Bulgaria is a great place but make sure you have your GHIC card

You might well ask “What’s a GHIC card?”.

We’ll explain all, but basically, it replaces the old EHIC health insurance card, and if you travel to Bulgaria, you’re going to need one.

Ensure you have the right cover with a Bulgaria GHIC

Now that the UK has left the European Union, one thing we need to ensure is that we have healthcare in mind when travelling to Bulgaria.

Thankfully the answer comes in the form of the Bulgaria UK GHIC card – this stands for Global Health Insurance Card.

All British residents will need a Bulgaria UK GHIC card to be able to claim free or discounted state healthcare when visiting Bulgaria. If you hold an EHIC card, this will remain valid until expiry – but check because millions expired in 2019 and 2020.

Bulgaria has lots to offer

Let’s look at why Bulgaria is a favourite travel destination for so many of us.

With fabulous scenery, friendly people and gorgeous weather, it’s little wonder that Bulgaria is a top holiday destination.

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Bulgaria – land of beaches, nightlife, historical sites and picturesque cities

Bulgarian holidays are affordable, flights are plentiful and relatively cheap. Up until the fall of the communist Iron Curtain, Bulgaria was a favoured destination for holidaymakers from Russia and East Germany. It was called the Red Riviera. Now many Western Europeans have snapped up cheap holiday homes in the country. Here are a few reasons why it’s such a great place to visit.

– Bulgaria borders Greece and Turkey – so the weather is similar.

– Bulgaria’s largest beach resorts are named “Sunny Beach” and “Golden Sands” – showing how much the country caters for British and international tourists. At Sunny Beach on the Black Sea, you can find over 800 hotels as well as aquaparks and lots of nightlife.

– Bulgaria also offers a lot of rich culture to be experienced. It boasts Europe’s oldest city, Plovdiv, where there are shops and parks as well as an impressive Roman amphitheatre.

– Rousse, on the banks of the Danube, has a Roman castle and a pantheon. The city is well known for its beauty and has been dubbed “Little Vienna”.

– The Bulgarian capital, Sofia, has lively bars, restaurants and nightlife as well as many historical landmarks, including the Roman amphitheatre of Serdica and the Ancient Serdica Archaeological Complex.

– The country’s mountains are popular for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

– English is widely taught in Bulgarian schools and you will find language is not a problem at all the in the tourist areas and big cities. Venture further afield into remote areas and you may face some challenges.

More information on the Bulgaria UK Global Health Insurance Card

To travel to Bulgaria, it’s imperative for British residents to make a Bulgaria GHIC Application or Estonia GHIC Card Application.

The GHIC global health insurance card will give you the right to state-provided healthcare in Bulgaria.

Around 5.4 million of the old EHIC health insurance cards expired in 2019. Perhaps people were waiting to see what would happen after Brexit. Well, now you know…

Don’t delay in applying for your Bulgaria Health Insurance Card

You will need to apply for the new GHIC health insurance card if you don’t have an EHIC card – or if your EHIC is due to expire.

You can make your GHIC application six months before your old EHIC card expires.

As with the old EHIC card, the GHIC card will cover necessary medical treatment in Bulgaria.

However, if you have a pre-existing condition, you will need to buy travel insurance to cover this.

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What to expect from the Bulgarian healthcare system with your Bulgaria GHIC

Keep this information to hand when planning your visit. Hopefully, you won’t need it though.

For an ambulance call 150.

For any other emergency call 112.

Your Bulgaria UK GHIC card will be valid for free treatment in most Bulgarian hospitals and clinics. If you are hospitalised, you will be charged a non-reimbursable daily fee of 5.40 Bulgarian Levs which is around £2.50 – but not for more than 10 days hospitalisation per year.

Once discharged, your Bulgaria GHIC card or Finland GHIC card will entitle you to two further check-ups as part of your hospital treatment.

You can also obtain outpatient treatment with your Bulgaria GHIC card. Check with the doctor first as there are a few who won’t accept it. Bear in mind that when visiting a doctor, you will be charged a small consultation fee of 2.90 Bulgarian Levs – around £1.30.

Hospitals in Bulgaria vary. In the cities, the large hospitals are equipped with the latest technology and have professional, well-qualified staff. If you are in a remote area, hospitals can be less impressive.

Be sure to check out the Government’s latest COVID advice on travelling to Bulgaria, especially in these times of Covid. You can do this here:


Who can apply for a Bulgaria GHIC Card?

Anyone whose healthcare is paid for by the UK can apply for a Bulgaria UK Global Health Insurance Card or France GHIC Card.

Those who should apply also include:

• citizens of EU countries living in the UK
• UK students on placements or studying in an EU or EEA country
• employees posted to an EU country by a UK employer
• some pensioners (and their families) who receive a British State Pension but who live in the EU

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about applying for a UK GHIC card

I still have an EHIC card but it’s due to expire. What should I do?

You can apply for your Bulgaria UK Global Health Insurance Card card six months before expiry.

I’m not a UK national but I’ve lived in the UK since December 2020. Can I get a UK GHIC card?

Yes, you can apply for a Bulgaria Health Insurance Card providing you were living in the UK before January 1st 2021.

What do I need to make a Bulgaria GHIC Application?

You will need to provide your:

– full name and address
– date of birth
– National Insurance number or NHS number if you live in England and Wales; CHI number if you are in Scotland, or your Health and Care number if you are living in Northern Ireland

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