Bulgaria moves to scrap education certificate requirement for driving licences for foreigners

Meeting on March 8, Bulgaria’s caretaker government approved proposed amendments to legislation, including scrapping the requirement for foreigners to submit school-leaving certificates when applying to exchange their driving licences for Bulgarian ones.

That requirement has been a frequent matter of inconvenience for foreigners in Bulgaria for years, with problems for those unable to show a certificate of having completed school education because the document has been lost, or the school or education department does not have the documentation in its archives.

A further problem for those applying to swap their licences for Bulgarian ones is, in some cases, the wait for the school education certificate to be sent from abroad, with foreign countries displaying varying degrees of efficiency in helping to meet this requirement.

In accordance with current Bulgarian law, traffic police do not accept university education certificates, only those certifying completed school education. The logic that a person would hardly have a university degree if not having completed school finds stony ground with Bulgarian officialdom, who cite the statute as it stands.

A statement by the government information service after the meeting said that the logic in the proposed amendment was that a foreigner applying to swap a foreign driving licence for a Bulgarian one clearly already had qualified to drive a car, while Bulgarian law required a certificate of school education before the initial issuance of a driving licence.

The proposed amendments to the Bulgarian Personal Documents Act, which are subject to approval by Parliament – some time after it is elected on April 2 – also scrap the requirement to change a driving licence when changing permanent address within the same district.

The amendments also make provision for the option of electronic identity certificates in Bulgarian identity cards and passports, as well as in residence permits issued to foreigners resident in Bulgaria.

(Photo: Peter Suneson/sxc.hu)

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