IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP IN BULGARIA DURING STATE OF EMERGENCY CONCERNING COVID19

up to date - 24th of March, 2020

Due to the outbreak of COVID19 Bulgarian authorities declared State of Emergency from 13th of March until 13th of April 2020. It is possible the period of emergency to be prolonged as well.

During the State of Emergency many authorities are limiting or restricting their working hours in order to secure the safety and limit all social contacts as prevention from the virus. Entering Bulgarian country during this period can also be extremely hard and from some countries even impossible.

This extreme measures are undoubtedly necessary but may affect many foreigners in Bulgaria especially if their residence permit is expiring during the State of Emergency. Having this in mind, on 24th of March was promulgated the Law for the State of Emergency which governs these specific matters and has effect for the whole period from 13th of March to 13th of April 2020 / and will also be effective if the State of Emergency is prolonged/.

  1. All foreigners who are holders of a long-term residence permit in Bulgaria and whose residence period expires during the State of Emergency, will be able to apply for renewal in 14 days period of time after the State of Emergency is over.
  2. All foreigners who are holders of a long-term residence permit from Bulgaria and whose residence period expires during the State of Emergency and who are not in Bulgaria during this state, will be able to enter the country in 14 days period after the State of Emergency is completed, even if their residence permit is expired, without visa, so that they can renew their residence permit;
  3. The State of Emergency period would not be counted as interruption for any holders of Bulgarian residence permits who are required to have at least 6 months uninterrupted periods per year.
  4. The validity of permanent residence permits from Bulgaria that expire in the period between 13th of March - 31st of October 2020 will be automatically extended with 6 months from the expiry date. This prolonging of the residence period will be applicable and valid only in Bulgaria but not if the document is used in another country. Regardless of the mentioned prolonging, holders of such permit will still be able to apply for the renewal of the residence card after the State of Emergency is over any time during this 6-months extension. This regulation would also apply to holders of permanent residence permit who are family members to Bulgarian citizens and to family members to EU citizens who have not yet exercised their rights of free movement.
  5. The validity of long-term and permanent residence permits issued to EU citizens or citizens of the EEA or the Swiss Confederation in Bulgaria that expire in the period between 13th of March - 31st of October 2020 will be automatically extended with 6 months from the expiry date. This extension will be applicable and valid only in Bulgaria but not if the document is used in another country. Regardless of the mentioned prolonging, holders of such permit will still be able to apply for the renewal of the residence card after the State of Emergency is over any time during this 6-months extension.
  6. The validity of the Bulgarian ID card and Bulgarian driver’s license that expiry date is between 13th of March – 31st of October 2020 will be automatically extended with 6-months counting from the expiry date. This extension will be applicable and valid only in Bulgaria but not if the document is used in another country.
  7. The reviewing and consideration of the Bulgarian citizenship cases is suspended during the State of Emergency. The work of the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate will be renewed after the State of Emergency period but this would cause delay in the citizenship cases. All applicants who are scheduled to receive their Bulgarian citizenship certificate in Bulgaria during the period of the State of Emergency will need to schedule a new appointment using the online system of the Ministry of Justice. Applicants who would receive their Bulgarian citizenship certificates abroad in the Bulgarian Embassy/Consular shall contact the dedicated authority in order to check if any changes are expected due to the measures taken against the outbreak.
  8. The work of the Bulgarian State Agency for the Bulgarians Abroad will also be suspended from 17th of March during the whole State of Emergency. This means that no documents could be filed in the desk of the Agency in Bulgaria and no certificate would be issued or could be received during this time.

Our team at Vladimirov Law Office is ready to assist with any legal matters that arise during this situation.

Stay safe!

How to...

... register a company / trade company?
... do I get a Permanent Residence Permit in the Republic of Bulgaria?
... do I get Bulgarian citizenship?
... protect my rights as a consumer?
... act if they discriminate against me?
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