Right to family reunification
Individuals with a refugee or humanitarian status have the right to family reunification pursuant to Art. 34 Para. 1 of the Law on Asylum and Refugees:
“A foreigner granted international protection has the right to ask for family reunification on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.”
Family reunification procedure
Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status who wish to reunite with their family members shall submit documents to the State Agency for Refugees proving marriage or kinship. According to the Law on Asylum and Refugees, only the individuals listed in § 1 (3) of the Additional Provisions of the Law on Asylum and Refugees are considered members of the family:
- A husband or wife, or a person with whom he / she is in a stable and lasting relationship
- Minors and unmarried children
- Parents of each of the spouses who due to their old age or severe illness are not able to take care of themselves and have to live in the same household with their children
In the absence of documents certifying marriage or kinship of beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status, marriage or kinship shall be certified by a declaration or other documents pursuant to Art. 34 (5) of the Law on Asylum and Refugees: “When a foreigner cannot produce official documents proving marriage or kinship, they shall be established by a declaration signed by them or otherwise.”
If necessary, a conversation (interview) might be conducted to specify the details. After examining the application, the State Agency for Refugees has the right to allow or refuse family reunification.
Family reunification in the case of unaccompanied minors
Unaccompanied minors shall have the right of reunification with their parents or another adult family member or person responsible for them pursuant to Art. 34 (4) of the Law on Asylum and Refugees: “The Chairperson of the State Agency for Refugees shall permit the reunification of unaccompanied minors or minor foreigners who are beneficiaries of international protection with their parents or with another adult family member or with a person responsible for them by the rule of law or custom when their parents have died or are missing”.
Lodge an appeal
In case the status holder is refused family reunification, he/she has the right to lodge an appeal before the court and request that the court overturns the refusal and orders the State Agency for Refugees to issue permission for reunification.
The appeal must be lodged before the local Administrative court within 14 days from the day on which the status holder received the refusal decision and certified the receipt by signing.
The appeal is heard at two levels: if the decision of the Administrative court at the first level is negative, a second, last appeal can be lodged before the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria. The Supreme Administrative Court’s decision is final.
After receiving a decision on family reunification in Bulgaria
A copy of the decision is sent by the beneficiary of international protection to the family members who will travel to Bulgaria. It is necessary that they have a regular international passport.
Family members must appear at a Bulgarian consular service for the issuing of a type D visa for long-term residence. If there is no such service in the country of origin, they will have to specify through the MFA in which close country it is operating (Syrian citizens should submit visa documents at the Embassy of Bulgaria in Beirut, Lebanon).
The following documents are needed for issuing a visa type D:
- Copy of the decision on family reunification
- Application for a visa
- Regular travel document
- A current color photo
- Medical insurance
- A paid fee receipt (about 150 dollars)
Issuing the visa takes approximately 40 days.
The purchase of Travel tickets is at the expense of the persons themselves.