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Residency and Immigration Issues

"DURABLE" RESIDENCE

Even though Bulgaria's now joined the EU, there's still a host of residency questions facing the would-be immigrant. Ask them here!

"DURABLE" RESIDENCE

Postby FreshOfTheBoat » Sat 16 Mar 2013 15:04 GMT

I have just arrived in Plovdiv (having entered Bulgaria on my UK passport), and am about to embark on getting what the Bulgarians call a „durable“ residence. I would be interested in hearing from any UK citizen who has gone through that process recently.

Here are some questions that I am seeking answers to before I present myself at my local police station:

In what form does the information about my income need to be? My source of income is US Social Security (I emigrated from the UK in 1963). At the end of every year, Social Security sends me a statement of how much they plan to pay me the following year. Would a photocopy of that statement be enough? Would it need to be translated and the translation notarized?

What do the Bulgarians currently consider to be an adequate amount for an expat to live on in Bulgaria?

Is there any form of health insurance that the Bulgarians like expats to have? Is there any that they take a dim view of?

Since I haven't lived in the UK for nigh on fifty years and, in a sense, don't exist for the NHS, I'm going to have to purchase a health policy from a company. What would be a good company to go to?

Has anybody paid a lawyer to hand-hold them through this process? If so, what did s/he charge and do you think his/her services were worth it?

Thanks in advance for any input you may offer.

Regards,

FOB
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Postby bones » Tue 19 Mar 2013 08:31 GMT

Hi,
I'm not sure what a durable residence is, but we have a long term residency card which we got by going to the immagration office near us in Dobrich, (I am from the UK so this is what i needed)

first off, you DO NOT have to prove what money you have alls you have to do is sign a declation infront of a notery saying that you can provide for yourself and will not be claming from the Bulgarian state. and you may have to get a form from your mayor, and copies of your passport and house documents

Secondly, you can not pay into the Bulgarian health service until you have been here over five years, you have to pay as a private patient

Hope this is helpful
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Postby FreshOfTheBoat » Wed 20 Mar 2013 10:10 GMT

Thanks for your help. The process sounds simpler than I dared believe possible.

"Durable" residency is the same as long-term residency. It's the term used by the Ministry of Internal Affairs website on its English pages.

Regards.
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Postby bones » Thu 21 Mar 2013 08:18 GMT

It's not too bad should just take a morning, but you will need a translator
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Postby FreshOfTheBoat » Thu 21 Mar 2013 12:27 GMT

I made my initial contact with Миграция/Migracija (ul. Volga 70, Plovdiv) this morning.

In my case, they want:

copy of passport
copy of rental agreement
evidence of health insurance
copy of latest benefits statement from U.S. Social Security plus a Bulgarian translation

The woman in Migracija spoke good English, so I may be able to make do without an interpreter.
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Postby bones » Thu 21 Mar 2013 14:40 GMT

It does differ from area to area at what you need, good luck hope it goes OK for you
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Postby FreshOfTheBoat » Mon 25 Mar 2013 14:33 GMT

Having assembled all the necessary documents and translations thereof, I confidently believed that I would walk out of Migracia this afternoon with a residence card in my grubby fist. 'Twas not to be. What I did walk out with was what I think - and hope - is an appointment to pick up my card any time after 12 noon on Wednesday - after being mug-shot, of course.

The application form was kinda weird: It asks for your family name and then, on a separate line, it asks for your family name. Silly me had spent the last sixty years firmly believing they were one and the same. Apparently not in Bulgaria.

The form also asks about your spouse and kids. Since in my case neither has the slightest interest in taking up residence in Bulgaria, I had left that section blank. Silly me again: it has to be filled in. Likewise information about one's parents - but if they happen to be dead, "deceased" appears to be sufficient detail.
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Postby bones » Tue 26 Mar 2013 06:13 GMT

Glad you got it sorted.
You'll get used to what we say "only in Bulgaria" way of doing things, nothing legal wise is simple here but you do get use to it.
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GOT IT

Postby FreshOfTheBoat » Wed 27 Mar 2013 12:35 GMT

Got it, although it was different from what I had expected:

a) It was not in the form of a photo ID, which is what all the other applicants seemed to be given. That, believe it or not, is yet another stage in the process: I can if I wish, and it is optional, get one a week from today.

b) The biggest surprise, though, was that I was only granted permission to stay for one year. I had expected five. Whether this is Bulgaria's reaction to David Cameron's recent speech about Bulgarian immigrants (which has not gone down well here) or whether Миграция/Мigracija feels that I am not likely to live out a full five years, I can only speculate. I think the latter is more likely than the former. The important thing is that for the next twelve months I am „street-legal“ and have been freed from the burden and expense of visa runs every ninety days, which has been my lot for, lo, these past seven years.

I hope these postings will prove helpful for those who come after me. When I get a moment I will add a concise summary of my experience. Thanks to all who contributed comments and counsel.

The next major challenge? Getting Wi-fi. But that is the stuff of a different forum...
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Postby bones » Wed 27 Mar 2013 14:34 GMT

as a UK passport holder i got the five years, but we also had to have the EHIC health card and both have to have the five years on them or you only get the length of time that is on them left to run,
as you don't have a EHIC then i would assume that's why you only got a year
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Postby FreshOfTheBoat » Wed 3 Apr 2013 09:13 GMT

I suspect you're right, bones. Which leaves me stuck with buying health insurance every year. A few years back I investigated the possibility of getting a health card, but the website said they wouldn't send a card out of the country, and (Catch 22) wouldn't send one to a hotel or to a c/o address. Check mate.
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Postby Jax » Thu 1 Aug 2013 16:11 GMT

Though I did not ask the questions, thanks to the asker and all replies.
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long stay

Postby Jax » Thu 12 Sep 2013 20:12 GMT

I was told by an ex pat that to get a five year stay you had to have medical insurance to cover the long stay? Otherwise they give you only one year. I don't know if this is right.
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