Obligation of a foreigner to returnPrint

A foreigner is obliged to leave Poland before the expiry of the period of residence to which he is entitled pursuant to a Schengen visa or national visa and before the expiry of such visa.

A foreigner is obliged to leave Poland before the expiry of a temporary residence permit.

A foreigner is obliged to leave Poland within 30 days of the date when one of the following decisions becomes binding:

  • a decision refusing to prolong their Schengen or national visa, refusing to grant them a temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit, long-term EU resident permit or a decision withdrawing the foreigner's permit;
  • a decision refusing to grant the foreigner refugee status, subsidiary protection, a decision on discontinuation of proceedings for granting refugee status or a decision cancelling the foreigner's refugee status or subsidiary protection;
  • a decision cancelling their residence permit due to humanitarian reasons.

Foreigners staying in Poland pursuant to visa-free traffic are obliged to leave Poland before the expiry of the period foreseen in the international agreement on cancellation of the visa obligation signed between the foreigner's country of origin and Poland.

A list of countries whose citizens are exempt from the duty to have a visa is available here->

Who may be issued a decision obliging a foreigner to return?

A decision obliging a foreigner to return may be issued for a foreigner who:

  1. is or was staying in Poland without a valid visa or another valid document authorising him to enter and stay in Poland, if such visa or another document are or were required;
  2. has failed to leave Poland after the expiry of the admissible period of stay in the territory of (all or some) Schengen Area countries to which he was entitled without the need to have a visa, in any period of 180 days, unless otherwise specified in international agreements;
  3. has failed to leave Poland after having used the admissible period of stay specified in the Schengen visa in any period of 180 days, or after the expiry of the admissible period of stay pursuant to a national visa;
  4. is or was performing work without the required work permit (what is a work permit? ->); or a registered declaration of intention to entrust work to the foreigner (what is a declaration of intention to entrust work to a foreigner ->?) or was punished with a fine for illegal performance of work;
  5. has started conducting business activity that is illegal under Polish law; or
  6. does not possess the financial means required to cover the costs of their stay in Poland, or of the return trip to the country of origin or residence;
  7. has been entered into the Schengen Information System (what is the SIS system ->?) for the purposes of refusal of entry or into the register of foreigners who are undesirable in the Republic of Poland.
  8. cannot stay in Poland due to reasons of national defence, state security or protection of public safety and order;
  9. has crossed or attempted to cross the Polish border illegally;
  10. has been given a custodial sentence in Poland subject to enforcement and there are grounds to initiate extradition proceedings against them in order to enforce the sentence adjudged against them;
  11. is staying outside the immediate frontier zone where they may stay pursuant to a permit to cross the border under the local border traffic regime;
  12. is staying in Poland after the expiry of the period of stay to which they were authorised pursuant to a permit to cross the border under the local border traffic regime;
  13. further stay of the foreigner in Poland will constitute a threat to public health, which has been confirmed by medical examination, or to the international relations of another European Union Member State;
  14. the aim and conditions of the foreigner's stay in Poland are inconsistnet with the declared ones, unless such changes are permitted under the law;
  15. a decision refusing to grant refugee status or subsidiary protection or a decision on the discontinuance of proceedings for granting refugee status was issued and the foreigner failed to leave Poland in the stipulated period.

In the circumstances listed above, a decision obliging the foreigner to return is not issued if:

  1. the foreigner has refugee status or was granted subsidiary protection;
  2. the foreigner was granted consent for stay due to humanitarian reasons or tolerated stay or if there are grounds to grant such consent;
  3. the foreigner was granted a temporary residence permit due to the fact that his stay in Poland is associated with the necessity to respect family life, as defined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
  4. the foreigner was granted temporary residence permit due to the fact that leaving Poland would violate the rights of a child, as defined in the Convention of the Rights of a Child;
  5. the foreigner is married to a Polish citizen or foreigner who has a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit (provided that the foreigner's stay in Poland does not constitute a threat to national security or defence or the protection of public safety and order), unless the marriage was entered into in order to avoid existing legal regulations;
  6. the foreigner is residing in Poland pursuant to a Schengen visa issued for the purposes of entering Poland due to humanitarian reasons, the interests of the state or international commitments;
  7. the foreigner is staying in Poland pursuant to a temporary residence permit that was issued due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay in Poland;
  8. the foreigner is staying in Poland pursuant to a temporary residence permit issued to foreigners who are victims of human trafficking;
  9. the foreigner has been granted a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU-resident permit in Poland;
  10. the foreigner has a residence permit granted by another country in the Schengen Area (provided that the foreigner's stay in Poland does not constitute a threat to national security or defence or the protection of public safety and order), unless he did not leave for that country after having been instructed of the obligation to leave Poland immediately;
  11. the foreigner is temporarily delegated for the purposes of providing services in Poland by an employer whose seat is located in another EU or EFTA Member State and if the foreigner is entitled to stay and take up work in such country, if the decision obliging the foreigner to return would be issued due to staying in Poland without a valid visa or residence card; or
  12. the foreigner may be immediately transferred to a third state pursuant to an international agreement on the transfer and acceptance of individuals following detainment resulting from crossing the border illegally;
  13. the foreigner may be transported to the border immediately if he was detained in the immediate frontier zone after he had unwillingly crossed the border illegally;
  14. the foreigner is staying in Poland pursuant to a statement confirming the suspicion that he is a victim of human trafficking. 

What is the period of enforcement of an obligation to return?

A decision obliging a foreigner to return specifies a period of voluntary return, which lasts from 15 to 30 days starting from the date of delivery of the decision. A remark about such decision is entered into the foreigner's passport. The authority that issued the decision obliging the foreigner to return shall inform the foreigner in writing, in a language understood by him, of the legal grounds for issuing the decision and instruct him of the possibilities and mode of appeal against the decision.

Appeal procedure

A foreigner who has received a decision obliging him to return may file an appeal against it at the Voivodeship Administrative Court along with a motion to suspend the enforcement of such decision. In such case, the period of voluntary return or the period of compulsory enforcement of such decision is prolonged until the date when the Voivodeship Administrative Court issues a decision regarding the motion.

The foreigner may not file an appeal in court if the decision obliging him to return was issued pursuant to the fact that the foreigner may be immediately transferred to a third state on the basis of an international agreement on the transfer and acceptance of individuals following detainment resulting from crossing the border illegally;

The period of voluntary return is not specified in cases if it is likely that the foreigner may abscond or if it is required due to reasons of state security or defence or the protection of public safety and order. Such a decision is enforceable with immediate effect.

Order forbidding re-entry into Poland

A decision obliging a foreigner to return specifies a period during which the foreigner is forbidden to re-enter Poland. Such an order may be issued to a foreigner for a period from 6 months to 5 years.

An order forbidding re-entry into Poland is issued for the following periods:

  1. 6 months to 3 years – in the event the foreigner:
    a). 
    is or was staying in Poland without a valid visa or another valid document authorising him to enter and stay in Poland, if such visa or another document are or were required;
    b). failed to leave Poland after the expiry of the admissible period of stay in the territory of (all or some) Schengen Area countries to which they were entitled without the need to have a visa, in any period of 180 days, unless otherwise specified in international agreements;
    c). failed to leave Poland after having used the admissible period of stay specified in the Schengen visa in any period of 180 days, or after the expiry of the admissible period of stay pursuant to a national visa;
    d). does not possess the financial means required to cover the costs of their stay in Poland, of the return trip to the country of origin or residence;
    e). is staying outside the immediate frontier zone where he may stay pursuant to a permit to cross the border under the local border traffic regime;
    f). is staying in Poland after the expiry of the period of stay to which he was authorised pursuant to a permit to cross the border under the local border traffic regime;
    g). the aim and conditions of the foreigner's stay in Poland are inconsistent with the declared ones, unless such changes are permitted under the law;
    h). a decision refusing to grant refugee status or subsidiary protection or a decision on the discontinuation of proceedings for granting refugee status was issued and the foreigner failed to leave Poland in the stipulated period.
  2. 1 month to 3 years – in the event the foreigner:
    a). is or was performing work without the required work permit (what is a work permit? ->); or a registered declaration of intention to entrust work to the foreigner (what is a declaration of intention to entrust work to a foreigner ->?) or was punished with a fine for illegal performance of work;
    b). started conducting business activity that is illegal under Polish law
  3. 3 years to 5 years – in the event the foreigner:
    a). has been entered into the Schengen Information System (what is the SIS system ->?) for the purposes of refusal of entry or into the register of foreigners whose presence is undesirable in the Republic of Poland.
    b). has been given a custodial sentence in Poland subject to enforcement and there are grounds to initiate extradition proceedings against him in order to enforce the verdict;
    c). further stay of the foreigner in Poland will constitute a threat to public health, which has been confirmed by medical examination, or to the international relations of another European Union Member State
  4. 5 years – in the event the foreigner:
    a). cannot stay in Poland due to reasons of national defence, state security or protection of public safety and order

Cancellation of an order forbidding re-entry

An authority that has issued a decision obliging a foreigner to return may cancel the order forbidding him to re-enter Poland on request of the foreigner, provided the foreigner proves that:

  • they have fulfilled their obligations pursuant to the decision obliging them to return (i.e. they left Poland within the period specified in the decision), or
  • their re-entry to Poland or other countries in the Schengen zone is justified by circumstances, in particular due to humanitarian reasons; or
  • they were granted assistance in voluntary return (what is assistance in voluntary return ->?)

An order forbidding a foreigner to re-enter Poland will not be cancelled if:

  • the entry or stay of the foreigner in Poland may constitute a threat to state security or defence or to the protection of public safety and order or it may violate the interests of the Republic of Poland; or
  • the foreigner did not cover the costs resulting from the issuing and enforcement of a decision obliging them to return which they were obliged to cover.
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