After what time and on what terms people who came to Poland from Ukraine after February 24 will be able to apply for the resident status?

As a rule, a foreigner may obtain a long-term resident’s EU residence permit if:

a)      resides in Poland legally and continuously for at least 5 years immediately before submitting the application;

b)      has a stable and regular source of income sufficient to cover the costs of living for himself and his family members;

c)      has health insurance and

d)      has a confirmed knowledge of the Polish language.

An application for a long-term resident’s EU residence permit should be submitted during a legal stay in Poland.

Persons who came to Poland from Ukraine from February 24, 2022 enjoy temporary protection in Poland on the basis of:

1. the Act on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine (“Special Acts”) or

2. the act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland.

All these persons have the right to stay legally in Poland for a certain period of time, but the scope of their rights and obligations differs, also with regard to the possibility of applying for a long-term resident’s EU residence permit.

Persons covered by the “Special Act”

Citizens of Ukraine (and some members of their families who do not have Ukrainian citizenship) who:

1. came legally to Poland from Ukraine from February 24, 2022 in connection with military operations in Ukraine and

2. declare their intention to stay in Poland,

stay legally in Poland until June 30, 2024.

These persons may apply for a temporary residence and work permit, a temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting business activity, a temporary residence permit for the purpose of performing work in a profession requiring high qualifications. However, it is not possible to apply for a temporary residence permit in other cases. In addition, if the applications of Ukrainian citizens for a temporary residence permit, but they do not meet the conditions for granting this permit (justification for the purpose of stay in Poland, longer than 3 months) or there are some premises justifying the refusal, such persons will be granted a temporary residence permit for a period of 1 year from the date of the decision.

After the expiry of this permit, a Ukrainian citizen (or a member of his family) will have to legalize his stay on general terms. In order to apply for a long-term resident’s EU residence permit, he will have to prove that he stayed in Poland legally and continuously for 5 years immediately before submitting the application.

The 5-year period of stay may include the period of legal stay in Poland on the basis of the “Special Act” and stay on the basis of the above-mentioned temporary residence permit for Ukrainian citizens (and their family members).

Attention! Proceedings on granting a long-term resident’s EU residence permit will not be initiated if, on the day of submitting the application for this permit, the foreigner is staying in Poland in connection with obtaining temporary protection. Therefore, persons who have entered Poland since February 24, 2022 and enjoy the rights resulting from the “Special Act”, but have already stayed in Poland before (and their stay in Poland can still be considered uninterrupted), cannot submit an application for a permit for the stay of a long-term EU resident as long as they enjoy temporary protection.

Persons covered by the Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland

Other persons who came to Poland from Ukraine from February 24, 2022, who enjoy temporary protection in Poland, i.e.:

1. third-country nationals granted international protection in Ukraine (and their family members) or

2. third-country nationals who have a permanent residence permit in Ukraine and cannot return to their country of origin,

who are staying in Poland legally, have not been given the opportunity to apply for a special temporary residence permit – unlike Ukrainian citizens and their family members.

Moreover, if they are staying in Poland on the basis of temporary protection, these persons cannot:

1. apply for a temporary residence permit (except for a temporary residence permit for victims of human trafficking) and

2. apply for a long-term resident’s EU residence permit.

Thus, a foreigner enjoying temporary protection in Poland under the Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland has significantly limited possibilities to legalize his stay in Poland after the end of the period of temporary protection.

If he remains in Poland, despite the end of the temporary protection period, and does not obtain another residence title, his stay in Poland will be illegal. Meanwhile, in order to apply for a long-term resident’s EU residence permit, it is necessary to prove that the foreigner has been staying in Poland legally and continuously for 5 years immediately before submitting the application.