What is the purpose of this Handbook?

The purpose of this electronic handbook (e-Handbook) is to provide basic information about the procedure for registering an application for asylum and international protection in Bulgaria, the examination of the application and the decision on it.

The e-Handbook explains the rules and obligations of foreigners who have applied for international protection both during the examination of their application by the administrative or the judicial authorities and after receiving protection under the form of either refugee or humanitarian status.

The e-Handbook describes the steps to be followed for lodging an appeal before a court when the applicant has been refused a status.

Furthermore, some specific issues are addressed, such as the other forms of protection that can be applied in Bulgaria, the types of documents, family reunification, and the characteristics of the protection of unaccompanied minors.

Finally, the e-Handbook provides information about the procedures of voluntary return to the country of origin.

This e-Handbook is intended to be used mainly by asylum seekers in Bulgaria. Hence, the author presents the information in an accessible and comprehensible language avoiding legal terminology. Nevertheless, as the e-Handbook constitutes a summary of the practice and expertise in refugee law accumulated over many years and gives answers to relevant issues and frequently asked questions, it can also be used as a tool for a general introduction into this subject matter for practicing lawyers, administration staff, and non-governmental organisations.



General conditions for using the Handbook

The e-Handbook has been commissioned by the Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bulgaria.

The author of the Handbook is Iliana Savova, Director, Refugees & Migrants Legal Protection Programme of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC).

The e-Handbook has been drafted in the Bulgarian language. The contracting agency and the author take no responsibility for the quality of the translation into other languages.

Reproduction of the e-Handbook is authorised, except for commercial purposes, provided the source and the author are duly acknowledged. The e-Handbook shall not be reproduced or disseminated on any intangible carrier, by air, cable and the internet, except for cases where the author has given her explicit and prior consent.

This e-Handbook was completed in June 2014 and reflects the rights and procedures regulated by the Bulgarian legislation as of that time. Any subsequent updating of the e-Handbook will be available on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at: http://www.unhcr-centraleurope.org/bg/index.html, and on the website of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee at: http://www.bghelsinki.org/bg/, “Library” section, “Training Materials on Human Rights” subsection.