HOW TO: Receive a residency permit in Bulgaria as a high-skilled worker or an EU citizen(Part 2)
In the first part of our analysis we looked briefly into the residency requirements for people who are not citizens of the the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. In this second part we will take a look at the residency requirements for a residency permit issued in another EU country, the requirements for highly skilled workers, as well as citizens of other EU countries, EEA countries or Switzerland (we will refer to this last category as EU citizens for short).

I. Foreigners who have received a continuous residency permit in another EU state
A particular legal regime is envisaged for foreigners who have received a permit for continuous residency in another EU state. Such a foreigner can receive a continuous residency permit in Bulgaria:
1) If he or she is a worker or self-employed in Bulgaria;
2) For educational purposes, including professional education, in an educational establishment;
3) For a different purpose (Art. 33a, par. 1 of the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria (LFRB)).
The documents which such a foreigner has to present are listed in par. 2. In the case of an approval, the residency permit is issued for a period of 1 year (Art. 33c, par. 1 of the LFRB).

II. High-skilled workers
This regime is only applicable to workers who are not citizens of an EU member-state, since the latter have a free access to the labour market of all EU countries irrespective of the level of qualification.
EU Blue Card recipients are highly skilled workers from third countries who enjoy a more beneficial regime when entering and residing in the EU. They are issued a so-called Permit for residency and work type “Blue Card of the EU” for which they must meet the requirements of the Law on Labour Migration and Labour Mobility (LLMLM) and have an issued visa for long-term residency on the country. This is the visa under Art. 15, par. 1 of the LFRB. The permit is granted after a decision by the authorities of the Ministry of labour and social policy for a period of up to 4 years. If the term of the worker’s contract is shorter, the permit is issued for that period plus 3 months and can be extended upon the occurrence of new circumstances which allow for its renewal.
What requirements does a foreigner have to meet for an EU Blue Card? First, there must be a decision by the director of the Agency on Employment under Art. 3, par. 3 of the LLMLM. Since the decision is given for the period of labour contract which must be no shorter than 12 months, we should assume that said contract must at this point be concluded. The foreigner must possess the specialised knowledge, skills and professional experience necessary for the respective job. His or her working conditions or pay must not be disadvantageous compared to those of Bulgarian citizens for the same category of work.

The worker has to cumulative meet the following requirements:
1) He or she must have the competency necessary for the respective job – a finished higher education which is proved by a diploma, a certificate or other document which has been issued by a competent authority, after completing a training with a duration no shorter than 3 years. The training must be conducted by an education establishment which has been accredited as an institution of higher learning in the respective country;
2) The gross salary negotiated in the worker’s contract must be at least 1.5 times higher than the medium salary in Bulgaria for the past 12 months.

III. EU citizens
An EU citizen is any person who is a citizens of an EU member-state. These persons can enter and leave Bulgarian territory with a valid ID card or passport. With these documents they can reside in Bulgaria for up to 3 months.
The legal regimes available for this category of persons are either a continuous residency, available for a 5-year period, or a permanent residency. A certificate is issued by the “Migration” Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, the Capital Directorate on Internal Matters (CDIM), the District Directorates of the Ministry of Interior or the authorities that have been empowered by them.

1. Continuous residency
The continuous residency certificate is issued to an EU citizen who meets one of these requirements:
1) He or she is a worker or self-employed in Bulgaria;
2) He or she has a medical insurance and the sufficient means of subsistence in order to not become a burden on the social security system;
3) He or she is enrolled in an educational establishment, including for professional training, and meets the requirements under p. 2).
Some cases which are deemed equivalent to the abovementioned can be found in Art. 8, par. 3 of the Law on entry into, residence in and departure from the Republic of Bulgaria for European Union nationals and members of their families (LERDRBEUNMTF).

2. Permanent residency
An EU citizen may receive a certificate for permanent residency status in Bulgaria if he or she has resided in the country uninterruptedly during a period of 5 years, or if he or she meets one of the following requirements:
1) He or she has worked during the last year at the time of termination of his or her labour contract or the termination of his or her activities as a self-employed person, he or she has reached retirement age, or there he or she can rely on a basis for early retirement, or he or she has resided uninterruptedly in Bulgaria for more than 3 years;
2) He or she is a worker or a self-employed person who is not working because of a permanently reduced work capacity due to an accident at work or a professional disease;
3) He or she is a worker or a self-employed person and a disability which affects his or her ability to work and is a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease;
4) He or she is a worker or a self-employed person who for the last 3 years has resided uninterruptedly and worked in Bulgaria, and works or is self-employed in another member state, but also keeps his place of residency in Bulgaria and returns to its territory at least once a week.
The certificate does not have a term limit.
There are certain deviations from this regime which can be found in Art. 16, par. 2 and 3 of the LERDRBEUNMTF.
The application for a certificate for permanent residency can be submitted at the Directorate on Migration at the Ministry of Interior, at the CDIM or at the District Directorates of the Ministry of Interior up to 3 days before the end of the term for the continuous residency permit. The certificate is rescinded if the person is not present on the territory of Bulgaria for a period of more than 2 consecutive years.

If you have questions regarding the residency regime of foreigners in Bulgaria, do not hesitate to contact us – your Online legal consultant!

Vladimir Slavov

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