Can a Ukrainian citizen who entered Poland after February 24, 2022 and has only a Ukrainian ID (but no passport) go to another EU country for a few days and then return to Poland?

Starting June 11, 2017, based on the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2017/850 of May 17, 2017, holders of biometric passports issued by the Ukrainian authorities may cross the external border of the European Union without a visa provided that their total stay does not exceed 90 days within each 180-day period. 

Consequently, citizens of Ukraine holding a biometric passport, as visa-free travelers, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of March 9, 2016 on a Union code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), have the right to move freely within the EU for a period of 90 days after entering its territory. 

It follows from the above that a prerequisite for the aforementioned freedom of movement is the possession of a biometric passport. This condition is not exempted by the inclusion of a citizen of Ukraine under the Law of March 12, 2022 on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine in Connection with the Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine (‘specustawa’/Special Act). 

However, in the absence of a biometric passport, it is worth contacting the representative office of the European Union member state that is the destination of the potential short-term trip, in order to obtain accurate information about the conditions of entry and stay of Ukrainian citizens  in its territory. Individual countries may have introduced national-level facilities for the entry and residence of Ukrainian citizens in connection with the ongoing war on its territory. 

When a Ukrainian citizen who does not have a biometric passport returns to Poland, this causes a legal loophole. 

The stay in Poland of such persons is legal – as per practice there no border controls apply – but the very act of crossing the border does not comply with the law. 

Thus, entries and exits to Poland without valid documents are currently possible only due to an exceptional situation and special treatment of persons fleeing from Ukraine. 

According to the law, therefore, persons covered by the Special Act and not possessing valid documents are not allowed to travel until they obtain residence cards in the future.