UNHCR started its work in Bulgaria in 1993, after the signing of the Accord de Siege with the Bulgarian authorities. UNHCR supports the Bulgarian Government and civil organizations working in the field of protection of refugees and asylum-seekers, advocates for further development of the national protection system within the framework of the Common European Asylum System and in line with international standards. As part of its activities UNHCR conducts monitoring of border areas, detention and reception conditions in government operated facilities, provides sustainable capacity-building and organizes awareness raising activities, provides in multiple languages information on the rights and obligations of asylum-seekers and refugees, supports legal and social aid programs and is involved in legislative processes related to the asylum and integration policy of Bulgaria.
The Law on Asylum and Refugees (LAR) regulates the reception of asylum-seekers, the assessment of their claims and their rights upon recognition. The Law on Foreigners (LoF) is applicable to persons who have not submitted a claim for international protection or whose claims have been finally refused.
The State Agency for Refugees (SAR) is responsible for registering and examining applications for protection.
There are 6 reception facilities in the country, managed by SAR, 1 of which is currently not used. The SAR is also managing one closed type facility where asylum-seekers are detained. The Directorate of Migration (DM) within the Ministry of Interior administers 2 immigration detention facilities (SCTAFs – Special Centers for Temporary Accommodation of Foreigners).