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GMI Legal Update: How to avoid being unlawfully deprived of UKR status – new guidelines for Ukrainian citizens leaving Poland for less than 30 days


Citizens of Ukraine with the so-called UKR status, i.e. covered by temporary protection in Poland based on the so-called Ukrainian Special Bill, should each time present their electronic document and declare their intention to continue using temporary protection in Poland when they return to Poland after a short stay abroad. Otherwise, they may be unjustifiably removed from the UKR register and in practice lose the possibility of exercising rights related to the UKR status, despite the fact that they stayed outside Poland for less than 30 days (and in the light of the provisions of the Special Act, only staying abroad for more than 30 days entails the loss of the UKR status).

The above follows from the explanations of the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration presented in response to the inquiry of the Polish Commissioner for Citizens’ Rights. According to the Ministry’s explanations, the risk of unjustified loss of the UKR status results from technical conditions regarding the flow of information between various registers in which the data of foreigners entering Poland are recorded. Therefore, the Ministry recommends that Ukrainian citizens entering Poland should themselves make sure that their entry is recorded in the appropriate register by the Border Guard. The Border Guard had published the same recommendations on its website as early as January 2023 (which was pointed out by the Commissioner for Human Rights in his inquiry to the Ministry).

The inquiry of the Ombudsman and the response of the Ministry of the Interior are published on the website of the Ombudsman, here.

In the event of unjustified loss of the UKR status by a Ukrainian citizen who stayed outside Poland for less than 30 days, it is possible to regain this status, with retroactive effect from the moment of its loss. This requires taking additional steps at the commune office and in practice it may be difficult if a Ukrainian citizen does not have evidence confirming that his stay outside Poland did not actually exceed 30 days.