I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. I have been living in Poland (permanent residence) since 1978. My current document confirming the right of permanent residence (valid until 2027), contains a “Citizenship” section which states: Great Britain. Do I have to replace that card? The same also applies to my adult children.

WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT AND TRANSITION PERIOD

On 1 February 2020, the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community entered into force. That date marks the beginning of the transition period which shall end on 31 December 2020.

During the transition period, the EU law applies to the United Kingdom as well as to its territory, while the references to the Member States in the applicable EU laws shall also include the United Kingdom unless the Agreement states otherwise.

The free movement of persons between the United Kingdom and the European Union in the transition period shall be maintained until the end of the transition period, i.e. until 31 December 2020.

AFTER THE END OF THE TRANSITION PERIOD PROVIDED FOR IN THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT

After the end of the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, i.e. as of 1 January 2021, in principle, the United Kingdom Citizens and their family members shall be awarded the right of residence or permanent residence in Poland, if:

  • they exercised their right of residence (or right of permanent residence) in Poland under EU law before the end of the transition period(this also applies to UK citizens who entered Poland after the Brexit date, and before the end of the transition period);
  • they continue to live in Poland

In accordance with the person asking the question, he/she meets these criteria.

The right of residence or permanent residence on the territory of Poland of the persons who are the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement shall arise directly from the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as the provisions of the Act of 14 July 2006 on the entry into, residence in and exit from the Republic of Poland of nationals of the European Union Member States and their family members by extending the term “EU citizen” used in the Act to also include nationals of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who are the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement and by extending the term “family member” to include the family members of United Kingdom citizens who are also the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The rules governing the stay of the United Kingdom citizens and their families who are the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement shall be analogous to the rules applying to EU citizens and their families, including certain alterations arising from the Withdrawal Agreement.

In Poland, the system is planned to be declaratory in nature – there will be no obligation to obtain a new residence status and residence permit as an obligation for legal residence in Poland under the Withdrawal Agreement. However, persons who qualify for residence right under the Agreement shall be issued a residence document in accordance with the Directive 2004/38/WE. The document will contain a declaration that is was issued in accordance with the Agreement.

Considering however the practical reasons for the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement to exercise their rights, it is recommended for all beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement to receive residence permits containing the annotation referring to the Agreement.

On the basis of the foregoing, it is currently planned that the United Kingdom citizens and their family members who are the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement who remain on the territory of Poland shall be issued the same types of documents that are currently issued to the EU citizens and their family members: certificate of registration of stay of a EU citizen (issued on the basis of submitting an application for registration of residence), residence card of an EU citizen’s family member, and after obtaining the right of permanent residence: a document certifying the right of permanent residence and a permanent residence card of an EU citizen’s family member. However, the documents will contain information stating that they were issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.

The citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members who are the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement and who remain on the territory of Poland, who received the residence permits issued to the EU citizens and their family members until the end of the transition period, shall have the right to submit an application to a voivode to exchange the documents for versions containing the information, that they have been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement. The residence documents issued prior to the expiry of the transition period shall serve as proof that their holders are the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The applications for issuing residence permits containing the aforementioned information, or for replacing the current residence permits to documents containing the aforementioned annotation shall be accepted after 1 January 2021.

It is currently planned that the residence permits issued to the United Kingdom citizens and their family members before the end of the transition period  (certificate of registration of stay of a EU citizen, a document certifying the permanent residence right, residence card of a EU citizen’s family member and a permanent residence card of a EU citizen’s family member) shall expire on 1 January 2022.

The application for replacing the residence permits issued prior to the expiry of the transition period shall be therefore submitted until 1 January 2022.

After that date, the Beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement who remain on the territory of Poland who did not make use of the opportunity to replace the document shall have the right to submit a new application for registering their stay and obtain a registration certificate, new application for a document confirming the right of permanent residence or a new application for issuing a residence card of an EU citizen’s family member or a permanent residence card of an EU citizen’s family member. These documents shall contain information regarding the Withdrawal Agreement.

In summary, it is recommended for the person asking the question and their children to replace their residency cards in 2021 for ones that will contain the information that they were issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.