Bringing Family Members to Bulgaria: A Guide to Family Reunification

February 11, 2024
Last Updated: February 28, 2024
Family reunification in Bulgaria

Bringing Family Members to Bulgaria: A Guide to Family Reunification

For two decades, family reunification has become a leading reason for migration into the European Union. This process enables legal residents in EU Member States, known as sponsors, to bring their family members to join them. Such reunification is not just a personal matter; it plays a vital role in fostering socio-cultural stability. It eases the integration of non-EU nationals into European society, thus contributing to the EU’s broader goals of economic and social cohesion.

Our immigration law team is distinguished and recommended by the acclaimed Legal500 for our expertise in this field.

Family Reunification for UK Citizens in Bulgaria

UK citizens can bring their family members to Bulgaria under the family reunification process. The duration of the residency cards granted to these family members depends on when their UK sponsor obtained Bulgarian residency. If the residency was obtained by 31.12.2021, family members are eligible for a 5-year residency card. Post-31.12.2021, British citizens are treated as non-EU citizens, and the corresponding rules apply, meaning their family members would be eligible only for a 12-month residency card.

To facilitate family reunification in the UK, after completing the process in Bulgaria, UK citizens may consider strengthening their ties in Bulgaria through:

  • Establishing a limited company in Bulgaria.
  • Registering as a freelancer.
  • Exchanging an EU/UK driving license for a Bulgarian one.
  • Registering with a local General Practitioner.

EU Citizens and Family Reunification

The process for EU and UK citizens to bring family members to Bulgaria is relatively straightforward, thanks to the relaxed EU family reunification policies:

  • Family members don’t need a Family D visa for Bulgarian residency.
  • Cohabiting partners are recognized, eliminating the need for a marriage certificate.
  • No requirement for a valid CBR check for family members.

Entry Denials in Schengen or EU Member States

Family members of EU citizens with valid residency cards, like those issued in Bulgaria, should enjoy freedom of movement within the Schengen area as per EU regulations. If your family member faces entry denial into another Schengen or EU country despite holding a valid Bulgarian Family member card, or vice versa, our team is prepared to offer legal support.

Eligibility for Family Reunification

Family reunification in Bulgaria is available to EU and UK citizens with valid Bulgarian residency for their non-EU family members. Eligible family members include spouses, children under 21, parents, and parents-in-law. Extended family members, however, are not eligible for family reunification in Bulgaria.

Required Documents

For the reunification process, various certificates such as marriage and birth certificates are needed, all of which should be appropriately legalized. Our team is ready to assist in legalizing these documents.

The Process Duration

The family reunification process in Bulgaria typically takes 3-5 working days. The process involves application submission, quick consideration, and a follow-up visit for photographing. The residency card is issued the following day.

Non-EU Citizens and Family Reunification

Non-EU citizens residing in Bulgaria can apply for family reunification under the general procedure. This involves applying for a Family D visa at a Bulgarian embassy or consulate after the main applicant’s reunification request is approved.

Cohabitation Couples

Bulgaria recognizes cohabitation couples for family reunification. The application requires legal entry into Bulgaria and proof of cohabitation.

Family Members of Bulgarian Citizens

Family members of Bulgarian citizens must apply for a D visa for residency. If the marriage wasn’t registered in Bulgaria, it needs to be done before visa application, and our team can assist with both the marriage registration and the residency application processes.

For detailed assistance with family reunification in Bulgaria, feel free to reach out to our expert team.

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