You need a valid driver’s license to drive any type of motor vehicle in Bulgaria.
You can obtain a driver’s license if:
- You have a valid national passport or you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in Bulgaria
- You are at least 16 years old (for light motorcycles) or at least 18 years old (for standard motorcycles and cars)
- You have a certificate that says you have completed primary education
If you are an asylum-seeker, you can get a driver’s license only if you have a valid national passport.
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 theoretical lessons
- 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 Department 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.
You don’t need to fill in the application form in advance. 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, include:
- Your Bulgarian ID document
- 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.
- Copy of the First Aid certificate
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.
- 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
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.
- A copy of a document that says you have completed at least primary education
If you completed your primary or higher education in another country, and you have a certificate that shows it, you need to get it recognized in Bulgaria. 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.
- Proof that you paid the fee
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, 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
Foreign driver’s license
Your foreign driver’s license may not be valid in Bulgaria. It depends on the country that issued the license and whether your driver's license meets certain requirements. You can contact the local Traffic Police Department to ask for more information.
If you have long-term residence in Bulgaria, you can use your foreign driver’s license for up to 1 year from the issuance of your residence permit.
You can exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Bulgarian one. Note that in this case, your foreign driver’s license will be returned to the country that issued it!
You can exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Bulgarian one without taking a theoretical and practical exam only if you have lived more than 185 days in Bulgaria during the last 12 months or if your foreign driver’s license meets certain requirements.
In this case, you also need to provide:
- A medical certificate
- A declaration of habitual residence
- A copy of a document showing that you completed your primary education
- Proof that you paid the fee
The fees are the same as those written above.
You can get more information about the requirements from the Traffic Police Department or from the local police.
You can be fined:
- If you don’t have your driver’s license with you when driving
- If you don’t show it when the police ask to see it
- If you drive with an expired driver's license
For more information, visit the Traffic Police Department’s website.
This content contains combined information from the Bulgarian Traffic Police Department's and Your Europe's websites, and was checked by the Foundation for Access to Rights, a legal aid organization in Sofia.