Secretary Blinken, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals applying for a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification. Previously, only those applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expired within 24 months were eligible for an interview waiver. The Secretary has temporarily extended the expiration period to 48 months. This policy is in effect until December 31, 2021. This change will allow consular officers to continue processing certain nonimmigrant visa applications while limiting the number of applicants who must appear at a consular section, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other applicants and consular staff. Travelers are encouraged to review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for detailed information on what services are currently available as well as eligibility information and instructions on applying for a visa without an interview.


President Biden rescinded Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10014, entitled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” on February 24, 2021. Immigrant visa applicants who had been affected by this proclamation should review the instructions here.


Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021.

Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance. Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee.


On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation titled “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States.” This proclamation ends the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 that had suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals, based on visa type, from Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen. Click here for additional information.


Effective January 26,the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test (a viral detection test for SARS-CoV- 2 approved or authorized by the relevant national authority), taken within 72 hours of departure. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines must 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. All Presidential Proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19 remain in place, and continue to apply to subject potential travelers regardless of their test results or vaccination status. Travelers holding a National Interest Exception also remain subject to all applicable pre-departure testing requirements. For more information on waivers to the testing requirement please click here.


Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and the Proclamation signed on April 30, 2021:

  • India (applicable to nonimmigrants only);
  • South Africa;
  • Brazil;
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe;
  • The Republic of Ireland;
  • The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland);
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran; and
  • The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

There are certain exceptions to the suspension of entry, including exceptions for U.S. lawful permanent residents and certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, among other exceptions listed in the proclamations. If you reside in, have traveled recently to, or intend to transit or travel to the above list of countries prior to your planned trip to the United States, we recommend you postpone your visa interview appointment until 14 days subsequent to your departure from the subject country(ries). Additionally, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, or believe you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, you are strongly encouraged to postpone your appointment by at least 14 days. Click here for additional information.


The U.S. Mission to Bulgaria understands that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment. We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, rest assured that the U.S. Mission will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee. Please continue to monitor this site for information on when we will return to routine visa operations.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Embassy in Sofia remains unable to resume routine visa operations. We are currently offering as many appointments as local conditions, resources, and safety considerations allow in mission-critical visa categories, including a limited number of appointments for petition-based employment visas, student visas, and exchange visitor visas. We encourage all applicants to be mindful of the constraints and also to apply early. Appointments will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis as capacity allows.

We continue processing of K1 fiancé visas and other immigrant visas. Please note that the Embassy is prioritizing Immediate Relative family members of U.S. citizens including intercountry adoptions, fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens, and certain Special Immigrant Visa applications. The Embassy is processing all categories of immigrant visas, but there may be significant wait times for appointments.

Processing of B1/B2 and C1/D visa renewals which meet the requirements for an interview waiver will continue. For information regarding the procedure, please visit: http://ustraveldocs.com/bg/bg-niv-visarenew.asp.


Dear Consular section clients, please be advised that there is no parking lot on the Embassy grounds. We recommend you use public transportation or a taxi as it can be difficult to find street parking near the Embassy.

The streets around the Embassy are part of the paid Green Zone.  If you choose to come by car, please be advised that you will not have access to your phone in the waiting room of the Consular section and you should use paper parking coupons. You may find more information on the official website of the Urban Mobility Center.


Laptops and tablets can no longer be stored at the security screening area of the U.S. Embassy. If you arrive with a laptop or tablet you will not be admitted to the Embassy and you will need to reschedule your appointment. We also strongly advise that you do not bring large bags, such as backpacks, suitcases or packages as there are no storage facilities on the Embassy grounds.


Applicants should NEVER purchase tickets prior to receipt of their passport with visa. We cannot expedite the pick-up of visas on the basis of pre-purchased tickets. The TNT pick-up location or home delivery address can be changed at any time prior to 11:59 p.m. on the day before the interview at the Embassy.


If you experience problems completing the DS-160 form, please check the information available at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/forms/ds-160-online-nonimmigrant-visa-application/ds-160-faqs.html or write to: niv_sofia@state.gov. The call center agents are unable to answer any questions or provide guidance on this process.


If you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program partner but unable to travel to the United States under that program, you should apply for a nonimmigrant visa at least three months in advance of your desired travel. If you do not have imminent travel plans, you should pay the nonimmigrant visa application fee, fill out the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form at ceac.state.gov/genniv/, and schedule a visa appointment. If your travel is imminent, you may request an expedited visa appointment. Please include in your request the date and purpose of your travel, as well as a copy of any U.S. Customs and Border Protection message you may have received regarding your ESTA status.
More information about restrictions to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, including the requirement for an electronic passport, is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html