Problems with LTR for non-eu girlfriend

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mememe
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Postby mememe » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:19 am

Thanks Mark and especially M_W for his long and informative post. The 'recent' changes in immigration law took place in February 2011, btw.

The final outcome? Well, we arrived at the MBP Pernik office at 12.00 yesterday and showed the declaration to the uniformed immigration officer at the desk. He read it and told us that that the declaration was only valid if you were married. I told him this was not right and asked to see the Nachalnik. Then I phoned the ex-minister's wife and she spoke to him and put him straight, so to speak. I think I saw his face visibly blanche as they were talking. Apparently, the immigration office said that they had carried out immigration inspections at our address and no one had been there on each occasion. I am sceptical of this but again, my helper put him right saying that there is no onus on any foreign resident to be living in BG full-time and anyway, we also have a flat in Sofia. I don't know where the officer got the idea of carrying out inspections from from as I wasn't aware that the immigration department were charged with carrying out inspections on LTRs.

The Nachalnik was at lunch so we went back, as suggested, at about 13.00 and the Nachalnik was still at lunch. He finally arrived back at his office at 13.30 and we spoke with him in his office. He spoke quite good Russian and both I and my girlfriend could easily understand him. I told him that we had been told that it was possible for a non-EU citizen of a non-married couple who had completed a declaration (which he had now read) stating that the relationship was ‘enduring’ to be given long-term residency of Bulgaria. He and the uniformed immigration officer then started to pore through their rules and regulations and finally found the correct article of law, which is article 10, btw. I told him that the Director of immigration had already confirmed this to me but he told me that the director had phoned him but had just told him that we would be visiting their office on Thursday.

The Nachalnik then told me that he wished everything to be 'quite correct' and so for this, he wanted an interpreter to be present. We found a very good one in Pernik centre – a man called Orli, who could not only speak good English, but also quickly understood what needed to be done and then arranged things so that they could be done in the minimum of time. Orli completed the application form for us, took us to a notary to obtain a notarised declaration that I would support my girlfriend while she was resident in Bulgaria and we also went to the bank and paid the state fees of 7 leva + 36 leva.

We took all the documentation back to the immigration desk at about 16.40 and after a wait of about 10 minutes we were given a ‘talon’/receipt for the application submission. First of all (today, I think) my girlfriend will be given the simple white card (the old-style residency card for foreigners) and then 3 working days later she will be given the normal photocard residency card. She has also gone to the MBP office this morning for them to take a photo of her for the card and we were told that the card will expire on the same date as mine, in August 2014, just before which we will make another application to renew them.

So we got there in the end - but I have to say that without outside influential help and advice I don’t think that we would have achieved our aim. We probably would not have even got past the initial refusal to accept that it was possible without being married as the uniformed immigration officer had seemed pretty adamant about it.

Orli said that when the Nachalnik spoke with him he was extremely polite, which was most unusual. He says he does a lot of interpreting/translation work for the police and immigration departments and never before has he experienced such extreme politeness, which I suspect was as a result of the higher intervention.

So that''s about it - Mission accomplished but even with influential help it was a bit of a struggle. I'm optimistic that following this recent little saga, we will be remembered in Pernik and will have no more problems in the future. I also hope that the same can be said for anyone else in the same situation who chooses to process through the Pernik office but I am so not confident about that.

Cheers all!

mememe

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Postby gimlet » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:21 am

Excellent news! Congratulations. :D

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Postby mememe » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:18 am

gimlet wrote:Excellent news! Congratulations. :D


It's never over till the fat lady sings, gimlet....

My girlfriend has just come back from MBP, Pernik and they didn’t take her photograph. They broke all the promises made yesterday and did give her the temporary long term residence card but one which is only valid until November the 4th (3 months). They told her that she MUST return to Bulgaria after the 13th of September (she goes back to Russia on August the 31st) to have her photo taken and then 3 working days later she will be able to collect her photocard residency card. If she doesn’t do this before November the 4th, then the residency will be declared ended and we would have to start the process all over again from a D-visa. They say that this is because they need time to check the documents and information. They also refused to accept the proof of payment having been made to the bank of 36 leva.

This is becoming crazy again! I get the impression that they are now quoting various previously unmentioned rules and stating that these have to be met just to cause the maximum inconvenience to a person who they know does not spend all their time in Bulgaria. To come back to Bulgaria will be almost impossible as my girlfriend has to work under contract for the St-Petersburg State University and holidays during term time are difficult, if not impossible, to arrange and she works 6 days per week. There is also the matter of travel costs and lost earnings from her other private classes to consider.

I also sadly find it quite BELIEVABLE that they seem to be able to change promises made and adopt rules and regulations as the mood takes them. Being a suspicious person, I fear I also know what the next inconvenience will be. Should my girlfriend be able to travel to BG in September (which is unlikely), they will then ask her to provide all sorts of useless documents from Bulgaria and Russia. They will also say “Well, we DID write to you at your house, so you must have got out letter”, knowing very well that we will not have received it because they know we don’t live here full-time. And so the ridiculous story will continue....

Needless to say, I have already re-contacted my fantastic lady helper who, reassuringly, seems to be polishing up the barrel on her twelve-bore.......

Watch this space!!
:lol:

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Postby haddockman » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:32 am

It is totally maddening to hear your story. You and your GF have my sympathy.

I thought it was bad enough as a EU citizen trying to register and get the photo ID. Being pushed from window to window loads of useless documents needed and best of all the machine for making the cards was not working so another day wasted. It took me 3 days to do what should have taken 1 day.

I hope you get sorted out soon with the least fuss and expense possible.

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Postby MarkMc » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:14 pm

Sounds like a disaster there at the immigration. I still think there should have been 2 ways for her to get the visa, either as your partner or renewing the investor visa (I know the law changed, but people granted that type of visa before should be able to renew).
Just to let you know our experiences here in Varna, although I know your situation might be different.

We had 2 Americans at the school both whose 1 year ID cards ran out in May/June. Both had this as small investors under the old rules.
One of them started the renewal process before the end of the ID card date and it wasnt a (big) problem in the Varna office. The 2nd one left it too late and applied a few days after it expired and it was a big problem.

My wife (Ukrainian) was given a 5 year ID card on the basis of our relationship. It was relatively easy to get as we had a marriage certificate. We've used this to travel around the EU as well.

Let me know how it all pans out and good luck!

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Postby gimlet » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:09 pm

Should my girlfriend be able to travel to BG in September (which is unlikely), they will then ask her to provide all sorts of useless documents from Bulgaria and Russia. They will also say “Well, we DID write to you at your house, so you must have got out letter”, knowing very well that we will not have received it because they know we don’t live here full-time. And so the ridiculous story will continue....


Well, fair play, the MVR seem to be playing it by the book. They have given her temporary residency. Three months sounds about right for an "extensive investigation". Since she has got a full time job in Russia there must be some doubt as to whether she will be resident in Bulgaria. 6 months a year seems to be the minimum required by the Citizenship Directive.

Since Taiwanese do not require visas is there any real problem with her visiting for 3 months at a time? That would also avoid any knock on problems with her residence in Russia.

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Postby Moscow_Wolf » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:49 pm

gimlet wrote:
Since Taiwanese do not require visas is there any real problem with her visiting for 3 months at a time? That would also avoid any knock on problems with her residence in Russia.


Actually, that one is a very interesting point as well. Russia has clamped down considerably over the last 5 years, they even managed to kick me out and I thought that I was water tight. I was even surprised at the long queues at Luton Airport Immigration or Border Control late on a Saturday night. I used to just get waived through, not any more though, full passport scan and the old face check; not even mobiles allowed to be switched on before passing this test. It reminded me of all those old Nazi war films I used to watch where everyone appeared to be a potential enemy.

Was such a mild relief to laugh with the Bulgarian Immigration Officers over my Digital Temporary Residence Card as there is NO street address on it. I explain, Namya Ulitsa e Namya Tok at which they all burst out laughing. Well, you have to try to lighten the mood do you not.

Ps. Excuse the weak transliteration of my Bulgarian, I speak it far better than I can write it. :lol: (slightly).

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Postby mememe » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:15 pm

I was going to post this after the final result was known, which will be after tomorrow (Monday) afternoon - but I am rather enjoying building up the waves of expectation and promises. ....... which are then swiftly followed through with what actually happened.....

So....

On Friday, a couple of hours after I had my last contact with my helper, I had a phone call from one of her employees (she is travelling for a few days), telling me that if we go to the MBR Pernik office again with a photocopy of the receipt and the temporary white card (both of which they gave us, of course), and also hand over the 36 leva bank payment receipt which we had paid previously, then 3 working days later my girlfriend will receive her photocard LTR..

So that's the fires of expectation well stoked up.... I'll be back again anon with the potential waterfall of reality... :D

Incidentally, to those of you who have suggested she could just settle for the visa-free 90/180-day option, there is a firm possibility that we may relocate permanently to BG in the not-too-distant future. Not because of any Russian visa difficulties as my girlfriend has residency there and I have a reliable, cheap and easily renewable Russian visa. But the former will disappear into the ether if we move, which is why this situation has to be resolved satisfactorily.

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Postby mememe » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:00 pm

Sorry for the late update - I've been busy working on my house renovation.

Well, we went to the Pernik immigration office as suggested and not only did the uniformed immigration office not know anything about the information my helper had obviously had some grounds for passing on, but he reaffirmed that if we came back in about a month, my girlfriend could have her photo taken and collect her card 3 working days later. As previously mentioned... not much use to her.... The immigration officer also denied that he had ever, EVER said she could have photo taken and have it in 3 days....

Enter translator (Orli - as mentioned, a very good chap) who, having exited left with us into the Nachhalnik's office, was happy to confirm that the uniformed immigration officer has said exactly that. I asked the Nachalnik why this should be - to which he replied that he might have said it but they had since consulted with Sofia and a month for the 'extensive investigation' (The article of law says 'До' (up to) 3 months - I've read 'em) was doing us a favour.

We then said that my girlfriend had to leave on the 31st of August and asked him for a slightly bigger favour... The Nachalnik, after some chin scratching, said that if we could provide a copy of her air ticket (no problem) then he would make a further concession and if we appeared at his office at 09.00 sharp on the 22nd of August, armed with air ticket copy, bank payment receipt etc etc, then they would snap her and the photocard could then be collected on the 26th.

I think that's 6 visits to the office so far - Let's hope that the 7th and 8th run exactly according to plan.. :lol:

I wonder what the 'extensive investigation' in Taiwan will turn up? My girlfriend hasn't lived there for almost 20 years, having left her homeland to study at university in Motherland Russia. Also any information from Russia being obtained in less than a month now BG has gone the EU route? Little hope there either for them, I fear..... :D

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Postby lyn » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:14 pm

Mememe, it might be easier to change your girlfriend. :lol:


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