The telephone number for all types of emergency services in Bulgaria is now 112. You might want to save the number in your phone, though be warned, you may not receive the speed of service you are used to.
If you would like to reside permanently in Bulgaria and wish to take care of your health:-
• make sure that you register as a resident in Bulgaria. • then register with the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency and pay health contributions in Bulgaria. • you can then choose a GP and register with them. • unless your employer provides a health-care plan, you should consider private health-care plans to cover.
If you are planning to travel or live in Bulgaria, you can contact the Bulgarian Embassy in the UK for useful information on their website <http://www.bulgarianembassy-london.org/>.
It is also advisable to register with the British Embassy in Sofia regardless of whether you are a tourist or are intending to reside in Bulgaria.
The National Health Insurance Fund administers the health insurance system in Bulgaria and is carried out by its territorial divisions - the 28 regional Health Insurance Funds.
The availability of state provided healthcare varies in Bulgaria. Although bigger cities and towns provide access to clinics, doctors and hospitals, provision in the more rural areas is restricted.
No matter if you are visiting Bulgaria for leisure or on business, you will need to provide a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when you seek treatment.
About 90% of doctors in Bulgaria are registered with the National Insurance Fund, however, you should always check before making an appointment. There is a small charge for seeing a doctor. This is non-refundable in Bulgaria but you may be able to seek reimbursement when you are back in the UK.
If you require medication, a doctor will usually issue you a receipt form (for non-chronic diseases) or a prescription (chronic illnesses).
You should consult a dentists who has a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund. However, a patient contribution might be charged. If the dentist does not have a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund, you will be charged the full cost of the treatment and those charges are not refundable.
Inpatient treatment is provided by public and private hospitals. However, you should ask to be referred to a hospital that has a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund, as they will cover the cost of treatment. After being discharged from hospital, you are entitled to maximum two examinations as part of your in-patient care.
If you have been issued a receipt form you are able to get your medication for either free or at reduced costs. However, ensure you take the receipt form to a pharmacy that is registered with the National Health Insurance Fund otherwise, you will have to pay the full price. If you are not registered with the National Health Insurance Fund and have been issued with a prescription you can visit any pharmacy in Bulgaria but you will have to pay the full cost.
Using an ambulance in cases of emergency is free.
If you are in Bulgaria on holiday your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state provided healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed in order to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth. How to claim refunds :-
The National Health Insurance Fund will be able to provide information on how to claim refunds in Bulgaria.
If you are on Holiday in Bulgaria
If you have had to pay for the cost of your care and have been unable to claim a refund during your stay in Bulgaria you should contact the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle) on 0191 218 1999 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm) on your return to the UK. However, the process will take considerably longer than claiming for a refund in Bulgaria.
Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.
If you're receiving a UK state pension, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for an E121, which you should then present to the health authorities in Bulgaria.
However, if you move to Bulgaria to live but not work and do not receive a UK benefit, you may be eligible for up to two-and-a-half years of state healthcare cover, paid for by the UK. In this case, you will need to apply for an E106.
For more details on how to apply for an E121 or E106, visit the 'Moving abroad <file:///NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/movingabroad/Pages/Introduction.aspx>' section.
How to register your E121 or E106 :-
In both cases, you will need to contact the National Health Insurance Fund, whose office is normally situated in your regional capital. In Elhovo's case it is in Yambol. You will be asked to provide a copy of the original E121/ E106 which should have been provided with the original, and proof of identity, being your Passport and your Residents Card. The process itself is very simple but if your Bulgarian is not good it will pay to take an interpreter with you. Once you have gone back a week later and collected your registration forms you can register with any doctor who are themselves registered with the Fund.
Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 7 Age of exit: 19
Structure of school system:
Basic First Stage
Type of school providing this education: Natchalno utchilischte (form I to IV) Length of program in years: 4 Age level from: 7 to: 10 Certificate/diploma awarded: Grade IV Leaving Certificate.
Basic Second Stage Type of school providing this education: Progimnazialno utchilichte (form V to VIII) Length of program in years: 4 Age level from: 10 to: 14 Certificate/diploma awarded: Basic Education Completion Certificate
Type of school providing this education: Gimnazii (form IX to XII) Length of program in years: 4 Age level from: 14 to: 19 Certificate/diploma awarded:Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie (Diploma of Completed Secondary Education)
Secondary Type of school providing this education:Profilirani Gimnazii (form IX to XII) Length of program in years:5 Age level from: 15 to: 19 Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie (Diploma of Completed Secondary Education)
Type of school providing this education: Professionalni gimnazii I/ili technikumil Length of program in years: 4 Age level from: 15 to: 19 Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie (Diploma of Completed Secondary Education) and Certificate of Professional Qualification.
Type of school providing this education: Professionalni utchilichta Length of program in years: 4 Age level from: 15 to: 19 Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie (Diploma of Completed Secondary Education) and Certificate of Professional Qualification School education:
Basic education comprises two stages: basic education first stage from form I to form IV and basic education second stage from form V to form VII. School children who have successfully completed the first stage of basic education are awarded a Form IV Leaving Certificate. Completion of basic education is attested by a final certificate for the completion of basic education at the end of form VII.Secondary education lasts for four or five years after completion of the basic education course and is provided in three types of schools: comprehensive (general secondary) schools, profile-oriented schools, vocational (technical and vocational-technical) schools. Studies lead to the Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie and to a certificate of professional qualification awarded by professional schools.
Higher education. : Higher education is provided by universities and specialized higher schools. Some universities are private. Higher education is regulated by the Law on Higher Education 1995 (latest amendements 2004) and the Law on Scientific Degrees and Titles (latest amendments 2000) . Main laws/decrees governing higher education: Decree: Higher Education Act and subsequent amendments Year: 1995 Concerns: Higher education institutions Decree: Law for Public Education (latest amendments 2004) Year: 1998 Decree: Law on Scientific Degrees and Scientific Titles (latest amendments 2000) Year: 1972 Decree: Law on the Level of Schooling, the General Education Minimum and the Syllabus Year: 1999 Decree: Vocational Education and Training Act Year: 1999 Academic year: Classes from: Sep to: Jun Long vacation from: 1 Jul to: 15 Sep
Languages of instruction: Bulgarian
Stages of studies: Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type): Non-university level: Non university-level post-secondary education generally consists of a 3-year course of study after completion of secondary education and leads to the qualification of Specialist in different fields. Studies culminate in a state final examination.
University level studies: University level first stage: Bakalavr (Bachelor): This stage of study at higher education institutions (HEI) lasts for at least four years and leads to the Bachelor's Degree (Bakalavr) in many fields. This is a degree created by the Higher Education Act of 1995. However, there are some fields where the Bachelor does not exist and where studies lead directly to the second stage of studies (Master's Degree level).
University level second stage: Magistr (Master): This stage of study at HEI lasts for five/six years after completion of secondary education or one year after obtaining the Bachelor's Degree. Students must (usually) complete a thesis and pass a state examination. The former Diplom za Visse Obrazovanie, awarded before the 1995 law, is officially regarded as equivalent to the Master's. University level third stage: Doktor (Doctor):
This stage is the third degree in the higher education system and leads to the title of Doctor. It is obtained on the basis of individual research and after the defence of a thesis. It replaces the former Kandidat na Naukite (Candidate of the Sciences). The Higher Education Act of 1995 grants all Kandidat na Naukite holders the rights of a holder of a Doctor's degree.
Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers
Primary school teachers are trained at Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia, Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Valiko Târnovo, the University of Shumen, St Paďssďi Hilendarski University of Plovdiv and at some Academies of Arts. Courses, which last for four and five years, lead to the professional qualification of teacher.
Training of secondary school teachers
Secondary school teachers obtain their professional qualification of teacher after four or five years of post-secondary studies (at a university or at some Academies of Arts), during which they receive special training in teaching.
Training of higher education teachers
Higher education teachers are trained at universities.
The electricity supply in Bulgaria is delivered to homes at 220/240 volts with a frequency of 50 Hertz (Hz).
In rural areas the power supply can often weaken or fail, sometimes for a few minutes and sometimes for several hours. Power cuts are fairly frequent in some areas, especially during thunderstorms and heavy rain. If you live in an area with an unstable power supply it's advisable to buy a power stabiliser for a computer or other vital equipment to prevent it being switched off when the power drops. If you use a computer, it's also worth fitting an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with a battery back-up, which allows you time (up to 20 minutes) to save your work and shut down your computer after a power failure.
If the power keeps tripping off when you attempt to use a number of high-powered appliances simultaneously, it probably means that the rating of your power supply is too low. If this is the case, you need to ask the electricity company to uprate the power supply to your property, although your standing charge will be higher.
The possible ratings are 25 amps and above 25 amps. If you have high-power appliances such as a washing machine, air-conditioning, water heater and electric heating in an average-size house, you will probably need a higher-rated supply.
SURVIVAL TIP - One of the most important tasks after buying a property (if you haven't done so before) is to check that the electrical system is safe. The cost of having a home rewired is much lower than in western European countries.
Plugs, Fuses & Bulbs
Another thing to check before moving into a home in Bulgaria is whether there are any light fittings. When moving house, some people remove not only bulbs, but bulb-holders, flexes and even ceiling roses! Depending on where you've moved from, you may need new plugs or a lot of adaptors.
Connection & Registration
You will need to apply to the local electricity distribution company to have your electricity connected and must sign a contract specifying the power supply to be installed. If it's a new property you will need to prove you're the owner by producing a copy of the title deeds or a copy of the lease if you're renting. You must usually produce your passport or residence permit. If you plan to pay by direct debit from a bank or post office account, don't forget to take along your account details. If you're moving into an old property, you must also tell the utility company the name of the person who previously paid the bills (which will be on the title deeds). If you don't speak Bulgarian then employ an interpreter to do the job for you. The modest cost will be well worth it
After electricity distribution was privatised, electricity tariffs went up substantially. For an average-size house, you should expect to pay around 25leva per month in summer and 75leva per month in winter - more if you have electric heating.
Meters are usually installed in a box on an outside wall of a property, or inside near the entrance. However, if your meter isn't accessible from outside your property and the property isn't permanently occupied, make sure you leave the keys with a neighbour or make arrangements to have your meter read. If your meter cannot be read, you will receive an estimate based on previous bills, although it must be read at least once a year.
You're normally billed for your electricity each month. Bills can be paid by direct debit from a bank or in cash at the post office (Post Bank). If you want to set up a direct debit or standing order at your bank to pay utility bills, you will need to take a copy of the deeds to your house, your limited company registration papers and someone who speaks Bulgarian.
There is a well-developed network of regional Water Supply and Sewage companies in Bulgaria. Some of them are private, some are owned by the state and some are jointly owned.
Connecting the water supply
Most properties are already connected to mains water, so in order to subscribe to the service, go to a Customer Service Centre of the regional company and file an application. Again it will pay to employ an interpreter to do the job. Documents required include proof of identity, title deeds of the property or a tenants document from the property owner certifying their approval. An employee of the company visits the customer to check the installation and to read the water meter. Once this is done, the technician seals the water meter to prevent tampering. Meters are read by employees of the company. If the customer cannot provide the employee with access to their property, some companies allow for customers to read their water meters on their own and then send the information to the company. Depending on the regional company, meters are read either each month or in certain cases, every three months.
Bills are calculated on the basis of individual consumption and are usually paid by Direct Debit.
The Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, Vivatel BTC is the national provider of telephone services for both businesses and private individuals.
To get connected to the land line network, go to the nearest authorised dealer and request a telephone connection. The only document needed is an identity (ID) card.
The company offers a wide variety of payment packages for home telephone lines. Packages are available for local, long distance and international calls, low rental charges for people with disabilities anTd plans for low users.
However in the rural villages it is now more common to have house phones using a Sim card and operated via the satellite networks, as with standard mobile phones. In other words no more than a non-mobile mobile phone, unable to work a fax machine or answering machine, so it is probably easier to use just an ordinary mobile if you live in a rural village.
Bills are received each month by post or can be consulted online and must be paid within 15 days from the date on the invoice. Services may be cut off in the event of late payment. If the account is suspended, full payment must be received before the line will be restored. Bills can be paid by direct debit, at an ATM machine using a bank card, via Internet, by bank transfer or in cash at Post Offices and certain banks and shops. Mobile Phones There are three Mobile Phone operators in Bulgaria and they all provide national coverage. To subscribe to mobile telephone services, go to one of their customer service centers and sign a contract. The only document required is the applicant's proof of identity, a Passport or Resident's Card. In general contracts run for a minimum of six months; customers can opt to use prepaid cards.
There are a number of Internet providers in Bulgaria and broadband availability is on the increase throughout the country. There are at least two providers based in Yambol who give good quality Broadband coverage in most of the villages in the Elhovo area.
Registering Phones and Dongles
All mobile telephones (including pay as you go phones) and Internet dongles must be registered with the appropriate service provider.