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02 Nov. 2022

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Temporary protection in Bulgaria: entry rules, social support and housing

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Bulgaria

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Temporary protection in Bulgaria: entry rules, social support and housing

An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine
An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine
BUY


Since the beginning of the war, more than 850,000 Ukrainians have entered Bulgaria, of which 144,000 have applied for temporary protection status. Currently, there are 55 thousand of our fellow citizens in the country.


Bulgaria continues to support Ukrainians: it provides housing, humanitarian assistance and financial payments. Read more about it below.


Rules of entry


Bulgaria, as a member state of the EU, has a visa-free agreement with Ukraine. It guarantees Ukrainians the opportunity to enter the "Land of Roses" only on the basis of a biometric passport and to stay in the country without processing documents for up to 90 days. Therefore, it is not necessary to obtain a visa before traveling.


Also, since the first days of the full-scale invasion, Bulgaria has greatly simplified the requirements for documents. Ukrainians can enter the country on the basis of any document confirming their identity: an old-style international passport, a passport of a citizen of Ukraine, a driver's license, and for children under 14 - a birth certificate.


Keep in mind that not all currency exchangers in Bulgaria accept Ukrainian hryvnia. If possible, put hryvnia cash on cards or exchange it for another currency before crossing the border.


There are no restrictions on entry to the Republic of Bulgaria due to the COVID-19 epidemic.


Pets are allowed to enter the country. You can find out about the rules for crossing borders with pets to EU countries here.


Auto


You can enter Bulgaria by car without having international insurance, but it will not be superfluous to talk about your own safety. You can purchase a "Green Card" insurance policy for traveling abroad in your own car by following the link.


From the documents, you will need a technical passport and a driver's license.


We have collected detailed information about the rules for using a private car in Bulgaria in our article.


Where to apply for protection?


Ukrainians who have obtained temporary protection status can stay in Bulgaria. In the country, such a document is called "Registration card of a foreigner granted temporary protection". The maximum period of stay in the country was extended until March 2024 according to the EU recommendation.


To apply for the status of temporary protection, it is necessary to apply to the Border Police, the State Agency for Refugees or other bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (migration, police). The full list of institutions is at the link. The registration procedure lasts from 5 to 15 minutes.


Ukrainians in Bulgaria can also apply for refugee status. A person decides on the appropriateness of this procedure independently. You can learn about the difference between temporary protection status and refugee status here.


Financial assistance


There are several financial support programs for Ukrainians in Bulgaria:


• one-time financial assistance – 375 leva (€180);

• target payment for issuing an identification card – 75 leva (€38);

• assistance for heating;

• monthly financial support for low-income families;

payment from the UN.


More details about each type of assistance and the rules of registration in this article.


Dwelling


Bulgaria has a program of providing free housing to Ukrainians. However, since November 1, the Government of the country has slightly changed the accommodation conditions. Previously, Ukrainians had the opportunity to stay in the country's hotels for free for 3 months, and it was assumed that this period was enough to find a job and rent an apartment on their own.


According to the new rules, in November, everyone should be transferred to state institutions for accommodation: tourist bases, schools, sports facilities, etc. However, from now on, you can live here indefinitely. More details about the new system of accommodation in Bulgaria at the link.


Also, in Bulgaria, you can stay in the accommodation of volunteers who provide their accommodation for displaced people or rent an apartment yourself.


In the state, it is possible to distinguish two types of housing that are rented out:


• Medium-term accommodation is when you rent housing for a period of one day to several months.

• You can find the best option on the following websites: Flataway, Airbnb.com.

• Long-term lease - a term of 1 year, but the contract can be terminated early by giving 1 month's notice to the owner. This type of rental will help you save money. Most often, such an apartment is rented already with furniture. However, a deposit equal to 1 or 2 months' rent is required.


Where to look for work?


Temporary protection status allows Ukrainians to work in Bulgaria. You can start looking for a job with the Labor Bureau at your place of residence. Here you can get advice on the Bulgarian labor market and find the most interesting offers for you.


You can also find work independently on international platforms: helpukrainians and uatalents.


We talked earlier about the peculiarities of employment in the country and in more detail about job search.


Education


Ukrainian children in Bulgaria can attend kindergarten and school for free. To enroll a child in an educational institution, it is necessary to fill out an application and submit it to the Regional Department of Education. You can get consultations by calling the "hotline" of the Ministry of Education and Culture, 0 800 16 111. For more details, see the link.


Medical services


Primary medical care is provided free of charge to everyone who needs it. However, treatment (inpatient or operative) is paid.


Ukrainians who have received the status of temporary protection and belong to socially vulnerable segments of the population can receive medical care on the terms of Bulgarian citizens: minors, disabled people, the elderly, pregnant women, single parents with minor children, etc.


In connection with the above, we advise you to take care of an insurance policy before traveling to Bulgaria.


Useful contacts


Contacts of refugee assistance centers:

• +359 884 110 050 – provision of legal advice;

• +359 884 110 330 – providing information on humanitarian aid (resettlement, possible receipt of warm things, food).


The link also includes all humanitarian centers that support Ukrainians in Bulgaria.


In addition, by calling 0800 88 001, the call center of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy provides citizens of Ukraine with free consultations in Bulgarian, Russian and English regarding access to the labor market in Bulgaria and opportunities for social support for children and families.


Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.