Both refugees and humanitarian status holders have the right to be joined in Bulgaria by close family members in case the family links precede your entry in the territory of the country, namely:
- spouse (or a person with whom the relationship is verifiably stable and long-term);
- children under 18 years of age who are not married;
- children above 18 years of age who are not married and are unable to live independently due to serious illness;
- parents of either one of the spouses who are unable to live independently due to advanced age or serious illness.
If you are a child under 18 years, without your parents in Bulgaria and are granted refugee or humanitarian status, you have the right to be joined in Bulgaria by:
- your parents;
- other adult family member (grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, elder brother or sister, etc.) or other persons who are responsible for your upbringing by law or custom in case the parents’ whereabouts are unknown.
The costs for the Family Reunification are borne by the applicant.
In order to obtain permission for family members to legally join you in Bulgaria, you need to submit an application for family reunification with the State Agency for Refugees (SAR). You must attach relevant evidence of family ties, for example a marriage certificate or birth certificates of the children. For the purposes of family reunification with children above 18 and parents of adult applicants you need to present medical certificates or other documents certifying the dependency of these family members you wish to reunite with in Bulgaria on your support and care. If these documents are not available, you may present a declaration containing the names, dates of birth and whereabouts (state and address) of your family members, which should be certified by a notary. The declarer bears criminal responsibility in case of providing false information.
It usually takes up to three months to receive permission or rejection for family reunification by the SAR, following an interview with the applicant.
If SAR rejects your application, you may appeal the decision before the relevant administrative court within 14 days from the date on which it was served to you. The judgment of the first administrative court may be appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court.
If SAR grants permission for family reunification, national authorities will send the information to the Bulgarian embassy in the country where your family members reside or in the absence of such, to the closest country with a functioning Bulgarian Embassy. Your family members need to go to the embassy and apply for visa type ‘D’. The documents necessary to do that are as follows:
- Application (available online, also on the spot);
- Valid passport where the visa will be stamped;
- Medical insurance for the first several months in Bulgaria;
- A copy of the decision for family reunification of SAR;
- Payment document for a visa issuance fee
The issuing of a visa type D takes about a month.
NB: Bulgaria does not have consular services in Syria and Iraq. Application for visas for citizens of these countries takes place in the Bulgarian embassy in Beirut (Lebanon) or in Ankara (Turkey).
Bulgaria does not have consular services in Afghanistan. Application for visas for Afghan citizens takes place in the Bulgarian embassies in Teheran (Iran), Delhi (India) or Islamabad (Pakistan).
NB: In case your family members do not possess valid passports, the embassy can issue them travel documents (laissez-passer) which will allow them to travel to Bulgaria.