In this article, we will analyze the immigration rights of the foreigners – spouses of Bulgarian citizens. We will focus on the rights of foreigners from non-EU countries, whose status is regulated in Art. 24, para. 1, item 18 of the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria (LFRB). We must warn the readers that the procedures for legalizing the stay of non-EU foreigners in Bulgaria are complicated. The amount of refusal of visas and/or residence permits is enormous. Those who wish to significantly increase their chances of a positive outcome are advised to contact Posolstvo.eu for assistance.
Obtaining visa D and a long-term residence permit as per Art. 24, para. 1, item 18 of the LFRB
The most important and basic right of a foreigner who has married a Bulgarian citizen is the right to reside legally in Bulgaria. Let’s see what the Law says:
A long-term residence permit can be obtained by foreigners who hold visa D and are members of the family of a Bulgarian citizen and whose documents originating from abroad certify family ties and the right to alimony, are recognized and registered or allowed to be executed in accordance with Bulgarian legislation.Art. 24, para. 1, item 18 of LFRB
According to Art. 2, para. 6, item 1 of LFRB, the spouse (foreign citizen) is considered a family member of the Bulgarian citizen. An important condition is that the spouses should live in the same household.
Procedure for obtaining of visa D for the spouse of a Bulgarian citizen
To apply for a visa D, the foreigner must contact the Bulgarian embassy or consulate in his country of permanent residence. It is possible to apply from another country, but only in exceptional circumstances and after express permission from the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is not possible to apply for a D visa from the territory of Bulgaria.
When applying for a visa D under Art. 24, para. 1, item 18 of the LFRB, the following documents must be submitted:
- Documents and copies of them (marriage certificate) substantiating the request for a long-term residence visa and for the available financial means and housing in Bulgaria;
- Passport with a validity period of at least three months after the planned date of departure from Bulgaria;
- Photocopy of the pages of the passport with the personal data and issued visas;
- A photograph, current at the time of the visa application;
- Medical insurance with coverage of at least 30,000 euros for travel abroad, covering the period of the planned stay;
- Paid fee.
Procedure for obtaining a long-term residence permit for the spouse of a Bulgarian citizen
After the foreigner has received visa D, he should visit Bulgaria during its validity period and apply for a long-term residence permit. For this purpose, he must submit the following documents:
- Marriage certificate, except when the information is reflected in the Bulgarian National Database “Population”;
- Application form;
- Passport copy with the photo pages, personal data, visa D and the stamp for the last entry into Bulgaria;
- Evidence of available housing in Bulgaria;
- Compulsory medical insurance;
- Evidence of stable, regular, predictable and sufficient income, in an amount not less than the minimum monthly wage in Bulgaria;
- Certificate of criminal record from the country of which the foreigner is a citizen or from the country of his habitual residence.
The application for long-term residence is submitted no later than 14 days before the expiration of the long-term residence visa (visa D). The application is decided within 14 days by the administrative authorities.
Right to work for a foreigner – spouse of a Bulgarian citizen within the meaning of Art. 24, para. 1, item 18 of the LFRB
Another advantage for the spouses of Bulgarian citizens, after the legalization of their stay by obtaining a right of long-term residence, is their right to work in Bulgaria. It is also important to note that these foreigners have the right to work in Bulgaria for any employer, and not for a specific one, which is the limited right that foreigners with a work permit have.
A permit for access to the labor market is not required for workers – citizens of third countries who are family members of Bulgarian citizens.Art. 9, para. 1, item 5 of the Labor Migration and Labor Mobility Act
For further assistance
If you require assistance in the process of applying for a visa D and a long-term residence permit under Article 24 para 1 p 18 of the Law on Foreign Affairs, we advise you to contact us or to liaise with the lawyers of Posolstvo.eu.