A week after the start of the war in Ukraine, the European Council activated for the first time the Temporary Protection Directive, allowing Ukrainians entering the territory of EU member states to receive immediate assistance. Unlike international humanitarian protection status, the temporary protection is not individual to each person seeking it. It is group-based – for all Ukrainians fleeing war in their country. If an application for asylum status has already been submitted, there is no obstacle to submitting a request for temporary protection.

The temporary protection is valid until 4 March 2023.

If the reasons for granting temporary protection persist, the temporary protection will be automatically extended for 6 months’ period twice, i.e. until 4 March 2024.

The temporary protection allows all Ukrainians who enter the territory of EU countries, including Bulgaria, without lengthy procedures, to get a residence permit, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, access to education for children, etc.

How to obtain temporary protection status for Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria?          

Temporary protection spots have been opened at all border crossing points in Bulgaria. Such spots have also been opened in some police departments and are to be opened in all district police departments. 

In order to apply for Temporary Protection in Bulgaria, a Ukrainian national must have one of the following identity documents:
  • a biometric passport;
  • a travel passport without biometric data;
  • an ID card;
  • a driving licence;
  • a birth certificate for children under 14.

Expired documents are also accepted. Ukrainian refugees are admitted to enter in Bulgaria with car with Ukrainian registration, regardless of whether they have all the required documents (e.g. Green Card insurance). The relevant vaccination certificates are not required for bringing pets.

However, in order to obtain temporary protection status at the Bulgarian border, Ukrainian refugees must have an address on the territory of Bulgaria. If you have decided to provide a home or a place to live for refugees from Ukraine, it is a good idea to give them the address before they enter Bulgaria or when they arrive at the border.

Ukrainian refugees must fill in the so-called “registration card of a refugee with temporary protection”. This document has a photograph, personal data, as well as a foreign national identity number.

The registration card can also be obtained in registration points in the city where the refugee will be staying. In addition to the designated points, such card can also be picked up at district police departments.

After having a registration card, Ukrainians can also obtain a certificate of temporary residence on the territory of Bulgaria with temporary protection for a period of 1 year.

By obtaining the temporary protection certificate, Ukrainians in Bulgaria can start working, use health and social services, enrol their children in kindergarten and school, and can leave Bulgaria at any time.

Which rights are Ukrainian citizens entitled to under temporary protection registration card?

On the basis of the temporary protection certificate alone, Ukrainian refugees are granted the following rights:

  • to reside legally on the territory of Bulgaria for a period of 1 year;
  • to work in Bulgaria without the need to obtain a work permit;
  • to register as a jobseeker with the Labour Directorate at the address of residence;
  • to free professional qualification;
  • to be accommodated free of charge in designated hotels and rest premises of municipalities for a period of up to 3 months;
  • to receive social assistance. The Social Assistance Directorate may grant them monthly financial assistance, as well as a one-time cash benefit in the amount of BGN 375 to meet emergency needs, in particular to cover expenses for food, clothing, footwear, personal hygiene products and housing fees. Before that, however, an application must be submitted;
  • to free health care;
  • to travel free of charge with public and railway transport upon presentation of a Ukrainian identity document;
  • to free kindergarten and education for their children;
  • not to pay vignette and toll fees on the territory of Bulgaria for cars with Ukrainian registration plates;
  • to set up a Bulgarian company;
  • to open bank accounts in Bulgarian banks.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail: office@kgmp-legal.com 

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