Civil registration

Bulgaria

Country Report: Civil registration Last updated: 21/04/21

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

No identity documents can be issued unless the individual is registered in the civil national database (ЕСГРAОН) with the exception of certain categories, including asylum seekers.[1] Identification on the basis of a valid document is a pre-condition for exercising almost any personal right envisaged, especially relating to housing, social support or assistance, health insurance and care, access to employment etc.

The registration in ЕСГРАОН is mandatory to the beneficiaries of international protection.[2] Based on it they are given a unique identification number (единен граждански номер, ЕГН). Only after this registration can beneficiaries apply to be issued identity documents.

In order to be registered in the national database, any individual has to have inter alia a domicile.[3] However, newly recognised beneficiaries who have lived in reception centres are no longer permitted by the SAR to state the address of the respective reception centre as domicile. Therefore since the end of 2016 beneficiaries cannot provide a valid address or domicile, as they cannot rent a place of residence without a valid identity document. This legal ‘catch 22’ has led to continuous malpractice, including false renting and address registrations for the sake of enabling beneficiaries to obtain identity documents insofar as the valid identity document is a pre-condition to exercising their rights.

Child birth registration

The same rules as for nationals apply to the civil registration of birth of a descendent of an asylum seeker or beneficiary of international protection. Residency requirements do not apply with respect to birth registration. The registration of a new-born child is made within 7 days following the day of the delivery.[4]

The registration is made on the basis of a written notification of birth issued by the maternity hospital or clinic where the mother delivered the baby. The father declares the birth at the local municipality administration either in person or by a person authorised by him. In cases when the father is deceased, unknown or unable to appear in person for various other reasons, the statement can be made either by somebody present at the time of birth or by the mother. The required documents for birth registration and issue of the child’s birth certificate are proof of identity of both parents and the notification of birth issued by the maternity hospital.

The registration of birth is free of charge.

Marriage registration

Marriages in Bulgaria are subject to a residency requirement.[5] Therefore at least one of the spouses must be either a Bulgarian citizen or a long-term or temporary resident of Bulgaria.

Foreigners need to prove that they do not have another marriage registered in their country of origin. Only beneficiaries of international protection are exempted from this requirement, which is substituted by a civil status certificate issued by the SAR based on prior notarised statement by the beneficiary. This means that marriages cannot be registered by asylum seekers due to the lack of identity documents necessary to make notarised statements.[6]

According to general legislation relating to family arrangements, only civil marriages are legally valid in Bulgaria.[7] The religious ceremony is optional and can be performed only after a civil ceremony has taken place. The religious ceremony itself has no legal effect.

The legal age for getting married in Bulgaria is 18 years. People under that age, but who have already turned 16, may get married with the permission of the Chair of the Regional Court. An application for a permit to marry must be submitted at the Regional Court where the couple resides; if they do not both reside in the same region, they may choose which court to apply to.

 

 

[1]Article 29(1)(7) LAR.

[2] Articles 100-115 Law on Civil Registration.

[3] Article 92(2) Law on Civil Registration.

[4] Article 42(1) Law on Civil Registration.

[5]Article 76(2) Code on Private International Law.

[6] Article 40(3) LAR, since the asylum registration card does not certify the identity of the applicant. This follows Article 6(3) recast Reception Conditions Directive.

[7]Article 4 Family Code.

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