16 September 2020

Coronavirus outbreak – special solutions for foreigners

We remind you that in connection with the current epidemiological situation, amendments to the law came into force[i] providing for, inter alia, special solutions for foreigners in Poland. The current regulations allow people who want to pursue their current purpose of stay or cannot leave Poland due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus to stay legally in the country.

Until the end of the 30th day following the date of cancellation of the last state (state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic), the following are extended:

  • legal stay of foreigners that would end during the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic,
  • periods of validity of residence cards, Temporary Foreigner IDs, Polish foreigner identity documents, “tolerated stay permit” documents and documents issued for a limited period for citizens of EU Member States, the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), the Swiss Confederation and family members staying with them
  • deadlines for submitting applications for legalisation of stay,
  • validity of already issued work permits, seasonal work permits and declarations of entrustment of work to a foreigner.

Moreover, the following deadlines will be postponed:

  • for foreigners to leave Poland,
  • of voluntary return specified in the decisions obliging the foreigner to return.

The option of changing the conditions of work performed by foreigners in the event of employers using the solutions of the Anti-crisis Act has also been introduced.

Extension of the legal stay of third-country nationals

Extension of legal stay of a foreigner staying in Poland on the basis of:

– temporary residence permit

– national visa

– short-term residence titles (including Schengen visas and visa-free travel)[ii]

applies to situations in which the last day of legal stay will fall within the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic. It is therefore be the period from 14 March 2020, when the state of epidemic emergency was announced. Then the period of legal stay in Poland 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.

In the case of foreigners residing in Poland on the basis of short-term residence titles (including under the visa-free travel regime), recognition of stay as legal will apply only to persons who on 14 March 2020 were staying in the country on the basis of such titles. However, it does not apply to persons who entered Poland later – in such a situation, the foreigner may take advantage of conditional legal stay and submit an application for residence permit before the postponed deadline.

Extending the legality of your stay will not involve placing a new visa sticker on the foreigner’s travel document, issuing a new residence card or other documents. It will not require submitting any applications.

The foreigners will be able to pursue they current purpose of stay in Poland, e.g. the performance of work. This results from the fact that work permits and seasonal work permits have been extended, as well as the allowed period of work based on the declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner. Foreigners will also be able to leave Poland without the risk of entering into an illegal stay.

Change in the working conditions of foreigners

The new provision will allow foreigners to work under conditions other than those specified in:

  • temporary residence and work permits
  • temporary residence permit for the purpose of highly qualified employment
  • work permits
  • seasonal work permits
  • declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner, which have been entered in the register of declarations
  • temporary residence permits for the purpose of performing work under the intra-corporate transfer (ICT)
  • temporary residence permits for the long-term mobility of a managerial staff member, specialist or trainee under the intra-corporate transfer (mobile-ICT)
  • documents attached to notices about the intention of foreigners to use the short-term mobility of a managerial staff member, specialist or trainee as part of the intra-corporate transfer

without the need to obtain new permits, change them or enter new declarations in the register.

The introduction of such changes will be possible as a result of the use by entities entrusting the performance of work to foreigners[iii] of solutions of the anti-crisis act allowing for the modification of such conditions, in particular by reducing the working time and reducing remuneration (Article 15g, Article 15x and Article 15zf) or referrals to remote work (Article 3). Thanks to this solution, employers will be able to take full advantage of these workplace protection instruments also when employing foreigners. You will not need to initiate any administrative proceedings.

Extending by law the periods of validity of foreigners’ residence cards, temporary certificates of identity, Polish foreigner identity documents and “tolerated stay permit” documents

The new regulations provide for the extension by law of the periods of validity of:

  • the foreigners’ residence cards
  • temporary certificates of identity (known in Poland as TZTC – documents issued to foreigners applying for international protection)
  • Polish foreigner identity documents
  • “tolerated stay permit” documents

if their end would fall during the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic. The period of validity of these documents will be extended until the end of the 30th day following the date of cancellation of the last of the two above-mentioned states that was in force.

This solution is important due to the temporary suspension of direct customer service by voivodeship offices and the Office for Foreigners due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. It will allow foreigners to use these documents until it becomes possible to issue new ones.

Extension of deadlines for submitting applications

The act introduces the extension of deadlines for submitting applications for residence permits, to extend visas and to extend the stay under visa-free travel, if the deadline would fall within the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic. As before, these applications may be submitted to voivodship offices up to the 30th day following the date of cancellation of the last of the above-mentioned states that was in force.

The above solution applies to foreigners who would like to apply for:

  • temporary, permanent or long-term EU resident permit,
  • extension of a national visa (symbol D) or a Schengen visa (symbol C),
  • extension of the period of visa-free travel – this applies only to citizens of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Singapore and Uruguay, as only the visa waiver agreements with these particular countries provide for this possibility.

Extension of time limits for leaving the territory of Poland

The act extends by law the time limits for leaving the territory of Poland under Article 299 para. 6 of the Act on Foreigners (e.g. in connection with the delivery of a final decision refusing a temporary residence permit), if they would fall during the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic. Their extension will last until the end of the 30th day following the date of cancellation of the last of the above-mentioned states that was in force.

Extension of the periods of voluntary return specified in the decisions obliging the foreigner to return

It has been decided that the deadline for voluntary return specified in the decision obliging a foreigner to return, the end of which would fall during the period of state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic, is postponed by law. As in the case of the other solutions contained in the act, the extension of the deadline will take place until the end of the 30th day following the date of cancelation of the last state.

Citizens of EU countries, countries of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), the Swiss Confederation and their family members

The introduction of the state of epidemic emergency in Poland, followed by the state of epidemic, does not affect in any way the residence rights of citizens of European Union Member States, countries of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), the Swiss Confederation and family members staying with them. These rights are not dependent on having any permits or documents.

In addition, the new provisions introduce prolongation by law the periods of validity of documents issued for a limited period to nationals of EU Member States, European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), the Swiss Confederation and family members staying with them:

  • documents confirming the right of permanent residence,
  • residence cards of a family member of an EU citizen,
  • permanent residence cards of a family member of an EU citizen.

Analogously to other solutions, if the end of the period of validity of one of these documents falls out during the period of the state of epidemic emergency or state of epidemic, it will be extended to the 30th day following the date of cancellation of the last of these states that was in force.

Until the end of 2020, in the “transitional period”, citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are treated as EU citizens and their family members are treated as family members of EU citizens.

A more detailed overview of  the stay of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can be found HERE.

The material describing in detail the solutions introduced on the basis of acts amending the Act on special solutions related to the prevention, prevention and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them, as well as some other acts:

The Office for foreigners will inform about any subsequent changes in the legal status relevant to the stay of foreigners in Poland. We encourage you to follow further messages.

Read more:

Coronavirus outbreak – extension of national visas and traveling around the Schengen area

Residence of EU / EEA / Swiss citizens and the coronavirus epidemic

Suspension of direct customer service

Coronavirus – information for foreigners


[i] 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), which has been amended:

1) by the Act of 32 March 2020 on amending the act on special solutions related to the prevention, counteracting and combating of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them, as well as some other acts (Journal of Laws, item 568), which entered into force on 31 March 2020

2) by the Act of 16 April 2020 on special support instruments in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Journal of Laws, item 695), which entered into force on 18 April 2020

3) the Act of 14 May 2020 amending some acts in the field of protective activities in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Journal of Laws, item 875), which entered into force on 16 May 2020.

[ii] – visa-free travel,

– Schengen visa,

– visa issued by another country of the Schengen area (including a long-stay visa authorising to stay for a period exceeding 90 days),

– residence document issued by another Schengen state,

– long-term visa issued by another Member State of the European Union that is not a Schengen state, if, in accordance with the provisions of the European Union law, it entitles to stay on the Polish territory, residence permit issued by another Member State of the European Union that is not a Schengen State, if, in accordance with the provisions of the European Union law, it entitles to stay on the Polish territory.

[iii] or by host entities having their registered office in the territory of the Republic of Poland in the event of an intra-corporate transfer.