Discrimination will always be a vital concern on a global scale. This “division” can be a religious, cultural, or racial factor as well as a matter of citizenship.

Unacceptable discrimination towards Bulgarian family members

The latter is the exact issue that the young family of Gergana and Akil we’re well acquainted with is currently facing.

Their story has reached a broad audience and has managed to touch the hearts of many. The fight to grant Akil long-term residence in Bulgaria is ongoing to this day. Unfortunately, the number of people in a similar situation isn’t small. They want to be with their loved ones, but the restrictions ofthe Bulgarian authorities, put Bulgarian above European laws.

Foreigners married to non-bulgarian EU citizens – treated better in Bulgaria

At first glance, we can find similarities with the story of another client of ours. However, it’s clear, that the same story has two rather different outcomes at a closer inspection.

Here is the story of a client in similar circumstances as Gergana – married to a foreigner without European citizenship. At the same time, she is a legal citizen of a country from the EU.

Our client and her husband, a Pakistani, like Akil, live in Turkey. After his residence permit expiry, he no longer has the legal right to remain in the country. The family wishes to move to Bulgaria. Unlike Akil, our client’s husband immediately receives a visa, permitting him to enter the country. He will also be able to obtain a long-term residence permit for a period of 5 years.

Inequality in the law that needs changes ASAP

From what we’ve said up to here, you can see that individuals with EU citizenship have different privileges, leading us to suspect discrimination. The first and most substantial difference between our clients’ spouses is the enforced laws, regarding their demands. According to the Law on Aliens in the Republic of Bulgaria (LARB), when an individual with a foreigner status, family member of a Bulgarian citizen, wishes to reside in our country, there are several conditions they need to fulfil.

Compared to The Law on the Entry, Residence and Departure of the Republic of Bulgaria of the Citizens of the European Union and the Members of Their Families, our laws seem a lot more disadvantageous regarding foreigners.

According to the Second Act, members of the EU and their families can freely travel and reside in any EU member country. The Bulgarian Constitution proclaims fundamental human rights such as the right of family, citizenship, and sanctity of residence. These same tenets are touched by the unfair treatment of our customers who are in similar situations.

An example of this is the rejection of Akil’s application for a residence permit. Whereas our other customer’s spouse, bearing the same nationality as Akil, receives immediate approval. Based on that rejection, Akil is denied the right to be with his family.

Application rejection and the aftermath

The review of the cases is unfair due to the application of different laws. If Akil eventually receives a residence permit, it’ll only be for a period of 1 year. When trying to renew the permit, it will require hefty documentation, and reasoning for remaining in Bulgaria. However, our second client’s husband didn’t face any difficulties, whilst receiving the said long-term permit for a period of 5 years in his case.

The turbulences Akil and his wife Gergana have endured during the past few years have been anything, but small. Akil’s only goal is to reunite with his family, to help his wife and take care of his son. Unfortunately, based on the more aggravating law, in the case of the LARB, it deprives this young family of many opportunities.

As a young mother, Gergana is forced to care for her son while working simultaneously to provide for him daily, divesting herself of her own needs. This even indirectly affects the Bulgarian republic’s Constitution’s right of education , as Gergana cannot continue her professional education while providing for her son by herself.

The law should not allow discrimination on basis of citizenship

We believe we’re right in our suspicion of discrimination based on citizenship, while comparing these two almost identical cases as we can see the negative outcome of the First Act, compared to the Second.

The involvement of the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against Citizenship Discrimination

In conclusion, we can say that for Gergana and Akil to live happily and freely, it’s necessary to involve The Commission for Protection against Discrimination. Another option is to refer the matter to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. We don’t simply wish to grant Bulgarian citizenship to a foreign citizen. The idea is to avoid discrimination between two people married to EU citizens, but with apparently different rights. Our main goal is to comply fully and abide by the tenets and laws, enforced by law for countries of the EU. Our practice shows that citizens of certain countries receive more privileges than others.

Assistance in similiar situations

If you are about to apply for Bulgarian residence permit or in case you have already received rejection. Or if your application process is “stuck” and you are not receiving any information from the authorities, then we advise you to contact us without hesitation. With our help and effort, your procedure is destined to end with success.

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