As soon as the applicant receives a Dublin decision providing for his/her application to be examined in Bulgaria, the staff of the Agency for Refugees will make a decision in the accelerated procedure within 10 days. If by the time these 10 days expire the applicant does not receive a refusal decision in the accelerated procedure, this means that his/her application will be examined in details in the general procedure.

The general procedure is the last stage in the process of examining an application for international protection. It is in this procedure that a decision is made as to whether the applicant will receive a status in Bulgaria – if the decision in positive, what kind of status: refugee status or humanitarian status.

In order to make this detailed examination and assessment, the staff of the Agency for Refugees may appoint one or more interviews with the applicant in order to ask him/her questions about any material issues and clarify any gaps or inconsistencies, if any, in his/her statements.

At the stage of the general procedure, the Agency for Refugees has the obligation to examine the application for international protection and make a decision within 3 months from the day on which the procedure for granting status and international protection moved onto that stage. This time limit may be extended by another 1 month, about which the applicant will be informed in writing. The decision may be positive – granting either of the two types of status (refugee or humanitarian) – or negative – refusing a status. The decision must be read out by an interpreter, and the applicant must receive a copy and certify the receipt with a signature.

If the applicant resides outside the refugee camps, he/she may receive by mail a letter from the Agency for Refugees informing him/her that the decision has been issued. Then the applicant must, without any delay, go to the relevant Agency centre where the interviews with him/her were held in order to receive the decision.

What should be done if the decision in the general procedure is a refusal to grant refugee or humanitarian status?

The applicants who have received a refusal decision in the general procedure have the right to lodge an appeal before the court within 14 days from receiving a copy of the decision and certifying this with a signature, and to request that the court overturns this decision and orders the Agency for Refugees to grant a status.

The deadline should not be missed, as the refusal becomes final as soon as it expires, the procedures ends, and the applicant may be detained and deported back to his/her country of origin. For more information about lodging an appeal, see “Appeals before the court”.

The receipt of the decision on granting a status puts an end to the procedure for granting a status and international protection in Bulgaria, as the claim has been satisfied. For more information on this issue, see “Granting a status”.