Republic of Bulgaria

MI

 
  

INFORMATION ABOUT BREXIT

This section is aimed at providing information to UK citizens and their family members who are residing in Bulgaria on the terms and conditions for entry and residence in the Republic of Bulgaria after Brexit.


The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria is undertaking the necessary measures in order to prepare for Brexit and with the aim to guarantee the rights of the UK citizens under the Withdrawal Agreement as well as in the event of a no deal Brexit.


Traveling to Bulgaria


The Withdrawal Agreement envisages a transition period during which the EU rules for free movement of people will continue to apply to UK nationals and their family members. During the transition period the UK nationals and the members of their families will be able to use their passports up to their date of validity for entry and exit from the Republic of Bulgaria.

After the expiry of the transition period under the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as in case of withdrawal without a deal, the following requirements shall apply:

·         For a short-term stay up to 90 days in every period of 180 days, the UK nationals shall enter the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria with a valid passport without a visa. For a short-term stay in Bulgaria their family members should present at the border crossing point a valid passport, as well as a visa, when such is required depending on their nationality, issued by Bulgarian diplomatic or consular representation abroad.
The Republic of Bulgaria considers as equal to its national visas for transit or for a planned stay on its territory for no more than 90 days in a period of 180 days, the residence permits, long-term (type D) and short-term (typed C) visas valid for one, two or multiple entries, which are issued by a country fully applying the Schengen legislation, Romania, Croatia or Cyprus. 

·         For a stay which is longer than 90 days both UK nationals and their family members will need a valid passport and a visa for long-term residence or a valid residence permit issued by the competent Bulgarian authorities.

In order to be valid, the passport should be issued in the last 10 years and its term of validity should cover at least 3 months period after the planned date for leaving Bulgaria.

The list of countries whose nationals holding ordinary service/special or diplomatic passports need a visa to enter and stay on the territory of the country and those with a visa-free regime with the Republic of Bulgaria, can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 
https://www.mfa.bg/en/services-travel/consular-services/travel-bulgaria/visa-bulgaria

Legislative amendments with regard to the right of residence after Brexit in a no deal scenario

On 12 April 2019 the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted the legislative amendments proposed by the government for the event of a no deal Brexit at the second reading.  

The legislative amendments shall enter into force on the day following the date of withdrawal of the UK from the EU.


After Brexit the United Kingdom will be considered as a third country and the entry and stay of the UK citizens in the Republic of Bulgaria will be regulated by the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Rules on its Implementation.

The amendments provide an exception from this rule for the UK citizens and their family members who have settled in Bulgaria and have established close relations with our country.

The aim of the amendments is to retain the rights of residence of these citizens such as they are at the time of Brexit.

To that end, the amendments envisage a procedure for re-registration of all citizens falling within the categories specified therein. After its completion, these citizens will obtain a special status, allowing for the application of the same conditions and requirements, which were applicable to them on the day of Brexit, namely – the terms and conditions for the EU citizens.
The provision of this status will allow the UK citizens and their family members who have chosen to live and work in Bulgaria, to continue their lives in our country in the same way as they did before Brexit.

The adopted legislation provides for reciprocal conditions to those the British side offers to the EU citizens, including the Bulgarian citizens, who have settled and have been residing legally in the United Kingdom up to the date of withdrawal. In the scenario of a no-deal Brexit, there will be no transition period, as was envisaged if the Withdrawal Agreement had entered into force. Still, the British Government have declared their determination to treat the EU citizens in a way that is no less favorable than the one provided for in the Agreement. In line with this, the new legislation provides reciprocity with respect to both the rights and the deadlines for exercising them.

The citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members, who have been residing legally in the Republic of Bulgaria up to the date of withdrawal, will have the right to apply for the new status. They will have until the end of 2020 to make their re-registration. In order to do so, they will have to submit an application in person to the Migration Directorate or the respective Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior as per their address of residence, accompanied by the documents required under the legislation for the EU citizens for the respective type of residence.
Their new residence permit will be issued within a month after the submission of the application. The candidates will be given a temporary permit for that period. The fee for issuing a residence permit will be the same as the fee for EU citizens for the same kind of service.

APPLYING FOR THE NATIONAL SCHEME: CONDITIONS AND DOCUMENTS

UK nationals

LONG-TERM RESIDENCE

If you hold a valid long-term residence permit, issued by the competent Bulgarian authorities, you have to submit to the relevant Migration Office – as per your address of residence - the following documents:

  • A completed application form;
  • Valid national ID document (ID card or passport) + copy;
  • Proof of address of residence (document proving the ownership or use of property;  in the case of a rental contract your landlord will have to sign a declaration certifying that he/she agrees to provide you with an address of residence; if the declaration is not submitted in person by the owner or a person authorized by the owner, it must contain a notary validation of signature; housing order in the cases of state or  municipality-owned housing);
  • Application fee payment receipt

In addition to the above listed documents, you have to submit the following documents, in accordance with your respective grounds for long-term residence:

Employment

If you are an employed or self-employed person in Bulgaria, you have to submit:

        Copy of your employment contract; you might be asked to present a statement from your employer that you are currently employed;

or a proof that you are self-employed, e.g. document for registration with a professional organisation or state authority, when applicable, or a patent for business activity, etc.

Education

If you are enrolled in an educational establishment, and have health insurance and sufficient financial resources to cover your expenses and those of your family for the duration of your stay, you need to present:

        Evidence of educational course/s  – statement from the educational establishment that you are currently enrolled on;

        Copy of a medical insurance policy with full coverage for Bulgaria for the requested period of stay;

        Proof of sufficient financial resources (a copy of a credit or debit bank card, etc.)

Other purposes

If you have health insurance and sufficient financial resources to cover your expenses and those of your family members during the duration of your stay in Bulgaria, then you need to present:

      Copy of a medical insurance policy with full coverage for Bulgaria for the requеsted period of stay;

      Proof of sufficient financial resources (a copy of a credit or debit bank card, proof of pension contributions, etc.).

Family members

Within 3 months from their entry into Bulgaria family member/s need to present:

·         A completed application form;

·         Valid national ID document (ID card or passport; if the family member is a third country national he/she might also need a visa, where applicable) + copy;

·         Documentary evidence that he/she is a family member (marriage certificate; birth certificate; evidence of living together, etc. Please note that the documents that are not in Bulgarian have to be translated and legalised)

PERMANENT RESIDENCE

If you have resided legally and continuously on the territory of Bulgaria for a period of five years on the basis of a long-term residence permit, you and your family members are entitled to a permanent residence permit. To that end, up to three days prior to the expiry of your current long-term residence permit and before the end of 2020, you can to apply for a permanent residence under the scheme.

If you are a holder of a Bulgarian permanent residence permit up to three days prior to its expiry and before the end of 2020 you have to re-register in the Migration Directorate or your local Migration Office in the Regional Directorate of MoI – as per address of residence.

You need to present the following documents: 

·         A completed application form;

·         Valid national ID (ID card or passport) + copy;

·         Proof of address of residence (document proving the ownership or use of property or - in the case of a rental contract and if you opt for a plastic card with a personal number - a declaration signed by your landlord certifying that he/she agrees to provide a registered address of residence; if the declaration is not submitted in person by the landlord or a person authorized by him/her, it must contain a notary validation of signature or a housing order - in the cases of state or  municipality-owned housing);

·         Application fee payment receipt.

*

A residence permit in the form of a plastic card with a photo will be issued within one month of submitting the application.

A temporary certificate will be issued upon submission of documents.

Information about the charging fees can be found on: https://www.mvr.bg/migration/en/index

For further questions, please contact the nearest Migration Office or use the following e-mail address: [email protected]

In case the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force, the Ministry of Interior is ready to implement it and to propose the necessary measures with regard to the rights of the citizens.

Driving

If the UK leaves the EU with an agreement, within the transition period the driving licences issued by the UK, will be treated as driving licences issued by an EU Member State and the UK nationals will be able to use their UK driving licences until their expiry date or until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 – whichever comes first.

If there is no agreement, from the day after the date of withdrawal, the driving licences, issued by the UK, will be treated by the Republic of Bulgaria as driving licences, issued by a State - Party to the Road Traffic Convention of 1968 meeting the requirements under Annex 6 to the Convention.
Therefore, the UK nationals, who have established their habitual residence in Bulgaria, can drive motor vehicles on the territory of the country with their UK driving licences up to one year from the date of issuance of their Bulgarian residence document. Within this one year, the UK driving licence can be substituted for a Bulgarian one without passing an exam. To that end, they need to present the following documents:

-          Template application provided by the Traffic Police Unit;

-          Physical fitness assessment card of the driver/candidate for obtaining of a driving licence, issued by a general practitioner or by Transport Central or Regional Medical Expert Committee;

-          For categories C1, C, D1 or D – a copy of a certificate for psychological fitness

-          Declaration, stating that habitual residence is not in another EU Member State and the person does not own a valid driving licence issued by another Member State;

-          Copy of a certificate for completed at least first level of secondary education. If the education was completed in a foreign country – certificate under Article 110, Para 3 of Ordinance No. 11, dated 1st September 2016 on assessing students’ education results (State Gazette, issue 74/2016).

The replacement with a Bulgarian driving licence takes place after presenting the UK driving licence. The replaced driving licence will be returned to the UK ex officio.
The replacement with a Bulgarian driving licence cannot be done when the driving licence issued by the UK has been lost or stolen.

Competent authority for replacement of the driving licence

In order to replace a driving licence issued by the UK with a Bulgarian one, the persons can submit the application in person or through an authorized representative in the Traffic Police units with the respective Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior as per permanent address.

Deadline for issuing of a driving licence

Up to 30 days after submission of the application for normal service;
Up to 10 days after submission of the application for express service.

Fees

Driving licence - 25 BGN (normal service)
Issuing or replacement of control card to the driving licence – 2 BGN (normal service)

For express service the due fees are in a double amount.

Detailed information, concerning the replacement of a foreign driving licence with a Bulgarian driving licence is available at the following address:
https://www.mvr.bg/opp/административни-услуги/услуги-за-водачи/подмяна-на-свидетелство-за-управление-на-мпс-издадено-от-друга-държава-с-българско

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Re-registration scheme for UK nationals residing in Bulgaria in a no deal scenario

Q What is the purpose of the re-registration scheme?


The aim of the re-registration scheme is to retain the rights of residence of the UK nationals, who reside lawfully in Bulgaria on the date of withdrawal and who wish to continue their stay in the country. Upon re-registration, they will obtain a special status, allowing for the application of the same conditions and requirements, which were applicable to them on the day of Brexit, namely - the terms and conditions for EU citizens.

Q Does the re-registration scheme differ depending on whether applicants are students, pensioners, employed/ self-employed?


All categories of applicants will follow the same procedure though the required documents will depend on the grounds of residence (employment, self-employment, education, etc.)

Q What will happen to my residence status after Brexit?


After the UK leaves the EU, the UK nationals lawfully residing in Bulgaria on the date of Brexit will be able to re-register and continue to live here as they did before. Their certificates, issued before the date of Brexit, will be recognized until the end of 2020 or their expiry date – whichever comes first.
Upon re-registration, UK nationals will be issued a permit, which will be in the format of Regulation 1030/2002 (a plastic card with a photograph) and will contain a special remark indicating that they are covered by the scheme.
After re-registering, UK nationals will be able to leave Bulgaria for up to 2 years without losing their residence status.

Q Who is covered by the re-registration scheme?


The scheme covers both UK nationals lawfully residing in Bulgaria before the date of withdrawal or holding a valid residence permit, issued by the Bulgarian authorities and their family members.
Family members (having this status on the day of withdrawal), who have not yet joined the UK citizen in Bulgaria, are also covered. They will have the possibility for family reunification under the scheme until March 2022 (completed re-registration of the UK national in Bulgaria is a prerequisite).
In some instances future family members will also be covered, e.g. those, who have acquired this status by the end of 2020 and new born children to a re-registered UK national - by the end of 2022.
In order to be considered as lawfully residing in Bulgaria on the date of withdrawal, the UK nationals must have registered with the Bulgarian authorities before that date.

Q What is the definition of a family member?


Family members covered by the scheme are defined as:

-          spouses and unmarried partners

-          children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren under the age of 21, who are unmarried

-          dependent children over the age of 21, who are unmarried

-          dependent parents, grandparents or great-grandparents

-          dependent relatives

Q When can I re-register?

The re-registration scheme will start on the day, following the date of UK’s withdrawal from the EU and will be open until 31 December 2020. (There are a couple of exceptions, related to family members, which are explained in the answer to the next question.)
UK nationals should re-register when their current residence card expires, if that date is before 31 December 2020. If their document expires after that date, they can re-register at any point before 31 December 2020. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to wait until the last moment in order to re-register under the scheme.
The Ministry of Interior will issue the new residence permit within one month after submission of the application. Upon submitting their application, UK nationals will receive a temporary certificate.

Q When can family members of UK nationals covered by the re-registration scheme apply?


Family members of UK national who are legally residing in Bulgaria at the time of Brexit can apply in the same deadlines – within the period, starting from the day after the date of withdrawal and ending on 31.12.2020.
Family members of UK nationals, who have acquired this status after the date of withdrawal, can register until 31 December 2020.
Family members of UK nationals (having this status on the date of withdrawal), who were not resident in Bulgaria before Brexit, can register under the scheme until March 2022 (completed re-registration of the UK citizen in Bulgaria is a prerequisite.)

Q What documents do I need to provide in order to re-register?


The documents, to be presented, are the same as the ones due by the EU citizens under the Bulgarian legislation, depending on the respective grounds, on which they reside in Bulgaria (employment, self-employment, education, family member, etc.)

Q Where can I re-register?


UK nationals can submit their application in person to the Migration Directorate or the respective Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior – as per permanent address.

Q What is the fee for re-registering?


The total amount of the fee/s for the re-registration will not exceed 25 BGN.

Driving

 

Q When can I apply for a substitution of my British driving licence for a Bulgarian one?

Until Brexit you can substitute your UK driving licence for a Bulgarian one anytime, if you have your habitual residence in Bulgaria. The same applies for the transition period should the Withdrawal Agreement come into force.

In case of a no-deal Brexit, UK nationals who have been legally residing in Bulgaria up to the date of withdrawal will have until the end of 2020 to make their re-registration. Up to one year from the date of re-registration UK nationals can drive motor vehicles in Bulgaria with their valid UK driving licences. Within this period UK driving licences can be substituted for Bulgarian ones, if the UK nationals have established their habitual residence in Bulgaria, i.e. they have been residing in Bulgaria for more than 185 days prior to applying for a substitution of the UK driving licence.     

Q Should I renew my British licence in order to use it in Bulgaria after Brexit?

If you live in Bulgaria and wish to substitute your British driving licence with a Bulgarian one, you should apply for a substitution with the Bulgarian authorities in accordance with the requirement for habitual residence in Bulgaria.

If you have recently renewed your diving licence in the UK  you will be able to use it during the transition period and in the case of a no deal Brexit – one year after the date of issuance of your Bulgarian residence permit (е.g. your permit under the national scheme). In this case you will have to bear in mind, that if you wish to substitute your newly issued British driving licence with a Bulgarian one, you will have to wait until you are able to satisfy the requirement for habitual residence in Bulgaria (Directive 126/2006/ЕC requires that you live in Bulgaria for a 185 days in every calendar year) or otherwise your application will be rejected.


Q What will happen to my UK driving licence if there is a Deal?

If there is a Deal your UK driving licence will be subject to the same rules as those applicable to the licences issued by the EU Member States and you will be able to drive with your UK licence until it expires, or until the end of the transition period.
You will be able to exchange your UK driving licence for a Bulgarian one if you have been registered in Bulgaria for at least 6 months and have established your “habitual residence” here.

Q:  Do I need an International Driving Permit in order to drive in Bulgaria after Brexit?

There is no such requirement. The International Driving Permit is issued in accordance with the Vienna Road Traffic Convention and is only valid until you have a valid national permit. The British nationals can use their current British driving licences in the transition period or – in the case of no deal – up to one year from the issuance of their Bulgarian residence permit. In this period they can substitute them for Bulgarian ones without having to take an exam.

Q What documents do I need to provide in order to exchange my UK driving licence and keep my existing categories?

For categories "АМ", "А1", "А2", "А", "B1", "B", "BЕ" (valid for 10 years), you will need to provide:

-          A standard application form provided by the Traffic Police office (PP). The application is filled in automatically at PP and you will only need to sign the document to confirm that the information is correct;

-          A medical certificate from a General Practitioner stating that you are fit to drive;

-          A declaration that your habitual residence is not in another EU member state and that you do not hold a valid driving licence issued by another EU Member State, which needs to be signed in person at the Traffic Police Office.

-          (in the case of a Brexit without a deal, following the  date of withdrawal) Your school diploma (if issued in Bulgaria) or a Certificate of recognition of educational attainment. This is an official written confirmation of a completed period of education or acquired professional qualification in a foreign country, which can be obtained from the Ministry of Education or Regional Education Offices, in accordance with their established procedures.

-          Your Bulgarian residence document;

-          Your current UK driving licence.

In addition to the documents listed above, to exchange your UK driving licence for categories "С1", "С", "С1Е", "СЕ", "D1", "D", "D1Е", "DЕ", you will also need to provide:

-          A medical certificate following an examination of your vision, hearing, nervous system, internal organs and any past surgeries; orthopedic-traumatic status;

-          A certificate for psychological fitness.

You will not be required to go through a theoretical or practical driving test.

Q How can I remove any categories that I don’t need anymore?


If you wish to remove any existing categories from your new Bulgarian driving licence, you should state so in writing when submitting your application. In order to retain any you should follow the advice above.

Q How do I register a trailer?

Unlike the UK, trailers in Bulgaria require a separate vehicle registration. The procedure for registering trailers in Bulgaria is the same as for any other vehicles. Trailers classed in the Category O1 are exempted from the Third-Party Liability Insurance.

Q How much will I need to pay to exchange my driving licence?

The application fees for exchanging driving licences are:
Driving licence - 25 BGN (normal service)
Issuing or replacement of control card to the driving licence – 2 BGN (normal service)
For express service the due fees are in a double amount, resp. – 50 BGN for the driving licence and 4 BGN for the control card
You can pay the fee using cash or the post terminals available at Traffic Police Offices (PP)or make a transfer from any bank. You may incur an additional charge depending on the bank collecting the fee. You will receive a receipt for any fee you pay.

Q Do I need a translator/ interpreter to exchange my licence?

The application for exchanging your driving licence should be conducted in Bulgarian only. Therefore, if you are unable to communicate in Bulgarian, you should consider bringing a Bulgarian speaker with you. If you decide to hire a professional translator/interpreter, you will be responsible for any costs related to their services.

Q How do I exchange UK registration plates for Bulgarian ones?

In order to exchange UK registration plates for Bulgarian ones you will need to provide:

-          The vehicle for ID and technical check;

-          Evidence of the EC approval of the type of vehicle valid as of the date of manufacturing;

-          Ownership documents and vehicle identification data;

-          Declaration of ownership;

-          The foreign registration documents;

-          Customs import formalities document if the vehicle is imported from a non EU member state;

-          Passport or ID card

-          A document to prove Third-Party Liability Insurance;

-          The registration plates, if any;

-          Confirmation for paid product fee.

Regional Directorates of Ministry of Interior

Other Ministry structures
  • Metropolitan Directorate of Interior
  • Traffic Police
  • Blagoevgrad
  • Burgas
  • Varna
  • Veliko Tarnovo
  • Vidin
  • Vratsa
  • Gabrovo
  • Dobrich
  • Kardzhali
  • Kyustendil
  • Lovech
  • Montana
  • Pazardzhik
  • Pernik
  • Pleven
  • Plovdiv
  • Razgrad
  • Ruse
  • Silistra
  • Sliven
  • Smolyan
  • Sofia
  • Stara Zagora
  • Targovishte
  • Haskovo
  • Shumen
  • Yambol