Bulgaria’s Parliament votes new rules on passports, identity documents

From 2021, Bulgarian citizens will have a choice of getting a passport with a validity of either five or 10 years, Parliament decided on July 11, approving the second reading of amendments to the Bulgarian Personal Documents Act.

Children under the age of 18 will be issued passports valid for five years.

The amendments give Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry a deadline of January 1 2021 to make the arrangements for the issuing of passports valid for 10 years.

The amendments set deadlines for the issuing of passports and identity cards according to the request of the applicant. The deadline for ordinary service is 30 days, fast service three working days and for express service, up to eight working hours from receipt of the application.

A new procedure for filing applications for the replacement of Bulgarian personal documents is envisaged through the automated information system for electronic services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Along with the option of using a qualified electronic signature, the applicant will be able to submit an application in electronic format and without using such a signature, enclosing with the application a copy of a valid document that the applicant wants to replace.

The new option requires a period of technological preparation, so it is expected that these amendments will enter into force on October 1 2020. When the application for the issuance of a Bulgarian personal document is submitted electronically, the document will be received personally after the identification of the recipient requesting the replacement of the document.

The amendments shorten the deadlines for issuing of Bulgarian personal documents when the request is lodged at a consular or diplomatic representation abroad. For ordinary service, the deadline is cut from 90 days to 45, and for fast service, 30 days.

The amendments make it possible for a Bulgarian personal document to be received outside the country personally by using a licensed postal or courier service provider.

Deadlines for issuing an identity document to a foreigner who has been granted asylum, refugee status or humanitarian status are introduced – for ordinary service, up to 30 days, and for fast service, up to 10 working days.

(Photo: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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