Bulgaria is an emerging regional leader in a strategic location with the lowest cost of doing business in the EU. The lowest corporate tax in the EU of 10%, the personal income tax at 10% combined with an educated workforce, unsaturated market, good manufacturing base, and stable banking system, is an excellent and thriving market for U.S. exporters to grow their business in Southeast Europe.
With a focused strategic approach to infrastructure development, boosted by $16 billion of EU funds targeting strategic initiatives, there are vast opportunities for U.S. companies in areas such as energy (generation, oil & gas, renewables, and energy efficiency), ICT, infrastructure (roads, tunnels, railways), agriculture, and healthcare. Any U.S. enterprise interested in obtaining EU funds is eligible provided that they work with a reputable Bulgarian partner.
The aforementioned EU funds are aimed at addressing some of the challenges in Bulgaria’s market, including weak rule of law, low energy diversity, and income inequality. As Bulgaria implements these programs, continued opportunities will arise for U.S. companies seeking growth opportunities in this rapidly growing EU Member State.
Sunday, October 15
Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria
Monday, October 16
Business to Business meetings and networking with government and business officials
Tuesday, October 17
Business to Business meetings (if needed) and travel to Bucharest, Romania for the Trade Winds Business Development Conference
The US Commercial Service in Bulgaria welcomes all participants to this year’s Trade Winds Southeast Europe. If you have any issues before or upon arrival please contact Commercial Assistant/Outreach Coordinator Milko Minev at Milko.Minev@trade.gov or +359-2-937-5145.
A valid United States passport is required for U.S. citizens who are not also Bulgarian nationals. Bulgarian immigration authorities ask all foreigners to declare the purpose of their visit at the border or upon arrival and to provide their intended address. The U.S. passport must be valid for at least three (3) months from the expected date of departure from Bulgaria. U.S. citizens who enter the country on tourist passports without a Bulgarian visa are authorized to stay for a 90 days within a six-month period. Travelers on all types of passports (regular, official or diplomatic) who intend to stay more than 90 days must secure a "D" visa from the Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate. Visa issuance can take 30 - 40 calendar days. "D" visas are issued for employment purposes, missionary purposes, or if you are married to a Bulgarian citizen, among other reasons. Travelers with an official or diplomatic passport, who intend to stay in Bulgaria for less than 90 days, within six months, must secure a Bulgarian visa type "C" from a Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate prior to arrival. U.S. citizens must apply for a visa at a Bulgarian Embassy/Consulate in the United States or if not residents in the United States, in their country of legal residence. U.S. citizens are also advised that if their purpose of stay in Bulgaria changes (i.e., work or marriage status), they must leave Bulgaria and apply again for a D-visa.
See https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/bulgaria.html for more information
All U.S. citizens receive an entry stamp in their passports. U.S. citizens who do not have an entry stamp in their passports will encounter difficulties when they try to leave Bulgaria. When entering Bulgaria by car, if the vehicle has been recorded on the passport, the owner may not leave the country without the automobile. Sometimes vehicles are erroneously recorded on the passport of passengers in the car, who then have problems trying to leave the country without the vehicle.
Holders of Schengen visas can visit and stay in Bulgaria without Bulgarian visas within the validity of their visa, but no longer than 90 days within a 6-month period.
Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria at 1621 22nd St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; http://www.bulgaria-embassy.org/WebPage/Consular%20Information/procedur.htm, main switchboard (202) 387-7969.
Key Business Links: http://bulgaria.usembassy.gov/key_business_links.html
The U.S. Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad so that they can confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States, unless supplemental coverage is purchased. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service, and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost more than USD 50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have found it to be lifesaving when a medical emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur.
For more information please visit the U.S. State Department Bulgaria travel page.
A group booking has been made by the U.S. Commercial Service in Bulgaria for all participants at the hotel below.
Detailed information about travel to/from Sofia Airport is available here: http://www.sofia-airport.bg/en/passengers/and-airport
Currency exchanges are available at the airport. There are also ATM machines available at all major hotels, including the Radisson.
Bulgaria’s currency is the:
The Bulgarian Lev is pegged to the Euro.
Currently, one Bulgarian Lev equals 0.55 U.S. dollar. Visitors should exchange cash at banks or exchange bureaus. Banks and exchange bureaus do not accept traveler’s checks. Damaged or worn U.S. dollar notes are often not accepted at banks or exchange bureaus.
Due to new check clearing restrictions introduced by U.S. banks for cashing of personal and Treasury checks outside of the US, local banks no longer provide check-cashing services for personal and Treasury checks. The United Bulgarian Bank serves as a Western Union agent and provides direct transfer of money. There are many Western Union branches in major towns and cities. Many shops, hotels, and restaurants, with the exception of major hotels, do not accept credit cards. Please note the most commonly used credit/debit cards are Visa and MasterCard.
ATM cash machines are increasing in Sofia and other major cities, but bankcards, debit cards and credit cards should be used with caution due to the potential for fraud or other criminal activity. Be wary of skimming devices placed on automated tellers. Only use ATMs inside major institutions such as banks or major malls. Limit your use of credit cards to hotel bills or bills from other major vendors.
Bulgarian law requires all travelers entering or leaving the EU through Bulgaria with EUR 10,000 (currently around USD 10,699.20) or more, in cash, to declare the sum to Bulgarian customs. This EU initiative assists efforts to tackle crime and improve security by cracking down on money laundering, terrorism and criminality. Travelers carrying currency in excess of the above amount should use the red "Something to Declare" line, and not the green "Nothing to Declare" line, even if specifically invited into the green line by a customs official.
Travelers who attempt to leave Bulgaria with the equivalent of BGN 25,000 or more must complete a customs declaration stating: the origin of the money, and a certificate from the Bulgarian regional internal revenue service proving that they do not owe taxes, unless the sum is less than the amount originally reported when initially brought into the country. Contact the Embassy of Bulgaria in Washington, D.C. or a Bulgarian consulate for specific information regarding customs regulations (See http://www.bulgaria-embassy.org; http://www.euintheus.org/resources-learning/eu-guide-for-americans/).
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