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  • Q&A for Ukrainians fleeing the war - Woloszanski & Partners Law Firm

    Q&A for Ukrainians fleeing the war

    The Ukrainian language version ???????? is available in the attached document below.
    Home Q&A for Ukrainians fleeing the war. Share it with your Ukrainian friends
    Ukrainians who entered Poland before 2022 February 24

    If a Ukrainian citizen (or foreigner from the territory of Ukraine) entered Poland before February 24, they are allowed to stay in Poland until the end of the year. Is that right?

    That’s right. If the last day of the period of stay of a citizen of Ukraine in the territory of Poland, based on a national visa, temporary residence permit, residence cards, etc., falls within the period from 24 February 2022 onwards, the period of stay based on those documents and the period of validity of those documents shall be extended by law until 31 December 2022.

    Ukrainians who entered Poland from other countries (not directly from Ukraine)

    If Ukrainians are now entering the territory of Poland from other countries, does a Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with an Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine apply to them?

    Yes, in accordance with the amendments to a Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with an Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine that were introduced on March 26, 2022 the Law also applies to Ukrainians entering Poland from other countries other than Ukraine (not only to those who came directly from Ukraine as it was before).

    Refugee status vs returning to Ukraine

    Can obtaining refugee status in Poland lead to difficulties in returning to Ukraine after the war?

    Refugee status provides the foreigner for certain obligations, among others an obligation to inform the Office for Foreigners about their will to return to the country.

    However, we want to emphasize that due to the new Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with an Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine, it is not necessary to obtain refugee status to be eligible for benefits for Ukrainians fleeing war.
    In this case there should be also no restrictions on returning to Ukraine (according to the information provided by the Office for Foreigners). However, one should remember that, at this point, the departure of the Ukrainian citizen from Poland for more than a month will deprive them of the right to legal residence in Poland resulting from the new Law (regardless of whether they have refugee status).

    Access to benefits for Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war

    Must Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war obtain refugee status to benefit from procedural simplifications?

    No, they are not obliged to do so. The situation of such persons is regulated in Poland by the Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with an Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine. According to it, all that is needed is to register upon arrival in Poland or apply to any municipal office no later than 60 days after arrival in Poland and obtain a PESEL (Polish acronym for „Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population”) number.

    How should a Ukrainian citizen register if they want to work and benefit from health care, daycare, etc.?

    If the Ukrainian citizen, on entering Poland, was not registered by the Commander of the Border Guard checkpoint during border control, they will have to submit an application in any municipality no later than 60 days after arriving in Poland. Refugee status will not be required to take up employment or receive public benefits under the provisions of the act.

    The above-mentioned Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with an Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine provides for assigning PESEL numbers to Ukrainians. Applications on this matter should be submitted from 16 March 2022 in any municipality office. Consequently, the Ukrainian citizen will be able to use Polish public services (receive social assistance and medical care, take up education or establish a business).

    The entire procedure of obtaining a PESEL number and a search tool allowing you to find the address of a municipal office closest to your location is available here: https://www.gov.pl/web/gov/otrymay-nomer-PESEL-ta-dovirenyy-profil-posluha-dlya-hromadyan-Ukrayiny-u-zvyazku-zi-zbroynym-konfliktom-na-terytoriyi-tsiyeyi-krayiny. The whole content is in Ukrainian.

    Expired, invalid, damaged or lost documents confirming identity

    Is it mandatory to have a valid Ukrainian passport to stay in Poland and benefit from the rights granted to Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war?

    No, it is not obligatory. To obtain a PESEL number (which allows access to Polish public services), one can also provide an expired document, and in the absence of any documents, a PESEL number may be obtained based on a mere statement. Any Ukrainian document confirming identity is recognised, regardless of whether it is valid, invalid or damaged.

    If the Ukrainian passport has expired, is it possible to get a new passport in Poland now?

    Yes, it is possible. To renew a Ukrainian passport in Poland or to obtain a new document, one should submit a passport application to the appropriate Ukrainian consulate in Poland.

    Temporary residence permit for Ukrainians in Poland

    Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with an Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine has introduced aids for obtaining a temporary residence permit.

    A citizen of Ukraine who has arrived in Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine after 24 February 2022 is granted a temporary residence permit upon request. It is granted for up to 3 years at a time.

    In the procedure for granting the permit, officials take into account only whether the Ukrainian citizen actually falls under the provisions of the Law (i.e. whether they arrived directly from the territory of Ukraine and whether this occurred after 24 February this year) and whether there are no special obstacles to the issuance of such a permit (e.g. it is required for reasons of national defence or security).

    The application for a temporary residence permit shall be submitted by the citizen of Ukraine no earlier than after nine months from the date of entry into the territory of Poland and no later than within 18 months from 24 February 2022. An application submitted before the expiry of 9 months from the date of entry into Poland will not be considered.

    A temporary residence permit is granted by the voivode competent for the place of stay of the Ukrainian citizen on the day the application is submitted. A citizen of Ukraine who has been granted a temporary residence permit through the above-mentioned procedure is entitled to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland without a work permit.

    In other respects, the current regulations apply.

    Car re-registration

    Is it necessary to re-register cars that enter Poland after February 24, 2022?

    At this moment, there is no need to re-register cars, as Ukrainians can drive in Poland on Ukrainian licence plates.

    They can re-register them if they want to, of course. However, the general problem with re-registration of foreigners’ cars is that the old procedure is still in force, and it requires, among others, customs clearance for the car, a residence card and a visa – all of which, obviously, are extremely difficult to fulfil at the moment. We have found that the municipal office plans to introduce a new legislation that would regulate that topic concerning Ukrainians fleeing war.

    We will keep monitoring the situation to determine when it will be introduced.

    The latest information as of March 28, 2022.

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