May 13, 2021
The interim government, appointed by President Rumen Radev on May 11, will be in office until a new government is appointed following the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the month of July, 2021. After the resignation of the last government, the Intercountry Adoption Council had to cease work until the appointment of a new government. It’s the hope of many, that the Deputy Minister of Justice from the interim government, who is the person responsible to chair the sessions of the Intercountry Adoption Council (IAC), will resume sessions of the Council as soon as possible, and will continue holding regular IAC sessions in the period until the parliamentary elections in July.
May 10, 2021
There is an updated Bulgarian Ministry of Health (MOH) order issued on May 1, 2021 that makes it easier for citizens of many countries, including the United States, to travel to Bulgaria. American citizens traveling on a U.S. passport – including adoptive parents – are now excepted from the MOH order and may enter Bulgaria by presenting one of the following:
- (a) a vaccination certificate for a completed vaccination course against COVID-19. The vaccination certificate is considered valid 14 days after receiving the final dose. The document should include full name of the vaccinated person as per the identification document, date of birth, dates the vaccine doses were administered, vaccine name and batch number, name of the producer, details of the vaccine certificate issuing authority and country; or
- (b) a positive result from a PCR or antigen test for immunity for COVID-19 for persons who had the coronavirus infection not more than 6 months from the date they enter the country; or
- (c) a negative result from a PCR test performed within 72 hours of their entry into the country or a negative antigen test performed within 48 hours of their entry into the country.
For more Covid-19 information for Bulgaria, please visit the Embassy’s website: https://bg.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information and https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Bulgaria.html
The information from our previous email dated January 20, 2021 is still valid: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air travelers, two years of age or older, to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel in order to be admitted into the United States. This includes U.S. citizens and adoptees: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
Immigrant Visa Unit
January 21, 2021
The US Embassy in Bulgaria has confirmed the new testing requirements for travelers to the USA, effective as of January 26.
Beginning January 26, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will require all air travelers, two years of age or older, to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel in order to be admitted into the United States. This includes U.S. citizens and adoptees.
Airlines will confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines will deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. This requirement is separate from the visa application process.
Travelers should be tested no more than 72 hours before their flight to the US departs. They must be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if they are currently infected with COVID-19. They must have documentation of their results (paper or electronic) to show the airline, an attestation to the veracity of the test, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the preceding 90 days.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates are unable to provide COVID-19 testing to U.S. citizens and adoptees so adoptive families and adoptee children will need to be tested at a Bulgarian hospital or clinic prior to their planned flight to the United States.
IAN’s Foreign Supervised Provider in Bulgaria has already researched the locations in Sofia that can perform Covid testings for the adoptive parents and their children. They will assist all US families traveling back to the USA, so that they can be tested prior to their planned flight to the United States.
The Immigrant Visa Unit in Sophia, Bulgaria has determined that, while the Bulgarian entry restrictions for American citizens remain in place, the Embassy can issue Article 5 letters in cases where the initial meeting between the adoptive families and the adopted children is conducted online. Adoptive families must still travel to Bulgaria to complete the adoption process, and attend the final visa interview at the Embassy in person. Once the entry restrictions in Bulgaria for American citizens is lifted, or if the Ministry of Justice halts their support for initial online meetings in place of in-person meetings, the Immigrant Visa Unit will cease this exception to the normal process.
For more information, please read this notification issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues:
July 24, 2020
In response to multiple inquiries regarding how best to advance intercountry adoption cases in Bulgaria at this time, the Office of Children’s Issues and the U.S. Embassy in Sofia have engaged with Bulgaria’s adoption authorities to seek clarification.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice has agreed to temporarily allow online socialization visits and communications between prospective adoptive parents and children. Each case must be assessed by the foreign supervised providers and social service agencies. Decisions about online meetings will be made by the Ministry of Justice on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, physical contact may present a health hazard and the only feasible option would be online socialization. In other cases, for example when the child is in foster care, physical contact may be possible. The circumstances of each case will be taken into account as they are assessed and decisions regarding online communications are made. The Ministry does not, however, support prospective adoptive parents using escorts to bring children to the U.S. at the end of the process. Parents are required to travel to pick up their children at the final stage.
The Director for International Adoptions at the Ministry of Justice informed the Embassy in Sofia that prospective adoptive parents may be admitted to Bulgaria as an exception to entry restrictions even before the court gives them custody of their children on the basis of the humanitarian exception in the order issued by the Ministry of Health. This means that parents may travel to Bulgaria for the 5-day contact depending on the individual circumstances of the case. U.S. ASPs may continue to work through their Bulgarian supervised providers in communicating with the Ministry of Justice regarding exceptions to the entry restrictions.
The Embassy in Sofia will issue Article 5 letters based on an online socialization visit as a temporary emergency measure due to the COVID-19 situation, but prospective adoptive parents will have to travel to Bulgaria to complete the IV application and interview process in-person. Parents may ask the Ministry of Justice for special consideration if there are exceptional circumstances that will prevent travel to Bulgaria to pick up children at the end of the process, and the Embassy will work in cooperation with the Ministry’s decision.
If you have any questions regarding this matter you may contact the Embassy in Sofia at IV_Sofia@state.gov.
The Office of Children’s Issues