Bulgaria to Increase Visa Fee for Russians

The Bulgarian authorities have said that the country has decided to increase the visa fee for Russian tourists.

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Such news was announced by the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism, Ilin Dimitrov. The Minister said that tourists from Russia would have to pay €80 when applying for a visa instead of the previous €35, reports.

Speaking for Bulgarian National Television, Dimitrov said that in line with the EU’s decision, the country could not ban Russians from entering. However, it can cause inconveniences by increasing the price of visas.

In addition, the Minister noted that the country does not fully agree with the EU’s decision to only suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia but said that it would comply with it.

Apart from announcing the change in the visa fee price, the Minister also revealed that despite the war in Ukraine and the limited number of flights, more than 60,000 Russians had visited Bulgaria so far this year.

In addition, he said that around 100,000 properties located on the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria are owned by Russian nationals and, at the same time, emphasised that Russians continue to reach Bulgaria despite the high expenses.

The increase in visa fee prices for Russians follows the proposal of the European Union Commission. The EU Commission has officially proposed the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia.

The proposal was presented on September 6, and it is now for the Council of the EU to examine and adopt the proposal. Once the proposal is examined and adopted, the Russian authorities will be warned about the suspension of the agreement 48 hours before that happens.

The suspension of the visa facilitation agreement, which was reached in 2007, means that citizens of Russia will no longer enjoy the same privileges as before when applying for a Schengen visa.

Apart from the visa fee increase, once the agreement officially enters into force, the application processing time will increase from ten to 15 days to a maximum of 45 days in individual cases. Moreover, it will become more difficult for Russians to obtain a multiple-entry visa, and the applicants will be required to present more documents than before.

Commenting on the move, the Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said that citizens of Russia would not be able to enjoy the benefits of the visa facilitation agreement as long as Russia’s military aggression toward Ukraine lasts.

Most recent data from the EU Commission show that as of September 1, 20221, there were around 963,000 nationals of Russia holding valid Schengen visas.

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