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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

First topic message reminder :

[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: Re: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Conf   Tue May 11, 2010 3:55 pm

well we took the bull by the horns...presented ourselves at immigration in Varna this morning to ask ...."
please miss , now the new system and regulations are in force ,can we have our all singing all dancing Lichna Card back again......INSTEAD of this white Long Term Residency Card we have...as we should have had our perminent L/C,, after having 4 yearly ones,, in may 2007 ...but you had changed the system !!! "


and hey presto ..they looked at our passport and white LTR Card...typed into their computer....gave us a form each to check that the info that came out of the computer records was correct , which we duly signed....went round the corner to pay the 18lv fee pluss 3 lev tax
took that back to immigration office...where they took our photo for the card and a digital signiture


oh boy ...what a difference in price and procedure and time ,from years ago....and in 1 months time we shall be the"
proud"
owners of a proper ID card,exactly the same as a Bulgarian carries !!! instead of this stupid white card that is no good to man nor beast.
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgaria Migration Head Eases EC Citizens Residence Conf   Wed May 12, 2010 8:50 pm

Well done varnagirl it seems your experience will help others to get over the outdated bureaucracy in Bulgaria


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