According to the Special-purpose Act, the departure of a Ukrainian citizen from Poland for more than 30 days deprives him/her of his/her entitlements. Can I migrate to Ukraine or the EU for only 30 days within a period of 18 months?

According to Article 11(2) of the Special-purpose Act, the departure of a Ukrainian citizen from the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period exceeding 30 days deprives him/her of the entitlement referred to in Article 2(1).

According to Article 2(1) of the Special-purpose Act, the Ukrainian citizen referred to in this provision shall stay in Poland legally until June 30, 2024.

Thus, a Ukrainian citizen legally residing in Poland under the “special act” who leaves Poland for more than 30 days, loses the legal stay in Poland granted under this act. Therefore, he or she is no longer entitled to medical care, benefits and social assistance related to this stay. However, he still has the right to work in Poland, provided that his stay in Poland complies with the law (legal).

The above-mentioned rights are not lost in the event of leaving the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period of more than 30 days if you are a person assigned to perform work or services outside the Republic of Poland by entities operating in the territory of the Republic of Poland.

The legislation provides for the possibility of re-establishing UKR status as a result of arrival on Polish territory from Ukrainian territory in connection with hostilities conducted on the territory of that country. This entry should then be documented or registered in the register of Ukrainian nationals who arrived on the territory of the Republic of Poland from the territory of Ukraine in connection with military operations conducted on the territory of Ukraine, kept by the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard.

If this entry occurred across the Polish border, which is the external border of the Schengen area, the re-establishment of UKR status is automatic. 

Re-assignment of status can also occur as a result of a renewed application for a PESEL number. The competent authority for the registration of the above data is any municipality’s executive body, as was the case when the PESEL number was first applied for. When the application for a PESEL number is resubmitted in accordance with the Special-purpose Act, the number already held will be updated by adding the UKR status back to it.

There are no grounds for claiming that a Ukrainian citizen cannot leave Poland for more than 30 days in the period until June 30, 2024. Article 11(2) of the Special-purpose Act should be understood as referring to a single departure from Poland. Therefore, in order to maintain legal residence in Poland on the basis of the Special-purpose Act and related entitlements, each departure of a Ukrainian citizen outside Poland should not last longer than 30 days.

Article 11(2) of the Special-purpose Act does not specify the direction of departure from Poland. Therefore, it should be considered that this provision shall be applicable regardless of where the Ukrainian citizen left (and therefore also to other EU countries).

A Ukrainian citizen with a UKR PESEL is not obliged to stay in Poland. He/she may leave Poland at any time in any direction. However, if the citizen of Ukraine wishes to exercise his/her entitlements under the Special-purpose Act, he/she should not leave Poland for longer than 30 days.

It should be remembered that a Ukrainian citizen who stays in Poland on the basis of the Special-purpose Act is considered a person enjoying temporary protection. In principle, Ukrainian citizens are free to choose the country where they wish to enjoy temporary protection. However, temporary protection rights can only be exercised in one EU country.

Legal basis (22.04.2022):

  1. „Specustawa”, czyli ustawa z dnia 12 marca 2022 r. o pomocy obywatelom Ukrainy w związku z konfliktem zbrojnym na terytorium tego państwa, art. 2 ust. 1 i 6, art. 11 ust. 2 i art. 22 ust. 1 pkt 2.
  2. Decyzja wykonawcza Rady (UE) 2022/382 z dnia 4 marca 2022 r. stwierdzająca istnienie masowego napływu wysiedleńców z Ukrainy w rozumieniu art. 5 dyrektywy 2001/55/WE i skutkująca wprowadzeniem tymczasowej ochrony, motyw 15 i 16.