What to do when you arrive in Poland with a Ukrainian car?

General information: At the moment, vehicles of persons from Ukraine are in practice treated as vehicles in international traffic on the basis of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968, which was signed by both Poland and Ukraine. A vehicle is considered to be in international traffic when:

1) belongs to a natural or legal person whose permanent residence is outside Poland,

2) is not registered in Poland,

3) was temporarily brought to Poland.

What to do when you arrive in Poland with a Ukrainian car?

Currently, in practice, it is assumed that refugees from Ukraine meet all these conditions, so upon arrival in Poland there is no necessity to undertake any steps to legalise the vehicle in the country of arrival. Moreover, it seems that if someone manages to register the vehicle in Poland, they will not meet all the conditions to be covered by the Convention, so it may not be advisable to register the vehicle. As long as the vehicle meets the requirements allowing it to be driven in Ukraine, such as car registration or valid technical inspection, it is also allowed to be driven in Poland under the convention.

Do I have to register it somewhere, change or translate the registration certificate?

This is problematic; the driver of the vehicle should carry the vehicle registration issued in Ukraine. However, according to the Convention, this proof should be written in the Latin alphabet in order to be recognised in other countries. Examining the pictures of Ukrainian registration cards on the Internet, some of the key data required by the Convention are written in Latin characters, but others are written in Cyrillic characters, which may raise difficulties with their recognition. Although I have not found on the Internet that anyone has encountered this problem, the issue only arises when attempting to register the vehicle. If one wishes to register such a vehicle in Poland, one would have to have its registration certificate translated by a sworn translator. Therefore, it seems that in practice, a Ukrainian vehicle registration certificate (even if written down entirely in Cyrillic) is sufficient to legally drive this vehicle. In these circumstances, the registration certificate does not need to be replaced or translated (the question of translation is not entirely certain due to the problem described above).

Do I need a Green Card – insurance – and if so, do I need to renew it? 

Every vehicle travelling on the roads in Poland must have compulsory third-party insurance. Such insurance is confirmed by a Green Insurance Card, but this can only be obtained in Ukraine, before arrival in Poland. If one has crossed the border without a Green Card, one needs a so-called border third-party insurance, issued for a period of 30 to 365 days. It can be purchased at the border, from the insurer, or via a helpline. If the Green Card has expired during one’s stay in Poland, border insurance must also be obtained. It is worth noting that some companies (e.g. Alianz, Warta, PZU, Ergo Hestia) offer free border insurance for 30 days for people entering from Ukraine.

Is my driving licence valid in Poland or do I need to have it translated, renewed or exchanged?

Under the Convention, anyone who holds a driving licence issued in Ukraine is also entitled to drive in Poland. As long as that person can drive a car in Ukraine, his/her driving licence is also recognised in Poland. In the case of a driving licence, there is no problem with the requirement of the alphabet in which it is written, as no such requirement has been applied, it can be entirely in the Greek alphabet. Driving licences do not need to be renewed, translated, or replaced. As a rule, anyone who has commenced permanent or temporary residence and uses a foreign driving licence should exchange their licence for a Polish one after 6 months.

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