PERSONAL DOCUMENTS WITH EXTENED VALIDITY AND REGULATIONS FOR FOREIGNERS

27 Mar 2020

§ 10 and § 11 of the Transitional and Final Provisions of the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency (announced by the decision of the National Assembly of March 13, 2020) Act, introduces rules for the personal documents of Bulgarian and foreign citizens, as well as regulates the residence of foreigners with prolonged- stay in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Law Firm Tzvetkova & Partners answers the most frequently asked questions on the subject of the extended validity of personal documents.

 

      SCOPE OF THE REGULATION?

      According to the аct, the introduced rules for personal documents apply to:

  • all Bulgarian citizens
  • permanent and long-term residents, third-country nationals
  • EU citizens and their family members residing on the territory of Bulgaria.
  • EU citizens, nationals of EEA States (Agreement on the European Economic Area), Swiss nationals who have the right to move freely under international treaties with the EU
  • members of the families of EU citizens, nationals of EEA States according to the Agreement, which members are non-EU, Swiss Confederation, or EEA Statees citizens.

  

       WHICH PERSONAL/RESIDENCE DOCUMENTS ARE COVERED BY THE RULES?

The personal documents explicitly mentioned in the act, respectively the residence documents to which the rules will apply, are precisely those whose expiry date is from 13th of March 2020 to 31st of October 2020.

The types of documents are, as follows:

- ID cards of Bulgarian citizens

- Driving licenses of Bulgarian citizensДокументи the issued residence documents of the foreign nationals listed above

- The residence documents issued  for the above mentioned foreign nationals

 

       WHAT WILL BE THE VALIDITY OF THE DOCUMENTS?

 The term of validity of identity cards, driving licenses and the  residence documents issued for foreign nationals covered by the provision, which expires from 13 March 2020 to 31 October 2020, shall be extended by 6 months from the expiry of the period.

 

      WHAT WILL BE THE TERRITORIAL COVERAGE OF THE DOCUMENTS?

Reviewing the provisions, the following conclusions can be drawn:

- Identity cards and driving licenses of Bulgarian citizens who are located on the territory of Bulgaria will be valid only on the territory of the country;

- holders of ID cards and driving licenses, who are Bulgarian citizens but are located outside the territory of Bulgaria, should comply with the rules on issuance of personal documents adopted by the state of their habitual residence;

- the residence documents of foreigners covered by the provisions are considered valid residence documents only in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria and certify only the holder’s right of residence.

 

      IS THERE AN OPTION TO APPLY FOR A NEW DOCUMENT BEFORE THE EXPIRY DATE?

All documents with extended validity may be renewed even before the expiration of the extended 6-month period upon request of their holders.

For Bulgarian citizens abroad, they shall contact the competent CONSULAR DEPARTMENTS at the Embassies, Consulates-General, Consulates and Honorary Consulates of the Republic of Bulgaria in the different countries.

Foreign nationals, currently residing on the territory of Bulgaria may request the issuance of a new residence document by submitting the necessary documents before Migration Directorate - the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Interior and the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of Interior

 

      WHAT IS THE REGULATION REGARDING THE THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS HAVING SHORT-TERM AND PROLONGED RESIDENCE PERMITS?

IMPORTANT! The Act does not regulate the status of SHORT-TERM RESIDENTS during a state of emergency in Bulgaria. Therefore:

 Holders of a short-stay visa with a period of residence of up to three months, including tourists, must leave the country. In cases of reasonable causes, then before the expiry of the period allowed, they have the opportunity to request a one-time extension of the term of residence before the authorities for administrative control of foreigners, proving the existence of humanitarian causes, in exceptional circumstances or in circumstances of state interest. The rules also apply to persons who entered the country under the visa-free travel regime.

 They should submit an application form and attach documents in accordance with the implementing rules to the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act before the Migration Directorate or to the Migration Directorate / Departments / Sectors / Groups at the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of the Interior.

 With regard to RESIDENTS WITH PROLONGED-STAY PERMIT, § 11 of the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Act, states declares the amendments to the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act, which will have a beneficial effect on all foreign nationals who have obtained prolonged-stay residence permit in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Thus, all prolonged-term residents whose term of residence expires in the declared state of emergency can apply for an extension of the residence within 14 days after the state of emergency is completely lifted.

 In addition, if a prolonged-term resident of a foreign country to whom the permitted residence expires within the term of a state of emergency, is not located in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, then this foreign national may enter the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without a visa within 14 days after the state of emergency is lifted.

An important addition to the above, is that the duration of the declared emergency will not affect the calculation of the total duration of residence if the foreigner applies for a long or permanent residence. Thus, this term shall not be considered as interruption and it may not constitute absence within the meaning of Art. 40, para. 1, item 6 of the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act, which specifies the grounds for revocation of the right of residence.

 

*The information provided doesn not, and it is not intended to, constitute legal advice, but expresses the view of the author on the matter. Legal advices for a case could be provided only after its complete examination.

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