How to extend your legal stay in Bulgaria after the latest amendments (November 2020)
Staying healthy is definitely the most important thing during the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic. But staying legal should also be a top priority.
Overstaying your visa term – not a good idea
Earlier this year, after the covid-19 stroke for first time, we informed you about the possibilities to prolong your Bulgarian visa. Now, in November 2020, the procedures have become more difficult. Please read on to find out what needs to be done to stay legal in Bulgaria.
Overstaying the allowed term by your Bulgarian visa will result in administrative sanction under Art.10 of the Foreigner’s Law. The consequences will be that you will be ordered to leave the country and will be banned from entering again. This may have an EU-wide effect and prevent you from visiting any EU member state. On top of that, under Art.48 you may be fined with 500 to 5000 BGN for overstaying your visa term.
What to do if you don’t want to leave (or can’t)?
You will need to immediately contact the immigration authorities and apply for visa extension. As rule of thumb, you will be required to provide proof of address where you will be residing (ie rental contract, certified by notary public) and proof of available funds. Normally a bank statement will suffice, however if it is from a foreign bank, it will need to be translated and legalized. The easiest would be to open Bulgarian bank account and transfer the required amount from your personal bank account abroad. The problem is that the Bulgarian banks will not be willing to open you bank account, especially if you don’t hold Bulgarian residence permit.
You will also need to provide suitable medical insurance. Don’t expect your medical insurance linked to your credit card to do the job. Failure to provide compliant medical insurance is a frequent reason for visa extension rejection.
What if your Bulgarian visa extension is not approved
If your application to extend your visa term is declined, you will be ordered to leave the country and will be banned from re-entry. More often than rejecting your application, the immigration authorities will simply not accept your documents as incompliant. The consequences will be the same.
The procedures are complicated and because of the huge amount of applications, the immigration authorities are not in position to provide adequate support. Ever tried calling their central telephone number in Sofia?
The right approach if you want to extend your visa or visa-free term
Be persistent! Don’t give up! Be pro-active and don’t wait to contact the immigration authorities when your visa is soon to expire. Provide all of the documents that the authorities require from you. Please bear in mind that the easiest solution for the immigration authorities is to reject your application. There is much more work for the immigration authorities to extend your visa, than to reject your application. Don’t forget that!
If you need professional support
Please contact our offices if you need professional immigration support. We can provide full range of services, from simple immigration consultation with a lawyer to turn-key services to get your visa extended.
If your application has been rejected, we will assist you to appeal within the legally allowed term. For that purpose of course, you should contact us immediately when you are informed about the rejection.
Stay safe and stay legal!