Rules of entry and stay in Bulgaria for Ukrainian refugees
On March 3, 2022, the European Council implemented the Directive on the temporary protection of Ukrainian citizens entering the territory of the Member States of the European Union. This directive is an instrument that allows large groups of citizens coming from countries with military conflicts to receive temporary protection in the EU. This enables all people running from the war in Ukraine to gain access to rights on the territory of Bulgaria.
Since 2017, Bulgaria, as part of the EU, has an agreement with Ukraine on visa-free travel. It guarantees the opportunity for all Ukrainian citizens to enter the territory of our country only with their biometric passports and to stay for up to 90 days.
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian citizens automatically had the right to seek protection in Bulgaria without these conditions being met, that is, even if they do not have a valid passport to travel abroad.
Due to the emergency situation, the entry of people running form the war in Ukraine is allowed for those who:
have an old passport format without biometric data;
have an ID card;
have driving license;
have birth certificate – for children up to 14 years;
do not have any of these documents, but have other official documents that indicate their identity – for example: certificates, passes, diplomas, membership cards, bank cards, employment records, property documents and the like;
do not have absolutely any documents – exceptionally and after an inspection by Border Police officers.
It is allowed to enter Bulgaria by car, regardless of whether or not there is international insurance. More information about car insurance after entering Bulgaria: http://guaranteefund.org/en/contacts.
It is also allowed to enter Bulgaria with pets, regardless of whether they have identification with a chip accompanying passports or vaccination certificates. The relevant Bulgarian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure for these cases. More information on this issue – see: https://www.bfsa.bg or write to e-mail: [email protected]
Registration in Bulgaria
On March 3, 2022, the EU implemented the Temporary Protection Directive for people running from the war in Ukraine. This means that people running from the war in Ukraine automatically receive temporary protection as refugees in the territory of the EU Member States for an initial period of 1 year.
The Bulgarian government has adopted an act determining where and how people running from the war in Ukraine will be able to register in Bulgaria and obtain their Bulgarian residence documents as refugees under temporary protection. This document is called “Registration card of a foreigner who has been granted temporary protection”.
There is a working border system for registration of people running from the war on:
- Border checkpoint “Ruse”
- Border checkpoint “Durankulak”
The pre-admission points will be open 24 hours a day while the temporary protection regime is in force.
After the expiration of 1 year, the term of temporary protection may be extended.
This period could be terminated earlier if the war is over and peace and independence are restored in Ukraine.
IMPORTANT: It is highly recommended for the citizens of Ukraine fleeing the war to apply exactly for the status of temporary protection, NOT the refugee status.
Rights as a Refugee from Ukraine in Bulgaria
After the registration in Bulgaria and the receipt of the Registration Card of a foreigner who has been granted temporary protection by law, several important rights arise, without the need to obtain other registrations or permits. These rights apply for the duration of the temporary protection granted to them.
to remain on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria;
right to work and vocational training;
appropriate accommodation or means of accommodation if necessary;
medical care in emergencies;
to return freely to their country of origin.
the government announced that from March 7, 2022 it will provide a fixed amount of money per day for each Ukrainian citizen accommodated in private hotels, as well as in holiday resorts and bases of municipalities and government agencies.
emergency medical care: People from vulnerable groups – children under the age of 18, unaccompanied children, pregnant women, single parents with minors, the elderly and people with disabilities, serious health problems, mental disorders victims of trafficking or suffering torture, rape or other severe forms of violence – have the right to full medical care as Bulgarian citizens.
free education for children under 18: For more information on where and how to apply for school enrolment – read more here: https://mon.bg/bg/news/4708
free kindergarten for children up to 6 years: For more information on where and how to apply for enrolment in kindergarten – read more here: https://mon.bg/bg/news/4708
to return freely to their country of origin if they wish.
bank accounts and debit / credit cards – the country’s legislation allows Ukrainian citizens to open a bank account for basic operations. This account is opened in BGN and through it many payment operations can be performed – depositing, withdrawing money at a cash desk or ATM, transfers, including online. According to the law, banks offer payment services on this account free of charge or for a reasonable fee, regardless of the number of services provided through the account. Ukrainian citizens can use their Visa or MasterCard debit and credit cards within the daily limit set by Ukrainian banks and up to the guarantee limit for the specific card.
The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.