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April 29, 2023

Commission Requires Bulgaria to Lay Down a Uniform Format for

The Commission of the European Union has called on Bulgaria to comply with the Regulation on establishing a uniform format for residence permits issued to nationals of third countries.

According to the Commission, Bulgaria has failed to issue residence permits for third-country nationals according to the new version of the uniform format that had to be enforced until July 10, 2020.

For this reason, the EU body decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria, requiring it to meet all the rules that have been set on the Council’s Regulation on residence permits for third-country nationals, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“Today [April 19], the European Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria for failing to issue residence permits according to the new version of the uniform format, which had to be implemented until July 10, 2020,” the statement of the Commission reads.

This specific Regulation was amended back in 2017 to introduce a new card format for residence permits supplied with upgraded secured features as well as a new, safer design.

According to the Commission, failure to implement the new format of the residence permit for third-country nationals may lead to increased cases of forgery, and for this reason, Bulgaria must start applying changes as soon as possible.

Now that the Commission has made its call, Bulgaria has a period of two months to respond as well as take all the necessary measures. In case Bulgaria fails to provide a satisfactory response, the Commission said that it might decide to refer the case to the European Union Court of Justice.

The Regulation says that it is important that the uniform format for residence permits issued to nationals of third countries contains all the necessary information as well as meets very high technical standards, especially regarding safeguards against falsification and counterfeiting.

“This will contribute to the objective of preventing and combating illegal immigration and illegal residence. The format should also be suited to use by all the Member States and bear universally recognisable harmonised security features, which are visible to the naked eye,” a part of the Regulation reads.

In order to improve the protection of residence permits issued to third-country nationals against falsification and counterfeiting, the EU Member States and the Commission are required to consider at regular intervals what modifications should be made to the security features.

Member States are also required to appoint a single entity to print the uniform format for residence permits while retaining the possibility to change that body if needed.