This article is from the Bulgaria FAQ, by Dragomir R. Radev firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the Government of Bulgaria's Civil Aviation Authority as
Category One -- in compliance with the international aviation safety
standards for the oversight of Bulgarian air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of
Transportation at 1 (800) 322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at
http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official
providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on
specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-256-4801.
CUSTOM'S REGULATIONS: Bulgarian customs laws and regulations are in a state
of flux. Currently, travelers carrying more than 10,000 United States
dollars must declare the amount of cash they are carrying on their customs
declaration. Travelers who have less than $10,000 when entering the
country, must have documents proving the source of their money if upon
departure they have with them more than $10,000. Travelers should also
declare jewelry, cameras, computers, and other valuables to avoid
difficulties on departure. Contact the Embassy of Bulgaria in Washington or
one of Bulgaria's consulates in the United States for specific information
regarding customs regulations.
Bulgaria's customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of
professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions
and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for
International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036,
issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional
information call (212) 354-4480, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or
visit http://www.uscib.org for details.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Bulgaria is still a largely cash economy. Visitors
should exchange cash at banks or Change Bureaus. Some Change Bureaus charge
commissions on both cash and travelers' check transactions which are not
clearly posted. People on the street who offer high rates of exchange are
confidence tricksters intent on swindling the unwary traveler. Old, dirty
or very worn denomination bank notes are often not accepted at banks or
Change Bureaus. Major branches of the following Bulgarian banks will cash
travelers' checks on the spot for Leva, the Bulgarian currency: Bulbank,
Bulgarian Postbank, Biochim, First Investment Bank and United Bulgarian
Bank (UBB). UBB also serves as a Western Union agent and provides direct
transfer of money to travelers in need. ATM cash machines are increasing in
numbers in Sofia and other major cities. Most shops, hotels and
restaurants, with the exception of the major hotels, still do not accept
travelers' checks or credit cards. Due to the potential of fraud and other
criminal activity credit cards and ATM's should be used with caution. On
July 5, 1999, the Lev was re-denominated at a rate of 1,000 old Leva to one
new Lev. For further information see the website of the Bulgarian National
Bank at http://www.bnb.bg.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children,
international parental child abduction, and international child support
enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at
http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
Approximately 150 U.S. families per year adopt Bulgarian orphans. For more
information on international adoptions in Bulgaria, please contact the
Department of State's Office of Children's Issues, the Consular Section of
the Embassy, or the U.S. Embassy website at http://www.usis.bg.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Bulgaria are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria and obtain updated information on travel and
security within Bulgaria. The U.S. Embassy is located in Sofia at 1 Saborna
(formerly 1 A. Stamboliyski Boulevard); tel. (359) (2) 980-5241; fax: (359)
(2) 981-8977. The Consular Section of the Embassy is located at 1 Kapitan
Andreev Street in Sofia; tel. (359) (2) 963-1391; fax (359) (2) 963-2859.
The Embassy's website address is http://www.usis.bg. Questions regarding
consular services may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated May 8, 1998, to update
the sections on Country Description, Entry Requirements, Crime Information,
Medical Facilities, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and Aviation Safety
Oversight, and Registration and Embassy Location; to add sections on
Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Customs Regulations, Criminal
Penalties, and Children's Issues. Also, to change the section Ground
Transportation to Traffic Safety and Road Conditions and the section on
Currency Regulations to Special Circumstances.