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 (29.03.2019 – 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 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 of January 1st 2021), as well as in case of withdrawal without a deal, the following requirements will 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:
Legislative proposals with respect to the rights of residence after Brexit
Following a proposal from the Ministry of Interior on 13 February 2019 the Council of Ministers approved and submitted to the National Assembly draft amendments for the event of a no deal Brexit.
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 submitted by the Government 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 proposed regulation is to retain the rights of residence of these citizens such as they are at the time of Brexit.
To that end, the bill envisages 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 proposed legislation provides for reciprocal conditions to those the British side will offer 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 favourable than the one provided for in the Agreement. In line with this, the bill 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 permanent address, 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.
If the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force, the Ministry of the Interior remains ready to implement it and to propose the relevant measures in respect to citizens’ rights.
FREQUENTTLY 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, е.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.