers but even there, speaking Bulgarian is highly advisable.
The older generation will speak Russian as schools taught the language until 1989. Younger generations now learn either English or German, making it easier to converse with the rest of Europe.
Aside from the verbal and written language, there is one other quirk in communication which is worth mentioning. In Bulgaria, the meaning of a nod and shake of the head are reversed. In Bulgaria, an up-and-down nod means no, while a shake of the head means yes. However, modern Bulgarians understand this is at odds with the rest of Europe; they may switch to the more commonly used nodding for agreement when conversing with a visitor. Therefore, make sure you are certain what a Bulgarian means when they nod or shake their head!
Removals to Bulgaria: Transport
If you choose to drive in Bulgaria, you can use your international licence for up to one year. However, after 12 months you will need to apply for a Bulgarian license. The drink-driving limit in Bulgaria is practically zero; It’s best to abstain completely if you’re planning on getting behind the wheel!
The quality of the roads can be variable in Bulgaria, with some well-maintained but others in a poorer state of repair. It’s common for there to be no lane markings. Bulgarians drive on the right side of the road, but they also tend to be slightly reckless with high speeds and sudden lane changes with no indication.
In rural areas, expect to see animals on the road, including horses and carts travelling alongside the sleek, modern cars.
As driving in Bulgaria can be quite different, many individuals opt to use the public transport available. There are buses as well as trains; narrow gauge trains, with a lower capacity, may serve smaller locations.
Trains can often become quite crowded so bus travel is often preferable. The private operators who run these buses ensure that they are spacious and provide a comfortable travelling experience.
Removals to Bulgaria: Healthcare
Healthcare provisions in Bulgaria depend very much on whether you are living in an urban or rural area. Those living in the city benefit from modern, clean and well-equipped hospitals and have a plentiful supply of highly-skilled doctors and nurses. Bulgaria spends around 4.2% of GDP on its health service and produces 1.8 doctors per 1,000 residents, a ratio which is better than in many other European countries.
However, the picture in rural areas is very different and a trip to the hospital may involve a long journey. Upon arrival, the dated and under-staffed facilities are far more reminiscent of a Soviet bloc hospital than a modern European clinic.
The private healthcare industry is in stark contrast, is competitively priced while offering excellent treatment in comfortable surroundings. The Bulgarian private healthcare sector is so attractive that it often attracts visitors from overseas. They travel simply to have access to top quality treatment at a low cost.
State healthcare is provided by contributions equal to approximately 8% of salary. However, the cost of private health insurance is so low that many expats opt to take out their own cover.
Removals to Bulgaria: Moving to Bulgaria
Located in southeastern Europe, moving to Bulgaria can take a little longer than areas in the west of the continent. Using an experienced international moving company will help you to navigate the paperwork and provide valuable advice. This will be even more beneficial for Bulgaria due to its more remote location, and former stance as a Soviet Bloc nation.
You will only have three months to import your household goods after the date you move to Bulgaria so it’s important not to hang around when making arrangements. The Customs rules for the country are broadly the same as you’ll find elsewhere; items such as knives, drugs, pornography and fireworks are all prohibited. Any items which damage the ozone layer are specifically excluded.
Whether you chose our Load & Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you with your removal. We shall be able to provide advice on a whole range of removal issues you may not have encountered before.