The current hostilities in Ukraine have caused not only the citizens of Ukraine but also foreigners residing in Ukraine to flee the country. Some among them had no documents entitling them to enter the territory of the European Union, and crossed the border on the basis of a permit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard, allowing them to enter Poland for a period of 15 days. Pursuant to these permits, the period of their legal stay in Poland will soon come to an end.
Citizens of countries other than Ukraine are not covered by the provisions of the Act on Assistance for Ukrainian Citizens (with an exception of the spouses of Ukrainian citizens). Therefore, the aforementioned individuals should promptly take steps to legalize their stay in Poland.
Choosing the right course of action depends on whether or not you can safely return to your home country.
1. If it is impossible for you to return to your home country for security reasons, you may:
- Apply for international protection (refugee status) in Poland. To learn more, read the guidelines here >>>
- Benefit from a temporary protection. Temporary protection is extended to third-country nationals residing in Ukraine who fled the country after 24 February 2022, provided that they had been granted refugee status in Ukraine (or that such status had been granted to their immediate family members). Temporary protection will also be available to individuals who have held a valid permanent residence permit in Ukraine and are able to demonstrate that they cannot safely and permanently return to their respective home countries.
2. If you can safely return to your home country but decide to stay in Poland, you may also consider applying for a temporary residence permit in Poland. It is paramount to submit a valid temporary residence application before the end of the 15-day period of your legal stay in Poland. If you are unable to make an appointment at the appropriate authority within 15 days of your entry to submit the application, send it by post with proof of posting. You will then be asked to complete any outstanding formalities in the application. To learn more about the procedure, read the guidelines here >>>
If you are a family member of a Ukrainian citizen who fled the country after February 24, 2022 due to hostilities, do not worry. You are covered by temporary protection and your legal stay is extended.
If you do not wish to submit any of the above applications, your stay after 15 days from the date of entry may be considered illegal. This may involve the initiation of deportation proceedings against you (obligation to return). Remember that during the period of validity of your residence permit, you can also leave Poland and other Schengen countries without any negative consequences.