Both refugee status and humanitarian status granted will be discontinued where, after granting the status to the foreigner, it is established that:

• the foreigner can no longer refuse to avail himself/herself of the protection of his/her country of origin, as the circumstances that gave rise to the fear of persecution or serious harm have ceased to exist and the change of such circumstances is not temporary in nature. The status may not be discontinued in such cases if the foreigner who has received a status submits convincing reasons why he/she will not avail himself/herself of the protection in his/her country of origin.

• the foreigner who has received a status in Bulgaria has voluntarily availed himself/herself of the protection in his/her country of origin, for example: has had a passport issued by the embassy or has voluntarily returned to the state where he/she had been persecuted or has, on his/her own will, reacquired the lost citizenship of his/her country of origin;

• the foreigner has acquired a new citizenship from another state after receiving the status;

• the foreigner has acquired Bulgarian citizenship – in this case, he/she no longer needs a status in order to reside in Bulgaria and avail himself/herself of the protection of Bulgaria;

• the foreigner has been granted asylum by the President. In this case, the foreigner is granted refugee status, and, where the foreigner has previously received humanitarian status by the State Agency for Refugees, it is in his/her best interest to receive refugee status which entails a broader scope of rights. Therefore, the foreigner has his/her humanitarian status discontinued and replaced by refugee status on the grounds of the asylum granted by the President.

A foreigner who has received a status may wish to discontinue it on his/her own will irrespective of the reasons. If so, the foreigner may request termination by means of an application to the State Agency for Refugees stating that he/she no longer wishes to avail himself/herself of the status granted.

Refugee status granted will be withdrawn where one of the following circumstances is established in respect of the foreigner who has received the status:

• there are serious grounds to assume that the foreigner has committed a war crime or a crime against peace and humanity, for example: terrorism, participation in genocide;

• there are serious grounds to assume that the foreigner has committed a serious non-political crime outside Bulgaria before entering the Bulgarian territory;

• there are serious grounds to assume that the foreigner is committing, or inciting towards, acts contrary to the goals and principles of the United Nations Organisation (UN);

• it is established that the foreigner used a false identity or fake documents in the procedure in order to substantiate his/her story and, thus, receive a status;

• it is established that the foreigner has intentionally provided, either verbally or in writing, untrue information or has suppressed information relevant to his/her claim;

The withdrawal of refugee status under the above circumstances constitutes a sanction imposed on the grounds of the conduct or personality of the status holder. Refugee status can, however, also be withdrawn where the foreigner concerned is no longer in need of protection and a status, as it is established that he/she avails himself/herself of effective protection provided by:

• another body or organisation of the Organisation of the United Nations other that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;

• the state of his/her habitual residence – where the foreigner, even though he/she is a stateless person (apatride), has been recognized the rights and obligations of a citizen by that state.

Humanitarian status granted will be withdrawn where one of the following circumstances is established in respect of the foreigner who has received the status:

• there are serious grounds to assume that the foreigner has committed a war crime or a crime against peace and humanity, for example: terrorism, participation in genocide;

• there are serious grounds to assume that the foreigner is committing, or inciting towards, acts contrary to the goals and principles of the United Nations Organisation (UN);

• there are serious grounds to assume that the foreigner has committed a serious public crime. A public crime is a crime in respect of which prosecution and punishment are ensured by the state, instead of being at the initiative of the crime victim, if any.

• It is established that the foreigner has committed, outside the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, a crime for which Bulgarian law envisages the punishment of deprivation of liberty, and he/she left his/her country of origin solely with the purpose of absconding from criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, the status will not be withdrawn if such prosecution endangers his/her life or if the punishment in his/her country of origin is inhuman or degrading, for example: bodily punishment, such as cutting off a hand, flogging, and other similar types of punishment.

• it is established that the foreigner used a false identity or fake documents in the procedure in order to substantiate his/her story and, thus, receive a status;

• it is established that the foreigner has intentionally provided, either verbally or in writing, untrue information or has suppressed information relevant to his/her claim;

A copy of the decision on the cessation or withdrawal of a status granted in Bulgaria is served on the foreigner with the help of an interpreter, and the receipt is certified by the foreigner’s signature, or a notification is sent by mail. In the latter case, the foreigner is obliged to appear without any delay at the Agency for Refugees in order to receive the decision. The decision can be appealed before the court within 14 days from the receipt of the decision. For more information on this issue, see “Appeals before the court“.