In connection with the practice of consular offices observed by us and the declarations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the restriction of issuing visas only to a specific group of Russian citizens, in a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs we asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to immediately change this practice.
The current activities of consular offices show that visas are issued only to citizens of Russia who cross the Polish-Russian border in connection with:
- the work performance,
- possession of the Pole’s Card and
- being family members of citizens of Poland or other European Union countries.
Such restriction of the catalogue of people who are issued with visas may significantly impede the safe arrival of activists, dissidents or other persons exposed to persecution in Russia to Poland.
Moreover, the issuing of visas for the purpose of family reunification has been suspended. These actions violate the provisions of international and European Union law that are binding on Poland, and lead to discrimination and violation of the right to respect for the family life of Russian citizens. A visa for the purpose of family reunification may not be refused solely on the grounds of nationality. The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly emphasized in its rulings the importance of family unity as a fundamental right for refugees. Considering the emphasis placed by the Polish government on the protection of the family, we hope that our intervention will lead to an immediate change in the current practice of the authorities and will allow anyone who meets the criteria set out in international law and European Union law to obtain a visa.
The full text of the letter is available below:
The response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: