U.S. Relations With Bulgaria
The United States established diplomatic relations with Bulgaria in 1903. 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. and Bulgarian militaries. Bulgaria has participated in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU), and coalition operations, including in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Bosnia.
On any given day, there are approximately 9,700 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.