Our Essential Services
Make Relocating Easy for You.

Our team of experts is ready to help you find a home abroad, move your household goods, and settle into your new country.

Start here

Moving to Sofia

What to know if you're moving to Sofia

Moving to Sofia will raise various questions for you. How to deal with the local authorities? Is a visa needed to live in Sofia? How best deal with the cold winters? Our guide gives all the answers to your questions about moving to Sofia, from administrative matters to the local climate.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Relocating to Sofia

About the City

Sofia is the capital and largest city in Bulgaria, with over 1.2 million inhabitants in 2014; this large population also makes Sofia the 15th largest city in the European Union.

It is situated at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain in western Bulgaria at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. The majority of its large population (nearly 97%) is made up of ethnic Bulgarians; Roma (1.6%) and Turkish (0.6%) citizens are the two largest foreign-born groups.

There is also a growing population of expatriates that have moved to Sofia, drawn by the city’s comparatively low unemployment rate and strong economy.

Visas for Bulgaria

Bulgaria has been a full member of the European Union since 2007, so EU nationals moving to Sofia will not need a visa to enter the country or stay there for less than a period of three months.

However, as an EU national wishing to stay for longer than three months you must register with the Migration Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior and apply for a residency certificate. Once you have lived in Sofia uninterrupted for a period of five years you may apply for permanent residency of Bulgaria.

Non-EU nationals moving to Bulgaria may in some cases need a visa to enter the country, although this depends on your nationality — you can check with your local embassy or consulate for clarification.

However, all non-EU nationals will need to apply for a long-term residence permit, issued for one year, before moving to Sofia. You can do so via your embassy or consulate.

Be advised that as an expat moving to Sofia without EU citizenship, you will need to provide evidence that you have at least fifty euros per day to support yourself until you can demonstrate evidence of employment. You may also be required to put money down as a deposit, which will then be returned to you.

The Climate in Sofia

Moving to Sofia means adjusting to a humid continental climate, where the average annual temperature is around 10.6°C. Like the rest of Bulgaria, Sofia has noticeably different seasons, with cold, snowy winters and warm, sunny summers.

However, because Sofia is at a higher altitude than the rest of the country, its summers are generally slightly cooler than elsewhere in Bulgaria. In the summer, expatriates living in Sofia can expect very little rainfall and temperatures of around 24.8°C.

The winter, however, is very cold, with temperatures dropping to −15°C. Snow is not uncommon, and the city has sixty days each year with snow cover, mainly in December and January.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Updated on: October 14, 2021

Living in Sofia

Are you getting ready for your new expat life in Sofia? Wondering about healthcare or education options, or simply ho...

Read Guide Arrow

Working in Sofia

Working in Sofia means working in Bulgaria’s major business hub. A lot of new opportunities are being opened up for e...

Read Guide Arrow

Join Our Exciting Events in Sofia

Once we've helped you move to Sofia, we can make you feel at home by introducing you to other expats who have already settled and are part of our Sofia Community. Attend our monthly events and activities in Sofia and get to know like-minded expats in real life.

InterNations Sofia 14th Anniversary Celebration

Start date Sep 17, 2021, 7:00 PM

Attendees 87

Check Event

InterNations Sofia 14-th Anniversary Grand Celebration

Start date Sep 30, 2021, 7:30 PM

Attendees 78

Check Event

Sofia InterNations Autumn Event

Start date Oct 14, 2021, 7:00 PM

Attendees 67

Check Event

Wine & Tapas Party

Start date Oct 22, 2021, 7:00 PM

Attendees 8

Check Event
Get started

Relocating? We are the Experts You Need.

Get started