Updated last 26.03.2021
As part of the European Union, Bulgaria is also part of EU’s Customs Union. This enables you to trade with all citizens and companies of the European Union without having to go through administrative procedures for import or export and the payment of customs duties.
For the realization of goods outside the EU, however, you must comply with the customs procedures for the export to non-EU countries and the respective import procedure of the third country. More information on the customs regimes and import and export permits you may find on the following website.
What is the applicable regulatory network?
The customs procedures are uniform for all EU Member States and therefore these are governed by acts of the European Union. Тhe main act is Regulation No. 952/2013, also known as Union Customs Code („UCC“). Тhe rules, regulated by the UCC, are supplemented and complemented by the following European acts:
- Delegated Regulation No. 2015/2446 of 2015 for supplementing the UCC;
- Implementing Regulation No. 2015/2447 of 2015 laying down detailed rules for implementing certain provisions of the UCC;
- Delegated Regulation 2016/341 of 2015 supplementing the Union Customs Code, and
- Regulation No. 1186/2009 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty.
The Bulgarian Customs Act is of a subsidiary nature and it governs only matters that are not regulated in the aforementioned European acts. Furthermore, the Customs Act governs the setting up and organization of the Customs Agency and the activities, carried out by its bodies.
The relevant regulatory documents can be found both on the website of the National Customs Agency, as well as on the website of the Official Gazette of the EU.
What are the rules when importing and exporting goods outside the EU?
In case of export (i.e. physical exporting of goods outside the EU’s Customs Union) no customs duties are payable for export from the EU Member States, except for specific exceptional cases. While the administrative procedure for the export is governed by the aforementioned rules, the administrative procedure for the import and the obligations for payment of import customs of the country, at which territory the goods are imported is governed by the local legislation of the country, where the import takes place. The procedure may be specific for the respective country.
When performing import (i.e. import of goods within the customs territory of the EU, under the regime for free use of goods) import customs duties are payable, in accordance with EU’s common customs tariff, as additional information is available at the following address.
The administrative import procedures are governed by the aforementioned European acts.
What is the Certificate of Origin of goods and what is its application?
In many cases of export from the EU (import to third countries) or import to the EU, the payable customs duty depend on decisions, related to binding origin information (“BOI“) for the goods, often known in practice as certificates of origin of the goods.
For the purposes of import to the territory of the EU, the rules on the issuance of a certificate of origin of the goods are governed by art. 33 of the UCC. Тhe origin of the exported goods must be identified in order to apply tariff and other significant criteria (e.g., in order to ensure eligibility for preferential customs duties when importing goods to the EU).
According to art. 33 of the UCC, such a certificate is issued based on an application, submitted to the respective customs authorities. Тhe Certificates of Origin are only applicable for customs purposes for the respective goods and with respect to the person, to whom the certificate is issued, and not general effect on all persons for all similar goods.
The Certificates of Origin are valid for a period of three years starting from their date of issue.
For the purpose of export from Bulgaria to non-EU countries the Certificate of Origin of Goods is a document, evidencing the origin of the goods, subject to export.
The origin of the exported goods must be identified in order to apply tariff and other significant criteria.
For example, in order for the Bulgarian exporters to be able to benefit from preferences when importing goods to other countries, it is necessary that such goods meet certain conditions. For this purpose, the exporting country must prove that the exported goods have been manufactured entirely in such country or has undergone sufficient processing in accordance with the applicable preferential schemes.
The evidencing or proving such circumstances shall be based on a certificate issued by the Customs Agency or an authorized organization. Such an organization in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry („BCCI“). BCCI endorses certificates of origin of the goods for all Bulgarian traders, whether or not these are members thereof. Documents are accepted and processed by Chamber’s experts in Sofia and in the regional chambers of commerce and industry.
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For more information regarding the Certificates of Origin of Goods, please visit the webpage of the BCCI.
For more information regarding the electronic services, provided with respect to the import and export of goods, please visit the webpage of the Government Services and Information Portal .