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Single Work and Residence Permit Procedure

Single Work and Residence Permit (SWRP) is issued by the Ministry of Interior after the Employment Agency has provided an official approval. The SWRP is granted to third-country nationals who apply for a residence permit for the purpose of work.

A single permit for work

A single permit for work

The procedure for issuing the SWRP complies with Directive 2011/98/EU on a unified procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a EU Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a EU Member State.

Where Is The Single Work and Residence Permit Application Submitted To?

Тhe application for issuing the work permit is submitted to the Migration Directorate or to the department/sector/group "Migration" at the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior by the employer or a person authorised by him or personally by the foreigner, in case of a long-term residence permit, and the application shall be signed by the employer. The department/sector/group "Migration" can carry out an inspection when there are reasonable doubts that the foreigner may not reside at the address specified by him, and the inspection report is sent together with the application.

The foreigner with an already permitted right of residence in the country is not required to be outside of Bulgaria upon initial application. The foreigner is not required to be outside the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria and in case of subsequent application.

How Long is the Single Work and Residence Permit Granted For?

The permit is issued for a period of three (3) years, and when the term of the employment contract is shorter than three years, the permit is issued for the duration of the contract. The permitted period of employment may be extended for a total of up to 4 years, provided that the initial conditions of employment have not been changed. The permit holder is tied to their employer for the duration of the work permit. Moving to a new job requires permit holders to make another application.

What Are The Requirements for a Single Work and Residence Permit in Bulgaria?

After the application is approved by the Employment Agency, the Ministry of Interior issues the work permit. Employers must take into account that the following restrictions may apply to candidates searching for employment opportunities as a foreigners in Bulgaria:

  • Access to the labour market is only allowed for job offerings for which Bulgarian citizenship is not required by law.
  • To take into account the state, future development and public interests of the national labour market.
  • Provided that for the last 12 months the total number of non-EU nationals with long-term residence permits employed under an employment contract with the employer does not exceed 20% of the average number of employees, and for small and medium companies 35%.
  • The offered working conditions and payment of foreigners cannot be more unfavourable than the conditions for Bulgarian citizens for the same category of work.
  • The third-country national has the specialised knowledge, skills and professional experience required for the job in question.

The requirements listed above does not apply to:

  • Foreign nationals whose employment on the territory of the country derives from the implementation of international agreements to which Bulgaria is a party.
  • Lecturers, tutors and teachers in high and secondary schools with a decision of the academic councils of the high schools and of the regional departments of education, respectively.
  • Artists-performers with proven professional competence - after the Ministry of Culture has confirmed its interest in hiring them.
  • Athletes and coaches in sports clubs, upon confirmation of interest in hiring them by the Bulgarian national sports federations and unions due to their high level of professional skills.

Single Work and Residence Permit Document Checklist

Documents required for the issuance of the single work and residence permit:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A copy of the passport or a replacement document with the photo pages and personal data of the applicant.
  3. Criminal background check - details of any immigration, criminal or civil offences the applicant might have committed.
  4. Evidence of secured housing - this should take into account the verification that can be made whether the foreigner will actually reside at the specified address.
  5. Justification of the request - in a free text the employer states and justifies his motivation to hire this employee, as well as the reasons why he does not want or cannot hire Bulgarian citizens or foreigners with equal rights with the requested profession, which correspond to those specified in ad requirements. Copies of advertisements for work in local and national mass media and the Internet shall be attached to the justification.
  6. Documents for education, specialty, legal capacity, professional qualification and experience of the third-country national worker. These documents must meet the requirements for holding the position, specified by the employer when announcing the job opening.
  7. Evidence of the professional skills and experience of the foreigner - documents for full time work experience of using specialist skills acquired through doing the type of job for which the work permit is sought.
  8. Reference-declaration for the employees working in the company - third-country nationals employed under an employment contract, indicating passport names, date of birth, nationality, reason and period of residence, signed by the employer.
  9. Reference-declaration for the average number of employees: Bulgarian citizens, citizens of an EU Member State, of a state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, and of the Swiss Confederation, for the last twelve (12) months (on a monthly basis), signed by the employer.
  10. Declaration from the employer that the conditions of work and payment are met and that they are not less favourable than the conditions for Bulgarian citizens for the respective category of work.
  11. A copy of a fixed-term employment contract certified by the employer, concluded under the terms of Bulgarian legislation, for a position with a National Classification of Occupations and Positions (NCAP) code, signed by the parties and effective from the date of issuance of the residence document to the third-country national. The employment contract shall specify the obligations of the parties concerning the costs of accommodation, medical treatment, insurance, transport to and from the country of the third-country national worker's habitual residence.
  12. A copy of the job description, when it is an integral part of the contract.
  13. A document that the conditions for exercising a profession included in the List of regulated professions in the Republic of Bulgaria are met.
  14. Compulsory health insurance valid in Bulgaria for the entire period of residence, when the foreigner is not insured under the Health Insurance Act.
  15. Other documents required under Bulgarian law to take the job offering specified by the employer, if any.

In cases when the exercise of the profession and/or activity requires a legal capacity recognised by a Bulgarian authority, a permit or licence issued by the employer shall be attached.

What Happens After The Document Submission?

The Migration Directorate checks the documents, notifying the applicant if any documents need to be corrected, as well as the need to submit additional documents, and sets a 7-day deadline for eliminating the irregularities.

If the documents are not submitted within the above-mentioned term, the director of the Migration Directorate or an official authorised by him shall terminate the procedure for issuing the permit.

The Migration Directorate shall send electronically to the Employment Agency the applications for which the proceedings have not been terminated, together with the attached documents. Apart from that, the applications and the attached documents are also sent electronically to the State Agency for National Security, which must provide a written statement, while the applicant is in the country, or within 10 days after giving an opinion on the visa application.

When the applicant has a long-term residence permit, a reference to the permitted right of residence shall be attached to the application.

Within 15 days from the submission of the application, the Employment Agency sends to the Migration Directorate a written statement on the presence or absence of grounds for granting the applicant access to the Bulgarian labour market.

What is The Official Documentation Collected About the Employer by the Employment Agency?

Through the Application review process, the Employment Agency collects and evaluates official information about the employer.

The Employment Agency requests official information on:

  • The information known about the employer, recorded in the BULSTAT Register, or for the unified identification code (UIC) of the employer.
  • Registration with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, if applicable.
  • The current status - in the case of companies without a UIC.

The Employment Agency requests official information from:

  • The National Revenue Agency for the existence of any obligations of the employer in labour and industrial relations.
  • Executive Agency "General Labour Inspectorate" for enacted penalty decrees for infringements.

The Migration Directorate shall email the employer within three (3) days of receiving positive decisions from the competent authorities mentioned above, stating that there are grounds for granting the foreigner access to the labour market. The decision made is also shared with the Consular Relations Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Visa Application Is Started After The Permit Is Issued

The employer shall inform the work permit applicant of the decision taken. If the competent authorities have taken a positive decision to issue a work permit, the applicant must submit an application for a D type visa within 20 days.

In cases of visa refusal, the Consular Relations Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the Migration Directorate and the State Agency for National Security.

Within 14 days of entering Bulgaria with a D visa, the applicant must appear in person at the Migration Directorate or at the Migration Department at the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of the Interior and present:

  • A copy of their passport page, with a visa stamp.
  • Compulsory health insurance valid in Bulgaria for the period of residence

Applicants Must Have a D Type Visa To Apply For A Residence Card.

The Director of the Migration Directorate or an official authorised by him shall issue or refuse the issuance of a long-term residence type "Single Residence and Work Permit" within three (3) days from the submission of the documents specified above.

The applicant shall be notified of the decisions taken on the basis of the application in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Code.

The procedure for issuing a long-term residence type "Single residence and work permit" may not be longer than two months, and in case of factual and legal complexity this period may be extended by two months.

In the course of the procedure, the applicant or a person authorised by him may withdraw the application, which shall be grounds for terminating the procedure.

The employer shall notify the Migration Directorate of any change that affects the admission criteria that occurred in the course of the application procedure and the termination of the employment relationship with the foreigner within three (3) days from the date of the change or termination of employment.