5 September 2019

The British in Poland – it’s worth registering the stay before Brexit

Since the beginning of this year a little over 830 British citizens registered their stay or obtained the right of permanent residence in Poland. That is by 33 percent more than in 2018. Registration of stay may be convenient for citizens of Great Britain, who would like to stay in Poland after the Brexit. The non-contractual exit of Great Britain from the EU may occur 1 November.

At present, the British, just like all citizens of the European Union are obligated 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, are however, obligated to obtain residence card of the EU citizen family member. Execution of those obligations is possible free of charge in voivodship office competent for the place of residence.

In the event of lack of entering into force of the withdrawal agreement between Great Britain and the European Union, the Act of 15 March 2019, has been adopted, on regulation of certain issues in relation with withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community without conclusion of the agreement referred to in Article 50 (2) of the Treaty on European Union. It regulates, among others, residence status of the British and their family members within the territory of Poland. The Act shall enter into force on the day of non-contractual withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union, which, at the present legal situation, may occur on 1 November 2019.

The main assumptions of the Act regulating residential status of the British in Poland, in the case of Brexit without concluding an agreement between the UK and the European Union:

– from the data of Brexit until 31 December 2020, residence and work of citizens of Great Britain and their family members shall be deemed legal, if on the day preceding Brexit they will hold the right of residence in Poland;

– introduction of new, dedicated for the British, types of temporary residence permit (for 5 years) and permanent residence permit (indefinite time), which may be applied for within the period from the data of Brexit until 31 December 2020;

– presumed possession of a permanent residence card of the right of permanent residence in Poland on a day before Brexit for persons holding, on that day, statements on registering the stay of the EU citizen, a document confirming the right of  permanent residence or a permanent residence card of the EU citizen family member – simplified proceedings for temporary or permanent residence permit dedicated to the British, obtaining relevant permits after Brexit will be significantly easier for persons holding the aforementioned documents;

– rights to obtain permanent residence permit after 5 years of an uninterrupted stay also after Brexit, on the specific conditions;

– obtaining residence permit will provide the right to work;

– applications for residence permits will be examined by voivodship offices competent for the place of residence.

At present, almost 6.1 thous. citizens of Great Britain has registered residence or a document confirming the right of  permanent residence in Poland. Majority are men – 4.7 thous. persons, as compared to 1.4 thous. women. Taking into consideration the dates of birth, these are the persons in the following age groups: younger than 20 years – 460 persons, 20 – 39 years old – 2.7 thous. persons, 40 – 59 years old – 2.2 thous. persons, older than 60 years – 680 persons.

Institutions competent for registration of stay of the EU citizen and issuing documents in this scope are voivodship offices (competent for the place of residence of the EU citizen). Majority of citizens of Great Britain registered their stay in the following voivodships: Mazowieckie – 2.2 thous. persons, Małopolskie – 910 persons, Dolnośląskie – 550 persons, Śląskie – 470 persons and Pomorskie – 410 persons.

Information on, among others, residence rights of citizens of Great Britain in Poland related with Brexit may be found on the dedicated website of the Office for Foreigners, Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology and European Commission.