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Notice on the requirement for two nucleic acid tests instead of "nucleic acid + serum IgM antibody" tests for the purpose of applying for a Health Code for China-bound travelers who have received COVID-19 vaccination as well as updates on other relevant requirements for travel to China
2022-01-14 22:05

With the rapid spread of the "Omicron" variantof Covid, the global epidemic situation of COVID-19 has become increasingly severe and the risk of cross-infection during international travel is growing. The Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria once again reminds everyone to continue to adhere to the principle of "no travelunless necessary" and try to avoid long-distance or cross-border travel.

To ensure the safety of travelers and reduce chances of cross-border transmission, beginning January 20, 2022, the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria will implement adjusted requirements for the application of the Health Code for travelers from Bulgaria to China via a third country.   One of the most important adjustments is the requirement for peoplewho have received COVID-19 vaccination to take two nucleic acidtests instead of the "nucleic acid + serum IgM antibody" tests.Other adjustments have also been highlighted in this notice.  In case of inconsistency with previously issued notices or supplementary explanations relating to the Health Code application,  this notice shall prevail.

1. Definition of “Traveler from Bulgaria”

A traveler from Bulgaria is one of the following:

(1) A long-term resident in Bulgaria,who holds a Bulgarian passport, ID card, residence card, or residence certificate issued bythe Bulgarian governmentinstitutions, and who has  stayed in Bulgaria for more than 28 days before applying for a Health Code.

(2) A short-term resident in Bulgaria, who has entered Bulgaria with a visa, and has stayed in Bulgaria for more than 28 days before applying for a Health Code.

2. Transit requirements

There is no direct flightbetween Bulgaria and China. All travelers from Bulgaria to China via a third country are only allowed to transit once, i.e. Bulgariaa transit countryChina.    Otherwise, a Health Code will not be issued.

If necessary, you mayenter the transitcountry, but the transit time is not recommended to exceed 48 hours. If you travel from Bulgaria and enter the transit country by plane, train, bus, or car, you must go directly to the transit countrywithout transiting through or staying in another country on the route.

When transiting ina thirdcountry, you must takea test at the transit country as required and apply for a Health Codefrom the Chinese embassy or consulate in thatcountry before continuingyour travel to China. Please note that some transit locationshave recently adjusted the requirements for transit to China. Please makesure to check in time the notices of Chineseembassies orconsulates in transit countries and relevant airlines onthe specific requirements in order to avoid hindranceto the travel. The Health Codeissued by the ChineseEmbassyin Bulgaria can only be used atBulgarianairports, and its validity does not cover anyflight departing fromthe transit country. It is recommended that the applicant take a screenshotof the Health Coderightafter receiving it. It may be required by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the transit country.

3. Pre-departure quarantine

Everyone who goes to China should strictly observe indoor quarantine and self-health monitoring for 14 days before departing Bulgaria, without going out except for necessary tests, and should complete the "Self-Health Monitoring Form" (see Annex 1) as required.

4. Testing requirementsfor travelers under different circumstances

(1) Unvaccinated persons

All travelers to Chinafrom Bulgaria, who are not vaccinated, should take a nucleic acid test and a serum IgM antibody test at an Embassy-designated testing labwithin 48 hours prior to the first leg of the travel itinerary.

They may apply for a Health Code from the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria if the results of the tests of PCR, IgM antibody, or IgG antibody (if included in the antibody test report)  are negative. 

If the result of any one of the tests of PCR, IgM antibody, or IgG antibody (if included in the antibody test report) is positive, you will be considered “a person with a history of infection”.

Pleasenote that the sampling method for nucleic acid detection should be nasopharyngeal swab, and the detection method should be  real-time fluorescentRT-PCR. The test report should clearly specify “Nasopharyngeal” as the sampling method,  and “Real-Time PCR/RT-PCR”as the test method. 

When testing serum-specific IgM antibodies, the sampling  should be venous blood, and the test report must include the words “Serum”, “IgM”, “Venous”, etc. Tests performed with fingertip blood will notbe accepted. The preferred test method is chemiluminescence (quimioluminiscencia), or enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). The test report must clearly specify the relevant sampling method, test method, and test results, and include the complete information of the test lab. The personal identification number on the test report must be passport number.

(2) Vaccinated persons

(a) Definition of  “vaccinated person”

A vaccinated person refers to one who has received full vaccination with vaccines for emergency useapproved by China or the World Health Organization and has completed  the whole vaccination process14 days prior to the travel.

A person is not considered fully vaccinated if he/she:

- has not completed the whole vaccination process (i.e. all of the  2 dosesprocess or 3 doseprocess); or

- has received 2 doses of inactivated vaccine within the same day; or

- was not vaccinated at the prescribed intervals (e.g. the interval between two doses should be more than 14 days); or

- can not provide proof of vaccination; or 

- completed full vaccination less than 14 days ago.

A vaccinated person should travel to China 14 days after completing the entire vaccination process. There is no time interval requirement for booster vaccination. A Health Code will not be issuedif vaccinations are completed less than 14 daysprior to the travel, even if all testresults are negative. 

Vaccinated persons should still take tests as requiredbefore departure. When applying for the Health Code, be sure to upload the vaccination certificate issued by a designated medical institution. The certificate must include the traveler’s name,ID or passport number, vaccination information such as the brandname of the vaccine, date, serial number, medical institution,etc. It is recommended to complete and sign the "Letter of Commitment on COVID-19 Vaccination"( see Annex 2).

(b)Testing requirements

All travelers from Bulgaria to China who have been fully vaccinated must apply for a Health Code from the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria with negative results of two nucleic acid testswithin 48 hours prior to the firstleg of the travel itinerary. Thetwo tests should be taken at two different labs designated by the Embassy.

Pleasenote that the sampling method should be nasopharyngeal swabs, and the detection method should be real-time fluorescent RT-PCR. The test report should clearly specify “Nasopharyngeal”  as the sampling method,  and  “Real-Time PCR/RT-PCR”as the test method. 

(3) Persons with a history of infection.

(a) Definition of “personwith a history of infection”

A person is considered to have a history of infection if he/she:

-hasbeen diagnosed with Covid-19;or

-hasneitherbeen diagnosed nor received a vaccination, butwithpositive results for  nucleic acid test, or IgM antibodytest, orIgG antibody test; or

-has been vaccinated but with positive results for the nucleic acid test.

(b) If a personwith a history of infection intends to apply for a Health Code,he/she should send the following documents to the Embassy’s Email (  at least 3 weeksin advance for preview:

(i) Personal information, specific informationof diagnosis or positive testresult, and proof of recovery, if any.

(ii) The original film and report of the lung CT or X-ray examinationfrom a Bulgarian medical institution within 30 days before the Email is sent(with the exception of pregnant women). The report should state whether there is inflammation in the lung, and shouldclearly indicate not infected with COVID-19,or have recoveredafter being infected with COVID-19 . Otherwise, the report isdeemed invalid.

(iii)Reports with negativeresults of twoPCR tests(taken at an interval of at least 24 hours)at a lab designated by the Chinese Embassywithin 3 days before the Email is sent. The datesof the pulmonary imaging diagnosis report and nucleic acid test report should be no earlierthan the date on Covid-19diagnosis report or previous positive test report.

(iv) Persons with a history of infection, especially those who have tested positive for IgM antibody, should not be vaccinated immediately after the test is positive. Please contact the ChineseEmbassyfor a preview of documents as stated above before considering vaccination.

(c)When the previewis done,the applicant will be notified by Email regarding detailed requirements of quarantineand health monitoring. The person concerned shouldbe quarantined for at least 14 daysandshouldcompletethe "Self-Health Monitoring Form" truthfully.

(d)Atthe end of the quarantineand health monitoring period, the applicant shouldreport the health status to the Embassyvia email.

(i) If the health status is normal,the applicantshould take tests as required(two PCRtests for vaccinated persons, or PCR and IgM tests for unvaccinated persons).You can apply for a Health Codewith reports of negative results.   If the nucleic acid test result is positivebefore traveling, youshould receive treatment, and upon recovery, send pulmonary imaging diagnosis certificate and reports of two nucleic acid testswith negative resultsto theEmbassyfor preview. If the IgM serum antibody test result is positive, you need to re-apply for 14-day quarantineand health monitoring, and as such, there is no need to provide documentsfor previewagain.

(ii) In case of suspected symptoms such as fever, coughing, and diarrhea during quarantineand health monitoring, you should take the nucleic acid test in time. If the test result is negative, you should undergo the 14-day quarantineand health monitoring again. If the test result is positive, youshould receive treatmentin time and re-send the documentsto the Embassyfor previewafter recovery.

(4) Persons in close contact

Those who have been in close contact with confirmed cases, suspected cases, or asymptomatic cases should go through quarantine and health monitoring for 14 days, and take PCR tests on the 1st, 4th, and 7th day respectively, during the monitoring period. If all  results are negative, you can apply for a Health Code with negative reportsof two PCRtests ( if you are vaccinated), or negative reports of PCR and IgM tests (if you have not been vaccinated) within 48 hours before boarding after the end of the quarantine.

For example: if you are last in contact with a confirmed case, suspected case, or asymptomatic infected person without effective protection on January 1st, then PCR tests should be performed on January 2nd, 5th, and 8th respectively. If the results are all negative, you can apply for a Health Code with negative PCRtest reports( if you are vaccinated), or negative reports of PCR and IgM tests (if you have not been vaccinated) within 48 hours before boardingafter the end of the quarantine on January 15.

(5) Persons with suspected symptoms

In case of fever, coughing, diarrhea, and other suspected symptoms within 14 days before applying for a Health Code, or rejection of boarding by an airline due to high body temperatureor suspected symptoms, etc., the Embassy will not issue a Health Code. You are required to undergo14-day quarantine and health monitoring. Nucleic acid tests must be performed on the 1st, 4th, and 7th day of the monitoring period. If the results are all negative, you can then apply for a Health Code with negative reportsof two PCRtests ( if you are vaccinated), or negative reports of PCR and IgM tests (if you have not been vaccinated) within 48 hours before boarding after the end of the quarantine.

(6) Ship crews disembarked in Bulgaria

Ship crews who have disembarked in Bulgaria and intend to travel to China should be quarantined indoors for at least 14 days in Bulgaria. The employing shipping company should issue a letter of commitment on quarantine managementor related certification. If everything is normal during the quarantine period,the crew can apply for a Health Codewith negative reportsof two PCRtests ( if you are vaccinated), or negative reports of PCR and IgM tests (if you have not been vaccinated) within 48 hours before boarding after the end of the quarantine.

5. Application for the Health Code

(1) For Chinese citizens, please apply for a Health Code via the international version of the epidemic prevention Health Code mini program. For foreign citizens, please visit or use a mobile phone to scan the QR code at the end of this notice to enter the login page.Please register with your email account, complete all the items, and apply for the Health Declaration code.

(2) Please make sure to fill in all items truthfully and uploadthe following:

1. Negative reports of two nucleic acid tests from two different labs (for vaccinated persons);

2. Negative report of serum-specific IgM antibodiestest (for unvaccinated persons);

3. The information page of valid international travel document;

4. Bulgarian visa or residence card, and border inspection stamp for the last entry into Bulgaria;

5. Full travel  itinerary;

6. Vaccination Certificate and completed "Letter of Commitment on COVID-19 Vaccination"(for vaccinated persons);

7. Self Health Monitoring Form.

Travelers are recommended to carefully check the name, passport number, flight details and other information before confirming the submission of the application, and check whether the documents are uploaded completely. In case the application is rejected, please revise your documents or submit supplementary documents strictly in accordance with the requirements, so as to reduce the number of rejections and re-submission, as too many submissionsmay trigger  restrictions in the application system and consequently cause unnecessary trouble to the follow-up itinerary.

The Embassy will review applications and issue the Health Code as soon as possible, even during weekends and holidays. Please wait patiently for the review results.

The Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria will examine, approve and issue Health Codes in strict accordance with the above-stated regulations and in consideration of the applicants’ relevant circumstances. All travelers to China should abide by the relevant regulations on epidemic prevention and control and submittrue documents such as test reports. Those who conceal the condition of illness, tamper with the test report, fail to comply with quarantine requirements, or provide false information will not be able to obtain the Health Code or health status statement. Those who violate the law will be held accountable.

Annex 1  Self-Health Monitoring Form.docx

Annex 2 Letter of Commitment on COVID-19 Vaccination.docx

List of labs designated by the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria:

1.BODIMED Laboratory (Sofia),  Tel: 02-9866676,02-9863864

2.Tokuda Hospital(Sofia), Tel.:02-4034352, 02-4034000

3.Sofiamed Hospital(Sofia), Tel.:0895555591,0896666840

4.Lina Laboratory(Burgas), Tel:070010447

5.Pulmed hospital(Plovdiv), Tel:032-607300

6.Laborexpress(Varna), Tel:052-647337

7.Exacta Medica(Pleven),Tel:064-8855 55

8.Burgasmed Hospital(Burgas), Tel:0892222 686

9.Zdrave 99(Ruse),Tel:082-834256, 0879995167

WeChat QR Codefor "Epidemic Prevention Health Code International Version"

QR codefor “Health Declaration Code for Foreigners”

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