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 Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusio

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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusio   Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:07 am

[size=75:1owbzzz2]novinite Henry Rowlands December 9, 2009 &

September 25, 2009,

Bulgarian Residence for EU Citizens: 'Apartheid', Double Standards and Utter Confusion

2007 marked the start of Bulgaria's EU adventure and also the end of EU citizens having to apply for Bulgarian visas. You would have thought this might have made the lives of EU citizens residing in Bulgaria easier. On the contrary - laughter, annoyance and anger have met their every step as identifying themselves has become a daily trial.

After receiving complaints from many EU citizens regarding problems with the current Bulgarian regulations regarding the certificate for long-term residence in Bulgaria and applying for permanent Bulgarian residence, Novinite.com has launched an ongoing investigation into the issue.

Background

The lichna karta (Bulgarian identity card) is an important part of everyday life in Bulgaria as it is requested by most banks, government institutions and the police.

Before Bulgaria joined the EU, foreign citizens who had applied for a Bulgarian visa were rewarded with a card that had the same format as the lichna karta - including a full LNCh identity number and a photo. However since 2007 when Brussels welcomed Bulgaria with open arms into the EU family, EU citizens have been met with confusion, annoyance and sometimes anger by the Bulgarian authorities after being issued with new long-term residence cards that resemble something made by a school child and that do not include either a recognized identity number or photo.

The reason for this change is unclear but the only law regarding the issue is the following:

‘Art. 57. (1) The Bulgarian identification document for a foreigner shall be valid on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria together with his national identification document.'

Therefore, now EU citizens officially have to carry both their national passport or identity card and the Bulgarian certificate for long-term residence.

Confused Bulgarian Authorities

Now the above may seem fair enough for some people and similar long-term residence cards are issued in other EU countries but here in Bulgaria some issues have come to light that smack of illegal double standards and poor organization:

a) Currently all non-EU citizens are issued with the easy to use old lichna karta style documents that make it easy for them to deal with the Bulgarian authorities, banks etc...while EU citizens do not get this easy option.

b) The EU-wide law of having to spend 5 years in a country before being able to apply for permanent residence has been flouted by the Bulgarian authorities. Only some local migration departments recognize that people who lived in Bulgaria for a certain period before the country joined the EU can apply for residence before 2012. Meaning that some EU citizens will have to wait for up to 10 years from when they arrived in the country before they can apply to become permanent residents.

c) Banks and local authorities were not made aware of the new long-term residence cards by the previous socialist Bulgarian government, and in some cases laughed at them when they were produced as a form of identification.

d) Bulgarian authorities still ask for the European Health Insurance Card when an EU citizen is applying for the certificate of long-term residence, even when the card is only valid for 6 months after the EU citizen has left the country where it was issued.

The Voice of EU Citizens

"
The insistence that we apply for residency cards as 'self-supporting' individuals is illegal - according to Bg law such individuals appear to be exempted from the right of permanent residence even though EU law is pretty specific that the only requirement is 5 years......"
Fredrico, Italy

"
How about double standards ie...arriving in Bg with a visa d....5 yrs later one should have received a permanent Lichna Card, after paying out yearly for the annual renewal of such....to be refused and issued a this white card which is now issued for another 5 yrs ...yet people in the same situation attending the same passport office ...Varna ..was issued with the permanent L/C"
Sandra, England

"
I for one think that the comic book resident cards issued to Foreigners who reside here in Bulgaria are an insult.. It borders on segregation and is an affront to the whole concept of a integrated Europe. I can see of no valid reason why we are not issued with standard ID cards like our Bulgarian counterparts ?
For many of us this is the country that we chose to call home..so why are we subjected to this discrimination ?
It begs the question is' Bulgaria just for Bulgarians' or is it a country for any nationality that feels this is 'where they want to hang their hat' ?..Does the Bulgarian Government really think that a type of 'Apartheid' is really the way forward ?"
Mandy, England

Questions from Novinite.com to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry

What is the reason for EU citizens who move to Bulgaria only being given a certificate of long term residence without a picture or EGN, as they had before Bulgaria joined the EU. Will this be changed?

Why do people who received temporary Lichna Kartas after applying for visas before Bulgaria joined the EU now have to wait another 5 years with a long term residence certificate before being allowed to apply for permanent residence in Bulgaria?.

Why is it necessary to produce the European Health Insurance Card when applying for a certificate of long term residence in Bulgaria, as they do not apply to citizens who are no longer residents of their former country?

If a foreigner is self-supporting, i.e. living in Bulgaria and has not formed a company in Bulgaria, how long does it take to become a resident. Some foreigners have complained that the EU wide law of ‘5 years' of living in an EU country before being allowed to apply for permanent residence is not backed up by Bulgarian law?

Bulgarian Interior Ministry Reply

The Bulgarian Interior Ministry replied to the questions by saying that it is aware of the problems and that a new bill on the issue is currently being discussed by parliament. They also said that they would reply in detail when the new bill has been passed or rejected.

Making Life Easier

Bulgaria has had a number of serious problems since joining the EU, many of which are simple to solve. This problem with identity documents is yet another example of a lack of thought and too much bureaucracy hampering the integration of Bulgaria into the EU. Hopefully, the new Bulgarian government decides to act quickly to make the lives of both Bulgarians and Europeans residing in the country easier and less stressful.

Novinite.com is going to remain committed to following the development of this issue, and will keep in touch with the relevant Bulgarian institutions.

Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion


The Director of Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry Migration Department, Stefan Hristov, has confirmed that changes will be made to the certificate for long-term residence for EU citizens.

After receiving complaints from many EU citizens regarding problems with the current Bulgarian regulations regarding the certificate for long-term residence in Bulgaria and applying for permanent Bulgarian residence Novinite.com launched an ongoing investigation into the issue in September.

Hristov, replying to questions from Novinite.com, said that “to resolve the difficulties in the use of certificates of residence of EU citizens, they are now issued additional certificates on paper containing a personal number, to serve them at the request of the authorities when necessary.”

He added that the practical difficulties encountered by EU citizens and their families have been caused by the fact that institutions have not adapted their systems to perform administrative services for EU citizens with the new documents, which were introduced in 2007 when Bulgaria joined the EU.

Hristov confirmed that new documents will be issued to EU citizens in 2010 so as to conform to new EU requirements for third-country citizens. They will include the following details: personal number, photograph of the holder, address, document number, signature of the holder, date and place of issue, names, date of birth, sex, nationality and the authority that issued the document.

Regarding long-term residence Hristov concluded that EU citizens who have resided continuously for five years in Bulgaria can receive a long-term residence certificate if they have an authorized account of continuous residence prior to Bulgaria joining the EU.

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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:40 am

well it really is about time.........they were happy enough to take 500lv per person for our yearly L/C , then the year we applied for our perminent one we got this stupid white long term residency card ...

thanks to Henry at Novitine for taking this up....lets hope the issue of the new "
proper "
cards goes smoothly. !!
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:35 pm

Not a moment to soon either from what I know agree with you varnagirl lets hope the transition goes smoothly

sarah
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:47 am

Taken from above


"
"

Hristov confirmed that new documents will be issued to EU citizens in 2010 so as to conform to new EU requirements for third-country citizens. They will include the following details: personal number, photograph of the holder, address, document number, signature of the holder, date and place of issue, names, date of birth, sex, nationality and the authority that issued the document.

Regarding long-term residence Hristov concluded that EU citizens who have resided continuously for five years in Bulgaria can receive a long-term residence certificate if they have an authorized account of continuous residence prior to Bulgaria joining the EU. "
"




Has anyone applied for this new card yet...and if so ,what where your experiences..as I pressume it will differ from area to area ...as per norm
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:31 pm

Regarding long-term residence Hristov concluded that EU citizens who have resided continuously for five years in Bulgaria can receive a long-term residence certificate if they have an authorized account of continuous residence prior to Bulgaria joining the EU. "
"


How would you get a continuous account of residence. Who would issue such a documet and what would be the criteria? Can anyone explain?

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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:42 pm

Tony its an Eu law and exactly the same applys for Bulgarians entering the uk every EU country has the same critra,look at EU treatys very interesting reading,everyone is now treated the same,us brits are treated the same as other EU citizens



Mike
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:09 pm

Thanks Mike I understand what you are saying. But in Bulgaria how do you prove you have had continuous residency? Someone or some documentation must be required. E.G. Mayors signature or regular payments of Electricity account. Might sound a silly question but not to me it isn't. Been dealing with red tape all my working life. Saying something is one thing but proof can be a nightmare.

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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:30 pm

oh they know all right, britain monitors who comes and enters britain, we arrived in bulgaria dec 2007, tried to register car in march 2008, unable to do it, finally registered in sept 2008, would we pay that year, no they said you owe us one month for dec 2007, gotchya, they know have no fear of that.
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:33 am

tonyb60 wrote:
Regarding long-term residence Hristov concluded that EU citizens who have resided continuously for five years in Bulgaria can receive a long-term residence certificate if they have an authorized account of continuous residence prior to Bulgaria joining the EU. "
"


How would you get a continuous account of residence. Who would issue such a documet and what would be the criteria? Can anyone explain?


I would imagine this would prove a continuous account ;


every year we had to rewnew our Litchna Card. , at the cost of 500lv per person ,plus incedental taxes notary fees etc.................... in the precedure to do so we had to supply to immigration loads of different papers... one of these being photocopy of passport pages that stamped us in and out of the country ..they also kept our passports for a short while till the card was issued.....
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:58 am

Thanks for the info varnagirl but:

Our Litchna Card is for 5 years and they stopped stamping passports at the airport

Knowing the red tape in Bulgaria and other EU states there will no doubt be a proof mechanism will be interesting to see what it is

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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:22 am

yes ..but do you have proper litchna card ... or a white long stay card ,which is valid for 5 yrs here ? there is a big difference

and they did not stop stamping passports at the airport till just before pre EU entry !
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:52 am

Oh my word!!! We have all this to look forward to when we eventually go over for a trial period of 2 years - These was due to happen back in 2008 but alas circumstances provaled. We will keep plodding on until the time is right

Oddy

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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:08 pm

Don't worry Berni.

The Litchna Karta no longer exists (shame as you used to be able to use it as ID).

Now you get a pig-ugly, cheapo, five year residence permit, however, this is not accepted as ID so carry this along with your passports.

VG: 500 leva per person to renew the old Litchna Karta? Ours cost about a tenth of that when we lived in Sofia!
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:15 pm

lucky you chrisqbg....every brit in Varna paid what i quoted...I still have all the reciepts !
shall i ask for a refund..
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PostSubject: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Confusion   Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:22 pm

varnagirl wrote:
lshall i ask for a refund.

You could always ask of course!

Actually, we took our lawyer with us and everything went quite 'smoothly' ... well as much as it could in those days pushing and shoving to get one of those folks to even open the little window thing to even take our documents!

Not sure about Varna, but round the immigration office in Sofia there are lots of cafes, restaurants and photocopy shops ... no wonder, they were always full
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