The Withdrawal Agreement envisages a transition period (29.03.2019 – 31.12.2020) after Brexit during which the UK citizens and their family members will be able to use their passports up to their date of validity for entry and exit from the Republic of Bulgaria.
As of January 1st 2021, as well as in the event of a no deal Brexit, for a short-term stay up to 90 days in every period of 180 days, the UK nationals shall enter in Bulgaria with a valid passport without a visa. Their family members shall have a valid passport, as well as a visa, when such is required depending on their nationality.
For a stay which is longer than 90 days both UK citizens and their family members will need a valid passport and a visa for long-term residence or a valid residence permit.
UK citizens and their family members, residing in Bulgaria, shall retain the rights of residence as they are at the time of Brexit.
The UK citizens and their family members, residing legally in Bulgaria up to the date of withdrawal, will have the right to apply for the new special status. Their certificates, issued before the date of Brexit, will be recognized until the end of 2020 or their expiry date – whichever comes first.
In order to be considered as lawfully residing in Bulgaria on the date of withdrawal, the UK nationals must have registered with the Bulgarian authorities before that date.
The procedure for re-registration starts on the day, following the date of withdrawal and will last until 31 December 2020. UK citizens, which residence cards expire before 31 December 2020, should re-register before the date of expiry.
In order to obtain a new residence permit, the UK citizens shall submit an application in person to the Migration Directorate or the respective Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior as per permanent address, accompanied by the documents required under the legislation for the EU citizens for the respective type of residence. The new residence permit will be issued within a month after the submission of the application. It will be in the format of Regulation 1030/2002 (a plastic card with a photograph). It will also contain a special remark indicating that they are covered by the re-registration scheme. Upon submitting their application, UK nationals will receive a temporary residence certificate.
The new re-registration scheme is applicable to:
- UK citizens, residing legally in Bulgaria before the date of withdrawal or holding a valid residence permit;
- family members of UK citizens lawfully residing in Bulgaria before the date of withdrawal or holding a valid residence permit. They can apply for a new residence permit until 31 December 2020;
- family members, having this status on the day of withdrawal, who have not yet joined the UK citizen in Bulgaria. They may apply for a residence permit under this scheme until 29 March 2022. In this case a completed re-registration of the UK citizen in Bulgaria is a prerequisite;
- future family members, who have acquired this status by the end of 2020. They may apply for a residence permit until 31 December 2020;
- children of a re-registered UK national, who have been born in the period between the first day following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and 31 December 2022. They may apply for a residence permit under this scheme by the end of 2022.
Family members covered by the new re-registration scheme are:
- spouses and unmarried partners;
- children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren under the age of 21, who are unmarried;
- dependent children over the age of 21, who are unmarried;
- dependent parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or relatives.
The fee for re-registering is BGN 25.
After re-registering, UK citizens may leave Bulgaria for up to 2 years without losing their residence status.