Special Law – scope of aid for the citizens of Ukraine

On 12 March 2022, the President of Poland signed an act of law governing the aid to be provided to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the military conflict in the territory of this country[1]. The purpose of the act is to create a special legal basis for assistance provided to citizens of Ukraine who, as a result of the war, were forced to leave their country and arrive in Poland. The solutions introduced upon the Act entered in force on the date of its promulgation, with retrospective effect from 24 February 2022.

Who does the Act apply to?

Article 1 of the law provides that the Act applies to:

  • the Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine in connection with the acts of war taking place in said territory,
  • the Ukrainian citizens holding the document known as “Karta Polaka” [Pole’s Card] who arrived in Poland because of the acts of war together with their closest family,
  • foreigners – spouses of Ukrainian citizens provided that they arrived in Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine in connection with the acts of war taking place in said state.

Major issues:

The Law defines, without limitation:

  1. the rules for residence of Ukrainian citizens in Poland,
  2. the rules for employment of Ukrainian citizens,
  3. the rules governing business activity undertaken by Ukrainian citizens,
  4. the scope of aid provided by province governors, local government units and other entities,
  5. setting up the Assistance Fund to finance or co-finance the aid to be provided to citizens of Ukraine.
  6. the rights and obligations of Ukrainian citizens.

The list of rights and obligations

Among the rights and obligations provided for in the act, the following should attract special attention:

  1. the right of legal residenceof the citizens of Ukraine who arrived in Poland directly from Ukraine in the period from 24 February 2022 until the future date defined in the administrative regulation of the Council of Ministers. Residence is considered legal over the period of 18 months following 24 February 2022.
  2. the obligation to file an application for registration of a Ukrainian citizen if he/she entered the territory of Poland and was not registered by the Border Guard during the border control. In this case the application for registration should be filed within 60 days of entering the territory of the Republic of Poland. The application should be filed personally with the commune authorities, bear authentic, legible signature of the applicant, or an employee of the authorities based on data provided by the applicant. Persons who file the application will be assigned, ex officio, the personal number PESEL, which additionally gives them access to the trusted profile (to this end, a phone number and email address in Poland should be provided).
  3. the right to be assigned the personal number (PESEL). Applications can be filed with any commune authority, starting from 16 March 2022. New application forms were made available by the Minister of Digitization at:https://mc.bip.gov.pl/ogloszenia/wzor-wniosku-o-nadanie-numeru-pesel-w-zwiazku-z-konfliktem-na-ukrainie.html. Said application is also the application referred to in sec. 2 above. The application for assigning the PESEL number should be accompanied with a photo (35 mm x 45 mm). The commune authorities may offer the possibility to have the photo taken free of charge.
  4. the right to file an application for temporary residence for the period of 3 years. This applies to Ukrainian citizens whose residence in Poland is or has been recognized as legal under the Act. The application can be filed before the end of 9 months from the entry date at the earliest. The permit is issued by the governor of the place of residence of the Ukrainian citizen on the date of filing the application. A foreigner who obtains the temporary residence permit is also issued a residence card.
  5. the right of continued residence– by the force of law, the period of residence based on visas and temporary residence permits for those who entered Poland before 24 February 2022 is extended until 31 December 2022.
  6. the right of free access to the job marketfor Ukrainian citizens whose residence was recognized as legal. The employer is only obliged to notify the district employment office about employing a Ukrainian citizen within 14 days of undertaking such employment by the Ukrainian citizen. The notification is made via the ICT system: gov.pl.
  7. the right to take up and operate business activity according to the same rules as those applicable to Polish citizens, provided that the PESEL number has been assigned. All formalities connected with running a business are to be the same as those required from the Polish citizens.
  8. the right to get support in the area of family benefits, parental benefits or family care capital.Obtaining the benefits depends on fulfilment of some additional requirements. In most situations, the benefits can be obtained by filing an online application with the Social Insurance Institution. In this respect, a trusted profile is recommended, which enables complying with the requirements online. It should be noted that the benefits are paid to a bank account only. Thus, it is necessary to open a bank account with a Polish bank. Some banks offer a simplified procedure for opening a bank account.
  9. the right to one-off cash benefit of PLN 300 per person, intended for upkeep, especially to buy food, clothes, shoes, personal care products and cover housing fees. The local governor or town mayor of the place of the beneficiary’s residence is the body competent to deal with the aspects of the one-off cash benefit. To obtain the money, an application must be filed with the commune social aid center competent over the place of residence of the beneficiary. The application can be filed after the PESEL number has been assigned.
  10. the right to get medical careaccording to the same rules and of the same scope as the citizens of Poland who are subject to mandatory or voluntary health insurance. The benefits will be financed by the National Health Fund.
  11. the right of education– to enroll a child in school, application should be filed with the headmaster of the public primary school in the place of the child’s residence – children will be accepted ex officio, other primary schools and schools of secondary education – depending on availability of places.

We hope that provisions of the Act will facilitate provision of efficient assistance to persons to whom the Act applies, and they will thus have their basic needs satisfied.

Additionally, there is more and more information about potential amendments to the Act, as regards the groups of persons authorized to benefit from the aid afforded by the Act – this applies to elimination of the obligation of direct Poland-Ukraine border crossing. In this case the protection offered by the Act could also be used by those who previously crossed the borders with Hungary, Romania or Moldova.

[1] Journal of Laws of 2022 Item 583.


Tomasz Srokosz Partner, Katowice

E: tomasz.srokosz@pl.Andersen.com
T: +48 32 731 68 52
M: +48 512 286 226

Katarzyna Komulainen Partner, Warsaw

E: katarzyna.komulainen@pl.Andersen.com
T: +48 22 690 08 77
M: +48 606 760 836

Justyna Tlatlik Senior Associate | Legal advisor | PhD, Katowice

E: justyna.tlatlik@pl.andersen.com
T: 32 731 68 88