The UK left the European Union at midnight on January 31 of the previous year on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement. The provisions of this agreement regulate, inter alia, the rules applicable to British citizens who want to stay in Poland after Brexit.
The agreement introduces, inter alia, a transitional period from the date of entry into force of the agreement until December 31, 2021. During this period, the free movement of people between the European Union and Great Britain will be maintained, and the stay and employment of citizens from the islands will not require registration after Brexit.
However, after the end of the transition period, UK citizens and their family members will not have to register their stay after Brexit, if they previously exercised the right to stay in Poland in accordance with European Union law. What’s more, after Brexit, people who have been living in Poland for five years without interruption will not have to register their stay – they will have the right of permanent residence. Periods of legal stay or work in accordance with EU law falling before and after the end of the transition period will be included in the required period entitling to acquire the right of permanent residence.
The confirmation of post-Brexit registration of residence or the right to permanent residence will be a document stating that it was issued in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. Such a certificate issued to certify post-Brexit residence registration will be issued by voivodeship offices competent for the place of stay in a form resembling an ID card.
At the moment, it is anticipated that UK citizens and their family members residing in Poland will be able to apply for the issue of such documents after the end of the transition period.
UK citizens and their family members living in Poland for over 3 months could register their stay after Brexit on the basis of the existing rules for all European Union citizens.
Registration of stay after Brexit can be made free of charge at the voivodeship office competent for the place of residence. Registering a stay after Brexit will help in obtaining documents that will identify the beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement after the transition period.
In practice, it is recommended that all beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement obtain documents proving residence registration after Brexit. They can facilitate the use of rights when crossing borders and staying in Poland. Documents issued to UK citizens and their family members until the end of the transition period will remain valid until December 31, 2021. However, it should be remembered that the permanent residence permits granted to British citizens under the agreement on foreigners remain valid indefinitely.
Proceedings in cases of post-Brexit residence registration and the right of permanent residence of UK citizens and their family members initiated and not completed by the end of the transition period will continue beyond that period. As a result of these procedures, new documents will be issued. It will be necessary to provide fingerprints in order to obtain documents confirming the registration of residence after Brexit for people who have not done so before.
Residence permits that the beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement will be able to use after the end of the transition period, entitling them to move within the Schengen area without a visa are:
3. issued before the end of the transition period: a document confirming the right of permanent residence, a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen, a permanent residence card of a family member of a European Union citizen;
4. issued after the end of the transition period: certificate of registration of residence, certificate of submission of the application for the issuance of a residence permit for the beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement with a validity of 1 year, document confirming the right of permanent residence, residence card, permanent residence card.
The application for issuing a residence permit will have to be submitted in person to the voivodeship office competent for the place of stay. Obtaining documents is free of charge. Fingerprints are taken. In the case of minor UK nationals, their presence will also be necessary if they are over six years old. In particularly justified cases, due to health condition, it will be possible to waive the requirement to appear in person.
In the course of the procedure for obtaining the above-mentioned documents, starting from January 1, 2021, a certificate of submission of the application is issued with a validity of 1 year and the possibility of issuing another.
It should also be mentioned that, by analogy to the previously applicable rules:
4. a UK citizen who has not registered his stay and has not submitted an application in this matter by the end of the transition period is obliged to submit an application no later than on the day following the expiry of three months from the date of entry to Poland;
5. a family member who is not a British citizen, who does not have a residence card of an EU citizen’s family member or has not submitted an appropriate application by the end of the transition period, should also submit the application no later than the next day after three months from the date of entry into the territory of the Republic of Poland;
6. a family member who is not a British citizen, who has acquired the right of permanent residence, but has not obtained a permanent residence card of a family member of an EU citizen or has not submitted an application in this matter by the end of the transitional period, should apply for a card.
You may be fined for non-compliance with these post-Brexit residence registration obligations.
Slightly different regulations apply to frontier workers, posted workers, further family members and persons who lead family life within the meaning of the European Convention on Human Rights, and British citizens who came to Poland after January 1, 2021. More information on this subject can be found at https://udsc.gov.pl/cudzniemcy/brexit/zasady-pobytu-obywateli-wielkiej-brytanii-w-polsce-po-brexicie/po-zakonczeniu-okresu-przejsciowego/.
In order to improve the process of registering your stay after Brexit, I encourage you to contact a lawyer.