Registration of the asylum application

Bulgaria

Country Report: Registration of the asylum application Last updated: 23/02/22

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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 2021 decreased to 7calendar / 5 working days. Registration took place without any delay compared to the established EU minimum standard.[6] However, the national asylum agency, SAR continued to refuse registration of asylum seekers who approached independently its reception-and-registration centers (RRCs) and to transfer them to immigration detention centers in violation of the law. This concerned 196 newly arrived asylum seekers, among whom families with minor children and pregnant women. The registration of these asylum seekers in immigration detention centers is carried out within the same day.

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.[7]

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. The national courts notoriously refuse to check or verify the facts raised by the SANS as security concerns in individual cases. As a result, the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Bulgaria has been regularly violating the right to an effective remedy.[8]  Recently the Administrative Court of Sofia City has ordered the SAR to assess and verify the facts and the security concerns based on which the applications were rejected in several cases.[9]

 

[1]  Article 58(4) LAR.

[2]  Article 4(5) LAR.

[3]  Article 13(1), items 11-12 LAR.

[4] Article 61a(1) LAR.

[5]   Article 61a(1) LAR in conjunction with Article 58(4) LAR.

[6]   Article 6(1) recast Asylum Procedures Directive.

[7] Article 76c(3) LAR.

[8]  ECtHR, Al-Nashif and other v. Bulgaria, Case N50963/99, 20 September 2002; Musa and other v. Bulgaria, Case N61259/00, 11 January 2007; Hassan v. Bulgaria, Case 54323/00, 14 June 2007; Bashir and other v. Bulgaria, Case N65028/01, 14 June 2007; C.G. and other v. Bulgaria, Case N1365/07, 24 April 2008.; Raza v. Bulgaria, Case N31465/2008, 11 February 2010; Kaushal and other v. Bulgaria, Case N1537/08, September 2010; GC and other v. Bulgaria, Case N1365/07, 24 June 2008; O.D. v. Bulgaria, Case N34016/18, 10 October 2019 ; M.A. and other v. Bulgaria, Case N5115/18, 20 June 2020.

[9]   Administrative Court of Sofia City, 9th panel, Decision 2814, 24 April 2019; 14th panel, Decision 4841, 10 July 2019; 43rd panel, Decision 3141, 14 May 2021; 67th panel, Decision 5694, 11 October 2021; also Supreme administrative court, 4th panel, Decision 55, 19 July 2021.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation