What I cannot and must not do during the asylum procedure?

Audio file

In addition to rights, you also have obligations during the asylum procedure.

As an asylum-seeker, you are obliged to observe the laws of the Bulgarian state.

Firstly, this means that you cannot make attempts to illegally leave Bulgaria. Any attempt to illegally cross the border is a crime. You were not punished for your illegal entry into Bulgaria, because you declared your wish to seek asylum before the police, the prosecutor or the court. It often happens, however, that even refugees are convicted for illegal entry, when they do not declare in due time that they want to apply for asylum and status in Bulgaria. You might not even be aware that you have been convicted, as this prosecution takes place in a 3-day accelerated procedure, the sentence is usually conditional and its enforcement is suspended till a repeated offence. An illegal exit, however, is always punished with a sentence by the court, without any exception. If you were convicted for illegal entry and were subsequently apprehended in illegal exit and punished for that, then you will have to serve two sentences and will end up in prison.

Your registration card indicates an area of movement. This means that you cannot leave this area without the permission of the director of the camp. In order to get permission, you have to file a written application to the director of the camp and point out where you want to go, how long and for what reason you will be there. The director of the camp will issue a permit which will allow you to leave the area of movement, as determined for you, without any problems. Make sure you check the validity of your permit, and, if necessary, renew the permit by taking the same actions as for its issuing. You do not need a permit for leaving the area of movement when you go to see a doctor or if you received a subpoena from the court where you must appear on a certain date.

If your accommodation is ensured by the Agency for Refugees, you are also obliged to observe the internal rules of the refugee camp and not damage any property items in the room or in the shared spaces. In case you have inflicted such damage, the staff of the Agency for Refugees can sanction you with a fine in the amount of 50 up to 200 BGN.

You are also obliged not to leave the camp without permission and spend the night elsewhere, even for one single night. You may spend more time outside the camp, but you have to file a written application to the director of the camp and request permission to do so. Otherwise your absence from the camp will be registered, and you may be evicted from the camp and not allowed to stay there any more.

Lastly, one of your most important obligations is appearing before your interviewer whenever you receive a note, a letter or another notification with a date and time indicated on it. It is on this date and time that you must appear before the administration of the camp on whose list of asylum-seekers you are registered and which conducts your asylum procedure. If you do not appear on the date and at the time indicated, your run the risk of having your procedure terminated, and thus lose your rights as an asylum-seeker in Bulgaria.