PAYING BILLS

POST OFFICE

The post office in Dryanovo (42.975536, 25.475315​) is located at the start of the pedestrianised area (near the DSK bank - 42.975339, 25.475181​) and is recognised by the yellow post box outside.  Go up the steps and turn left and through the doors to the main area.  Immediately to your left is where you can pay your electricity bill.  Just show her your account number and she'll get your records up on the computer.  Further on is another desk where you can pay for your Bulstat TV if you have this.

The counter at the far end is where you pay for stamps and can also purchase some things including a small selection of cards.

You can pay for a PO Box address here.  It costs 5 levs for one month or 36 levs for a year.  You will need to show your ID card to do this.  You are given a key with your box number and shown where all the mail boxes are so you can check for mail any time you like.

WATER

Stand with your back to the post office in Dryanovo and walk forward to the road.  Turn right along the road keeping the car park on your left.  Take the first turning on the left (again passing the far side of the car park).  At the end of this street turn left and it's the first building on your left (42.976242, 25.476318​).  Go up one flight of stairs and turn right into the corridor.  The first room on the left has a little window where you pay your water bill.  Just show the woman your water account number and she will tell you how much to pay.  I think the bills are produced around the end of the month after a reading has been taken.  The office is open Monday to Friday 8.00am - 1.15pm and 2.15pm - 5.00pm.

 

COUNCIL TAX AND CAR TAX
 
Walk along the pedestrianised area in Dryanovo heading away from the Post Office.  You will pass the police station on your right and then just before you come to a few swings there is a big white building on the left (42.973816, 25.473925​).  The sign outside says МЕСТНИ ДАНЪЦИ И ТАКСИ.  Go up one flight of stairs and through the first set of doors and pay at the first window on the left.  If you are paying the car tax for the first time take all your car documents with you and she will find the correct one she needs.  For future payents just take the previous year's receipt. Opening hours 8am-12 noon and 2.30pm-5pm weekdays.
 
To pay your council tax you need to tell her your Bulstat number.
 
Both taxes are due by the end of March (I think) and when I paid on 7th March I got 5% early payment discount on both.
 
EASY PAY AGENT
There are now 'Easy Pay' places where it's possible to pay all of your bills, and in Dryanovo there's one in the CBA supermarket just along from the town hall. All you need are your customer numbers.

 

INTERNET

There are two internet providers that I know of for the village; Digital Systems based in Gabrovo, and Telnet based in Veliko Tarnovo/Sevlievo.

Originally I was with Digital Systems.  They charge 24 levs a month though will wave any charge if you are away for a month.  The installation cost about 120 levs (in 2012). Unfortunately the signal receiver and router they gave me are both quite old models and simply not powerful enough for a good connection to Skalsko where the signal comes from.  Consequently I've now moved to Telnet.

Ivailo deals with the installations and speaks good English.  There are various price packages though I went with the 30 levs a month one which gives 10mbps speed.  Installation cost 40 levs (in 2014) and a new router if you need one costs 32 levs.  If you pay 6 months up front you get one month free making the average cost about 25 levs a month.  Payment can be made at the insurance office in Dryanovo, which is situated on the east side of the high street not far from the museum end. The office is on a corner and has an orange sandwich board outside.  Ivailo's number is 0898659365.

INSURANCE

UNIQA INSURANCE

They have many branches including Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo and Sevlievo, I use the one in VT located at 14, Bacho Kiro Street not far from Marno Pole Park (43.077781, 25.630296​).  Whenever I've been in, there have been two agents one of whom speaks quite good English.  They do all sorts of insurance and I took out home buildings and contents, comprehensive car cover and health insurance with them.

The home insurance cost 148.02 levs (in 2012) and gives 80k buildings and 20k contents cover. In 2013 I was able to add one of my barns on the insurance too as I have a lot of tools stored in there. This cost an added 40 levs roughly.

Cars can have two insurances: the compulsory one which for my Fiesta in 2012 cost 191.56 levs.  Then on top of that you can have comprehensive which cost 408 levs (a total of around £252). They photograph the car so they have a record of its current condition and in the event of an accident it's important to get a report from the traffic police for the insurers.  It's the vehicle which is insured rather than the owner so anyone can drive your vehicle for the same cover. If you re-insure with them you don't need to show the car again. The second year the compulsory insurance reduced to around 160 levs (no idea why).

I took out a basic health insurance because I thought that until I'd been here 5 years I couldn't contribute to their national health service and so in the event of something major could face huge medical bills.  It cost me (in 2012) 207.30 levs and provides up to 60000 levs worth of cover for emergencies.  When I broke my ankle I simply kept all my receipts for seeing the doctor, the x-rays, the medication and presented them all to the insurers.  They filled out the form for me and contacted head office in Sofia.  I received about 30 levs compensation which I think covered half of the appointment costs.  How they worked this out I have no idea.

 

HEALTH COVER Here's an update to the above.  It turns out you can pay into the health service here though it's probably one of those things best done through an interpreter.  Take your lichna card along to the national insurance office in Gabrovo (42.872874, 25.319192​).  It's on the pedestrianised area further on than the market and the first church.  You will see it on the left just after the stall with lots of magazines.  As you go in there's a machine where you select the option for you and receive a number for your turn at the desk.  This is where an interpreter is essential as I've no idea what the options were.  Basically you are asking to pay national insurance contributions so that you can have access to health care.  When it was my turn we went to the relevant desk where the lady filled out some forms and printed out a certificate for me to say I was contributing to the health insurance fund.  I then went to the cash desk to pay.  It costs less than 17 levs a month (as of April 2013) but you will need to back pay from when you first arrived.  A few more forms were printed out and then we were done.  Once you have your certificate to say you are paying into the system then you can register with a doctor. To get the form you can go to the health service office in Gabrovo. It's located right up the back of the fruit and veg market and clearly says health service on the sign outside. Go up one flight of stairs and knock at the door. The woman when I went spoke some English and will even phone your preferred doctor to explain if you are having problems registering (my doctor was unsure about whether I was paying into the system in BG or the UK). On the form it's all the usual name, DOB, address etc plus your number from the health insurance form. Then you write down your doctor's details. Take it to the doctor who enters all the info online and prints it out. They stamp the form and you sign several copies one of which is for you. Job done. Keep some photocopies of the documents with you as when I went for a blood test the nurse wanted a copy of my insurance form.

BANKS

DSK (42.975339, 25.475186​)

Located at the beginning of the pedestrianised stretch in Dryanovo, open Monday to Friday, 8.00am - 4.00pm.  I opened an ordinary current account with just a paying in book although you can have a debit card instead.  She needed to see my Passport along with my Notary Deeds as proof of address.  I chose to open a euro account as it made it easier to transfer money from the UK.  After signing a million pages and depositing some money she issued me with a little green paying in book which contained the IBAN, BIC and account numbers which you need for any electronic transfers.

I can withdraw up to 1000 euros or 2000 levs a day without penalty.  Any more than that incurs a charge.  (In August 2012 a 4000 euro withdrawal would have cost around 27 levs).

I used Covent Garden FX to transfer money from the UK.  The money arrived immediately in my account without any problem although DSK seem to have charged 0.1% for the transaction.

FIRST INVESTMENT BANK (42.871328, 25.319189)

As of December 2014 I switched my savings to this bank because of the better interest rate. They too do various savings accounts but read carefully as some incur monthly fees, others have limits on when you can withdraw or deposit, and some cannot be used with debit cards.

I went with the IQ Smart account which has a current 3% interest rate with a fixed 1.2% bonus (at the time of opening) if your account is above a certain amount. The interest is paid annually. There is a 1 lev a month charge for this account. I also got a visa electron debit card which can be used for online purchases. Cashpoint withdrawals are 0.2 levs from Fibank cash machines and free for any direct debit payments including abroad.

I set up internet banking for which you pay a one off 28 lev fee for the electronic code generator needed for transactions. If you only want web banking to check your balance then it's free.

IDENTITY CARD

The Lichna Card is an ID card which all Bulgarians over the age of 14 must carry at all times.  Since I have only just arrived, my first card is one for long term residency.  This is valid for 5 years.  After that I will be eligible to apply for permanent residency and will only renew my card every 10 years. 

The immigration office (42.875923, 25.31998​) is on the right hand side of the police station in Gabrovo, and you need to go to the window in the far corner of the room (it says ЧУЖДЕНЦИ on the window - foreigners).  The police station (42.876528, 25.320012​) is on the same road as the Billa supermarket but more towards the town centre (the police cars parked outside are a giveaway). 

Make sure you get the form for a long term card and not a permanent one.  You will need to give the woman copies of: Passport, Notary Deeds, EHIC card, letter from the bank confirming you have at least 1000 euros.  (The bank provided this after one day for 20 levs).

On the form you need to write your full name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality, full Bulgarian address (must incude the street and number), date of arrival, reason for eligibility for residency (mine was self supporting), contact telephone number, how long you intend staying (for the first one you can only put 5 years), both parents' names, dates of birth and nationalities (if they are deceased, write this next to their details).  You then pay for the card.  I chose the express service meaning it would be ready in three days.  In August 2012 this cost 38 levs.  Because I didn't pre-order my bank statement I had to return the next day with this.  I was then given another form with my details on and I had to circle 'true' next to each line to confirm and then sign it.  I was then taken into a little room to have my photo taken and to give a sample signature.  I was given a white card which stated 'Long Term Residency Certificate' and a little slip with a number on it for collecting the Lichna Card in three days.  When I returned in three days time I gave her the little slip and she handed me my card which has my picture, address, validity dates and number.

PERMANENT RESIDENCY

Once you have resided in Bulgaria for 5 years you are then eligible for permanent residency. To obtain this you need to go back to the immigration office and ask for the permanent residency form - 'заявление за постоянно пребиваване'. Much of the form is in English but I have a copy here if you want to contact me about any sections. Be aware that you will need to fill out your parents details even if they are deceased. Take the completed form along at least 5 days before the expiry of your current lichna card.

You will also need photocopies of your passport, house deeds, and both parts of your current lichna card, as well as the originals of your passport and lichna card. I also handed over my receipt from paying into the health care system but I don't think that was essential. You then pay for processing (39 levs for a quick 3 day service in August 2017). I was then told to return the next day to receive my white card and to have my photo taken for the photo ID card.

When I returned the second day I was given a pre-printed form to check all my details. Basically you tick 'вярно' on each line to say it's true (unless there are errors). At the bottom I had to write what level in education I had reached, add my phone number and then date and sign.

You now have your photo taken (an re-taken if you can't face living with the first attempt for the next 10 years) and are given a slip of paper with which to return in 3 days to collect your card.

When you return in three days time you hand over the slip of paper plus both parts of your old lichna card and then you receive your new photo ID.

BUYING A SECOND HAND CAR

First and foremost find an English speaking Bulgarian who knows the process - seriously!  It is nothing like as straightforward as in the UK.  I will assume you've found your car, decided it's the one of your dreams and want to go ahead with the purchase.  I am also just going to describe the process as I experienced it.  There are bound to be variations depending on the origin of your chosen vehicle, whether you purchase in your own or company name and so on.

You will need your passport, ID card and a stack of money.

1.  Complete paperwork at the car dealer and pay for the car.

2.  Go to an insurance broker to buy compulsory insurance for the vehicle (it cannot be driven without this).  It's known as Гражданска отговорност.

3.  Go to KAT (the traffic police department) and register the vehicle in your name.  If this isn't your home region then you will be given transit number plates.  You can drive on these for one month and then you must register the vehicle in your own region.

4.  Take the plates back to the car deal to have them put on.  I also purchased the eco tax here which is a one off payment for imported vehicles (mine came from Italy).

5.  Don't expect the car to have been serviced and be fully roadworthy at this point.  Take it straight to a garage for an oil change, new filters etc.  Mine also needed new brake pads. 

6.  Other things you must purchase are the vignette and an emergency kit to carry in the car.  I chose to up my insurance to fully comprehensive too (пълно каско) but for this the insurers needed to see the car to take photos of its current condition.

7.  Within one month go to the KAT office for your region.  For Gostilitsa this is in Gabrovo.  Take your passport, ID card and car documents.  Fill out some details at one department then take the car round for the equivalent of an MOT. 

8.  Police MOT.  They checked the lights (both parking and one brake light were out on mine), the VIN number , the brakes and the emergency kit.  Despite the light failures they okayed it and just said to get them fixed.  Go to another desk to pay and receive proper number plates and the registration documents.

9.  Register the car with the local municipality to pay the yearly tax on it.  For me this was at the municipality building in Dryanovo.  Stand with the police station behind you and turn right.  It's the white building further on.  For my Ford Fiesta 1.4 it cost 16.5 levs a year (in 2012).  They need to see the car registration card and 'dogovor' document from the car purchase.

Job done!  In all it took about a day and a half to do everything but some of that was waiting around for work on the car etc.

Now all that's left is once a year to renew the insurance, municipality tax, vignette and MOT.

REMEMBER: HEADLIGHTS ON ALL YEAR LONG
 

WINTER MOTORING

It is customary to put winter tyres on your car once the weather begins to be regularly cold; around November time.  It might also be advisable to carry useful items if you plan on driving in potential snow or sub-zero temperatures:

Shovel, blanket, snow chains, hot drink, extra clothing, something to help the tyres get traction (sawdust, cat litter, card etc).

The police tend to do roadworthy checks on vehicles to check that tyres have a decent tread depth and that you're carrying to correct emergency items (fire extinguisher, reflective jacket, warning triangle, first aid kit).

VIGNETTE

This can be bought weekly, monthly or yearly.  The cost for a car for one year is 97 levs and can be bought from many places including petrol stations.  It runs out in January but they give you till the end of the month to buy a new one.  There are instructions in English on it.

MOT

First done when the car is 3 years old, then again at 5 years and then yearly after that. Take the car to the MOT place along with your lichna card, both car registration certificates and the old MOT. They check emissions, headlights, taillights, indicators, all brakes, steering and possibly other things I didn't notice! Be warned, you will be expected to drive the car across the inspection pit yourself and to carry out various tasks like applying the brakes, reversing, turning the steering wheel and stopping at various points. There's an MOT centre in Dryanovo on the main road between the LukOil and Shell garages (42.972027, 25.460943​). In 2013 it cost 34 levs.

RE-REGISTERING YOUR CAR WHEN YOU RENEW YOUR LICHNA CARD

The registration documents for your car may be dated to expire when your lichna card does. When you have your new lichna card go along to KAT to update the registration documents. You will need the green card and paper document for your compulsory car insurance, both parts of your current car registration, your passport and new lichna card.

At KAT go along to room 3 and explain why you're there. They will ask for the above documents and will print off a form for you. Take this along to room 7 to the window on the left. Hand over the forms and pay the fee (11 levs as of August 2017 - and you could only pay with a bank card). Sign the form and then wait maybe 5 minutes and she will call you back to the window to receive your new registration documents.

MEDICAL

DENTIST

Near the start of the high street in Dryanovo you will find the hospital (ambulances parked through an archway are a giveaway!).  Keep the hospital on your right side and walk along the pavement which runs under a covered section.  You will now see some steps going up to a building on the right (I think the sign on the door is some sort of social department).  Keep walking and on the next building you will see a white PVC door and a big sign saying Dental Surgery (42.973667, 25.470304​).  The dentist's name is Dr Snejana ( СНЕЖАНА ) and although she speaks no English she is extremely professional and caring.  Remember to put on the little blue shoe covers as you walk in (from the чисти basket).

For anyone paying into the health insurance fund, you can get reduced rate treatment at the hospital in Dryanovo.  The dentists are on the third floor (remember the entrance floor is the first floor) in two rooms at the top of the stairs. One or other of them is there weekdays from 8am-12 noon and 2pm-6pm. Just wait your turn and then show your proof of paying into the health system. If you don't already have a little blue book listing your visits then they will sort one out for you.

X-RAYS

If you do go to the dentist you may find that you need an x-ray done.  This takes place at the hospital, or polyclinic, just up the road (42.974205, 25.471157​).  The dentist will give you a blank x-ray in a little envelope which you take to the hospital.  As you approach the hospital from the direction of the dentist, go up the steps and through the first set of white framed doors. On the wall to your right you should see a sign saying РЕНТГЕНОВ which means the x-ray department.  Follow the arrow which should lead past the right side of the stairs and then right down a corridor.  You might have to look in a few rooms but approximately the third one along will be the office with the technician.  She's a lovely lady who will take the x-ray and lead you to the room where it's taken.  You then go back the next day to collect it and to pay for it.  My x-ray of a tooth when I was having root canal work cost 3 levs in 2012.  The department is open from about 8.30am till 11am.

HOSPITAL (Nearest one is Dryanovo 42.974205, 25.471157​)

When I broke my ankle I was lucky to be examined by a nurse in the village who then wrote a request for x-rays for me.  If you suffer a medical emergency and are not registered with a doctor then I would advocate taking an interpreter with you to the hospital.

The x-ray department was the same as mentioned above.  I had to wait a few minutes for the x-rays to be developed.  The radiographer examined the x-rays and saw that there was a break in a bone.  She then called someone down from the orthopedic department who spoke some English.  He took me up to his office and made an appointment for me for the next day.  Dryanovo polyclinic seems to have different surgeries on different days.  The orthopedic doctor is there several times a week.  Don't be surprised when you arrive for your appointment if you are asked to first purchase the necessary medical items from a chemist.  This, I think, is to replenish supplies in the surgery.  Luckily I was with a friend who could go to the chemist for me whilst the doctor began applying a cast to my leg.  I imagine if you turned up alone you would just pay for what supplies you used.  Crutches also needed to be purchased and be aware that Dryanovo doesn't appear to have any.  If you suspect you might need them, you might be better going to one of the larger hospitals in Veliko Tarnovo, Sevlievo or Gabrovo.

Blood tests are done in room 304 at Dryanovo. Cost (2013) 12 levs (or 2 if you're paying into the Bulgarian health service)

Costs:  Roll of plaster - 2 levs each

              Under arm crutches - 46 levs a pair

              Fee for doctor to apply plaster cast - 20 levs

              X-ray of ankle - 5 levs each (2 taken)

SEEING A SPECIALIST

I'm writing this just based on my experience and not from any official source.

You may find that your GP will only deal with common complaints, and for anything more intricate you will need to see a specialist. In my case, looking for an ENT doctor, I had to ask around for recommendations before going to see the guy at his office without an appointment. If you do it this way you will in effect be paying privately (around 25 levs for the first consultaion). You can get what's called a 'направление' from your GP which is a form giving you the right to treatment under the NHIF (presuming you pay into it). If you take that to the specialist you only pay 2.90 tax for the visit. Once you are being seen by the specialist, any further treatment he/she deems necessary is then covered by the NHIF - to a degree!

I think it depends on how life threatening the condition is as to how much the health service pay and how much you have to contribute. In my case it wasn't a serious problem, so my contribution for nasal valve reconstruction (and whatever else he may have done to correct my breathing) came to 350 levs, plus a small fee for each night's stay in the hospital. Bear in mind that this was actually a private hospital though one which does take NHIF patients. Not all private hospitals do this, so check their websites carefully.

STAYING IN HOSPITAL - WHAT TO TAKE

Again, every hospital may differ, and I definitely read that at some you will need to take your own sheets and pillowcase. You must have toiletries, night wear, slippers and your lichna card. DO take a good supply of water/squash etc with you and a cup though you may find, like me, that the tap water is drinkable. They may not provide you with anything to drink.

HAIRDRESSER

GABROVO

Walk along the pedestrianised area away from the market.  When you come to the second big church turn right (Aprilovski Street).  On the corner on the left you will see Post Credit Bank.  Turn left here down a small back street.  Walk down here a way and you will see the salon on your right. You can have hair, nails and make-up done here.  A wash, cut and blow-dry costs 15 levs (as of 2014)

This website is powered by Spruz