U.S. Relations With Bulgaria

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 18, 2016

More information about Bulgaria is available on the Bulgaria Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Bulgaria in 1903. A Consular Agency was established in Sofia on January 12, 1912. It reported to the Consulate General in Bucharest. The first American Consular Agent in Bulgaria was actually a Bulgarian national, Asen Kermekchiev (later Ace Kermek), a businessman, physician, and journalist. Kermekchiev served the United States Government even while working as a field doctor for Bulgaria in the First Balkan War, and was praised for protecting American lives and property while at the front. He also founded the first American Chamber of Commerce in Sofia. Bulgaria was allied with Germany in World War II, and became a satellite of the Soviet Union at the war's end. As Bulgaria emerged from communism in the 1990s, the United States moved to encourage development of multi-party democracy and a market economy.

Bulgaria is a reliable ally in an area of strategic importance to the United States. The U.S.-Bulgarian Defense Cooperation Agreement gives the United States military access to and shared use of several Bulgarian military facilities. The access facilitates joint training between the U.S. military and the Bulgarian and Romanian militaries. Bulgaria has participated in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU), and coalition operations, including in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Bosnia.

We work closely with the government of Bulgaria in strengthening the rule of law and have strong cooperation in law enforcement.

On any given day, there are approximately 7,000 Americans in Bulgaria. The American University of Bulgaria in Blagoevgrad draws students from throughout southeast Europe and beyond, and is the only U.S.-accredited university in the country.

U.S. Assistance to Bulgaria

U.S. Government investment in modernization and NATO interoperability for Bulgaria’s military helps create stronger, more effective Bulgarian military units that can deploy alongside U.S. forces when needed.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. Upon its accession to the EU, the country adopted regulations and standards that conform to EU norms. U.S. companies conduct business across the major industry sectors. The United States and Bulgaria have a treaty on avoidance of double taxation and a bilateral investment treaty. U.S. citizens traveling on a U.S. passport for business or tourism purposes can enter and stay in Bulgaria for up to 90 days in a 6-month period without requiring issuance of a visa.

Bulgaria's Membership in International Organizations

Bulgaria and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Bulgaria also is an observer to the Organization of American States.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria is Eric Rubin; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Bulgaria maintains an embassy in the United States at 1621 22nd Street, NW, Washington DC 20008 (tel. 202-387-0174).

More information about Bulgaria is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Bulgaria Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Bulgaria Page
U.S. Embassy: Bulgaria
History of U.S. Relations With Bulgaria
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information