On 14 April, the Polish President signed another amendment to the Special Act on Assistance for Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with the Armed Conflict on the Territory of that Country and some other acts. This time, the scope of the amendment is larger and includes changes of an organizational and supplementary nature. Importantly, some of the changes concern not only Ukrainian citizens who came to Poland after 24 February 2022, but also other foreigners who came to Poland earlier and are waiting for documents legalizing their stay. Below is a summary of the most important changes:
- Until 31 December 2022 the time limits for the processing of cases concerning the legalisation of residence will not start and those started will be suspended. The actions taken in these cases to date are effective. It is worth noting that this provision applies not only to Ukrainian citizens, but to all foreigners applying to legalize their stay;
- The Minister for Foreign Affairs will indicate, by way of regulation, the details of how to apply for a national visa without the need to go through a consul. Among other things, the regulation will provide a list of countries whose citizens may benefit from this entitlement. This solution is intended to help legalize the residence of citizens of countries other than Ukraine who have escaped from its territory due to the armed conflict. Obtaining this national visa will entitle its holder to apply for a temporary residence permit valid for three years after the expiry of the visa;
- Procedures for obtaining a PESEL number have been improved. For example, on behalf of a sick or disabled person, the application for a PESEL number can be submitted by one of the parents, guardian or probation officer, and in the absence of any such person, a PESEL number can be assigned ex officio. Moreover, for a person who due to a health condition or disability is not able to submit the application in person, the municipality office will make it possible to submit the application and take fingerprints at his/her residential address. The deadline for registering the PESEL number has also been extended from 60 days to 90 days after entering Poland;
- Granting medical care to a foreigner who is benefitting from temporary protection will be conditioned upon the foreigner’s possession of health insurance on other terms. The regulation will help to avoid the duplication of payments related to the medical care of foreigners;
- Certificates of temporary protection for people covered by the Special Act will be cancelled by the Head of the Office for Foreigners who issued them. Foreigners should be notified of the cancellation and return the certificate within 15 days of the date of receiving the notification;
- Polish citizens who are spouses of Ukrainian citizens and who arrived in Poland from Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict will not be covered by the provisions of the Special Act – under the previous regulations, these persons were granted the status of UKR in the PESEL register and biometric data was collected from them.
The changes come into force retroactively from 24 February 2022. According to the government’s announcements, this is not the last amendment to the Special Act. Follow our blog, where information about further changes will appear on an ongoing basis.
Emilia Kalecka, Associate
Justyna Helbing, Intern