Help for refugees from Ukraine in Poland: Housing, transport, and other assistance

Wise
04.03.22
6 minute read

Poland, as well as other EU member states on the border with Ukraine, opened on February 24, 2022 to receive refugees.

The Government of Poland, state organizations, social services and volunteer organizations provide coordinated support in the reception and accommodation of Ukrainian citizens on in their country.

ℹ️ Read below for detailed information on the procedure for crossing the border, what documents are required to cross the border with Poland if you are a refugee from Ukraine, and where to apply for help after you have crossed the border.

How to get to Poland from Ukraine

To get to the border, check out the following resources:

Schedule of evacuation departures from Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukranian Railways): UkrzalInfo.

Also, to search for transport to the border with Poland, you can leave a request here: ukrainenow.org/refuge

Telegram chats to search for rides and transport:

Border crossing Ukraine - Poland

Border crossing points

All eight checkpoints are open for the reception of refugees: Dorogusk-Yagodzin, Dolgobychuv-Uhryniv, Zosin-Ustiluh, Grebenne-Rava Ruska, Korchova-Krakowets, Medica-Segine, Budomierz-Khrushov, Kroshchenko-Smolnytsia.¹

The border can be crossed both on foot and in private vehicles (the decision on transportable vehicles is made at the border crossing by the National Revenue Office of Poland).²

It is important to know that from February 26, 2022 Green Card for cars when crossing the border with Poland no more required. If you enter by car and do not have a valid Green Card, one of the Polish insurance companies will provide you with an insurance policy for driving on Polish roads free of charge.³

❗Take into account the queues: Up-to-date information on the workload of border passes between Ukraine and Poland is published by the Ukrainian side (Rinat Akhmetov's foundation) in the telegram channel Be safe! Evacuation.

You can check the information on the procedure for crossing the border between Ukraine and Poland on the Poland government portal.

Documents required to cross the border

Refugees from Ukraine can cross the border with any identity document. Don't worry if you don't have any document that allows you to enter Poland, according to the government website.

A Ukrainian passport, a biometric passport, an old-style international passport, a birth certificate, including for children, are suitable. If possible, take your medical records with you.

As for pets: dogs, cats, ferrets must be microchipped and vaccinated. Small pets such as hamsters, rabbits, reptiles, decorative aquatic animals are accepted without restrictions, however, the National Tax Administration reserves the right to decide on a pass in individual cases.²

What to do after crossing the border with Poland

If you have crossed border and have nowhere to stay, you need to contact the refugee reception center. These centers operate on the Polish side at each of the checkpoints. Addresses of refugee reception points in Poland can be found on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (information is available in Polish, Russian, Ukrainian). Hotline phone: +48 47 721 75 75.

Refugee reception centers will give you all the necessary information about your stay in Poland, as well as provide temporary accommodation, food and medical assistance if necessary.¹

You can also use the services of the state portal PomagamUkraine. Two online forms are available here - one for Polish citizens who want to help refugees, the second - for Ukrainian citizens in Poland who need help. When filling out the form, you must indicate where you are and what you need. The application will be sent to the appropriate unit coordinating the provision of assistance. The site is available in Polish and Ukrainian.

The site ukrainenow.org/looking-for-help-abroad is also available, where you can request a transfer or accommodation after crossing the border.

Legal status of Ukrainian refugees on the territory of Poland

For refugees from Ukraine staying on the territory of Poland, obligatory registration procedures for foreigners have been cancelled. or local authorities.

At the time of writing, there is no need to register at refugee reception centers, as well as submit applications to any administrative or territorial bodies. The same rules apply to citizens of Ukraine who are already on the territory of Poland and whose legal stay in the country has expired.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs emphasizes that citizens of Ukraine may not leave the territory of Poland, and not worry about the legality of their status of stay in the country.⁴

Medical care for refugees from Ukraine on the territory of Poland

The National Health Fund of Poland provides refugees from Ukraine with free medical care in the same volume as it is provided to citizens of the country. To confirm your status, you must show a certificate issued by the Polish Border Guard when crossing the border, or a border crossing stamp on a travel document with the date February 24, 2022 or later.

Poland is obliged to:

  • not to refuse Ukrainian refugees in the provision of medical care;
  • do not redirect patients to other medical institutions;
  • not demand payment for medical services.⁵

For example, on this page you can find detailed information, work schedule, addresses and phone numbers of Centrum Damiana and Lux Med medical centers.

Please note that Centrum Damiana, in addition to providing medical services, offers jobs to doctors from Ukraine located in Poland.

Also in Poland, Ukrainians can apply to the Primary Contact Teleplatform - this can be done on weekends, at night, on holidays, if it is not possible to contact a medical institution. Here you can get a consultation, an electronic prescription, a referral to a doctor, a referral for tests, and so on. You can apply by calling 800 137 200 or online.⁶

Other groups and organizations that provide assistance

List of organizations in Poland that provide assistance to children and adults with disabilities, available on the Niepelnospravni portal. The information is presented in Polish and Ukrainian, the list is constantly updated.

Ukrainian House in Warsaw helps refugees find housing and transport. Volunteers who want to help can also register here.

The National Institute for Architecture and Urban Planning collects a database of people of creative professions in order to assist in finding a job. We are talking about both work in Poland, and remote employment for those who lost the opportunity to work after the start of the war.

The list of volunteer translators who are ready to help refugees from Ukraine is available here. The database includes specialists not only with Polish, but also with English, German, Spanish and many others.

From February 26, 2022, and for 4 weeks, Ukrainian citizens in Poland can ride PKP Intercity trains for free. To travel, you need to get a free ticket at the box office, the basis for obtaining is a document confirming Ukrainian citizenship.⁷

From March 2, 2022, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children's Rights in Poland opened a hotline where you can get advice from a child psychologist. Consultations are available in Russian and Ukrainian. For contact information and opening hours, see on the Ombudsman's website.

The United For Ukraine portal accepts applications from Ukrainian refugees in the EU countries. On the site you need to fill out an online form with a request for help. At the time of publication, assistance can be requested through the portal in the following countries: Poland, Hungary, Germany, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Latvia. Types of assistance: legal, housing, donations, contact with organizations that provide assistance to refugees.

Fundacja Otwarty Dialog (Open Dialog Foundation) in Poland provides various types of assistance to Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Airbnb provided its platform to help accommodate Ukrainian refugees, here you can search for accommodation. In social networks and volunteer organizations in Ukraine, you will also find contacts of a large number of volunteers on the Polish side.

As for transport after crossing the border, in addition to free travel on Intercity trains, you can use the service of the Polish bus operator FlixBus, they provide free travel for Ukrainian refugees. The ticket must be reserved in advance. You can find detailed information about available routes and ordering a ticket on the official Facebook page of the carrier.

Also, Polish volunteers report that, in addition to social services, many citizens of the country with their own cars are ready to help Ukrainian refugees for free, so if you crossed the border and they offer to take you somewhere for money, do not agree. Contact any of the organizations listed above and let them know you need help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a biometric passport to cross the border with Poland as a refugee from Ukraine?

No, any documents will do, including an internal Ukrainian passport, an old passport or a birth certificate.

Do I need to provide a COVID-19 vaccination certificate when crossing the border with Poland?

No. All coronavirus restrictions have been lifted for Ukrainian refugees, including self-isolation.

Do I need to immediately apply to the Polish administrative authorities after crossing the border to grant refugee status or legalize your stay in the country?

No, if you crossed the border legally through a checkpoint, you do not have to immediately deal with the formalities. All necessary assistance will be provided to you and your family.

What if I arrived in Poland before February 24 and my stay in the country ends?

All benefits provided by Poland to Ukrainian refugees also apply to Ukrainian citizens who arrived in the country earlier. You do not need to worry about the legality of your status in the country.

Also, remember the safety rules. Don't forget to let your family and friends know your location, try to remember their phone numbers by heart (in case your phone goes off), and explore options for how you can manage your money abroad, and make international money transfers, if needed.

Read more: Wise for IDPs from Ukraine

Sources:

  1. State portal of the Republic of Poland - information for Ukrainian refugees
  2. State portal Republic of Poland - crossing the border between Ukraine and Poland
  3. Polish Insurance Chamber - information for citizens of Ukraine
  4. State Portal of the Republic of Poland – residence status of Ukrainian refugees
  5. National Health Fund of Poland - medical care for refugees from Ukraine
  6. State Portal of the Republic of Poland - Health Care
  7. PKP Intercity – assistance to refugees from Ukraine
  8. State portal of the Republic of Poland - information for refugees

Sources checked 02.03 .2022

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