New rules applicable to Ukrainian citizens

Stay and work in Poland

On 12 March 2022, the Act on Aid to Ukrainian Citizens in connection with the Armed Conflict on the Territory of Ukraine (the „Aid Act”) was enacted, granting numerous rights to Ukrainian citizens residing in Poland and simplifying procedures related to legalising the stay and employment of employees from Ukraine.

Warsaw, March 30, 2022

Main amendments

The right to stay in Poland for Ukrainian citizens who entered Poland from Ukraine legally after 23 February 2022, or at the time of the beginning of the war were legally staying in Poland is in most cases automatically extended by 18 months, i.e., until 24 August 2023 (detailed information below).

Citizens of Ukraine who on 24 February 2022 were legally staying in Poland, e.g., on the basis of visa-free traffic (or Schengen visa) may legally stay in Poland for a further 18 months, and their stay in Poland is automatically considered legal until 24 August 2023 without the need to take any further actions. National visas of Ukrainian citizens and temporary residence permits expiring after 24 February 2022, are extended until the end of 2022.

In order to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) and set up a trusted profile, an appropriate application should be filed with the local municipal office.

Simplified procedures

Employment of a Ukrainian citizen legally staying in Poland – the employment should be reported within 14 days to the District Labour Office via the portal: praca.gov.pl. Establishing business activity – every Ukrainian who legally stays in Poland and holds a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) may register a business activity in the local municipal office. A PESEL number (including access to e-PUAP and the trusted profile) is issued automatically upon filing an application in the municipal office by Ukrainian citizens fleeing to Poland to escape the war intending to stay here.

   

Q&A

What does a person fleeing the war in Ukraine need to do to be able to legally stay in Poland and how can an employer legalise the stay of a Ukrainian citizen?

Under the Act of 12 March 2022 on Aid to Ukrainian Citizens in connection with the Armed Conflict in the Territory of Ukraine (the „Aid Act”), all Ukrainian citizens who have legally entered the territory of Poland from Ukraine since 24 February 2022, i.e., since the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and declare their intention to stay in Poland, may, in compliance with Article 2.1 of the Act, legally stay in Poland for a period of 18 months (i.e., until 24 August 2023). There is no need to take additional actions to legalise the stay, a stamp in the passport confirming the date of entry suffices. These persons enjoy temporary protection for a period of 18 months.

 

The above rules apply to Ukrainian citizens as well as their spouses (but not to informal partners or cohabitees).

 

Note: these rules do not apply if after crossing the border an application for international protection has been filed, or an intention to file such an application has been declared. It is important to note that such an application may be withdrawn anytime.

What about persons who entered Poland earlier? How to extend their legal residence?

Citizens of Ukraine, who on 24 February 2022, were legally staying in Poland, e.g.: on the basis of visa-free traffic (or Schengen visa), can legally stay in Poland for a further 18 months, and their stay in Poland is automatically considered legal without the need to take further action until 24 August 2023.

Residence cards of Ukrainian citizens expiring after 24 February 2022, are extended for an additional 18 months. National visas of Ukrainian citizens and temporary residence permits expiring after 24 February 2022, are extended until the end of 2022 (Schengen visas – see above), with the reservation that neither a National Visa nor a Residence Card entitles to cross the border during the extension period. Entry into the territory of the Republic of Poland with the consent of the Commander of the Border Guard is automatically valid for 18 months (counted as of 24 February 2022 i.e. until 24 August 2023.

The above rules apply to Ukrainian citizens as well as their spouses (but not to informal partners or cohabitees).

What is the situation of Ukrainian citizens who come to Poland from countries other than Ukraine? For example, they crossed the Ukrainian-Slovak border and have just arrived in Poland?

After the amendment of March 26, 2022 to the „Aid Act”, the legal regulations on legalizing the stay of Ukrainian citizens have been simplified and does not distinguish whether person entered Poland directly from Ukraine or through other countries – it does not matter from which country Ukrainian citizens crossed the Polish border (whether from Ukraine or other countries, such as Slovakia). It is important that she or he left Ukraine on or after February 24, 2022.

What rights are granted to citizens of countries other than Ukraine, who are fleeing the war?

The rules for crossing the border are described below. In principle, individuals (both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian citizens) who have legally resided in Ukraine should be allowed into Poland without any problems. Extension of legal stay of citizens of other countries fleeing the war in Ukraine is possible under general rules. The Aid Act applies only to Ukrainian nationals, but third-country nationals may benefit from Temporary Protection or International Protection (see below).

How can a citizen of Ukraine be employed?

Under Article 22 of the Aid Act, a citizen of Ukraine legally staying in Poland can be employed without any problem. The only additional burden is the employer’s obligation to report the employment of a Ukrainian citizen through the portal praca.gov.pl to the District Labour Office within 14 days of the date of taking up employment by a given employee.

 

Please note that the employer’s remaining obligations concerning hiring an employee (both a Polish and a Ukrainian citizen) remain in force and concern both Polish and Ukrainian citizens, including: notification to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), employee medical examination, requisite health and safety training, confirmation of working conditions in writing, etc.

 

The citizens of Ukraine will be able to register at labour offices and be recognised as unemployed or seeking work.

it possible to employ a Ukrainian citizen who stayed in Poland before the outbreak of the war and did not have a work permit?

Yes, the lack of need to obtain a work permit applies both to individuals fleeing war, who crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border after 23 February 2022, and those who previously had the right to stay in Poland (including on the basis of visa-free traffic and entry for 90 days on the basis of a biometric passport), and their stay has now been automatically extended by 180 days (and in some cases to the end of the year). Any Ukrainian citizen legally staying on the territory of the Republic of Poland may take up employment, and the only additional formality (other than for Polish citizens) is to apply to the Poviat Labour Office (PUP) via a special form on the portal: praca.gov.pl.

How to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL)?

In the case of persons fleeing the war who entered Poland directly from Ukraine after 23 February it is sufficient to submit an appropriate application to the local municipal office in order to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL).

Can a citizen of Ukraine set up a trusted profile and use ePUAP?

Obtaining a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) allows to benefit from medical services, set up a business and, what is important, provides access right to the trusted profile ePUAP (providing an e-mail address and a phone number is needed when applying for a PESEL). The ID for using a trusted profile will be created automatically and will be sent by e-mail. The Aid Act does not regulate the matter of obtaining a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) by individuals who entered Poland before 24 February 2022 or those who did not arrive directly from Ukraine. In this case, it is necessary to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) according to the standard procedure and to submit an appropriate application.

Can a citizen of Ukraine open a bank account?

Yes, certainly. For this purpose, it will be helpful to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL).

Can a citizen of Ukraine set up a business?

Under Article 23 of the Aid Act, Ukrainian citizens who are legally staying in Poland may undertake and carry out business operations in Poland on the same terms as Polish citizens under one condition, which is to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) (please see above for details on how to do this). A Ukrainian citizen wishing to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PESEL) needs to file an appropriate application with the local municipal office (city/town office).

How to extend legal stay in Poland?

Individuals who fled the war and entered Poland directly from Ukraine crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border after 23 February 2022 will be able to apply for a one-off temporary residence permit for a period of 3 years. They will receive it without any additional conditions. Other individuals, i.e., those who have already stayed in Poland before or came from another country will be able to apply for a temporary residence permit on general terms, i.e., the application will need to be justified. However, acceptance of any applications for granting a temporary residence permit from individuals who have automatically obtained the right of residence for 18 months has been suspended for the period of 9 months. Therefore, in practice, the application referred to above may be submitted to voivoid office  the after the lapse of 9 months, counting from the date of arrival in Poland.

What is temporary protection? What does the Directive on „Temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons” imply?

The Council of the European Union has adopted, for the first time, an implementing decision establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine, as defined in Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and resulting in the introduction of temporary protection (See here).

  • The implementing decision covers all Member States (with the exception of Denmark), allowing Ukrainian citizens to choose the country of destination where they wish to enjoy temporary protection.
  • The implementing decision has direct effect – it does not require implementation.
  • A foreigner will be allowed to enjoy the rights and privileges of temporary protection in the state which issued his/her residence permit (residence card).
  • Temporary protection lasts for 1 year, however, it can be extended up to 2 years. At any time the Council of the European Union can terminate temporary protection (in case of cessation of armed conflict).
  • Temporary protections grants:
    • the right to stay;
    • the right to work in Poland (and to pursue business operations) without permits;
    • the right to benefit from medical care, assistance, accommodation and food – only if a foreigner is not employed (Article 112(4) of the Act on Granting Protection);
    • the possibility to obtain a certificate.
  • The protection extends to your family members, spouse, children, partner or other close relatives who have lived together as one family (i.e., more broadly than the Polish Aid Act).
  • To benefit from protection in Poland, you need to apply to the Head of the Office for Foreigners for a certificate. No fee is charged for issuing such a document.
  • Individuals covered by entitlements resulting from the Act on Aid are recognised as enjoying temporary (limited by time) protection by virtue of law.
What is international protection?

International protection is a special status that a refugee can be granted if they face persecution in their country of origin. Those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine are entitled to apply for such protection. Please note that during the procedure those who have applied will not be able to work in Poland for the first 6 months and will not be allowed to leave Poland.

 

There are two types of international protection: refugee status and subsidiary protection. The authorities examine the possibility of granting the refugee status and subsidiary protection in the course of the same procedure. This means that there is no need to submit two separate applications, it is enough to submit one joint application for international protection in Poland.

 

However, in the case of Ukrainian citizens, the protection and benefits resulting from the Act are more far-reaching and relying on the Act seems to be more convenient. For example: one cannot work until the application for refugee status has been examined. Note that the application for refugee status and international protection can be withdrawn.

What are the other changes to the law in Poland as a result of the war in Ukraine?
  1. Ukrainian citizens who hold qualifications as a medical doctor (MD) or dentist outside the territory of the European Union countries are allowed to practice the profession of MD/dentist for 18 months from 24 February 2022. The requirement is to meet the conditions arising from the Act of 5 December 1996 on the Professions of MD and Dentist.
  2. Ukrainian citizens who hold a qualification of a nurse or midwife are allowed to practice the profession for 18 months from 24 February 2022. The requirement is to meet the conditions arising from the Act of 15 July 2011 on Nursing and Midwifery Professions.
  3. In the school year 2021/2022, a person without Polish citizenship may be employed as a teacher’s aide. The requirement is the ability to speak and write in Polish at a level which allows to support a pupil who does not speak Polish at a level necessary for learning.
  4. Ukrainian citizens holding appropriate qualifications may serve as teachers in additional classes created to provide education, upbringing and care for children and pupils who are Ukrainian citizens.
  5. Access for Ukrainian children to Polish schools and kindergartens is guaranteed.
  6. Any entity or person that provides accommodation and meals to citizens of Ukraine, upon request, may be granted a cash benefit. The duration of the benefit is a maximum of 60 days, with the possibility of extension in particularly justified cases.
What benefits are available to Ukrainian citizens under the Polish Aid Act?

Citizens of Ukraine legally staying in Poland are entitled to:

  1. family benefit;
  2.  child-care benefit;
  3. “good start” benefit;
  4. family care capital;
  5. subsidies to cover the cost of a child’s stay at a crèche, children’s club or day care centre;
  6. cash and non-cash benefits according to the rules of social aid if a family member has returned to the territory of Ukraine in connection with the ongoing military operations;
  7. a one-off cash allowance of PLN 300 per person in a family intended for subsistence;
  8. access to health care services on the same basis as for persons covered by insurance (with exclusions e.g. health resorts, etc.);
  9. tax reliefs and exemptions.
What do I need to do in order to receive one-off PLN 300 allowance?

Citizens of Ukraine legally staying in Poland are entitled to a one-off cash benefit of PLN 300 per person in a family for living expenses. In order to receive it, you should submit an application in a place indicated by the head of the commune, the town or city mayor appropriate for the place of residence of the person entitled to the benefit. Such a place may be, for example, a social assistance centre. The application should be submitted in person or, in the case of a minor, by his/her statutory representative or the person who exercises actual custody over the child. For persons who do not have a Personal Identification Number (PESEL), it will be necessary to obtain it in advance. The application should include: name and surname, date of birth, citizenship, gender, type of document on the basis of which the person crossed the border, data from this document, information about the date of entering the territory of Poland, address of stay, contact details and PESEL number.

Who is entitled to an allowance for providing aid to those fleeing war?

Under Article 13 of the Aid Act, Polish individuals and entities that provide accommodation and food to Ukrainian citizens fleeing from war may ask for cash allowance in the amount of PLN 40 per day, i.e., approx. PLN 1,200 per month. The allowances will be paid for a maximum of 60 days. Details are not known yet, but it is likely that in order to receive the allowance, it will be necessary to conclude an agreement with the municipality.

Conditions of Ukrainian citizens’ arrival to Poland

Arrival to Poland on the basis of visa-free travel. Ukrainian citizens who have a biometric passport can cross the border of the Schengen area on the basis of a passport only, without the need for a visa. Due to the war people with documents other than passport are also allowed to entry Poland.

Men of recruiting age (18-60 years old) who are in Ukraine cannot leave the country due to the announced military mobilization. Men of this age who are outside Ukraine may enter Poland or the border of the Schengen Area.

Women and children who do not possess a biometric passport can cross the Polish border with any document confirming their identity. In such a case, the Commandant of the Border Guard grants permission for the entry and 15-day stay of such persons. Then, after entering Poland, foreigners will be able to extend their legal stay.

Documents needed to enter Poland: no documents are required for entry from Ukraine (consent of the Chief of the Border Guard). However, it is worth having biometric passport.

Entrance of children: children cross the border on the basis of their passport or birth certificate. Children must cross the border in the presence of an adult, and if the adult does not cross the border, the child must be collected on the other side of the border by another adult.

Length of legal stay: 18 months as of 24 February 2022, with a possibility to extend this term. 

How to further extend legal stay: apply for a temporary/permanent stay permit (the application can be submitted after the lapse of 9 months). For details see the website of the Office for Foreigners – Office for Foreigners – Gov.pl website.

Restrictions related to COVID-19: restrictions does not apply. Lifted obligation to: Present SARS-CoV-2 test and quarantine.

COVID-19 vaccination: upon arrival in Poland, Ukrainian citizens are entitled to free COVID-19 vaccinations.A map of vaccination points is available under this link.

Contact details

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us: mobility@maruta.pl or ukraina@maruta.pl. Our specialists are also available:


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