Due to the current epidemiological situation, the Act providing for, among other things, special solutions for foreigners in Poland has entered into force. The provisions will enable people who want to realise their current purpose of stay or cannot leave Poland due to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to stay legally in Poland.
Under the solutions for foreigners introduced, until the 30th day following the date of the withdrawal of the state of epidemic threat or the state of epidemics (depending on which will be announced as the last) the following will be prolonged:
- legal stay of foreigners on the basis of national visas and temporary residence permits, which would end during the state of an epidemic or the state of state of epidemic threat,
- the deadline for submitting applications for legalisation of residence,
- validity of already issued work permits, seasonal work permits and declarations on entrusting work to foreigners.
Additionally, the following deadlines will be postponed:
- for leaving the territory of Poland by foreigners,
- for voluntary return as defined in decisions obliging the foreigner to return.
Prolongation of legal stay
The prolongation of the legal stay of a foreigner staying in Poland on the basis of a national visa and a temporary residence permit will concern situations in which the last day of the legal stay will fall within the duration of the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemics. This will therefore be the period from 14 March 2020, when the state of epidemic threat was announced. Then the period of legal residence in Poland will be extended by virtue of law by the 30th day following the date of the withdrawal of the state of epidemic threat or the state of epidemic (depending on the state which was last in force).
The prolongation of the legality of the stay will not involve placing a new visa sticker in the travel document of the foreigner or issuance of a new residence card. A foreigner will not be able to travel within the territory of other Schengen States on the basis of such an extended stay. However, they will be able to pursue their current purpose of stay in Poland, e.g. to work. The work and seasonal work permits and the permitted period of work will be extended on the basis of the statement on entrusting work to the foreigner. He will also be able to leave Poland without the risk of entering illegal stay.
Prolongation of the time limits for the submission of applications
New provisions provide for extensions of time limits for submitting applications for residence permits, for visa extensions and for extensions of stay under visa-free travel if the time limit would fall within the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemics. So far, these applications can be submitted to voivodeship offices by the 30th day following the date of the withdrawal of the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemics (depending on which one is announced last). The stay of a foreigner in Poland during this period will be considered legal provided that they submit an application for legalisation of their stay within the extended period.
The above solution will apply to foreigners, who would like to apply for:
- granting a temporary, permanent or long-term EU resident residence permit,
- prolongation of a national visa (D symbol) or Schengen visa (C symbol),
- visa-free travel extensions – only for citizens of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Singapore and Uruguay, since the visa waiver agreements only with these countries provide for this possibility.
Prolongation of the time limits for leaving the territory of Poland
The Act contains a solution which constitutes the basis for extending by law the time limits for leaving the territory of Poland under Article 299 par. 6 of the Act on Foreigners (e.g. in connection with the delivery of a final decision on the refusal to grant a temporary residence permit) if they would fall within the state of epidemic threat or the state of epidemics. They will be prolonged by the 30th day following the date of withdrawal of that state, which was in force as the last one.
Prolongation of the time limits for voluntary return as set forth in decisions obliging a foreigner to return
It is assumed that the prolongation under the law of the time limit for voluntary return specified in the decision on obliging the foreigner to return, the end of which would fall within the period of the state of an epidemic threat or state of epidemics. As in the case of the other solutions contained in the Act, the time limit will be prolonged by the 30th day following the date of withdrawal of the state which was in force as the last one.
Situation at the border
Current information on the situation at border crossings and restrictions on crossing the Polish border can be found on the Border Guard website: https://www.strazgraniczna.pl/.
Due to the development of the epidemiological situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened a helpline on border crossing possibilities. Information can be obtained by calling number: +48 22 523 8880.