12 Important Tips to Simplify your Bulgarian Asylum Application:

To increase your chances of obtaining “refugee” status in Bulgaria we strongly advise you to seek professional advice as soon as possible. Seeking professional legal advice early in your asylum application process will save you money and increase your chances for a positive outcome. Seeking legal assistance late in the application process can potentially lead to unforeseen delays, and even be viewed negatively by the governing authorities.

From time to time, the Bulgarian asylum authorities may make administrative errors. For this reason, the Bulgarian Administrative Procedure Code allows applicants to appeal those decisions not rendered in their favor. The timeframe; however, for which an appeal may be filed is very short. The appeal process can seem confusing. Let our team of legal experts guide you through this process with confidence.

The following are 12 important tips to help simplify your asylum application process in Bulgaria:

Tip #1: Take your application seriously. The act of requesting asylum is often one’s last resort for escaping unsafe living conditions in their home country. Your application for asylum must contain an honest and detailed description of your personal circumstances. Your reasons for seeking asylum must be valid and compelling. An example of this may be a threat to your personal safety. While we urge you to make your reasons for asylum compelling, it is equally important to remember  that  the  information  you  provide  must  be  factual;  otherwise your application may be denied (ref. to Art. 13 (2), (3), (4),(5), (6) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #2: You should cooperate with the asylum authorities at all times when accurately detailing your circumstances and personal details. Refusing to do so may result your application being declined (ref to Art. 14 (3) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #3: Always request information or instructions in a language that you understand. Bulgarian law entitles you to receive information about application process and your rights and obligations as an asylum applicant in a language that you understand (ref. to Art. 58 (6) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #4: Under Article 29 (1) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act, you are entitled to a translator or interpreter  that  is  registered  with  the  State  Agency  for  Refugees.  Not  providing  a translator is a violation of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act. We advise you to submit a complaint to the asylum authorities should you be denied an interpreter.

Tip #5: If you are a female asylum seeker you may request a female translator and/or interviewer (ref. to Art. 68 (3) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #6: Only  sign  documents  that  are  drafted  in  a  language  that  you  can  clearly understand. Otherwise, you risk signing something such as a declaration for voluntary return to your home country, Expulsion or Deportation order. Signing documents you do not understand may limit your rights to appeal any judgments against you, and in particular cases, limit your ability to lawfully file an appeal within the legal timeframe. It is important to note; however, that a Deportation Order is unenforceable if the authorities determine that you did not receive appropriate translation services.

Important: Asylum seeking should be your last resort for immigrating to Bulgaria. You should first consider all other options under the Invesment Promotion Act (IPA) of Bulgaria. This Act allows foreign business persons to obtain a Bulgarian long-term visa and a residence permit of Bulgaria through the registration of a trade representative office of a foreign company in Bulgaria.

Tip #7: : As  an  asylum  applicant,  you  are entitled  to  free health  insurance  including psychological assistance and access to a wide variety of medical services. By choosing representation by Markony Immigration Services, LLP, you can feel confident that we will protect your rights and inform you of all benefits that you may claim as an asylum applicant (ref. to Art. 29 (4) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #8: If you possess sufficient financial resources to do so, you may obtain a permit from the asylum authorities to reside at an accommodation of your choosing, outside of the reception / detention centers (ref. to Art. 72 (3) by the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #9: Ensure that you attend all scheduled interviews with asylum authorities. Furthermore, ensure that you arrive to the meeting on time. These meetings are mandatory. Not attending an interview, or showing up late, may result in the termination of your application process (ref. to Art. 14 (1) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #10: In the event that you change your address during the application process, you must inform the State Agency for Refugees as soon as possible. Failing to notify the appropriate authorities may cause your application to be delayed or refused (ref. to Art. 14 (2) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #11: Take care to request a copy of your asylum application decision (this rule is valid for all other  decisions related to  your  asylum application). The content of the decision, as well as your subsequent rights and obligations, must be communicated to you in a language you understand. You have the right to refuse to sign any documents related to your application results if they are not provided to you in a language that you understand. In this case, your refusal must be certified by two witnesses (ref. to Art. 76 (1) of the Bulgarian Foreigners Act).

Tip #12: Always review your application documents for mistakes. Asylum authorities may make errors on your application. Even if the documents are printed in a language that you understand, it is your responsibility to inform the asylum authorities if you do not understand  them.  In  this  case,  the  asylum  authorities  will  note  that  you  do  not understand the documents.

Important: All asylum seekers are endowed with basic human rights which must be respected. Do not hesitate to file a complaint should you feel that these rights have  been violated  in  any  way.  All  complaints  are  taken  seriously,  and  your application is likely to receive more favorable treatment if you can show that the asylum authorities violated your human rights as defined by EU and international standards.

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