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GMI Legal Update: Risk of closing the Polish border for travelers from Belarus or Russia


The possibility of traveling to Poland from Belarus or Russia may soon be limited or even completely suspended, according to the joint statement of the Ministers of the Interior of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia published after the consultation meeting on August 28, 2023 (the full text of the joint statement is available in Polish on the website of the Ministry of Interior and Administration: here). The same applies to the possibility of traveling from Belarus or Russia to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The ministers of the respective countries have declared their readiness to completely close their border crossings with Belarus and Russia if Belarus and Russia continue to pursue actions described as intentional attempts to destabilize the situation in the region.

The legal instrument that will likely be used to close the Polish borders with Belarus and Russia is the regulation of March 13, 2020 on temporary suspension or limitation of border traffic at certain border crossing points, which remains in force as of today and originally served to limit border traffic in connection with the pandemic covid-19. As regards travels of Russian citizens to Poland, the regulation already imposes certain restrictions as of today.

If the borders are closed, then most likely both land and air border crossings with Poland will be affected. It may be that specific categories of travelers will be exempt from the ban. However, it is unlikely that any measures will be adopted that would prevent travelers from Belarus or Russia from traveling to Poland via another Schengen country.

Download the PDF here.