Last update 02 October 2023Diplomatic missions
Level 2: Increased attention (please be informed in detail about the current situation in the country)
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Regular passport: visa not required
Diplomatic passport: visa not required
Official passport: visa not required
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Address: B-53, Dareen street 4067 Diplomatic Quarter 12512 Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telephones: telephone switchboard: +966 11 25 11 553; +966 11 25 11 554; +966 11 23 04 237
Out-of-hours duty phone: +966 55 776 9728
Working hours: from 9:00 to 16:30 (local time)
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +966 11 25 11 553; +966 11 25 11 554; +966 11 23 04 237
Working hours: from 9:00 to 16:30 (local time)
Opening hours: from 9:30 to 12:30 (local time)
E-mail: [email protected] (for scheduling an appointment and other questions)
Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Sofia, the Republic of Bulgaria
Address: Sofia 1618, Vitosha Borough, Manastirski Livadi Residential Area,
35 Bratia Buxton Blvd.,
Telephone: +359 2 439 15 11; +359 2 862 10 58
Fax: +359 2 862 06 30
E-mail: [email protected]
Working hours: 09:00 – 16:00
Non-working days: Saturday and Sunday
As a result of the measures taken by the Saudi authorities, the risk of terrorist attacks has been significantly reduced and the security situation improved. There have been reports of tensions and isolated acts of violence in eastern Qatif province. In this area, places with concentrations of people that could turn into demonstrations or disturbances should be avoided. The instructions of the law enforcement forces and the police should be strictly followed.
In connection with the ongoing operation of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, there are military risks in the Saudi provinces of Jizan, Najran and Asir bordering Yemen to the southwest, which are not recommended to be visited. The territory of Saudi Arabia has periodically been targeted by ballistic missile or drone attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Although in most cases the Saudi air defenses successfully intercepted and neutralized airstrikes, on 14 September 2019, an airstrike was carried out on the Abqaiq and Khurais oilfields and refineries located in the eastern provinces, due to which a risk was identified for those working at oil production and refining industry sites in the kingdom, as well as from falling parts of intercepted missiles, including in populated areas. In this context, it is necessary to monitor the messages and warnings of the official authorities in the mass media and to comply with the recommendations they make.
Service in most hospitals meets the European standards. For up-to-date information on mandatory and/or recommended vaccines you may contact the Regional Health Inspectorates in the country. Yellow fever vaccine is administered at the following regional health inspectorates: Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate; Varna RHI ; Burgas RHI; Pleven RHI; Plovdiv RHI; Blagoevgrad RHI and Ruse RHI.
Specifics of the local legislation:
The country's criminal justice system complies with Islamic Shari'a law, with the death penalty being a valid punishment for some crimes. Administrative and civil law are governed by the provisions of the enacted legal acts.
During the holy month of Ramadan, the consumption of food and drink and smoking in public places is prohibited from sunrise to sunset. It is extremely important to respect Muslim rules, customs and prohibitions.
The country has a strict ban on the consumption and sale of liquor, drugs and pork meat.
It is forbidden to photograph mosques, military sites and buildings of strategic importance. It is also forbidden to photograph local women without their consent.
Demonstrative displays of intimacy between the sexes in public places are prohibited.
Prostitution and homosexuality are prohibited and severely punished.
Bulgarian citizens should comply with Islamic norms of behaviour.
There are no specific restrictions on the import into the country of local or foreign currency, with the exception of Israeli shekels.
You can only bring items for personal use into the country duty-free.
The import of explosives, weapons, liquor, printed and video material with political or pornographic content, drugs, wireless transmitters and communication equipment, as well as pork meat, palms, palm products and natural pearls is prohibited.
In the event that, as a short-term visitor to the Kingdom, you are required to carry medicines or medicinal drugs prescribed for your personal use by a doctor, you must request and provide supporting documentation for the need to use the relevant medicines. Otherwise, you risk confiscation of them, as well as being prosecuted. The Saudi Food and Drug Administration guidelines can be downloaded from here.
The main mode of transport is private cars and taxis, services of urban / intercity bus and rail transport are also available. The condition of roads in major cities and population centres is decent. Road signs are mostly in Arabic.
Road traffic requires special attention — especially due to the high speed (100—120 km/h) in urban conditions. The use of seat belts is mandatory. Drunk driving can lead to imprisonment and extradition.
As part of the reforms being implemented by the Saudi authorities, it was decided to lift the ban on women driving. The decision entered into force on 24 June 2018.
In the event of a road traffic accident, you should contact the authorised Najm company to carry out an inspection and issue a report.
More information on the rules and transport offences canbe found here.
It is the obligation of all foreigners residing in the country to abstain from food, drink and smoking in public places throughout the day, until sunset, as is customary for the holy month of Ramadan.
Shops, restaurants, pharmacies, petrol stations and all other commercial establishments in Saudi Arabia suspend work during prayer for about 30 minutes, 5 times a day, so you should plan your time well for going out, shopping and eating out.
It has been announced that part of the strict dress code for foreign women has been abolished, as they are no longer obliged to cover their body and hair with a veil, the so-called Abaya in public, but they must be decently dressed, in accordance with local notions of propriety (see-through and/or tight-fitting clothing, t-shirts with thin straps, shorts and skirts, low-cut necklines, etc. that expose shoulders and knees are inappropriate. It is also forbidden for men to wear shorts in public. In view of the recent abolition of the compulsory women's garment, the Abaya, negative reactions are possible when in contact with the most conservative members of society, but you should be informed that only the police authorities are competent to observe the requirements of decent behaviour, and to impose fines for non-compliance. A list of public indecency offences can be found here.
You are advised to refrain from provocative and indecent behaviour, as displays of intimacy in public are prohibited. Photography of local women is not allowed, nor are photographs of sites of national and strategic importance, such as government institutions, diplomatic missions, military bases, oil and gas fields/refineries, etc. Seek information before undertaking a trip. Tourist visits shall be arranged by an authorised operator with an accompanying guide.
Exercise vigilance throughout your stay in the country.
It is not recommended to travel alone in desert areas. Fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before consumption, as cases of salmonella are common during the summer months. Meat should be consumed very well cooked. It is highly recommended to use only bottled water.
Emergency telephone: 911
Saudi Riyal (SAR)
SAR 3.75 = USD 1 (fixed rate)
It is recommended to carry euros or US dollars, cheques, ATM cards or credit cards.
Travel papers and visas
As of 28 September 2019, citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria can travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a tourist e-visa applied for via the following web portal: https://visa.visitsaudi.com, or obtain a tourist entry visa at the border crossing on arrival in the country. To obtain a tourist visa, you will need an international passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the country, a copy of your departure ticket, a hotel reservation and a bank statement. Tourist visa applications for minors should be submitted by their parents/guardians.
Attention! The passport you use to travel to Saudi Arabia should not have a visa for Israel or a stamp that you have visited that country.
Other types of entry visas to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the purpose of: business, private, transit or other visit, are obtained from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Sofia, through the office of the Bulgarian company GOOD FAITH AIR, authorized to provide Bulgarian citizens with services in connection with the processing of visa applications, as well as for certain other consular services. The company contact details are:
Sofia 1303, 15 Stefan Stambolov Blvd.,
Telephone: +359 2 944 42 35
Fax: + 359 2 986 50 36
Mobile: + 359 889 137 183
Certifications and legalisations:
Bulgaria and Saudi Arabia are parties under the Hague Convention on the abolishment of the requirement for legalisation of foreign public documents dated 1961. Thus, the documents/deeds comprised in each of the two countries shall be provided with a seal – “Apostille” of the relevant Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as translated and verified under the relevant order, to serve in front of the competent authorities of the other country.
Emergency Travel Document:
In emergency cases, upon damaged, lost or stolen passport, Bulgarian citizens may apply to a Riyadh-based EU member-state embassy for having an Emergency Travel Document issued.