If you live in Bulgaria and want to apply for a short-stay visa for the Netherlands, find out about the rules and how to apply.
What do I need to do?
- You must submit a passport or other travel document issued within the last 10 years. This must have at least 2 blank pages and be valid for at least another 3 months after the date you intend to leave the Schengen area.
- You must submit a completed and signed visa application form. Each person travelling with you on your travel document must submit their own visa form. Forms for children under the age of 18 need to be signed by a parent or guardian.
- If you are under 18 and are travelling without one or both of your parents or guardians, ask them to sign a consent form. Border guards may ask to see this form when you arrive in the Netherlands.
- The photo you submit with your application must meet Dutch requirements for passport photos.
- When you submit your application your fingerprints will be taken. These will remain valid for 59 months. Some applicants, such as children under the age of 12, do not need to have their fingerprints taken.
Did you provide biometric data (fingerprints and photo) within the last 59 months prior to your current application? Then you can choose to have someone else submit your application for you. You do not have to appear in person. This also applies if you had your fingerprints taken within the last 59 months for a visa application submitted through another Schengen member state.
You must also provide a number of documents to ensure that your application is assessed correctly.
Please complete the appropriate checklist:
- Checklist visa application – visiting for business/sports/study/cultural event
- Checklist visa application – visiting as a tourist
- Checklist visa application – visiting family/friends
How much does a visa cost?
When you apply for a visa at a Dutch embassy or consulate, you must pay a fee. You can find the fee on the fees page. If you apply through an external service provider, such as a visa agency, you will have to pay an extra fee to the provider.
The visa fee shall be waived for applicants belonging to one of the following categories:
- children under 6 years;
- school pupils, students, postgraduate students and accompanying teachers who undertake stays for the purpose of study or educational training;
- researchers travelling for the purpose of carrying out scientific research or participating in a scientific seminar or conference*;
- representatives of non-profit organisations aged 25 years or less participating in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events organised by non-profit organisations.
*as defined in point (2) of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council ( 1 )
How long does it take?
The earliest you can apply is 6 months before you intend to travel. Seafarers can apply 9 months before intended travel date. You should apply no later than 15 working days in advance.
In most cases, you will be informed within 15 calendar days whether your application has been successful. However it can sometimes take up to 45 days, for example if extra documents are required.
If you’ve applied for a visa for the Netherlands, you can track the status of your application online.
Longer waiting time for visa applications
You may experience longer waiting times to get an appointment. And it may take longer than 15 days to process your application.
This is because more applicants want to travel to the Netherlands after COVID travel restrictions have been eased worldwide.
We are working to expand the number of available appointments and to increase our capacity. We regularly offer new appointment slots, so please keep checking the appointment system.
Plan your trip well in advance. And make sure you have all the documents ready for your appointment.
How will my application be assessed?
Some Schengen member states want to exchange information on visa applicants. This check (known as ‘consultation’) is mandatory for certain nationalities and can take up to 7 days.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs uses information-supported decision-making to make better, quicker decisions on visa applications. For more information on how your data will be processed, see the privacy statement.
Do not use intermediary agencies
To submit your application, you have to make an appointment via an online appointment system. This system is accessible to everyone. There are intermediary agencies that take advantage of this by retaining appointments and selling them.
We recommend that you make an appointment yourself and that you do not use the service of these intermediaries.
Applying for a visa in this country or region
How to make an appointment at the embassy in Sofia?
After preparing the required documents for your application, you will have to make an appointment via the online appointment system to apply for your visa.
Check the status of your application.
Visa facilitation for family members of EU/EEA and Swiss nationals
Family members are
- Spouse/partner/common law spouse.
- The direct descendants (children) who are under the age of 21 or are dependents, and those of the spouse or partner.
- The dependent direct relatives in the ascending line (e.g. parents) and those of the spouse or partner.
Applicant will have to provide evidence that he/she falls under this category. Applications for Schengen visas for this purpose is free of charge; service fees are applicable if application is handed in at a visa service center.
Important notice: This procedure does not apply to family members of Dutch nationals travelling to or living in the Netherlands, unless they have recently worked/lived in another EU/EER country or Switzerland.
Directive 2004/38/EC governs visa facilitation and visa exemptions for family members with a visa-required nationality of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are exercising (or have exercised) their right of free movement. They may be entitled to a relaxed (free of charge and accelerated) visa procedure. An EU/EEA/Swiss national is exercising his/her right of free movement if he/she moves to or resides in (or has recently moved to or resided in) a member state other than that of which he/she is a national.
You are eligible if you can prove objectively that all of the following requirements are met:
- You are a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss national. (this includes a spouse, registered partner, child who is under 21 or a depending family member), and;
- You are accompanying the EU/EEA/Swiss national or planning to join him/her, and;
- This EU/EEA/Swiss national is travelling to or is residing in another member state than that of which he/she is a national.
If you think you qualify for visa facilitation you will need to show proof that you meet all of these criteria when you submit your Schengen visa (type C) application. The accelerated procedure means that you need not answer the questions on the Schengen visa application form marked with an asterisk (*), which are numbers 19, 20, 31, 32, 33 and fewer supporting documents are required. Family members of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens must present documents to prove their relationship and fill in fields no 34 and 35 of the visa application form. The Schengen visa fee will be waived.
Detailed information about the procedure for verification against EU-law is available on the website of the IND.
Visa free travel
If you are in the possession of a valid residence permit for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (Rep.), Ireland, Romania, or the United Kingdom explicitly stating ‘family member of an EEU/EA/Swiss national’, you do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands.
If you apply for a visa to visit the Netherlands or the represented countries on, you need the documents as per this checklist.
The legal processing time for a Schengen visa is 15 calendar days. Please note that your passport will be kept during the visa application process.
Applicant will have to provide evidence that he/she falls under this category. Applications for Schengen visas for this purpose are free of charge. Service fees are applicable.
In case you have a question, you can send an email via the contact form.