The UK ambassador in Sofia, Emma Hopkins, published an open letter on February 8 on the topic of Brexit, addressed to British nationals living in Bulgaria. The full, unedited, text is below.
“Dear UK Nationals in Bulgaria,
It has been lovely to meet so many of you at our outreach events across Bulgaria over the past year.
I want to update you on what the British Embassy in Sofia is doing to protect the rights of UK Nationals in the event of a Deal or a No Deal exit from the EU.
As 29th March 2019 draws closer, I know that you might be increasingly worried about your future in Bulgaria and about what you would need to do to ensure you continue to live your lives here broadly as you do now.
I would like to reassure you that I and my colleagues at the Embassy in Sofia are working closely with the Bulgarian authorities in order to safeguard your rights and to ensure that you understand what action you need to take.
Last week, Foreign Minister Zaharieva provided reassurance to UK Nationals in Bulgaria that in the event of a no deal exit from the EU, Bulgaria will provide a straightforward registration scheme for UK nationals legally resident in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government have told us that the Scheme will be based on reciprocity, meaning that Bulgaria will provide the same rights to UK nationals in Bulgaria that we have committed to provide for Bulgarians living in the UK. The Bulgarian government intends to introduce new draft legislation before the Bulgarian parliament in order to implement these arrangements.
We look forward to seeing the details of the government’s plans. To that end, we are meeting with different ministries in the Bulgarian government on a weekly basis to better understand their plans and to make sure they safeguard existing rights across all aspects of your life in Bulgaria. These include the right to reside, to work, to access healthcare and to education.
We are also working with the Bulgarian authorities to ensure that proper communication and information is available to you once the processes are finalised. We are pressing the Bulgarian government to put clear, accessible information directed at UK nationals on all respective ministries’ websites, and we will be sharing that information as soon as it becomes available.
Bulgarian ministries have also committed to provide guidance to their regional units on how to work with UK Nationals going forward. We have offered assistance with translation of information about the scheme and we will be working together on making sure that information gets to you.
My colleagues and I are dedicated to keeping you informed about what you need to do. That is why we will continue to organise outreach events for UK Nationals in Bulgaria in the months to come like we have been doing over the past 12 months, meeting more than 450 of you at 16 events in 11 different cities. My team at the Embassy continue to respond to the many questions we receive about different aspects of your lives here and also about aspects of Brexit.
We have already published a number of videos on our social media channels with practical information which you may find useful, such as how to register with Bulgarian authorities or how to exchange your UK driving licence for a Bulgarian one. To this end, I would like to encourage you to follow the Embassy’s social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), as well as to subscribe for notifications about any updates to our Living in Bulgaria Guide.”