Basic Customs Rules and Regulations for Travellers Crossing Bulgarian Territory
Please acquaint yourselves with the information below about the Bulgarian legislative requirements.
The Regulations for the Implementation of the Customs Act envision that for each trip an individual traveller makes, they are entitled to an import free of duty, fees, and VAT, a certain amount of goods acquired abroad as well as goods of up to a certain value.
Here is a list of the quantity quotas for duty free import:
Any traveller over the age of 16 is entitled to a duty-free import of:
- 1 liter of spirits with over 22 per cent volume alcohol content and 2 liters of wine or 2 liters of wine and 2 liters of sparkling or fortified wine;
- 200 pieces of cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco for smoking;
- 500 grammes of coffee or 200 grammes of coffee extract;
- 100 grammes of tea or 40 grammes of tea extract;
- 50 grammes of perfumes and 250 ml of eau de toilette;
- medicines in an amount and type corresponding to the personal needs o f the traveller.
Travellers under the age of 16 are not entitled to duty free import of the above-mentioned goods except for medicines.
Travellers, who cross the border more than once within 30 consecutive days, are entitled to 20 per cent of the above quotas.
Value quotas for duty-free import
Apart from being entitled to a duty-free import of goods up to a certain quantity, travellers over the age of 16 are also entitled to a duty–free import of goods acquired abroad and worth up to 100 euros or its equivalent in another currency.
Travellers under the age of 16 are entitled to a duty-free quota for goods acquired abroad and worth up to 50 euros or its equivalent in another currency.
Travellers, who cross the Bulgarian border more than once within 30 consecutive days, are entitled to a lower duty-free import quota for the goods acquired abroad in the amount of 20 euros or its equivalent in another currency.
When a single item is being imported whose value is over 100 euro or its equivalent in another currency, the duty and VAT are paid on the total value of the item. When the total value of two or more items owned by one traveller exceeds 100 euros or its equivalent in another currency, duty-free import is only allowed for those items, the sum of the individual value of which does not exceed 100 euro or its equivalent in a foreign currency.
The duty-free entitlement cannot be distributed between two or more travellers.
For goods that are not intended for sale, whose value is over 100 euros but under 1,500 euros (or its equivalent in another currency), a single Customs rate applies to each traveller in the amount of 5 percent on the individual value of the goods imported. The goods are also taxed with a 20 percent VAT.
The single Customs rate is not applied to goods imported under the above-mentioned requirements if prior to their taxation the declarant proposes that the duties be determined according to the Customs Tariff while also taking into consideration the existing free trade agreements.
Goods that by force of their appearance and amount are not of a commercial nature and for which a declaration is required, if left undeclared by the travellers crossing the state border and are discovered in the usual places during a customs examination are confiscated in favour of the state regardless of whose property they are, and no fine is imposed. If the goods are concealed in unusual places they are confiscated in favour of the state and an act for a customs and/or a currency violation is produced.
The travellers crossing the state border are entitled to importing or exporting without payment of the state receivables also objects for personal use, new and used ones, which a traveller can normally need during his/her travel by taking into account all the circumstances around the travel. These goods are considered placed under the temporary import or temporary export regime respectively. Their declaration is considered made by the traveller’s passing through the so-called “green” channel or through a verbal declaration.
The re-export of the personal belongings imported in that manner cannot be carried out later than the moment in which the person who has imported them is leaving the customs territory of Bulgaria.
When objects of a higher value are being imported or exported it is recommendable that the goods customs declaration for travellers be filled out. This declaration is provided at the border point prior to the beginning of the customs examination. The instructions it contains are in Bulgarian, German, English, French, and Russian, and it can be filled out in the language chosen by the tourist. Submitting this declaration will save the eventual trouble which could arise during the subsequent passing through customs and that is why the travellers should keep it until their next crossing of the border. It is evidence that the goods listed in it have actually been imported or exported by the respective person.
Regarding the export and import of levs and foreign currency cash the requirements of the Bulgarian legislation are the following:
1. For import
The local and foreign physical persons can import an unlimited amount of levs and foreign currency cash. When the amount of the imported money is up to 8000 levs or their equivalent in another currency they are not declared in writing and the travellers can walk through the "green channel" which means that the person has nothing to declare. When the amount of the imported money is over 8000 levs one has to fill out a currency customs declaration for the purpose of their being declared to the customs authorities with the travellers obligatorily walking through the “red channel”.
2. For export
а. The local and foreign physical persons can export levs and foreign currency cash amounting to up to 8000 levs or their equivalent in a foreign currency without having to declare that in writing, and they can walk through a “green channel”. If the amount is from 8000 to 25 000 levs it should be declared in writing in a currency customs declaration. When the amount of the money exceeds 25 000 levs or their equivalent in a foreign currency the manner of acquiring the money is entered and a certificate from the tax administration must be presented that the person does not have any overdue tax liabilities, and its number is entered into the currency customs declaration. For the local physical persons the certificate is issued by the tax subdivision as per the permanent address of the person, and for the foreign physical persons – by the tax subdivision as per the address of the last residence of the person in the country.
b. The foreign physical persons can export Bulgarian levs and foreign currency cash to the amount of over 25 000 levs without a certificate from the tax administration after making a declaration to the customs authorities if the value of the currency or levs being exported does not exceed the value of the imported and declared money during the last entry of the person into the country, for which the traveller presents a previous import currency declaration.
According to the Currency Law of the country there are special requirements regarding the export of precious metals as well.
The local and foreign physical persons can export and import for personal and family use precious metals, precious stones and articles with and from them both unprocessed and processed freely without a declaration in writing up to the following amounts:
- gold and platinum, unprocessed and half-processed, (in the form of ingots) and coins up to 37 g in total without regard to the content of the gold or platinum;
- jewellery and accessories from alloys of gold and platinum up to 60 g in total without regard to the content of the gold or platinum;
- silver, unprocessed or half-processed, and coins, as well as jewellery and accessories from alloys of silver up to 300 g in total without regard to the content of the silver;
- precious stones embedded in the items mentioned in p. 2 and 3.
- One must declare in writing the precious metals, precious stones, and the articles with and from them over the above-mentioned amounts, as well as the articles from precious metals and precious stones carried in the form of powder or another form which have not been mentioned above.
The declaration of goods, levs and foreign currency cash, precious metals, precious stones and articles with and from them carried by travellers is carried out verbally, in writing, or by means of other actions (for instance by walking through the "red" or the "green" channel).
The undeclared levs, currency, precious metals, and precious stones are confiscated in favour of the state.
In the cases of larger violations fines are imposed as well. When an undeclared goods item or currency in particularly large amounts has been found, apart from them the vehicle which it was transported with is also confiscated in favour of the state.
It is particularly important to know which goods are banned for import and export and which goods can be carried across the border while abiding by a special regime.
Banned for import, export, re-export, and transit are:
Under a special regime after presentation of the respective authorisation the import, export, re-export, and transit of the following is allowed:
- narcotic substances and precursors;
- explosive substances, firearms, and ammunitions;
- quarantine pests regardless of the stage of their development;
- dangerous chemical substances and products;
- foodstuffs, chemical substances, and other materials and objects harmful or dangerous to people’s health;
- substances, products, and facilities using, containing, or made with substances which destroy the ozone layer;
- specimens of plants and animals or clearly identifiable parts and derivatives of them from the species included in the Convention on International Trade with Endangered Species of the Wild Fauna and Flora;
- firearms for hunting, sports, and cultural purposes and the ammunitions for them;
- nuclear material, radioactive substances, and other sources of ionising radiations;
- medicinal products which are authorised for use in the country and have not expired;
- live game and genetic material, hunting trophies, shed game antlers, and game products;
- cultural monuments, including those made of precious stones and precious metals;
Banned for export are:
- wild protected medicinal plants, fresh or dried;
- protected plants and animals and their eggs and nests;
In the case of violation of the set border regime of import, export, or transit the goods are confiscated in favour of the state.
The above text is an extract of the web page of the Customs Agency of the Republic of Bulgaria (www.customs.bg )