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Last updated 14/11/2022

Receiving a negative decision

If the State Agency for Refugees (SAR) rejects your asylum application, they will mail you a letter to the address which you have provided, or they will contact you by phone to invite you to pick up a copy of your negative decision. It is important to get this copy. You need it to appeal your decision.

The decision will explain the reasons why your application was rejected. Since the decision is in Bulgarian, you have a right to an interpreter at the time you receive the document.

The interpreter will help you understand why your application was rejected. Often, the reason is that SAR did not find your application credible. Try to remain calm while you learn the reasons for your rejection.

Before you leave, you and your interpreter will have to sign the rejection document. Make sure the date on the document is correct, and don't forget to take a copy.

Right to appeal

You are entitled to appeal your rejection before the administrative court. You will have either 7 or 14 days to appeal. Your deadline to appeal will appear on the last page of your rejection document.

If you miss that deadline, there is nothing that you can do about it – your rejection becomes final.

If you submit an appeal on time, you keep all your rights as an asylum-seeker until the court reaches a final decision on your appeal. This includes the right to remain in Bulgaria, the right to accommodation, and the right to renew your registration card.

Getting a lawyer

Your first step to appealing is to seek legal help.

Legal Services

Your lawyer will further explain the reasons for your rejection. Together you should address these reasons in the appeal. Make sure that you understand what is written in the appeal before you submit it and take an active role in preparing it.

You should write your address on the appeal. The court will use this address to communicate with you, so make sure it is correct.

Submitting an appeal

You and your lawyer should submit your appeal through SAR.

You should bring 3 original copies of the appeal: One copy is for the court, another copy is for SAR, and the third copy is for you.

On your copy, SAR should put a stamp with the date that you submitted the appeal. Make sure that the date is correct and keep this copy, as this is your only proof that you appealed on time.

SAR should send the appeal to the Regional Administrative Court within 3 days of receiving it. If there is a delay, you should present your stamped copy of the appeal to the court and ask it to require SAR to send your file.

A special official from the court will come to give you a notice with the date of your court hearing.

Regional Administrative Court judgement

You are entitled to a language interpreter during the court hearing. Language interpretation is free of charge for you.

After the hearing, it usually takes about a month for the court to issue a judgment. The court judgment will either repeal or confirm SAR's decision.

You can appeal the judgment before the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC).

Important! If SAR have reviewed your asylum application under the accelerated procedure, then the Administrative Court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed before SAC. An accelerated procedure is one under which your asylum claim has been rejected within 14 business days because it has been considered as manifestly unfounded (e.g., if the state of Bulgaria considers that the country you arrive from is safe or that at the time of your interview you have presented contradictory facts).  

Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) judgement

If you or SAR appeal the Regional Administrative Court's decision to the Supreme Administrative Court, you will receive another notification for a court hearing. The Supreme Administrative Court usually issues its judgment within 1 month from the court hearing. This period is not mandatory for the Court and the delivery of the judgment may take longer.

The judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court is final.

If the court’s decision is in SAR’s favor, you will no longer have the rights of an asylum-seeker. For example, your registration card will no longer be renewed. You will also be treated as an illegally residing migrant in Bulgaria. This means that the authorities may issue an order for your forced return, and there may be a real risk that you will be detained for the purpose of repatriation.

If the decision is in your favor, SAR will issue a new decision on your case. Usually, SAR invites you to another interview before making a new decision.

If you receive a refusal, you can submit an application for voluntary return to your country of origin through the International Organization for Migration (IOM)'s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program.

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

Filing a new application

After a final decision on your first asylum application, you have the right to submit a new application for protection, but only if you can include new circumstances regarding your personal situation, or the situation in your country of origin, that weren't presented in your first application. Prepare this application with a lawyer.

SAR must issue a decision within 14 business days, based only on your written evidence of circumstances.

If more than 14 business days pass for a decision, that means that SAR agrees to review your application. You should expect to receive a new registration card within 3 business days.

While you wait for a new decision, you will not have every right of an asylum-seekers, you will not have the right to accommodation, food, and social assistance — unless you are a member of a vulnerable group.

Vulnerable groups

Your last chance

You have a right to appeal SAR's decision which rejects the review of your new application. You and your lawyer have 7 days to do so.

In this case, the Court’s decision is final, and you cannot appeal. Upon appealing SAR’s decision, the court will also administratively decide (ex officio) whether you have the right to remain on the territory of the country until a final decision on your asylum application is ruled. If the court does not do that you can request it by yourself or through your lawyer.

This is important because you may have been issued a forced return order after your first application was rejected. If the Court decides that you can remain in the country, then you will not face the risk of repatriation before a decision is made on your new asylum application.

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