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#ALERT: Special bill – Ukrainians will obtain visas in Poland, Belarusians will legalize their stay more easily (if a minister issues an additional regulation)


The government accelerated work on further amendments to the special bill on helping Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war. The Polish Parliament will start work on the bill today (6 April 2022).

According to earlier announcements, the draft was meant to clarify problems that emerged in the application of the special bill in practice. However, the changes related to the stay and employment of foreigners go much further – some of them (e.g. in the field of issuing visas) are a revolution.

The most important changes for the stay and employment of foreigners included in the draft are:

  • suspension of the deadlines for processing cases regarding residence permits for foreigners until 31 December 2022 – at the same time the Immigration Office will not bear the consequences of delays;
  • issuing visas for foreigners already residing in Poland (without submitting an application at a Polish consulate abroad) – groups of foreigners eligible for obtaining visas will be specified in a separate regulation;
  • simplification of the criteria for a residence permit based on running a business in Poland – for Ukrainian citizens who are registered as individual entrepreneurs in Poland;
  • possibility of obtaining a residence permit for a period of 3 years on simplified terms for holders of humanitarian visas – in practice the eligible foreigners are mainly citizens of Belarus, but the list of countries will also be determined in a separate regulation;
  • specification of the procedure for obtaining a PESEL identification number by people who fled Ukraine before the war, e.g. in a situation where a foreigner already had a PESEL number from the period of previous residence in Poland;
  • possibility of earlier submission of applications for temporary residence by Ukrainians who fled to Poland due to the war and work as drivers in international transport – for this group of foreigners it will not be necessary to wait 9 months from the moment of arrival to Poland before submitting the application.

We can expect further changes to the content of the draft during parliamentary work.

Many of the ideas contained in the project had not been previously announced and were not included in public consultations. Our team takes part in proposing further amendments to the draft.

It is planned that the draft will pass quickly through the legislative process in the parliament. This means that changes can come into effect even within a few days.

However, the practical implementation of some of them requires both the issuance of additional regulations and, for example, the preparation of infrastructure by the administration.