After July 31, 2023, special arrangements for foreigners related to the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer apply. This will take place as a result of the revocation of the state of epidemic threat in the territory of the Republic of Poland. In this article, we discuss the most important changes regarding the legal situation of foreigners in terms of their further legalization of stay.
On the basis of the Act on special solutions related to the prevention, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them, commonly referred to as the Covid Act, special solutions have been introduced, including solutions for foreigners, allowing to avoid the spread of the epidemic.
According to the Covid Act, the stay of a foreigner in a situation where the last day of the allowable period of stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of, among others:
- fell in the period from March 14 2020, his stay in this territory was considered legal by the power of law until the end of the 30th day following the date of revocation of the last state which was in force. During the extension of the legality of stay, no new visa sticker was affixed to the foreigner's travel document, no new residence card or other documents were issued, and no applications were required to legalize the stay.
Other special solutions concerned the access of foreigners to the Polish labor market. If the last day of validity of the work permit fell during the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemic announced in connection with COVID-19 virus infections, the validity period of the foreigner's work permit was extended by the power of law until the end of the 30th day following the date of cancellation of this state, which was in force last. Similarly, the period of work without a work permit in connection with a declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner was extended.
The last state in force in connection with the pandemic was the state of epidemic threat, which was revoked on June 30 2023, while the 30-day period of the extension period expired on July 31 2023. Therefore, a foreigner must legalize his stay in order to continue legally staying in Poland. Legalization of stay is possible by obtaining a visa entitling to enter and stay in Poland, or by obtaining a temporary or permanent residence permit or a long-term resident of the European Union. A visa is obtained at Polish consular offices, while an application for a residence permit may be submitted without leaving the territory of the Republic of Poland at the foreigners' affairs department of the voivodship office competent for the foreigner's place of residence. In a similar way, till July 31 2023 the foreigner's work should be legalized by obtaining a work permit or a declaration of entrusting work.
It should be emphasized that the legal situation of persons enjoying temporary protection in Poland on the basis of the Act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict in the territory of that state, commonly referred to as the Special Act, is different from the situation of other foreigners. The stay of persons from Ukraine who legally came to Poland in the period from February 24 2022 in connection with the armed conflict in Ukraine and declare their intention to stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland is considered legal until March 4 2024 (in accordance with the current legal status at the time of writing this article). This day, March 4 2024, also applies to persons from Ukraine who are not among the beneficiaries of the Special Act, and who are in Poland, e.g. on the basis of a national visa, a Schengen visa issued by a Polish authority or a visa issued by another Schengen country, a temporary residence permit or under visa-free travel regime, if the last day of their stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland falls from February 24 2022. To learn more about the stay of Ukrainian citizens, visit our website ("Refugees from Ukraine" tab), call our helpline number: +48 725 449 374 or consult with the department for foreigners of the voivodship office where you currently live.
This category of persons does not include a citizen of Ukraine who is in Poland on the basis of the above-mentioned residence titles, and the last day of his legal stay falls before February 24 2022 - in this case, the relevant provisions defining the legality of his stay will be included in the Covid Act, to which the first part of this article is devoted.
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