The Bulgarian law stipulates that upon receiving refugee status, a foreigner acquires the rights and obligations of a Bulgarian citizen.
This means that after receiving refugee status foreigners have the right to:
• employment without a special permit;
• education in state schools and universities;
• family reunion on the territory of Bulgaria;
• apply for Bulgarian citizenship 3 years after receiving the status;
• travel abroad under the terms and conditions applicable to Bulgarian citizens.
The law, however, provides for some limitations. Refugee status holders do not have the right to:
• participate in general and municipal elections;
• vote in national and regional referenda;
• take part in the establishment of political parties or be members of political parties;
• hold positions for which Bulgarian citizenship is required by law;
• serve in the Bulgarian armed forces.
The rights of refugee status holders may also be subject to other limitations in case a particular law has explicitly provided for such limitations.
The spouse of a refugee status holder and their children who are minors or underage and are not married are considered to be refugees. Such members of the family of a refugee status holder are entitled to the same rights, but only if this entitlement is compatible with their personal status. For example, if they do not hold another type of legal residence permit in Bulgaria or in another state.
The members of the family of the recognized refugee cannot avail themselves of his/her rights, either, if the circumstances for the cessation or withdrawal of the status are established with respect to them. For example, if they have committed a serious non-political crime before arriving in Bulgaria or, if after receiving the status, they have had new passports issued in their country of origin.
Where a refugee status holder gets married after receiving the status, the spouse, if he/she is a foreigner, may receive refugee status only on his/her individual grounds due to fear of persecution.