An asylum application may be made either before the specialised asylum administration, the SAR, or before any other state authority, which will be obligated to refer it immediately to the SAR. Thus, asylum can be requested on the territory, at the borders before the Border Police staff, or in detention centres before the Migration Directorate staff of the Ministry of Interior. The asylum application should be made within a reasonable time after entering the country, except in cases of irregular entry or residence when it ought to be made immediately. Failure to make an application within a reasonable time or immediately in those cases can be a ground for rejecting it as manifestly unfounded under the Accelerated Procedure.
If the asylum application is made before an authority different than the SAR, then status determination procedures cannot legally start until the asylum seeker is transferred from the border / detention centre and accommodated in any of the SAR’s premises for registration to lodge the claim in person. Under the law, this personal registration is to be implemented in any of the territorial units (see Types of Accommodation) of the SAR and within 3 working days after the making of the asylum application. Exceptions to this deadline are allowed only in cases where the asylum application is lodged before a different government authority or institution, in which case the deadline is set at 6 working days.
No significant delays were noted with respect to the release and registration of asylum seekers who applied while in immigration detention centres. After rising from 9 days in 2016 to 19 days in 2017 despite the substantial decrease in new arrivals, and then decreasing back to 9 days on average in 2018, the average Duration of Detention in 2020 decreased to 8 calendar / 6 working days. Registration took place without any delay compared to the established EU minimum standard.
At the end of the process, the asylum seeker receives a registration card (регистрационна карта) in paper format. The registration card is not issued to subsequent applicants, however.
Moreover, the SAR must inform the State Agency for National Security (SANS – Държавна агенция “Национална сигурност) of the registration of every asylum application. The SANS then conducts security assessments based on interviews with applicants, which are often held as soon as they are arrested by police, border and immigration officers. In practice, the SAR follows these assessments without conducting further investigations and rejects applications accordingly, even when the information is classified. In the past, the Administrative Court of Sofia has ordered the SAR to assess and verify the facts and the security concerns based on which the applications were rejected, however no such cases has been brought and dealt before the courts recently.
 Article 58(4) LAR.
 Article 4(5) LAR.
 Article 13(1), items 11-12 LAR.
 Article 61a(1) LAR.
 Article 61a(1) LAR in conjunction with Article 58(4) LAR.
 Article 6(1) recast Asylum Procedures Directive.
 Article 76c(3) LAR.
 Administrative Court of Sofia, 9th panel, Decision 2814, 24 April 2019; 14th panel, Decision 4841, 10 July 2019.