Schengen Visa News

EU Calls on Bulgaria & Germany to Start Using New Format for Residence Permits for Non-EU Nationals

The European Commission has urged the authorities in Bulgaria and Germany to start using the new format of residence permit cards for non-EU citizens.

In 2017, the European Commission amended the regulation in order to introduce the new format for residence permit cards that also included upgraded features that rely on biometric data in order to prevent fraud. However, the new format has not been used by authorities in Bulgaria and Germany, according to the European Union Commission, reports.

Recent violations by both countries of EU laws were revealed in the European Commission’s breaches package in September, through which the Commission takes legal action against all countries within the bloc that do not comply with their obligations under EU law.

“Today the Commission is sending formal notification letters to Bulgaria for its failure to implement and to Germany for not properly implementing the new card format for residence permits for non-EU nationals (Regulation (EC) 1030/2002), the statement published by the European Commission reads.

The new residence permits in Bulgaria had to be implemented by July 10, 2020; However, the EU Commission found that the new format was still not implemented by the authorities in Sofia.

“In some cases, Germany still issues residence permits, EU blue cards, and cards for intra-company transfers in the form of stickers, with unlimited validity for cases of exceptional hardship. The statement published by the EU Commission revealed that the sticker does not include facial biometrics or fingerprints. , making it difficult to verify the identity of the holder.

If, within two months, Bulgaria and Germany have not taken any concrete measures in this regard, the Commission may issue a reasoned opinion.

However, Bulgaria and Germany are not the only two EU countries that have urged the Commission to comply with EU laws.

Earlier this year, the Commission sent a formal request to the Hungarian authorities, calling on them to comply with EU asylum law after the breach proceedings were opened in November.

Hungary received the latest warning to comply with EU asylum law; Otherwise, the Commission will take the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The announcement was made in the package of infringement decisions issued by the European Union Commission in February 2021.

In 2020, the European Commission sent reasonable opinions to the governments of Lithuania, Slovakia and Croatia, calling on the authorities of these countries to follow the laws of the European Union. At the same time, the Commission sent an official letter of notification to Bulgaria, urging leaders in Sofia to replace their national bases with EU law that, among other things, takes care of the rights of passengers who have had to cancel their travel arrangements due to the coronavirus situation.

“These national rules violate the provisions of the EU directive and impair consumer rights,” the commission noted at the time.

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