Information regarding laws regulating contact between Bulgarians and foreigners; and laws with respect to marriage between Bulgarians and foreigners [BGR8161]

According to a professor with the Institute of Soviet and East European Studies at Carleton University, Bulgaria formerly had laws which restricted contacts of Bulgarians with foreigners (Interview 20 March 1991). These included requirements to obtain permits in order to house a foreigner within a Bulgarian's home or to hold a meeting with foreigners. Marriages to foreigners were also strongly discouraged. This latter statement is corroborated by a 1986 Helsinki Watch report (Helsinki Watch 1986, 21). The professor believes these laws have now been abolished, although he was uncertain of the current practice of authorities with respect to relations between Bulgarians and foreigners (Interview 20 March 1991).
A lawyer with the International Human Rights Law Group in Washington indicated that interaction between Bulgarians and foreigners is not currently an issue in Bulgaria, and that generally, people do not feel reluctant to deal with foreigners (Interview 19 March 1991). The source noted that in small villages this could be different as there may be more suspicion of foreigners among the local populace.
The "1990 Human Rights Report" from the U.S. Department of State does not indicate any restrictions on interaction between foreigners and Bulgarians, and further states that a number of representatives from international human rights organizations visited Bulgaria in 1990 and were "free to contact local human rights organizations and to explore human rights developments" (U.S. Department of State 1991). This is in contrast to the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1987 which states that (in 1987) "government discourages private contacts with persons and organizations in the West" (U.S. Department of State 1987, 995). The 1990 report also states that a number of emigres returned to the country and some ran as candidates in the June elections (U.S. Department of State 1991).
There is no further information currently available to the IRB Documentation Centre regarding Bulgarian laws which regulate contact between Bulgarians and foreigners.

Helsinki Watch Committee. November 1986. Violations of the Helsinki Accords. New York: U.S Helsinki Watch Committee.
Lawyer, International Human Rights Law Group, Washington. 19 March 1991. Telephone interview, Ottawa.
Professor of Soviet and East European Studies, Institute for Soviet and East European Studies, Carleton University. 20 March 1991. Telephone interview, Ottawa.
U. S. Department of State. 1 February 1991. "1990 Human Rights Report," U.S. Department of State Dispatch. (NEXIS)
U. S. Department of State. 1988. Country Reports for Human Rights Practices in 1987. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.