Working in Bulgaria

[updated 27/04/2022]

When you can work

If you are an asylum-seeker, you can work 3 months after the date you submitted your application for international protection.

If you are a refugee or hold humanitarian status, you have the right to legally work in Bulgaria under the same conditions as Bulgarian citizens. Learn more:


Work permit

If you are a refugee or a humanitarian status holder in Bulgaria, you don’t need any special permission from the Employment Agency to start working.

If you are an asylum-seeker, ask the State Agency for Refugees to issue a special certificate for you at the end of the third month, after you filed your asylum application.

This certificate:

  • Verifies the date you submitted your application
  • Confirms that your procedure is still ongoing and that you have the right to access the Bulgarian labor market
  • Is not permission to work — it only serves as proof of your right to work in Bulgaria

Other documents

If you are an asylum-seeker, you need to submit certain documents to your employer prior to starting the job. These are:

  • Your ID document
  • Your registration card

Generally, but not always, employers can also ask you to submit:

  • A medical certificate from your general practitioner
  • A document evidencing your specific professional/educational qualifications or capacity
  • A criminal record certificate

Bank account

Most employers in Bulgaria pay their employees’ salaries directly into their Bulgarian bank accounts on a monthly basis.

If you already have refugee or humanitarian status, you can open a bank account under the terms and the conditions applicable for Bulgarian citizens. However, sometimes the applicants may face some difficulties in practice.

If you are an asylum-seeker and your procedure is still ongoing, whether you can open a bank account depends on whether you have your national passport with you.

  • If you came to Bulgaria with a valid national passport, you most likely already submitted it to SAR. If so, you can submit a request to them to return your passport to you for a short period of time to open a bank account/for the purpose of opening a bank account.
  • If you didn’t bring a valid national passport with you to Bulgaria, speak to your potential employer and agree on an alternative way to receive your monthly salary. You can also seek help from legal organizations. Learn more:

Legal Services

Jobs in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a high unemployment rate. You may face difficulties when looking for a job. Sofia, however, has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Recent surveys and official data show that refugees, humanitarian status-holders and asylum-seekers most often work in the following 6 economic sectors:

  • Food and gastronomy
  • Sales
  • Production
  • Beauty, tourism and social care
  • Construction
  • IT and call centers