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Work Permit Applications

The following text serves as a general guideline and is based solely on our own experience. For further details we strongly advise you to contact an immigration specialist.

As you are probably aware, Bulgaria became a member of the EU in 2007. This means, that Bulgarians will not be able to exercise free labor rights in the UK until 2014, at the latest. Until then, Bulgarians have to undergo a registration process and still obtain a work permit in order to be able to be employed in the UK. For students the process is relatively straight forward, but time consuming.

The following paragraphs outline the basics steps that should be taken.

Registration Certificate BR1 (relevant to students)

We strongly encourage you to obtain a BR1 certificate immediately after the commencement of your studies in a UK university. BR1 certificate can be downloaded from the link: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/bulgariaromania/formbr1.pdf

This permit allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during term time. You may work for more than 20 hours per week during term time if you are on a course of vocational training and a work placement is considered to be a necessary part of the course.

In addition, you may work for more than 20 hours a week during your vacation periods and the four months immediately following the completion of your course. This does not apply when you chose to leave your course before its completion.

In other words, if you would like to work during your studies or you need to take on an internship, you would need to have the BR1 certificate.

To obtain the certificate in addition to your filled in BR1 form, you need to enclose proof from you university that you are a current student, your original ID or passport and a bank statement for the last three months showing you have sufficient funds not to become a burden to society. Usually, around £1500 will be enough. You than have to send all these documents plus three recent passport size photos to the Home Office:

UK Border Agency Bulgaria and Romania Caseworking
PO Box 4160
Sheffield
S1 9DZ

Waiting periods vary between one and three months. However, you should call the Home Office at regular intervals to check the progress of your application.

National Insurance Number (NIN)

Once you have your BR1 certificate, you will need to obtain a National Insurance Number prior to commencing your employment. This is done by booking a one-to-one interview, by calling 0845 600 0643. Usually interview appointments are arranged for no more than a week after your call date, depending on location. At the actual appointment you would have to show the following documents:

  • ID card or Passport
  • Your BR1 certificate or any other valid work permit you may possess.
  • Student ID card or proof from your University that you are a current student.
  • Any official job offers you may have.
  • Proof of address (utility bills for e.g.)

It is preferable that during the booking process you always ask what documents you have to bring with you. These may vary among applicants.

You will know if your application is successful within one month, at most.

Registration Certificate BR2 (relevant to graduates)

Once you have successfully completed your course and you have been awarded Bachelors, Masters or a PhD degree from a recognized university in the UK, you can apply for the Highly Skilled Migrant Worker program with the BR2 form. This enables you to work indefinitely on the territory of the UK. You can find the form on this link: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/bulgariaromania/formbr2.pdf

Again, you should send to the Home Office two recent passport-size photographs and your ID card or Passport, with your original diploma and grade transcript. In case you do not have your original certificate, you need to enclose an official letter from your university, which clearly indicates your name, the degree you have been awarded, accompanied by a transcript. All of the documents should be sent to

UK Border Agency Bulgaria and Romania Caseworking
PO Box 4160
Sheffield
S1 9DZ

Waiting times vary between four and six months, but the process could be accelerated if you need to urgently commence employment or travel abroad.

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