Where refugee status is granted, a card of a refugee status holder with a 5-year term of validity is issued.
Where humanitarian status is granted, a card of a humanitarian status holder with a 3-year term of validity is issued.
The term of validity on the cards does not indicate the validity of the status but the intervals at which the cards must be renewed.
In order to have a card issued, the status holder needs to obtain a personal identification number (EGN) from the administration of the municipality in the area of the applicant’s residence address. For that purpose he/she must present to the municipal administration the registration card, the original copy of the decision granting the status, and a special letter by the Agency for Refugees addressed to the mayor of the municipality indicating the address chosen by him/her. Obtaining a personal identification number is free of charge.
Giving false data to a government authority is a crime punished by law.
The card is issued by the police – the Ministry of Interior (MOI) through the police department which has jurisdiction over the area where the foreigner’s residence address is located. A form has to be filled out, and a fee in the amount of BGN 30 is paid for the issuance of the card.
For the purpose of travelling abroad outside Bulgaria, the issuance of a travel document can be requested in addition to the card; an additional fee of BGN 50 has to be paid.
The foreigners who have received protection and a status in Bulgaria continue to be considered citizens of their states of origin. The states of the European Union consider them to be third-country nationals.
By way of rule, third-country nationals, irrespective of the type of their residence in a European state, are entitled to travel to the states of the European Union on the basis of a valid travel document and visa. The passport or the travel document must be valid for at least another 3 months before the date of the planned return to Bulgaria and must have been issued within the last 10 years. A residence card issued by the CR or another Member State cannot be considered to be a travel document for the purpose of travelling around the EU – it must always be accompanied by a valid passport.
Instead of a visa, a document certifying residence permission in a state of the European Union (a refugee card or a card of a humanitarian status holder) can be presented. As refugee status holders have the same rights as Bulgarian citizens, they are not subject to any limitations in terms of traveling abroad, except for the general limitations applicable to all citizens of the European Union, i.e. the right to reside without a visa in another EU state for a period of 90 days within a 6-month period.
Humanitarian status holders who have the same rights as foreigners with permanent residence permits may, however, be required to show proof of medical insurance and available financial means for their subsistence over the time period planned for their stay in the other state of the European Union. If these conditions are not met, humanitarian status holders may be refused entry into the other EU state.