What changes, concerning humanitarian visas and humanitarian stay in Poland, have recently come into force for Belarusian citizens? What is the procedure for applying for these documents? What is a Polish travel document, what rights does it give and how can Belarusian citizens receive it according to recent changes in the law?
Temporary residence permits
Recently, regulations changing the situation of citizens of the Republic of Belarus who have humanitarian visas in Poland have entered into force.
Pursuant to the new regulations, a temporary residence permit due to other circumstances is granted to a foreigner, if immediately before submitting the application for this permit, he or she stayed in the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of a national visa issued for a humanitarian purpose and has the citizenship specified in the regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration. ie citizens of Belarus.
In this context, Belarusian citizens who come to the territory of Poland on the basis of a humanitarian visa may apply for a temporary residence permit due to other circumstances, it is a more advantageous solution than a residence permit for humanitarian reasons (which is granted under strictly defined conditions). Granting a humanitarian visa is dictated by the interest of the Polish state or international obligations.
As a rule, to obtain the above-mentioned permit, you must submit an application for temporary residence, 4 photos and copies of all pages of the passport – including a copy of a humanitarian visa (D 21) to the voivodeship office (in accordance with the place of residence). However, among other things, confirmation of having insurance, registration, place of residence or work will not be required.
A humanitarian visa is a national visa, the procedure for obtaining it has not changed, and no consular fees are charged for examining the application for its issuance.
Belarusian citizens who fled from the Belarusian regime to Ukraine, who are staying in Poland on the basis of visas whose validity is about to end or who entered Poland under a special procedure without a visa, and would be entitled to e.g. humanitarian visas, will be able to submit applications for a visa to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (currently it does so through officials employed at the Visa Decisions Center at the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
The possibility of submitting a visa application to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is to be possible through an external entity.
Detailed information in this regard is currently lacking. All details regarding the period or periods in which foreigners residing in Poland may submit applications to the minister responsible for foreign affairs for issuing national visas or countries whose citizens residing in Poland may submit applications to the minister responsible for foreign affairs for issuing national visas due to the amendment to the act, be specified in the new ordinance of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
At present, only the ordinance of May 28, 2021 on the countries in which foreigners may submit visa applications by the minister competent for foreign affairs is in force, which indicates that for a humanitarian visa to be issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, according to which only citizens Belarus can use the above-mentioned the form of submitting visa applications, through the Minister.
Currently, there is no executive act regulating the period or periods in which foreigners residing in the territory of Poland may submit the above-mentioned applications.
A travel document for a foreigner
The Polish travel document for a foreigner is issued to a foreigner who has lost his travel document or whose travel document has been destroyed or has expired, and it is not possible for the foreigner to obtain a new travel document, provided that the foreigner has been granted:
1) permanent residence permit;
2) long-term resident’s EU residence permit;
3) subsidiary protection;
4) residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
The amendment to the Act on Foreigners has introduced a new category of people who, in the cases described above, will be able to apply for a Polish travel document. Starting from 01/01/2023, in the case of losing the travel document, destruction or expiry of the travel document, while it is not possible to obtain a new travel document, a Polish travel document of a foreigner will be able to apply for persons with a temporary residence permit granted to a foreigner who immediately before submitting the application for this permit, he resided in Poland on the basis of a national visa issued for a humanitarian purpose, and has the citizenship specified in the regulation of the Minister of Interior and Administration, i.e. citizenship of Belarus.
The Polish travel document for a foreigner is issued by the Voivode competent for the foreigner’s place of stay.
The issue of a Polish travel document for a foreigner does not release him from the obligation to undertake actions aimed at obtaining a travel document of his country of origin. The Polish travel document for a foreigner is issued for a period of 1 year and during its validity period, it entitles to multiple border crossings.