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Family reunification in Bulgaria for non-EU family members

The rules around family reunification in Bulgaria are complex. Discover why seeking the help of an immigration law expert might be necessary!

Family Reunion

Restrictions may apply when applying to join non-EU family members who are permanently living outside of Bulgaria. Depending on which country you’re from, where your family member comes from, and your relationship to them, the rules around family reunification in Bulgaria are complex.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on immigration rules for family settlement in Bulgaria.

Which Relatives Can Join Residency Holders in Bulgaria?

As a residency holder, you can apply to bring the following non-EU family members with you:

  • Your spouse
  • Any children under the age of 18
  • Children over the age of 18 (if they are dependents)

Documents Required from the Residency Holder

The application (and all relevant paperwork) must be personally submitted by the permit holder. Settlement documentation for each family member must be attached to the main application form.

Once submitted, you should receive a reply within a month. Family reunification is determined by legal and factual circumstances at the time of application submission. If extra time is needed for the documents to be reviewed, the period can be extended by another month. The applicant will be notified immediately in writing and will also be requested to supply the necessary information to complete the application within two (2) weeks.

If the requested information is not provided within the given period, the application will be rejected and a notice of rejection sent to the applicant.

Below is a comprehensive list of documents required to be submitted by the permit holder:

  1. A filled-in application form
  2. A current valid passport - Your passport should be valid for the whole of your stay in Bulgaria and should not expire within the next six (6) months
  3. Proof of accommodation - Lease agreement/rental contract**
  4. Proof of stable, predictable and sufficient income to support family members (without having to rely on state benefits). Income should not be less than the Bulgarian minimum monthly salary/pension for the period of residence.
  5. Criminal background check - This extends to details of any immigration, criminal or civil offenses you might have committed*
  6. Birth or marriage certificate(s), whichever is relevant - Only civil marriages are recognized as valid marriages.
  7. Proof private health insurance from a Bulgarian insurance company - This should cover costs of healthcare, hospitalization and repatriation
  8. Paid application fee - This fee is paid only once, and the other family members don't have to pay again when applying for family reunification.

Documents Required from Each Family Member Included on the Application

While family members of EU citizens can apply for residence straight away, family members of non-EU citizens must first apply for a type D visa. Processing time for the residence permit is up to two (2) weeks. Visa D applications take between four (4) to six (6) weeks.

In both cases, at least three (3) working days is required to set the length of stay. All family members must submit in person the following set of documents:

  • A filled-in application form
  • A current valid passport - The document should be valid for the entire stay in Bulgaria and should not expire within the following six (6) months
  • Proof of private health insurance from a Bulgarian insurance company to cover costs of healthcare, hospitalization and repatriation.

The following documents must be attached to your application for the acquisition of citizenship as follows:

  • A transcript of your birth certificate/copy of the birth certificate
  • A valid passport photo
  • A photocopy of a document certifying your identity (e.g. photocopy of your ID card, passport)
  • A paid application fee
  • An official document certifying the change of names (if you have changed them), as well as an official identity document of a person with different names
  • A CV written in Bulgarian

Family Member Stay Duration and Eligibility to Work in Bulgaria

The authorized duration of your family member’s stay cannot exceed your stay in Bulgaria. Family members will not be able to work in Bulgaria unless they are eligible to apply – and accepted – for a Bulgarian work visa.

Can I Bring My Partner to Bulgaria if We Are Not Married?

In this case, to qualify for reunification, you must show evidence that you and your partner have lived together – in a relationship – for at least two (2) years. You must also have an intention to live together permanently in Bulgaria.

Do the Same Rules Apply to Same-Sex Couples in Bulgaria?

No, same-sex marriages are not recognized in Bulgaria, even if the same marriage is recognized as legal by civil authorities of another country.

Seek Expert Bulgarian Family Reunification Advice Today!

The Bulgarian government believes that families should stay together wherever possible. This is why they offer visas to family members of Bulgarian citizens and foreigners who have settled in Bulgaria.

As an immigration lawyer, I am experienced in guiding my clients through the application process. Should you require legal advice on complex matters (such as specific requirements and acceptance criteria), please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!