Another victory at the Supreme Administrative Court

see Gergana's war files for more information (in Bulgarian)

Some time ago we wrote that “the Bulgarian authorities do not understand the difference between a long-term and permanent residence permit, as well as the peculiarities of family members of Bulgarian citizens“. This misinterpretation of the legislation was an obstacle for foreigners to obtain permanent residence permit in Bulgaria.

However, we interpret the laws correctly and we knew that we were right. And logically, our lawyers achieved another victory before the Supreme Court. The Court overturned the refusal of the Migration Directorate, Dobrich, as well as the previous decision of the Administrative Court. Now, the Migration directorate – Dobrich should issue a permanent residence permit to our client – immediately!

Foreigners Law – art. 25, par. 1, p. 11

Briefly about the problem that is now decided by the Supreme Court. Foreigners residing in Bulgaria, family members of Bulgarian citizens (spouses, parents of Bulgarians, etc.) may acquire a permanent residence permit, even if they have not legally resided in the country:

Foreigners – family members of a Bulgarian citizen, can obtain permanent residence permit, if they have resided continuously on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for the last five years.

art. 25, par. 1, p. 11 of the Foreigners Law

According to the norm of the law, in order to acquire a permanent residence, the following TWO conditions must be met cumulatively:

  1. the foreigner must be a member of the family of Bulgarian citizen, and;
  2. the foreigner should have resided continuously in Bulgaria for the past 5 years.

Unfortunately, the Directorate of Migration in Dobrich, as well as the Administrative Court in Sofia, considered that the foreigner should have resided in Bulgaria not only continuously, but also legally! We have explained already in a previous article (in Bulgarian) why this is not correct. The important thing in this case is that the Supreme Court has now officially confirmed our legal point, namely:

Based on the findings, the administrative court, respectively the administrative body, had the obligation to establish whether there was a continuous residence on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria during the last 5 years, without requiring that it be legal. Having applied the provision of §3 of the regulations to the Foreigners Law, as it is tied to the legality of the residence, the court of first instance rendered an illegal decision, which should be annulled.

Supreme Administrative Court – DECISION № 5922, Sofia, 06.06.2023

That’s it. Game over. After this landmark decision of the supreme judges, the fate of many foreigners – family members of Bulgarian citizens, will be decided in an easier way.

If you are in a similar situation and are struggling with the authorities, please don’t hesitate to contact us and our lawyers.

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