“They are leaving me without a job, without a livelihood, and without being able to travel and drive and go out of the country,” this alert was linked by a reader on Plovdiv24.bg with our editor. According to his story, he is a professional international driver who has been living abroad for 25 years and as he himself says “I only have a license for planes and trains”.
Since his driver’s license expired on September 11, he applied and paid a renewal fee a few days earlier. When he went to get his license, an inspector from the “Traffic Police” sector in Plovdiv told him that he could not be issued a new document, as he had not been seated for 6 months.
This requirement was mentioned in a directive of the European Union. Our reader has read the directive and claims that there is no such text there that limits him as to the time for which he can reside in a given country, but only for an address.
“I’ve read the directive in three different languages and there is no such thing as being settled.”
According to him, two addresses have been registered in his name in GRAO – one in Ireland and one in Bulgaria. Since he has not lived in Ireland for more than 10 years, he has gone to GRAO and deregistered there, but this did not change the requirement that he had been in the country issuing the document for 6 months.
This is what the man who is asking for assistance and a solution to the shocking situation explains.
“In order to change my driver’s license, I must have lived in Bulgaria for 6 months in the last 12 months. I read the directive, it says by place of residence – I pretend to live here (in Plovdiv). After removing the address in Ireland, I met with the inspector who told me that I can’t get a new document and go back to where I’ve lived so far. But I have no other address than in Bulgaria. I have a property in the Canary Islands, but I don’t live there permanently, there’s no way to get a license from Spain as well,” explains our reader and continues:
On September 19, I went and met the inspector and he explained the same thing to me again – I must have 6 months of residency. The directive mentions only the address at which a person is registered, and I have a current and permanent address only here in Plovdiv.
According to our reader, the police inspector told him to go back to Spain and get his new license there, or to come back in 6 months. The man has explained that he does not intend to leave anymore and has decided to stay here and work here. To his question, he was told that there was no way to give him a temporary driving document, as his license had expired, and he could not drive because the document was invalid.
“I asked him (the inspector – ed.) if after 6 months, if I come, I will be fined, since the license was not renewed on time, the inspector confirmed that I will be fined,” explained the victim.
The man also paid an 83 BGN renewal fee, which will, however, be returned to him at a later stage, after the check has shown that he cannot be reissued a new license.
Our reader asked what he would do for 6 months, and the clerk at the counter replied “it’s not our fault that you chose such a profession”.
“This is how they deprive me of legal administration without having committed any offense – I want to go home and work in Bulgaria. Now I have to think about returning there again, looking for a job and settling abroad. Although I removed the address from Ireland, they want me to settle again,” he added.
He explained that if he has a Spanish license, he has up to two years to replace it with a Bulgarian one, but in this case his document is Bulgarian. I have no intention of going back, and they are taking me back to where I decided to leave, because 25 years is enough. Now they are depriving me of legal rights and there is nothing I can do.
“The problem is that while I was there (at the Traffic Police) twice in 20 minutes, they returned at least 7-8 more people with the same case. Five years ago, I renewed my license and there was no problem – I got the document in 10 days. Do I have to return to Bulgaria for six months, I live everywhere, I travel everywhere, I don’t live in one place,” concluded our reader.
Plovdiv24.bg found the directive in question and there is no text on sedentarism except for learners. On the EU website – https://europa.eu/ however, it says: “You must apply for a driving license in the country of your habitual residence. As a general rule, this is the country where you live for at least 185 days each calendar year for personal or professional reasons.” However, nowhere does it say that residency is a prerequisite for issuance.
Expect the comment of “Road Police” – Plovdiv.
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