Family Reunification in Bulgaria

How to bring family members to Bulgaria

For the past 20 years, family reunification has been one of the main reasons for immigration into the EU. It is an entry channel enabling those who already reside legally in a Member State (referred to as sponsors) to be joined by their family members. Family reunification helps to create socio-cultural stability, facilitating the integration of third-country nationals residing in EU Member States, thus promoting economic and social cohesion – a fundamental EU objective.

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Family reunification in Bulgaria

Family members of UK citizens

Family members of UK citizens can apply for family reunification and obtain 12 months or 5 years residency cards based on when their sponsor obtained Bulgarian residency.  Family members will receive 5 years residency cards if the sponsor obtained Bulgarian residency by 31.12.2021.

After 31.12.2021 British citizens are considered non-EU citizens and the rules for non-EU citizens apply. Thus British citizens who obtained Bulgarain residency after the Brexit transitional period got only 12 months residency cards as non-EU citizens. Their family members will not be considered EU family members but famil members of non-EU citizens and receive only 12 months residency cards. 

To ease the family reunification procedures in the UK (after completing the family reunification in Bulgaria), UK citizens may consider building substance in Bulgaria by one of the below ways:

  • Setting up a limited company in Bulgaria
  • Getting registered as a freelancer in Bulgaria
  • Exchanging an EU/ UK driving license for a Bulgarian one
  • Registering with a local General Practicioner

Family Members of EU Citizens

EU and UK citizens who would like to bring family members to Bulgaria benefit from the relaxed EU family reunification procedure:

  • Family members of EU and UK citizens are not required to apply for a Family D visa in order to obtain Bulgarian residence. Your family members can enter Bulgaria on a short-stay Bulgarian C visa or any Schengen visa, and apply for Bulgarian residence straight away.
  • Bulgaria recognizes the cohabiting status of partnership. You are not required to be married to apply for family reunification in Bulgaria. 
  • No need to present a valid CBR check for your family members.

Denied entry in Schengen or EU member state

Family members of EU citizens who hold a valid residency card issued by a EU member state, such as Bulgaria, should be able to travel freely to other Schengen member states. This is allowed under the EU’s freedom of movement provisions and mainly in Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of April 29, 2004, on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.

If you have been denied entry in another Schengen or EU member state while your spouse possesses a valid Bulgarian “Family member under Directive 2004/38/EC” card, or if you’ve been denied entry into Bulgaria while holding a valid Family member card issued by another EU or Schengen member state, our team is ready to provide support for legal action.

Who can apply for family reunification in Bulgaria?

EU and UK citizens who hold a valid Bulgarian residence can apply for family reunification for their non-EU family members.

Who is a family member?

  • Spouses;
  • Children who are not over 21 years’ old;
  • Parents;
  • Parents-in-law.

Extended family members cannot apply for family reunfiication in Bulgaria.

What documents need to be provided?

  • marriage certificate (for reunifying spouse)
  • birth certificate of children (for reunifying children)
  • birth certificate of the main applicant (for reunifying parents)
  • birth certificate of the spouse (for reunifying parents-in-law)  

The documents should be legalized according to the requirements in the country of issuance of the certificate. For assistance to legalize the certificates, please do no hesitate to contact us

How long does the family reunification take in Bulgaria

The family reunificaiton in Bulgaria takes 3-5 working days. The family member applies with the local Migration Office based on the address of the main applicant. The applicaiton is considered within few days and the family member can visit the Migration Office again to be photographed. The residence card will be issued on the next day.

Family Members of non-EU Citizens who reside in Bulgaria

Non-EU citizens who would like to bring a non-EU family member to Bulgaria have to apply under the general reunification procedure. This procedure requires the main applicant who resides in Bulgaria to submit a reunification application to the local Migration Office. The Migration Office approves the reunification application within 1 month. Thereafter, the spouse can apply for a Family D visa in the nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.

What documents need to be provided?

  • marriage certificate and CBR check (for reunifying spouse)
  • birth certificate of children (for reunifying children)
  • birth certificate of the main applicant (for reunifying parents)
  • birth certificate of the spouse (for reunifying parents-in-law)  

The documents should be legalized according to the requirements in the country of issuance of the certificates.

Family reunification of cohabitation couples in Bulgaria (unmarried couples)

De facto couples or cohabitation couples, or simply unmarried couples are allowed to apply for family reunification in Bulgaria. According to the Bulgarian legislation a de facto couple (unmarried couple) is present when persons live in one household and cohabit on a marital basis.

To apply for family reunification the de facto partner has to enter Bulgaria legally on a valid C visa or any Schengen visa, or residency card issued by another EU member state. The difficult part is proving the cohabitation.

Family members of Bulgarian citizens

To apply for a residency card in Bulgaria, family members of Bulgarian citizens must first apply for a D visa. In cases where the family did not get married in Bulgaria, the family must register their marriage in Bulgaria before proceeding with the visa application process. Our team is well-equipped to assist with the marriage registration process in Bulgaria, as well as prepare the necessary documents for both the Family D visa application and residency application.

For more details about family reunification in Bulgaria, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Cohabitation couples in Bulgaria

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