How can you seek asylum?

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Asylum can be requested before the Bulgarian authorities in an oral or written form.

An oral application may be made by persons who are illiterate and cannot write.

If you are illiterate, you can ask the police officers with whom you are talking to write your oral application for asylum in Bulgaria. The police officers are obliged to write your oral application, and after that an interpreter speaking your language will read the text of the application for you; if you agree that the written text is the same as what you expressed orally, then you will be given the application to sign it.

As the police, however, rarely have interpreters available on the spot, in most cases assistance is provided by the free-of charge lawyers of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee who ensure interpreters. The lawyers of the Helsinki Committee work for the United Nations, and regularly visit the police detention facilities at the border and inland.

If you are illiterate, and you are already standing in front of an officer of the Agency for Refugees, you will not have any problems with the writing of your application, as the Agency will always use an interpreter when talking with you.

If, however, you are literate, you had better write yourself in your language the application for asylum. This will allow you to indicate in details the reasons why you left your country, and to describe your experiences and all the events that made you take this decision.

If you have any identity documents or other documents related to your refugee story, you should show them to the police officers or the officers of the Agency for Refugees.

If, when lodging the application for asylum you also submit original documents, the state officer receiving these documents must give you a written record signed by him which precisely lists the documents which you submitted. You must keep this record, as later on you will use it in order to get back your documents, unless the Bulgarian authorities have legal reasons to keep them.