Updated on 9 November 2023

Since the beginning of the summer of 2022, many Ukrainians who were forced to flee their country due to the Russian military aggression have begun to return home or to travel elsewhere. This article will explain how, where and with what documents Ukrainians can leave Bulgaria.

Travelling with a valid international biometric passport

If you registered for temporary protection in Bulgaria, you have the right to travel to other EU countries. If you have a valid biometric passport, you can travel from Bulgaria to any other EU country and stay there for up to 90 days within 180 days.

Temporary protection

If your international biometric passport expires soon or is lost/ stolen/ destroyed

In case your international biometric passport expires soon (in two months or less), you have two options:

  1. To apply for a renewal at the Ukrainian embassy.

You must first register at the electronic queue (called Е-чергу). Note that the platform currently allows registration only on the first working day of the month from 16 to 17 pmHere you can find instructions on how to make your registration. 

Аt the day of your appointment, you will need to submit:

  • an application form that will be given to by a consular official;
  • a photo in size 10x15 cm., if the passport is issued to a person who cannot move independently due to a long-term health disorder, which is certified by a medical institution);
  • an identity document confirming Ukrainian citizenship (passport of a citizen of Ukraine for travelling abroad, passport of a citizen of Ukraine, diplomatic passport of Ukraine, etc.);
  • A document confirming that you are currently living in Bulgaria (your temporary protection card or other residence permit card that you may have. 
  • your old passport (if it expired) or a document from the police, proving that it was stolen. Any document that is Bulgarian needs to be officially translated into Ukrainian before you submit it. 
  • a receipt for the payment of the consular fee. You can find information about the fees on this link.

The issuance of the new passport may take more than 3 months due to the war. You can check whether your new passport is ready here and take it from the Еmbassy. Once you obtain your renewed international passport, you can travel everywhere within the EU as well as return to Ukraine.

  1. To extend the validity of your current passport. 

You can do this at the Ukrainian embassy while the war is ongoing. Your passport will be extended on a first-come, first-served basis at the embassy without prior registration at the E-queue. Usually, this is done the same day you request the extension. In addition, you can request an extension and get your extended passport at Ukrainian home – Varna („Український дім“), which cooperates with the embassy on this matter.

Important: you can use the passport extension only to return to Ukraine through the territory of Romania and Moldova, not to travel to other countries.

In case you lose your passport, or it is stolen or destroyed, you should get a Certificate of return to Ukraine. You can check our article for more information:

Certificate of Return to Ukraine

Travelling with an internal Ukrainian passport

If you only have an internal Ukrainian passport without an electronic carrier (in the form of a booklet)/birth certificate/driver’s license, in order to go back to Ukraine you need to obtain an Identity Certificate from the Ukrainian Embassy, which will serve as a confirmation of your Ukrainian citizenship (in Ukrainian it is called Свiдоцтво про особу). This is NOT a Certificate of return to Ukraine.

You need to submit at the Ukrainian Embassy, the following documents:

  • a copy of your internal passport/birth certificate/driver’s license (you need to present also the original for a verification);
  • an application form that will be given to you at the Embassy;
  • two 3.5 x 4.5 cm passport photos.

The issuance of this document is free of charge. You don’t have to make a prior electronic registration and you need to wait in line. Usually, it is issued within one working day but not more than 5 working days af of the date of submission of all documents. 

Important! The validity of the Certificate of Identity is 30 days from the date of issuance.

This is how it looks:

Important! Identity Certificate is NOT required if you have a valid internal passport with an electronic carrier (in the form of ID card). 

Travelling with a non-biometric international passport 

If you have a non-biometric international passport and you want to return to Ukraine, you have 3 options:

  1. To obtain a non-Schengen visa (e.g., a visa for Romania), you can stay in an EU country not part of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within 180 days. 
  2. To obtain a Schengen visa, that gives you the right to travel to and stay in all EU countries for 90 days within every 6 months.
  3. To apply for an Identity Certificate – see the section “Travelling with an internal Ukrainian passport”.

Travelling with a child without an international biometric passport

If your child is under 16 years old, they would need one of these documents:

  1. An Identity Certificate

In this case, the necessary documents to apply for it are:

  • a copy of the passport of both parents, or the original and a copy of the extract from the State Register of Civil Status Acts of Citizens on Birth with information about the father. 
  • the original and a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Important! If the birth certificate is not issued in Ukraine, it needs to be translated to Ukrainian by an official translator and verified by a notary

  1. The child’s information is entered in the valid biometric passport of one of the parents/legal representatives – this is an exceptional procedure introduced due to the war in Ukraine;
  2. The parents/guardians/custodians can apply for an international biometric passport at the Ukrainian embassy. Important: if one of the parents is in Ukraine he/she must give a handwritten consent to the issuance of the passport. A sample of the consent form can be found here and must be addressed to the Ukrainian embassy in Sofia. Children over 12 years old need to be present when the documents are submitted.

If the child is over 16 years old, they can do one of these 2 things:

  1. Аpply on their own for an international biometric passport.
  2. Оbtain a Certificate of return to Ukraine, if they do not have a valid internal passport with an electronic carrier (Ukrainian ID card)

You can find detailed information about the requirements for the issuance of the different official documents on the website of the Ukrainian embassy in Bulgaria.

How can I go to Ukraine without a valid biometric passport?

If you want to return to Ukraine and do NOT have a valid biometric passport or a visa to a EU Member State, you are able to return to Ukraine through Romania (directly or through Moldova) with your valid internal passport with an electronic carrier or with an Identity Certificate/Certificate of return to Ukraine issued by the Ukrainian Embassy in Bulgaria.