INFORMATION ABOUT BREXIT
This section is aimed at providing information to UK citizens and their family members who are residing in Bulgaria or will arrive in Bulgaria during the transition period, provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement on the terms and conditions for entry and residence in the Republic of Bulgaria after Brexit.
In view of the state of emergency introduced in the country, legislative amendments were adopted, whereby the validity of the documents for long-term and permanent residence of EU citizens, including citizens of the United Kingdom, which expire in the period 13 March – 31 October 2020, is extended for 6 months. For the period of extension, the documents are considered valid on the territory of Bulgaria and certify the right of residence.
At the request of the person, a new residence document may be issued before the expiry of the extended 6-month period.
Traveling to Bulgaria
The Withdrawal Agreement envisages a transition period (up to 31.12.2020) 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 they 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, 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. 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.
- Тhe 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, official/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 at the following link:
In accordance with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement the categories of UK citizens and their family members, described therein, will maintain their rights of residence under the legislation, applicable to the EU citizens. Those categories encompass:
- UK citizens and their family members who are legally residing in Bulgaria at the time of Brexit or hold a valid Bulgarian residence documents
They will retain their residence rights. They can use their residence documents for a period of up to one year after the end of the transition period or the expiry date of their residence documents – whichever comes first. Within this period they should submit an application for:
- renewal of their documents or
- issuance of a new document.
In case of a renewal the only required documents will be: an application form, an identity document and the document they possess. It should be kept in mind that in these cases the new document will have a validity until the expiry of the period of validity of the previous document.
In case of an issuance of a new document all documents required by law must be presented, as described in the sub-section Terms and Conditions for issuance of residence documents.
It should be noted that in all cases, where the validity of the residence document expires during the transition period or within a year after that, the UK citizens and/or their family members have to submit an application for the issuance of a new document and (in the cases of long-term residence) provide all necessary accompanying documents according to the respective residence grounds (employment/self-employment, sufficient financial resources and health insurance, education, family members).
- UK citizens and their family members who have arrived in Bulgaria during the transition period or who have acquired the capacity of a family member during the transition period (up to 31 December 2020);
They have to submit an application for a residence document within 3 months after they have entered the country, but no later than 31 December 2020.
- Family members of UK citizens, who have acquired the capacity of a family member after the transition period
They have to submit an application for a residence document within 3 months after they have entered the country.
The applications of the UK citizens and their family members have to be submitted in person to the Migration Directorate or the relevant Migration Office at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior as per their address of residence.
The fee for issuance of the document will be BGN 18 (approx. € 9) and for handling the request - BGN 7 (approx. € 3.50).
In all cases under this section the residence permits, issued to UK nationals and their family members, will be in the format prescribed by Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/ 2002 of 13 June 2002 (plastic card) and will contain a reference in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement and the acts on its implementation (“Art. 50 TEU”).
The Law on Entry, Residence and Exit of the Republic of Bulgaria of EU Citizens and Members of the Their Families shall be applied to all of the above categories of persons in line with its requirements.
The residence of UK nationals and their family members who have arrived in Bulgaria after the expiry of the transition period and who do no fall in any of the categories described in this section, will be regulated by the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria.
Terms and conditions for issuance of residence documents
LONG - TERM RESIDENCE
If you have arrived in Bulgaria and you would like to reside in the country for a period longer than 3 months, within 3 months from your entry in Bulgaria you should submit to the Migration Directorate or to the relevant Migration Office at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior – as per your address of residence - the following documents:
- A completed application form;
- A valid national ID document (passport) + copy of this document;
- Proof of address of residence (document proving the ownership or use of property; or declaration signed by the landlord 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 or 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:
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, patent for business activity, etc.)
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 enrollment in educational course/s – statement from the educational establishment that you are currently enrolled in;
- Copy of a medical insurance policy with full coverage for Bulgaria for the requested period of stay (unless the university provides a health insurance);
- Proof of sufficient financial resources (a copy of a credit or debit bank card, etc.)
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.).
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);
- Аpplication fee payment receipt.
If you already hold a valid long-term (up to 5 years) residence permit, issued by the competent Bulgarian authorities and you would like to continue to reside in Bulgaria beyond this period, before the expiry of one year after the transition period or the expiry of the validity of your residence permit – whichever comes first - you have to submit to the Migration Directorate or to the relevant Migration Office at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior – as per your address of residence – the same documents, as specified above.
If you have resided legally (on the basis of a long-term residence permit) and continuously in Bulgaria in the last five years, you and your family members are entitled to apply for a permanent residence permit.
To that end, up to three days prior to the expiry of your current long-term residence permit or before the end of 2021, whichever comes first, you have to submit an application for issuance of a permanent residence document.
The same rules are applied if you have a permanent residence permit.
Within the specified deadlines you have to come in person in the Migration Directorate or the relevant Migration Office at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior as per your address of residence and 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, such as a notary deed of ownership or a rental contract or 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 ormunicipality-owned housing);
- Application fee payment receipt.
- A completed application form;
- Valid national ID document (ID card or passport) + 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)
- Application fee payment receipt.
!! When you receive your residence permit the previous residence document (if there is such) should be handed in to the migration officer.
For additional questions, please contact the nearest office nearest Migration Office or use the following email address: [email protected]
for long-term residence or permanent residence in the Republic оf Bulgaria for nationals of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
and their family members
During the transition period the driving licences issued by the UK, will be treated as driving licences issued by an EU Member State and the persons holding such licence will be able to use it until its expiry date or until the end of the transition period, whichever comes first.
During the transition period you can replace your driving licence, issued by the UK, with a Bulgarian driving licence if you have a habitual residence in Bulgaria, e.g. you have resided in Bulgaria more than 185 days prior to submitting the application for replacement of your driving licence, issued by the UK.
After the end of the transition period 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 replaced 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.
Driving licence - 25 BGN (approx. 13 €) for normal service,
Issuing or replacement of control card to the driving licence – 2 BGN (approx. 1 € ) for normal service
For express service the due fees are in a double amount.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q What will happen to my residence status after Brexit?
If you are a citizen of the UK or a family member of a citizen of the UK, who at the date of Brexit have a valid residence permit, issued by the Republic of Bulgaria, you will retain your residence rights in Bulgaria and you can use your permit up to 1 year after the end of the transition period or up to the expiry of the validity of the document – whichever comes first.
Should you wish to continue your residence in Bulgaria, you need to submit an application for the renewal of your residence permit or for the issuance of a new residence permit before the end of the periods indicated above. Your application will be dealt with in accordance with the terms and conditions applicable for the EU citizens.
If you submit your application for obtaining a residence permit in Bulgaria for the first time during the transition period, your application will be dealt with in accordance with the terms and conditions applicable for the EU citizens.
Q What documents do I need to provide?
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 What is the definition of a family member?
Family members are:
- 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 Where can I submit my application?
UK nationals should submit their application in person to the Migration Directorate or the relevant Migration Office at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior – as per address of residence.
Q What is the fee?
The total amount of the fee/s will not exceed 25 BGN (approx. € 12.50).
Q When can I apply for a replacement of my British driving licence for a Bulgarian one?
During the transition period (up to 31.12.2020) you can replace your UK driving licence for a Bulgarian one anytime, if you have your habitual residence in Bulgaria, i.e. you have been residing in Bulgaria for more than 185 days prior to applying for a replacement 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 replace your British driving licence with a Bulgarian one, you should apply for a replacement 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. In this case you will have to bear in mind, that if you wish to replace 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: 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 . In this period they can replace 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.
- (After expiry of the transition period on 31.12.2020) 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 much will I need to pay to exchange my driving licence?
The application fees for exchanging driving licences are:
Driving licence - 25 BGN (approx. 13 €) for normal service.
Issuing or replacement of control card to the driving licence – 2 BGN (approx. 1 € ) for normal service.
For express service the due fees are in a double amount, resp. – 50 BGN (approx. 25 €) for the driving licence and 4 BGN (approx. 2 €) for the control card.
You can pay the fee using cash or the post terminals available at Traffic Police Offices 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. 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.