27 February 2019

Brexit – change of the rules of stay of British citizens

At present, British citizens, like all European Union citizens, are obliged to register their stay in Poland if it lasts longer than 3 months. Members of their families who are not citizens of the European Union however are required to obtain a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen. The fulfilment of these duties is possible free of charge at the voivodship office competent for the place of stay. Registration and obtaining these residence cards can be a convenience for UK citizens and their family members who wish to stay in Poland after Brexit.

Great Britain will exit European Union on March 30 this year. In connection with this a draft act regulating the residence status of British citizens and family members was prepared. So far UK citizens benefited on Polish territory from the Treaty on the freedom of movement of people. The regulations have been prepared in the event of a failure to conclude exit agreement between Great Britain and the European Union.

The bill provides for the establishment of a period during which the stay of British citizens and their family members on Polish territory immediately after the Brexit date will be considered legal. It also sets out the legal basis for granting them temporary and permanent residence permits depending on whether they hold the right of residence or permanent residence on 29 March 2019. Importantly, the project provides for the presumption that on March 29 people will hold valid documents issued by Polish authorities to European Union citizens and their family members. Therefore obtaining relevant permits after Brexit based on the draft regulations will be much easier for people holding such documents.

A more detailed presentation of legal solutions related to the stay of British citizens and their family members in the case of no deal Brexit will take place along with the progress of the legislative process.

Currently approx. 5.8 thousand UK citizens have a registered stay or hold document confirming the right of permanent residence in Poland. Most of them are men – 4.5 thousand, compared to 1.3 thousand women. Taking into account the dates of birth these are people in the following age groups: up to 20 years – 450 people, 20 – 39 years – 2600 people, 40 – 59 years – 2.1 thousand people, over 60 years – 630 people.

Institutions competent to register the stay of EU citizens and issue documents in this respect are voivodship offices (competent for the place of residence of an EU citizen). Majority of UK citizens registered their stay in the following voivodships: Mazowieckie – 2.1 thousand, Małopolskie – 840, Dolnośląskie – 530, Śląskie – 440 and Pomorskie – 370 people.