In view of the increasing spread of the COVID-19 and the measures introduced to limit it in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, the following legislative provisions have been adopted:
The validity of the residence documents of foreigners issued according to Items 1a, 2, 2a, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Article 59 (2) of the Bulgarian Personal Documents Act, as well as of the documents referred to in Article 59 (3) of the said Act, issued to family members of citizens of the European Union, family members of nationals of States that are parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, family members of nationals of the Swiss Confederation, who are not citizens of the European Union, nationals of a State that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation and, who, by virtue of international treaties concluded with the European Union, enjoy rights of free movement, and of the documents issued according to Article 59 (4) of the said Act to citizens of the European Union, to nationals of States that are parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, to nationals of the Swiss Confederation who, by virtue of international treaties concluded with the European Union, enjoy rights of free movement, which expires during the period from the 13th day of March 2020 until the 31st day of October 2020, shall be extended by six months. For the duration of the extension, the residence documents shall be considered valid solely within the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, and the said documents shall only attest to the right of residence. At the request of the holder, a new residence document may be issued even before the expiry of the extended six-month period.
Any foreigner holding a prolonged residence permit for the Republic of Bulgaria whereof the validity expires during a declared state of emergency may submit an application for an extension of the residence within 14 days after the lifting of the state of emergency, and the duration of the declared state of emergency shall not count as a discontinuation [of the period of residence] when the foreigner submits an application for long-term or permanent residence. Any prolonged-resident foreigner whose prolonged residence permit expires during a declared state of emergency may enter the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without a visa within 14 days after the lifting of the state of emergency."
The specific part of the text “14 days after the lifting of the state of emergency” is still subject to debate with the possibility of not having a specific deadline for entry into the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Please follow the texts that will be published in the State Gazette.
Art. 40 (1) from the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act envisages that revocation of a foreigner's right to stay in the Republic of Bulgaria shall be imposed in the event that it is established that the relevant foreigner holding a long-term or permanent residence permit has been away from the territory of the European Union Member States for a period exceeding 12 consecutive months, except in the case of declared State of emergency or in the case of where permanent residence has been permitted pursuant to Article 25, Paragraph 1, items 6, 7, 8, 13, 16 and Article 25d and in respect of members of the family of a person under Article 25, Paragraph 1, items 6, 7, 8, 13 and 16 for the time of the state of emergency the absence of the foreigner who has received a long-term or permanent residence permit from the territory of the Member States of the European Union for a period of 12 consecutive months shall not be considered as an absence.
The above provisions are aimed at enabling foreigners and EU citizens to reside in or outside the Republic of Bulgaria without creating a sense of insecurity and tension about the expiry of the issued documents certifying their right of residence.
Order RD-01-183/06.04.2020, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Bulgaria