In last weeks we have described why Ukrainian citizens who are covered by the Special Act cannot travel outside of Poland upon the expiry of the 90-day visa-free period. You can find more details here.
However, an important change has recently taken place with the introduction of a new electronic document known as the DiiA. The DiiA together with a valid travel document (e.g., a passport) entitles Ukrainian citizens to cross the Polish border – and this has been officially confirmed by the Polish Border Guard.
Who can apply for a DiiA?
Every adult citizen of Ukraine who arrived in Poland after 24 February 2022 and who has a PESEL number (with the “UKR” annotation) can apply for a DiiA. However, it is also necessary to have a Trusted Profile (Profil Zaufany) account – this could have been set up when applying for a PESEL number.
How to obtain a DiiA?
The DiiA is generated by the free governmental app mObywatel. It can be activated by using the Trusted Profile login data. It is then necessary to choose the DiiA document from the documents which can be added in the app.
What does it mean to have a DiiA?
The DiiA works like a residence permit – this means that the 90-day visa-free period (which is counted in the period of 180 days) for traveling in the Schengen Area is renewed by the DiiA. In other words, a person who is residing in Poland for more than 90 days and who obtains a DiiA will be able to travel in the Schengen Area for an additional-90 days within every 180-day period.
Furthermore, on the basis of the DiiA, Ukrainian who is legally residing in Poland who leaves the country in order to travel outside the Schengen Area will be able to return to Poland (of course, the DiiA does not replace any permits/visas which the foreigner should obtain to enter the destination country; it can only be used in order to return to Poland).
Regardless of the new possibilities created by the DiiA, it should not be forgotten that under the Special Act, if a Ukrainian citizen leaves Poland for more than one month, he/she loses the rights granted under the Act (this does not apply to employees posted abroad by an employer operating in Poland).