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Bulgaria: Update to BGR8161 of 20 March 1991 on immigration laws regarding marriage between foreigners and Bulgarians; whether foreign spouses have to pay a tax or fee for a residence visa or its equivalent, and whether the amount differs depending on the nationality of the foreigner

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 11 December 2002
Citation / Document Symbol BGR40251.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bulgaria: Update to BGR8161 of 20 March 1991 on immigration laws regarding marriage between foreigners and Bulgarians; whether foreign spouses have to pay a tax or fee for a residence visa or its equivalent, and whether the amount differs depending on the nationality of the foreigner , 11 December 2002, BGR40251.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4d5f23.html [accessed 29 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Please find attached a copy of the Law on the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria of 1998, including amendments up to 2002, as published in English by the Bulgarian Foreign Investment Agency (BFIA). This adds to information provided in BGR31810.E of 5 January 2000 and other Responses. (Please note that the Research Directorate cannot engage in analysis or interpretation of laws, but can only provide publicly available information related to them.)

BFIA also provides the following information on visas and residence for foreigners in Bulgaria:

There is non-visa regime for travel of citizens on the basis of agreements in effect with the following states: Lithuania, Slovenia, Macedonia, Tunisia, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Republic of Korea, Croatia, San Marino, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro.

RESIDENCE VISAS AND STAY

Short-term visa-issued for a single or multiple entry for a period of maximum 90 days within a period of 6 months as of the date of the first entry.

Multiply [sic] visa for a short-term residence (stay) may be of 1 year validity unless otherwise provide in the International agreement.

Long- term visa-when the foreigners wish to reside permanently or for a continuous period. This visa provides the right to a single entry, followed by a stay of up to 90 days. The validity shall not exceed 6 months. Limitation for stay is in force till permission for long-term residence.

Foreigners reside in Republic of Bulgaria for a short term and a long term:

The short- term stay is for a period of up to 90 days.

The long-term stay is: continuous-with a permitted period of stay of up to a year; permanent-with a permitted indefinite period of stay (Bulgaria 2002).

The Embassy of Bulgaria in London, England, indicates that "holders of valid ordinary passports" from the following countries do not need a visa to enter Bulgaria, due to international agreements in effect: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Republic of Korea, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Tunisia, Yugoslavia (Bulgaria 9 Dec. 2002). The source adds that

In order to avoid any problems all foreign visitors should bear in mind that according to Bulgarian Immigration Law they have to declare in writing within 48 hours of arrival in Bulgaria the address, at which they are staying, to the local authority for administrative control of the foreigners (normally the local police station). The hotel management does this, in case the foreign visitor is staying at a hotel. In case of private accommodation, visitors should request their host(s) to do the registration on their behalf with the local police station (ibid.).

The embassy provides additional details, including types of visas and the fees that must be paid for each (ibid.). Despite the fact that certain nationalities do not require visas for entering Bulgaria, exemptions from the need of foreign residents to hold long-term or permanent residence permits that are based on nationality could not be found.

The embassy also provides the following information on applying for a long-term or permanent residence permit:

A residence permit of a foreign person, who are applying to stay in Bulgaria for a longer period of time, may be granted to two categories of applicants:

1. Up to 1 year (Art. 24 of the Foreign Persons Act) - may be granted to foreign persons, who:

... Are eligible for a permit for a permanent residence, or are married to a Bulgarian citizen, or to a foreign person, who is permanent resident in Bulgaria

... NB. ... applicants need to have an appropriate accommodation, enough means to support themselves, to have the obligatory insurance and to have paid their social security payments.

[2.] For an indefinite period of time (Articles 25, 25a of the Foreign Persons Act)-may be granted to foreign persons, who:

... Have resided permanently in the country for two years, after [having] been married to a Bulgarian citizen, or

Are the minor children of a Bulgarian citizen or of a foreign person, who is a permanent resident in the country, if they have not contracted marriage, or

The parents of a Bulgarian citizen, who are providing for him with financial support, which is due to him/her by law, or

... Have substantial contributions to the development of the economy, the culture or other branches of social life in Bulgaria, even if other legal requirements are not fulfilled (ibid. 3 Nov. 2002a).

The embassy also describes the documentation process required for applying for Bulgarian citizenship, including proof of payment of a 10 Bulgarian Leva fee, and adds the following:

Applicants who apply for Bulgarian citizenship on the ground of Article 13 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act (applicants who have been, for at least three years, and still are, legally married to a Bulgarian citizen; who have been born in the Republic of Bulgaria, or; who were granted permission for permanent residence before he/she became of age) shall submit all of the above-mentioned documents. The identity document for a foreign person permanently resident in Bulgaria issued by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria ... has to show that the applicant has been permitted permanent residence in the Republic of Bulgaria not later than 3 years before the date of submission of the application. In addition to that, applicants who apply for Bulgarian citizenship on the ground of Article 13 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act (marriage to a Bulgarian citizen) shall submit also a certificate for civil marriage status from the local authority. The marriage has to be concluded [sic] not less than three years before submitting the application (ibid. 3 Nov. 2002b).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Bulgaria. 2002. Bulgaria Foreign Investment Agency (BFIA) [Sofia]. "Foreigners Legal Status." [Accessed 9 Dec. 2002]

_____. Embassy of Bulgaria [London]. 9 December 2002. "Visa Information for Bulgaria." [Accessed 9 Dec. 2002]

_____. Embassy of Bulgaria [London]. 3 November 2002a. "Residing in Bulgaria." [Accessed 9 Dec. 2002]

_____. Embassy of Bulgaria [London]. 3 November 2002b. "Applying for Acquiring or Relinquishing Bulgarian Citizenship (in English Language)." [Accessed 9 Dec. 2002]

Attachment

Bulgaria. 2002. "Law on the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria." [Accessed 8 Dec. 2002]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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