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Bulgaria / Supreme Administrative Court / 13985/2016

Ms H v the Chief of Migration Division of Sofia Directorate of the Interior

Policy area:
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Administrative Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

Ms H, a chinese citizen, is appealing the decision of the lower administrative court, which left her appeal against a notification by the chief of Migration Division (сектор „Миграция“) of Sofia Directorate of the Interior (Столична дирекция на вътрешните работи) without consideration and closed the judicial review proceedings. The notification concerned Migration Division’s negative opinion on an application for family reunification with Mr Sh, Ms H’s husband. The negative opinion allegedly violated their right to personal and family life, as the family could not be reunited. Mr Sh had previously served a prison sentence in Bulgaria and received a prohibition to enter the country.   

Outcome of the case:

The Court reiterates that the right to family life is a fundamental human right and looks at the domestic legal regulation of family reunification. In this sense, the Court finds that, although the right of a foreigner to enter and reside in a country is not guaranteed as such, not allowing him/her into a country where his/her family lives could be seen as violation of his/her right to family life. Thus, the right to family reunification is related to the right to family life, as seen also by the EU Family Reunification Directive. Therefore, if the right to reunification is not recognised by the competent authorities, family members should be able to protect their rights before the court. Thus, Ms H could appeal the negative opinion of migration authorities, practically barring her family reunification. SAC repealed the lower court’s refusal to consider Ms H’s appeal and returned the case to the lower court to continue proceedings.