Updated 15.03.2024. 

To drive different types of motor vehicles in Bulgaria, you must have a driving licence for the relevant vehicle category. 

In this article you will find information about:

  • how to get a driver’s license in Bulgaria
  • under what conditions you can use a driver’s license issued in a country other than Bulgaria.

When can I get a driving licence?

You can obtain a Bulgarian driving license if:

  •  You have your usual residence established in Bulgaria (you have lived here more than 185 days in the last 12 months), for example after you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection

If you come from Ukraine and are staying in Bulgaria with temporary protection, you may have a problem getting an initial driving licence. For example, you may be told that the system does not take into account your national ID number or that you need to present a document of prolonged or permanent residence. 

  • You are at least 16 years old (for light motorcycles) or at least 18 years (for standard motorcycles and cars).
  • You have a diploma that says you graduated 10. Grade (first stage of high school education).

 If your diploma was issued abroad, it should be recognised in Bulgaria by the Regional Education Department at your address of residence.   

  • You are physically fit to drive which is certified by a medical document
  • You have completed a special training and you have passed a special driver’s exam (theory and practice).
  • You have been trained to provide first (paramedic) aid
  • To drive a lorry, HGV, bus, tram or similar (categories C1, C, D1, D and TTM) you are also required to have undergone a psychological test to ensure that you are psychologically fit. This requirement also applies if you want to become a taxi driver.

Driving school

You can get a driver’s license after you take driving lessons and pass an exam.

First, you need to find a driving school. You can check here (in Bulgarian) whether a driving school has been accredited by the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport.

Your driving school should advise you through the entire process of getting a driver’s license.

Driving lessons generally include:

  • At least 40 hours of 45-minute of theoretical lessons
  • At least 31 hours of 50-minute practical driving lessons

You can take the lessons and the exam in Bulgarian and English.

Driver’s license application 

After you passed the driving test, you need to apply for your driver's license. You have to submit the application to the Traffic Police unit of the Ministry of Interior at the regional directorate for your address on your Bulgarian ID document. You can find their contacts (in Bulgarian) here

No need to fill in in advance the application form,[1] . At the police station, you will only need to check the data in their system and verify it with your signature. The officials at the police station will also take a photo of you.

When you submit your application, bring with your originals and copies of the following documents:

  1. Your Bulgarian ID document
  2. A medical certificate

You can get this when you have a medical examination at a public hospital. The general practitioner will give you a physical fitness assessment report. 

  1. Certificate of first aid training

You can get this if you take the First Aid course for road traffic accidents for drivers. The Bulgarian Red Cross will give you the certificate when you complete the course. 

  1. A declaration that your habitual residence is not in another European Union member state and that you don’t have a valid driver's license issued by an EU member state - a specimen can be found here

You can fill out the declaration in advance, but you must sign it in front of the traffic police official when you submit your application. 

Alternatively, you can provide proof that you have been studying at a higher education institution, school or vocational college in the country for at least 6 months.

  1. А document that says you have completed at least the first stage of high school education (10th grade). If you have studied abroad you need a certificate recognizing the completed education, issued by one of the regional administrations of education (РУО)

If you don’t have proof that you completed at least your primary education, or if your certificate is not recognized in Bulgaria, or if you haven’t completed primary education at all, you will need to complete primary education in Bulgaria first. 

  1. Proof that you have paid the fee

Please remember that you are obliged to bring your original documents as well, when you submit your application.

The police officer will check if you submitted all the necessary documents and will examine them.

If everything is OK, the police should issue your driver’s license in 30 days, unless you pay for fast-track service — then you will get it in 10 days.

You will receive your driver’s license at the same place where you submitted your application.

If your license has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you must report this to the nearest police office within 3 days.


When submitting your application, you need to pay a fee. The amount differs depending on your age, condition, and the type of the service you choose.

  • If you are under 58, you need to pay 25 leva
  • If you are between 58 and 70 years old, you need to pay 11 leva
  • If you have a permanently reduced capacity for work or a degree of disability of 50% or more, you need to pay 3 leva
  • If you are over 70, you don't pay
  • If you want the driver's license to be issued within 10 days, you have to pay double the amount of money

You can pay the fee:

  • Via bank transfer
  • With your bank card

Driving license replacement

Replacement is carried out when:

  • Your license expires;
  • when replacing an old specimen with a new one 
  • if the driver's details change (e.g. if you change your permanent address)
  • in exchange for a driving licence issued abroad (see the information below)

A duplicate driving license is issued in the event of damage, destruction, loss or theft.

Foreign driving license

. Whether you can use your foreign license in Bulgaria depends on the country that issued it and whether your license meets certain requirements. You can contact your local traffic police office to ask for more information.     

According to Bulgarian law, a driver’s license issued in another country is valid on the territory of Bulgaria for the category for which it was issued in the following cases:

1) The State in which it is issued is a Party to the Convention on Road Traffic and meets the requirements of Annex 6 to the Convention. 

The full list of countries that have signed you can find at this link .

In this case, if you have settled in Bulgaria and are a long-term resident, you can use your foreign driver’s license for up to 1 year from the date of issue of your Bulgarian residence document. When this period expires, you are obliged to replace your foreign license with a Bulgarian one. You do NOT need to take a test for this, but:

  • your foreign driver’s license must be valid. 
  • you should hold a Bulgarian identity document
  • your usual place of residence is in Bulgaria
  • you should have no other driver’s license issued by an EU country
  • you should not be restricted or temporarily disqualified from driving in a EU Member State
  • your license has not been replaced in another Member State

For the replacement you need the following documents:

  • The application form generated by the Ministry of Interior. The details are filled in automatically and you only need to check that they are correct and sign it.
  • your Bulgarian identity document
  • A copy of your foreign driver’s license 
  • The documents listed in the " Driver’s license application " section above

Bring with you for verification the original documents, copies of which you are attaching to the application.

The fees are the same as pointed above. Note that in this case your license will be returned to the country that issued it! 

2) If your license does not contain any of the elements required in the Convention in point 1

In this case, your foreign driver’s license is not recognized in Bulgaria and must be accompanied by a legalized translation into Bulgarian. 

Again, if you have settled in Bulgaria and are a long-term resident, you can use your translated foreign driver’s license for up to 1 year from the date of issue of your Bulgarian residence document. When this period expires, you are obliged to replace your foreign license with a Bulgarian one. The difference is that in order to obtain a Bulgarian driver’s license, you have to pass driving exams and go through the same procedure as for obtaining an initial license. 

3) Your license is issued by a Member State of the European Union, or by another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, or by the Swiss Confederation

You can only have one driver’s license issued by an EU country. When you move to another EU country, you do not usually have to replace your license with a local one. However, you can voluntarily replace it with an equivalent license from your new country of residence.     

4) Driving licenses issued in Ukraine of persons with temporary protection 

If you have a valid driver’s license issued by Ukraine, it is recognized in the European Union, including Bulgaria, if you have temporary protection in Bulgaria. You can use your Ukrainian driver’s license until the temporary protection ceases to apply. 

In this case, there is no need to have your Ukrainian driver’s license translated and certified. When  the police is checking you, they can only ask you to present your passport and your temporary protection card to verify your identity.

If your license has expired after December 31, 2021, it is considered valid despite the expiration date due to the ongoing war and you should be able to use it. However, we advise you to renew your license if this is possible you are able to do so and there are no obstacles to doing so. 

More information can be found at this link.

You can be fined: 

  • If you don't have your license with you when you drive
  • If you don't show it when the police ask to see it
  • If you drive with an expired license

For more information visit the Traffic Police Department website.

Control points

When you are issued with a driver’s license, you are given a number of control points - 39 points - as a record of your violations. 

If you are a new driver you get 2/3 of the maximum control points - 26, and the remaining 1/3 - 13, you will get after acquiring 24 months of experience as a driver. 

Your points will be deducted if you commit the following violations:

  • if you drive a car after drinking alcohol, which has been established by medical and chemical examination and/or by a technical means determining the blood alcohol content by measuring it in the exhaled breath.
  • when you refuse to be tested by a technical means for detecting the use of alcohol in the blood and/or by a test for detecting the use of drugs or their analogues 
  • for driving in the emergency lane on a motorway 
  • for exceeding the maximum speed limit
  • for failure to stop at a STOP sign!
  • the use of a mobile phone while driving, unless you use a hands free device
  • for not wearing a seat belt
  • for crossing at a traffic signal which does not permit crossing

This list is not exhaustive and there are other reasons.

Your control points can be restored:

  1. by a partial increase of 1/3 of the maximum number of points after additional training, but not more than once in a period of 1 year;
  2. after the expiry of 2 years from the date on which the last violation was established and because of which your control points were taken away.

If you have all your test points taken away, you will lose your license and must return it to the relevant Traffic police unit. In this case, you can take the driving exams again 6 months after you have returned your license.