Foreigners seeking protection in Bulgaria are entitled to accommodation in the course of the procedure in refugee centres (camps) where they stay till the final decision on their application is taken.

Refugee camps are run in accordance with internal rules ensuring order for all the inmates and security for their belongings and the facilities in the camp. These rules must be observed. In cases of failure to observe the rules, the offenders may be fined or expelled from the camp.

Transfer into another refugee camp during the procedure is allowed only once under exceptional circumstances. The transfer cannot take place at the applicant’s own initiative, as official permission for that purpose is required. In order to obtain such permission, the applicant for protection must submit an application to the director of the camp where he/she is accommodated. The permission is given by the Agency staff who enter the address of the other refugee camp as the applicant’s new residence address in his/her registration card.

If the applicant has his/her own financial resources, he/she has the right to ask for permission to reside outside the centre (camp). However, the applicant needs to have enough money to pay for the rent over a relatively long time period (at least 6 months). The applicant is required to file an application to the director of the centre where he/she is accommodated, and to submit a copy of the rental contract. The Agency staff may request that the landlord appears before them in order to show documents certifying the ownership.

Where applicants for international protection reside at an external address outside the refugee centres, they are obliged, whenever they change the address, to notify in writing the Agency for Refugees of any such change. This notification is necessary, as the Agency sends the invitations for the interview and for serving the decisions to the address known to it. If the postal service returns the invitation letter due to unavailability of the addressee, and the Agency has not been informed about the new address, this may result in suspension and termination of the procedure or in a final decision in the procedure refusing protection in Bulgaria which cannot be appealed before the court.

Foreigners have the right to remain in a refugee camp up to 6 months after receiving a refugee status or a humanitarian status. In order to use this right, foreigners have to file a written application to the director of the refugee centre (camp). The director issues a decision – if the decision is negative, it can be appealed before the court. For more information on this issue, see “Appeals before the court”.