Following the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union (“EU”) every national of an EU Member State (i.e. every EU citizen) can without explicit permit enter and exit Bulgaria with only a valid personal identity card or passport.
Further, EU citizens are entitled to reside in Bulgaria for a period of up to three months without any additional conditions other than to hold the identification documents mentioned above.
If a EU citizen residing in Bulgaria wishes to stay in the country for a period exceeding three months, they need to obtain the so called “continued residence” status which is granted by the “Migration” Directorate at the Ministry of Interior. The continued residence is a sort of EU citizens’ permit that entitles the person to reside in Bulgaria up to five years and is attested by a certificate issued to the citizen of EU by the competent authorities. The application for the continued residence must be filed no later than three months after the date of the individual’s arrival in Bulgaria and must be accompanied by evidence that the person seeking to obtain the residence status meets one of the following requirements:
- s/he is an employee or a self-employed person in Bulgaria,
- s/he has sufficient funds which would allow them not to recourse to the Bulgarian social benefits system and has a comprehensive sickness insurance cover, or
- s/he is a student in Bulgaria.
In case the EU citizen has already legally resided in Bulgaria for at least five years and has not been absent from the country more than a total of 6 months in any 12–month period, the individual is entitled to obtain a “permanent residence” status in Bulgaria which is granted for an undefined period of time.
The application for the issue of a permanent residence certificate could be filed by the EU citizen at least three days before the expiration of their continued residence certificate.