Bulgarian Health Minister changes arrival rules for citizens of Israel, North Macedonia, Turkey and Serbia


After an outcry from Bulgarian winter resorts and the hospitality industry over the Health Minister’s change in rules for arrivals to the country, the rules were changed in an order issued on the night of January 17.

Health Minister Assena Serbezova’s January 14 order banned arrivals, from January 19, of non-EU citizens from countries considered Covid-19 red zones, with the exception of permanent residents and of Bulgaria and citizens of blocs and countries including the EU, UK and Switzerland.

The January 14 order was sentenced by the winter resorts and the hotel and restaurant association as spelling the end of the winter holiday tourist season in Bulgaria, as it prevented tourists from accessing the main markets entering the country.

This order has now been amended, reflecting “recommendations and proposals made by the tourism sector”, the health ministry said.

Since January 20, citizens of North Macedonia, Israel, Turkey and Serbia and their family members coming from an EU country, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, the Kingdom Kingdom, Israel, North Macedonia, Turkey and Serbia, which are countries in the red zone, can be admitted to Bulgaria on presentation of a valid EU Covid digital vaccination certificate or having had Covid-19, or a similar document, accompanied by a negative result of a PCR test carried out up to 72 hours before arriving in Bulgaria.

Also from the same date, the list of countries in the red zone is growing, adding Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, the Maldives, Fiji, São Tomé and Príncipe and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The complete list of countries and territories in the red zone is now:

Australia, Austria, Albania, Afghanistan, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, Grenada, Greenland, Georgia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Eswatini, Israel, Uruguay, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Cabo Verde, Cayman Islands, Canada, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Colombia, Switzerland, Guyana, North Korea, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Curaçao, Lesotho, Lebanon, Bolivia, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Isle and Man, Aruba, Argentina, Botswana, Guatemala, Greece, El Salvador, Estonia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Cuba, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, North Macedonia, Seychelles, Suriname, Serbia, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Finland, Chile, South Africa, Saba, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Eustatius, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States, Turkmenist year, Turks and Caicos, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Germany, Brazil, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Fiji, France, Croatia, Montenegro and the Czech Republic.

Vatican City State and Romania are considered green zones. A country that is neither a red zone nor a green zone is considered an orange zone.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Health’s current criteria for classifying a country as a Covid-19 red, orange or green zone can be found in English here. (the lists of green, orange and red zones in this decree of November 26 are modified by the decree of January 17).

The rules for admission to Bulgaria for persons otherwise eligible for admission to the country are in Previous cover of the Sofia Globe. Serbezova’s order of January 17 can be found, in Bulgarian, at this link.

(Photo: Lance Nelson of banskblog.com)

Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

For the rest of Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

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