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Information updated on 09/01/2023

Regulation of the procedure for prolonged residence on exceptional grounds

The Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria (LHRB) provides for the possibility of obtaining a one-time independent permit for continuous residence for exceptional reasons within the meaning of art. 24 (7) of the LFRB, in conjunction with § 1, item 7 of the LFRB (in short - continuous residence for extraordinary reasons). In contrast to the general procedure for obtaining a continuous residence permit, the procedure for obtaining continuous residence for exceptional reasons  does not oblige you to leave the territory of Bulgaria to obtain a type D visa.

In addition to this main difference, there are three other additional differences between the two procedures, and namely that in the procedure for obtaining continuous residence on exceptional grounds:

1. The persons who can benefit from it are: 

  • family members of foreigners with  a continuous, long-term or permanent resident permit in Bulgaria;

  • family members of a Bulgarian citizen

Family members include spouses and children, including adopted children, who have not reached the age of 18 and are not married

2. In order to apply you have the obligation to attach documents concerning the existence of exceptional circumstances -  natural and environmental disasters, accidents, catastrophes, robberies, and circumstances leading to the application of emergency medical assistance, as well as other events that that are not your fault and which you could not have foreseen or prevented, for example the COVID – 19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, civil wars, etc.

The exceptional circumstance should be the reason why you cannot go back to your country and apply for a D-visa.

3. This continuous residence permit cannot be renewed and is valid for one year.

Required documents

  • sample application;

  • a copy of a Ukrainian passport valid on the date of application;

  • proof that the Ukrainian citizen falls within the scope of the procedure (e.g. certificate of civil marriage with a Bulgarian citizen);

  • proof of payment of the state fee of BGN 10;

  • proof of provided accommodation (the Ukrainian citizen does not need to own the accommodation or provide proof of a rental contract, it would be sufficient for someone to declare that they will provide the applicant with an accommodation for the period of their stay - e.g. their spouse);

  • compulsory medical insurance on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for the duration of the stay - maximum one year;

  • evidence of sufficient means of subsistence (not less than the minimum monthly wage, the minimum stipend or the minimum pension for the country, for the duration of the stay in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria);

  • criminal record certificate (only in the case that the applicant was born on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria can obtain from the country, otherwise, should obtain such from the Ukrainian authorities);

  • documents concerning the existence of exceptional circumstances.

You can submit your documents in the territorial unit of the Bulgarian Migration Directorate, in accordance with where you plan to live with your family.

After you submit the necessary documents, your application should be examined and a decision should be issued within 14 days. In case of legal and factual complexity or the need to submit additional documents, this period may be extended by one month

Any refusal could be appealed before the respective administrative court. To do that, seek assistance from a lawyer who is a specialist in this area..

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You can read more about the possibilities for Ukrainian citizens to reside in Bulgaria under the Law on Foreigners here:

Residence of Ukrainian citizens under the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria

Benefits of the procedure - possibility to legalize the stay of Ukrainian citizens

In general, this procedure can be used to legalize the stay of irregularly staying Ukrainian citizens  (e.g., family members of Bulgarian citizens - Ukrainian citizens with expired visa-free stay). It is undisputed that any Ukrainian citizen can apply for protection under the Law on Asylum and Refugees due to the war in Ukraine. Currently, however, the access of refugees from Ukraine to international protection is blocked by the Order of the Chairperson of the State Agency for Refugees. Temporary protection is granted until March 2024.