BULGARIAN VISAS COMPLY WITH EUROPEAN STANDARDS
The visas, issued by the Foreign Ministry and the consular services to persons willing to visit Bulgaria, fully comply with the requirements of the European Union (EU), it became clear during the three-day international symposium on the EU-visas and protected documents, held during the week at the Sofia Hilton. Representatives of Germany, Austria, and eight of the EU candidate countries, took part in the forum. He underlined that Bulgaria is the first country in Europe which has begun issuing visas with a scanned photo. This requirement was introduced by an order of the EU as of October 9 in connection with the troubled international situation after the terrorist attacks against the USA on September 11.Stoyan Zahariev, Head of the Identification Documents and Foreigners Department at the National Police Directorate, acquainted the participants in the forum with the process of changing the documents of Bulgarian citizens. A total of 2,155,044 new passports, 4,937,695 identity cards, and 1,589,221 driving licences have been issued so far. As of December 31, 2000 Bulgarian citizens are travelling abroad with new passports only. After January 1, 2002, only the new identification documents cards will be legitimate in the country.