Coronavirus outbreak – extension of national visas and traveling around the Schengen area
In connection with the current epidemiological situation, on 31 March 2020, the Act providing, inter alia, for extension of the period of validity of “D” national visas entered into force. The government of the Republic of Poland has notified the introduction of this solution to the European Commission and other countries so that foreigners with extended Polish visas can move around the Schengen area. However, until we verify the position of individual countries, this does not constitute a guarantee that your visas will be recognized and that you will be able to enter these countries’ territory.
In connection with the above, before starting the trip you should make sure that entering the territory of the given country on the basis of an extended visa will be possible. This applies, for example, to persons moving as part of their professional activities. The best sources of information will be the border services of individual countries. This will be necessary until the positions of individual Member States regarding recognition of the extension of Polish visas are known.
Special solutions for foreigners effective from 31 March 2020 include, among others, extension of the periods of stay and validity of national visas (entitling to stay for more than 90 days, issued by Polish authorities, designated by letter “D”)[i]. This extension was dependent on whether the last day of the allowable stay of the foreigner specified on the visa sticker falls during the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic. It will therefore be the period from 14 March 2020, when the state of epidemic emergency was announced. Then the period of visa validity will be extended by law until the end of the 30th day following the date of cancellation of one of the above-mentioned states, whichever was in force last.
This is a unique solution and was introduced in connection with the need to limit the direct customer service by the state administration in the face of the ongoing epidemic. Therefore, the extension of the visa validity period will not involve the inclusion of a new visa sticker in the foreigner’s travel document.
The Office for Foreigners will publish further communications on this topic.
[i] Pursuant to Article 15zd of the Act of 2 March 2020 on special solutions related to preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them (Journal of Laws, item 374 as amended).