More and more Bulgarians meet Russian women on the Internet
Over the past few years we have seen a trend of more and more dating between Bulgarian men and Russian girls on the Internet. The war between Russia and Ukraine has certainly given an extra push to many Russian citizens to seek online dating. As result, we are receiving more and more requests to assist for Bulgarian visas for Russian citizens.
Visas for short and long stay in Bulgaria
In the majority of cases, the intention of the Bulgarians is to marry their Russian “halves” in Bulgaria. For this purpose, Russian girls must first obtain a visa for short-term stay. After the marriage, the next step is to apply for a visa D (for long-term residence). Unfortunately, and not only because of the war in Ukraine, the visa D refusal rate is growing exponentially. The administrative requirements for applying for a visa are becoming more and more difficult to meet. And the attitude of the Bulgarian authorities towards Russian citizens is somewhat controversial.
What are the procedures for obtaining a marriage visa for Bulgaria?
And what should be done after the marriage in order for the Russian citizen to reside legally in Bulgaria?
Unfortunately, Bulgarian legislation lacks a legal possibility for foreigners to obtain a visa in order to marry Bulgarians. For example, such a possibility is provided for in the US legislation – the K-1 visa, which is obtained by foreigners wishing to marry Americans on the US territory.
We believe that it is high time for Bulgaria to adopt certain texts in the Foreigners Law, which will provide for such a possibility for the fiancés of Bulgarian citizens. However, as long as there is no such possibility in the law, Russian women who met Bulgarians online and wish to get married should take the following steps:
- Applying for visa C;
- Concluding the marriage;
- Applying for visa D;
- Applying for long-term residence permit.
Obtaining visa C to marry in Bulgaria
The problem that the (future) newlyweds face is how the Russian citizen can visit the country to get married. For this purpose she needs a visa. Moreover, she cannot apply for a visa D as she is not yet married to the Bulgarian citizen. The only possibility is to apply for a short-stay visa C.
Along with applying for and obtaining a C visa, the Russian citizen must prepare the following documents, which she will need for the marriage in Bulgaria:
- Proof of marital status – single, divorced or widowed;
- A document confirming that the marriage in Bulgaria will also be recognized under Russian law.
Concluding the marriage with the Russian citizen
In order to become a family member of a Bulgarian citizen, the Russian national must marry her Bulgarian boyfriend. This is easiest to do in Bulgaria. It is also possible to get married in Russia or even in a third country (very difficult though). However, due to the unstable situation in Russia, most Bulgarians prefer to marry their girlfriends in Bulgaria. This makes the subsequent procedures somewhat easier too.
Once the marriage is concluded in Bulgaria, the Russian citizen is now considered a family member of a Bulgarian national. Accordingly, she can apply for visa D and a long-term residence permit.
Applying for visa D
The next step is for the Russian national to apply for and obtain a D visa. Unfortunately, according to the legal provisions, the Russian citizen must leave Bulgaria and apply for the visa from the Bulgarian embassy in Russia. This is often a serious problem because the newlyweds have to separate, sometimes for a very long period.
In the legislation there is a legal possibility to apply for a D visa from a third country in exceptional cases. The most convenient such countries for Russian citizens are Turkey and Serbia, as these countries have a visa-free regime with the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, however, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry obliges the foreigner to obtain prior permission to apply for visa D from a third country. And obtaining such permission is not always possible, especially for citizens of the Russian Federation.
Obtaining a long-term residence permit
The next and final step is for the Russian citizen to obtain a long-term residence permit. For this purpose, once she has obtained a D visa, she must return to Bulgaria and submit the necessary documents to obtain a residence card.
Appeal against refusal of visa D
Unfortunately, the Bulgarian authorities very often refuse D visas to the wives of Bulgarian citizens. In this case, the persons concerned have the right to appeal the refusal in court within 14 days. Appealing in time is extremely important. If the refusal takes effect, the chances of obtaining a visa in the future decrease dramatically.