If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, UK citizens who want to stay in Bulgaria will have up to the end of 2020 to apply for resident permits.
This is according to amendments to Bulgaria’s Foreigners Act, the second and final reading of which was approved by the National Assembly on April 12.
After Brexit, the UK will be a third country and the entry and residence of British citizens in Bulgaria will be governed by Foreigners Act provisions on non-EU nationals.
An exception to this will be British citizens who have settled and established lasting ties in Bulgaria.
Deputy Interior Minister Krasimir Tsipov said: “These are extremely important rules, as the same procedure is currently being applied to the Bulgarian permanent residents in the United Kingdom”.
Some of the proposed changes are being made with a view to settling the status and residence of unaccompanied foreign children in Bulgaria. The amendments provide for the right of residence of foreign children up to 18 years of age to be granted after the common consent of the parents.
In cases where there is no common agreement, the dispute between them will be decided by the district court of the child’s place of residence.
In cases where the UK withdraws from the EU and the right to family reunification has not yet been exercised, it will be exercisable from the date of withdrawal.
The conditions set out in the law are that the holder has successfully passed his re-registration procedure and that the family relationship existed at the date of Brexit.
The amendments also affect the Asylum and Refugees Act, restricting the application of the procedure for the unification of refugee families only to people whose family ties preceded their entry into Bulgaria. The changes are a preventive measure against fake marriages.