Bulgarian Foreign Ministry proposes authorising notaries to certify translations

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has proposed speeding up administrative procedures by authorising notaries, and not only ministry staff in Sofia, to formally certify translations of documents needed for various official applications.

The proposal is among those made public on August 11 by Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva in draft amendments to the regulations on legalisation, certification and translation of documents.

The ministry said that the proposals were intended to help citizens and businesses and speed up administrative procedures involving documents.

Zaharieva said that currently, the signatures of the translator could be validated only by officials at the Foreign Ministry head office in Sofia, “which leads to significant difficulties for the Bulgarians who live outside the capital.”

“The main priority of our government is to reduce the administrative burden for citizens and businesses in all areas, and this further facility is part of the measures we are actively taking at the Foreign Ministry improve the service,” she said.

As of now, documents and papers requiring certification have to be taken by hand to what is called the Certification and Legalization Service of the Consular Relations Directorate, a process that takes up time and money, the ministry said.

The proposed changes will make it unnecessary for representatives of translation companies or individuals to travel to the Sofia head office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the sole purpose of validating a translation of a document.

The Foreign Ministry charges 15 leva. For the same service, notaries will charge five leva without VAT.

Dimitar Tanev, head of the Council of Notaries, said that there were notaries in 133 cities and towns in Bulgaria, and the change would mean the opportunity for a comprehensive service to citizens throughout the country. Notaries welcomed the Foreign Minister’s proposal, he said.

The Foreign Ministry said that “in order to ensure legal certainty and the professional level of translation, Ekaterina Zaharieva in her report suggests that the translator should be legalized before the notary by a document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that he is listed on legal entities carrying out official translations of documents and other papers”.

The ministry said that other steps that it had taken to reduce the administrative burden included the installation of POS terminals for payment by bank cards at the counters of the ministry in Sofia and removal of payment with state tax stamps.

There was also step-by-step introduction of bank card payments at consular offices abroad. This is now possible in Athens, Rome, The Hague, and Milan, the ministry said.

The ministry had proposed amendments to the Bulgarian Personal Documents Act to speed the process of issuing passports and identity cards at consular offices abroad.

A further proposal is that from the year 2020, Bulgarian passports will be valid for 10 years instead of the current five.

(Photo: Marcel Hol/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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