Last update 25/08/2019
Asylum-seekers and refugees in Bulgaria have the right to send their children to school for free. In fact, Bulgaria requires parents and guardians to send children to school.
Deadlines for enrollment
Access to the education system shall not be postponed for more than 3 months from the date on which you filed your child's application for asylum. In exceptional cases, this period can be longer. If you file your child's asylum application at the beginning of the summer break, they can start school at the beginning of the new school year.
Children who are asylum-seekers, or who were granted protection in Bulgaria, can enrol in school throughout the whole academic year, but no later than 30 days before the end of the second school term.
Here are the dates for the end of the second half of the school year in 2020:
From 1st to 3rd grade: May 29, 2020
From 4th to 6th grade: June 16, 2020
From 5th to 6th grade in so-called sports schools: June 30, 2020
From 7th to 11th grade: June 30, 2020
12th grade: May 14, 2020
The dates for the end current year and the yearly vacations are available on the webpage of the Ministry of Education.
How to enrol
People under 18 cannot enrol in school by themselves. Their parents or legal representatives need to represent them and submit their documents.
The procedure varies depending on whether the child has а certificate or other proof of previous education.
Children without proof of previous education
If your child has no proof of going to school before, as a parent or a legal representative visit your local regional department of education office and submit an enrollment application to the head of the department.
Within 7 working days, the head of the regional department of education will direct the child to a school. Which school depends on where the child lives and your wishes.
Within 7 working days, the headmaster of that school will appoint a committee that will interview the child. They will decide which grade the child should join. The committee will ask questions about the subjects the child has studied in their country of origin and which grade they were in.
The regional department of education will provide an interpreter for this interview.
They will give you the results within 7 working days about the results from the interview. After that, in up to 3 working days, the headmaster of the school will issue an order that states the acceptance of your child in an appropriate grade.
If your child falls into the age groups of 1st to 4th graders, he/she will be enrolled in the respective grade without an interview.
Children with a certificate or other proof of previous education
If your child has proof of previous education, they do not have to go through an interview. However, the proof needs to be recognized by the appropriate regional department of education in Bulgaria.
To get it recognized, you as a parent or a legal representative should submit the originals of the following documents:
- An application form. You can download this application here or get the printed version at the regional department when you go there for consultation. The application form is in Bulgarian.
- A document proving school education. It can be a diploma or another certificate.
- A document stating the rights the school education document provides to continue one's education if that information is not mentioned in the school education document itself. You can get this document from the school or another institution that is responsible for issuing such a document in your country of origin.
- A reference or transcript for the subjects studied in the child’s previous school if the child wishes to continue his/her education in 8th through 10th grade or 10th through 12th grade. You should also get this document from the school or another institution that is responsible for issuing it in your country of origin.
- The original receipt that proves you paid the necessary fee when the documents have to be submitted to the regional department of education and not directly to the school. This is a regular paper that you get from the bank when you pay the fee. The fee is 25 or 35 leva, depending on the document.
These documents should be translated in Bulgarian by an official translator. Asylum seekers and refugees are exempted from the requirement to legalize the documents or to certify them via apostille.
You have to submit either the original documents or their notarized version. They could also be certified by the school that issued them.
The headmaster of the school may ask you for additional documents.
Submitting the documents
If the child will be enrolled in 1st through 6th grade, submit the documents at the school they will attend.
When the child is enrolling in 5th grade, the documents, proving the completion of 4th grade shall be submitted at the regional department of education.
If the child will be enrolled in the 7th through 12th grade, submit the documents at the regional department of education.
Who can help
If you live in a reception center for asylum-seekers, you can ask for help from the State Agency for Refugees social workers or NGO workers.
If you don't live in a reception center, you can seek support from: