Bulgaria

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    No.

    Bulgaria has not yet issued contingency rules that would apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No. Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a visa for crossing Member States' external borders. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Member States’ area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    The exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    N/A

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work?  

    Yes, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

    • managers/directors of Bulgarian entities officially registered with the Bulgarian Commercial Register;
    • attending business meetings:
    • family members of an EU national (subject to other work-related formalities;)
    • holders of a permanent Bulgarian residence permit.

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    Yes.

    General case - the number of foreign employees employed by a Bulgarian entity may not exceed 20% of the average number of employees (Bulgarian and EU nationals) in the Bulgarian entity for the past 12 months.

    Small and medium-sized enterprises - the number of foreign employees employed by the Bulgarian entity may not exceed 35% of the average number of employees (Bulgarian and EU nationals) in the Bulgarian entity for the past 12 months.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    Current status:

    • from 1 November 2019 in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 (for new arrivals) if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    Types of work and residence permits:

    • Single work and residence permit – requires labour market test; quota requirements described in 3.2 above apply.
    • EU Blue Card.
    • Inter-company transfer work and residence permit.
    • Work permit and residence for seconded employees.

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    The procedures usually take five to six months and include the following steps:

    • obtaining a work authorisation;
    • obtaining a long-term visa;
    • obtaining a residence authorisation. 

    3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?

    Depending on the type of the work and residence permit the official fees may vary between EUR 400-800.

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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    Five years of legal stay in Bulgaria.

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    None

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