We talked to the lovely Plamena from Moving Turtles to get some helpful tips and advice about moving to Bulgaria.
Here’s what she had to say:
Who started Moving Turtles and why?
Me and three other lovely ladies – Kalina, Iveta and Stefana used to work together in another company, where we had foreign colleagues and we helped in their relocation. Three of us also had experience being expats and living abroad, then having to move to Bulgaria again and restart our life. The decision to start the company came very naturally. It was born out of our conversations on how difficult it can be to move abroad, to have no one there who could help you and really make you feel like everything will be ok, introduce you to the country and the culture, help you find hope, without the fear of being tricked. We realized we would love to be that somebody for someone who is coming to Bulgaria.
In our trips abroad we met with very negative views on Bulgaria and Bulgarians and that is something we work to change too. We hope to do our small part in making Bulgaria a bit more welcoming to people from different nationalities and cultures as we believe there’s strength in unity and acceptance. You can learn more about our values, philosophy and experience on our website.
From the beginning, we knew what kind of company we wanted to start – with great care for people and responsibility towards the environment. That is why we donate to WWF and adopt sea turtles.
How long have you been operating?
We are officially operating since 2017 although our experience with relocation dates way back.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for someone moving to Bulgaria?
In our experience, the biggest challenges for someone moving to Bulgaria are the administration and not being cheated.
The administration in Bulgaria presents challenges even to native Bulgarians – it is slow, with many administrative procedures, sometimes all of them seem lacking logic and common sense, and it pains me to say it but not all people who work in the administration are as friendly and willing to help as we would hope. Another issue is that most of the documents should be filled in in Bulgarian, and the majority of foreigners who come here don’t speak Bulgarian so this is the first wall they have to face. There is information in English on the Internet but it often is outdated, not full enough, or misleading. We cover all official communication between our clients and the administration so that they don’t have to face those difficulties. We fill in and submit all forms on their behalf. If the presence of our client is required (for example when registering in Migrations) we always accompany them and provide translation or speak with the administration staff on their behalf.
Another challenge foreigners share when they come to Bulgaria is finding the right company to help you. Unfortunately, there still are people who would take your money never to be seen again or take advantage of your lack of knowledge regarding the laws and procedures to trick you into making a bad deal. We always make sure everything is as clear as possible for our clients. We explain all the steps of the relocation without putting too much weight on them with unnecessary details. We also partner only with companies who share this philosophy on business and excellent customer service.
How can you help with moving to Bulgaria?
We offer help on every stage of the moving process. We do orientation tours – before coming to Bulgaria so that our clients can see the city for themselves and make the right decision; and after they are here – to show them the key points, best places for shopping, rest, the historical centre of the city. We offer airport welcome and accompany our clients when they choose their new home – to make sure that they are presented with the necessary information on real estate in Bulgaria, neighbourhoods, and any underwater stones there might be. Then we help them settle-in by opening a bank account, making insurance, finding mobile and internet providers, setting up their utilities. Another important service that we offer is help in finding the right school or kindergarten for our clients children. We know how stressing it is for children to move and that every parent wants the best for their kid, so we do our best to make the move as easy as possible. We also work with partners to help our clients move their belongings safely.
Do you help people move in all over Bulgaria?
At the moment we operate in Sofia and recently we started offering our services also in Varna. Depending on the service we can offer it also in Plovdiv.
Can you offer help with the dreaded visa/residency process?
Yes! We do help with the Visa process, the work and residence permits. We have a lot of experience with work permits and in fact, our most popular package includes work and residence permit plus visa type “D” assistance. We fill in and submit all the documents, when it is possible, and accompany our clients to the institutions when their presence is necessary. We provide guidance during the whole process and help them and their families prepare for the move.
Do you offer translation services?
In all of our services – we handle the translation and legalization once we receive our Clients documents. We work with a trusted partner to ensure everything is done timely and with care. We also offer translation when we accompany our clients to institutions, during the home search, settling-in process or orientation tour. We also have an amazing partner who offers courses – Bulgarian as a foreign language which is the final step in settling in.
All of our services are described here on our website, but we are quite open for inquiries and if our clients need something which is not mentioned in our price list, we are flexible enough to see how we can help them.