Withdrawal agreement and transition period

When 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 and enters into force, 1 February 2020 shall mark the beginning of the transition period which shall end on 31 December 2020 (in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement).

The Withdrawal Agreement provides that 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.

Under Polish legislation, the Act of 19 July 2019 on the transition period referred to in 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 (Dz. U. [Polish Journal of Laws] of 2019, item 1516) regulates matters relating to the transition period referred to in Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement. Pursuant to Article 1 of the aforementioned Act, whenever a Member State of the European Union or the European Atomic Energy Community is referred to in separate regulations, during the transition period referred to in Article 126 of 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 (Official Journal EU C 144 I, 25.4.2019, p. 1) shall also mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In accordance with the current general rules regarding the residence rights of the EU citizens and the members of their families on the territory of Poland, which shall also apply to the United Kingdom citizens and their families throughout the transition period – until the end of 2020, these citizens and their family members shall not be issued with residence permits and residence cards, provided under the Act of 12 December 2013 on Foreigners (Dz. U. [Polish Journal of Laws] of 2018, item 2094, as amended). The United Kingdom citizens, as well as EU citizens, are obliged to register their stay and obtain a certificate on registering an EU citizen. After five years of continuous residence, a resident of the United Kingdom has the right to apply for a document confirming the right of permanent residence. During the transition period, the family members can apply for the following documents issued under the existing rules: an EU citizens family member residence card and an EU citizen’s family member’s permanent residence card.

The rules governing the entry and stay of EU citizens and their family members on the territory of Poland are regulated by 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 (Dz. U. [Polish Journal of Laws] of 2019, item 293);, which implements the provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (Official Journal EU L 158, 28.12.2005, p. 77).

Right of residence up to 3 months

As a rule, EU citizens, as well as their family members who are not EU citizens, may reside in Poland for up to 3 months without the obligation to meet any conditions for residence except for holding a valid travel document. An EU citizen may hold another valid document confirming his/her identity and nationality. The EU citizens’ family members who are not EU citizens must hold a valid visa allowing entry to Poland unless they are exempt from this requirement.

Residence in excess of 3 months

In the event that the stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland lasts for over 3 months,  the EU citizen and their family member holding EU citizenship are obliged to register their stay, while the family member who is not an EU citizen is obliged to obtain a residence card for a family member of the EU citizen.

The voivode competent for the place of residence of the EU citizen is the competent body to register the stay of an EU citizen and to issue a residence card of an EU citizen’s family member.

In order to register the stay of an EU citizen (including his/her family members who are also EU citizens) and to obtain a residence card for an EU citizen’s family member, the EU citizen must meet the conditions of the right of residence in excess of 3 months.

An EU citizen has the right to residence in excess of three months if he/she meets the following conditions:

  1.  he/she is an employee or a self-employed person on the territory of the Republic of Poland;
  2. he/she is in possession of financial resources allowing to sustain his/her and their family members’ stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland and not to encumber the social security and holds valid health insurance;
  3. he/she studies or undergoes vocational training in the Republic of Poland, and:
    is in possession of financial resources allowing to sustain his/her and their family members’ stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland and not to encumber the social security and holds valid health insurance,
  4. is the spouse of a Polish national.

Despite the obligation to register the stay of the EU citizen in the case of stays in the territory of Poland in excess of 3 months, the EU citizen’s right to remain on the territory of Poland for a period in excess of 3 months is granted on the basis on meeting the aforementioned criteria and not from registering the stay. Failure to comply with the obligation to register the stay shall not mean that the EU citizen has no right to remain on the territory.