Ukraine: EU Temporary Protection for Ukrainian Citizens and Residents Implemented
Published: 4 March 2022
Due to the escalating crisis in Ukraine, EU Ministers announced the activation of the Temporary Protective Directive that provides a residence permit and access to the labour market in EU Member States, among other protections, for Ukrainian citizens and third country citizens residing in Ukraine. Additionally, many countries are continuing to grant other concessions for Ukrainian citizens.
A closer look
- EU Temporary Protection Directive. The Directive indicates that EU Member States must provide an expedited temporary residence permit valid for up to one year (renewable for up to two years) and access to the labour market (or to self-employment rights), among other protections, to Ukrainian citizens, third country citizen residents in Ukraine and those with refugee status. The practicalities of applying for the residence permit and access to the labour market will be determined on a country-by-country basis (labour market tests may still apply in some circumstances).
- Guidelines for border control. The European Commission has also published operational guidelines for external border management, including the temporary relaxation of border controls at the Ukrainian border to the European Union to allow Ukrainian citizens to enter the European Union on humanitarian grounds, including facilitation for individuals who may not possess necessary entry documentation. In this event, Member States should provide an arrival declaration and/or provisional travel documents. Temporary travel documentation may not permit travel between EU Member States.
- New immigration concessions for Ukrainian citizens. New reported examples of government concessions for Ukrainian citizens are below, in addition to the ones listed in a previous alert. The situation is extremely dynamic. To ensure that you have the most up to date information, contact your immigration professional for additional concessions.
- Australia. Ukrainian citizens with pending visa applications will have their applications prioritized and fast-tracked for decision by immigration officials. Additionally, Ukrainian citizens in Australia holding visas which expire prior to June 30, 2022 will automatically have their visas extended for six months.
- Austria. Ukrainian citizens can enter Austria without a visa for up to 90 days, even if they do not currently hold a biometric passport.
- Belgium. Ukrainian citizens can extend their stay beyond the typical 90-day period and the government has confirmed the process to apply for a temporary protection permit and the associated right of unlimited access to the labour market.
- Bulgaria. Ukrainian citizens can work remotely in Bulgaria for 90 days, after which they will need to obtain a work permit.
- Germany. Immigration offices may, on a case-by-case basis, accept long-term permit applications for Ukrainian citizens, even if they do not have a valid long-term visa. Visa-exempt Ukrainian citizens on short stays of up to 90 days (visa free) in Berlin have automatic extensions of their status until May 31, 2022.
- United Kingdom. Ukrainian nationals can apply for UK visas from Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova. Tuberculosis testing and some other requirements are waived and the government is providing additional flexibility if the necessary documents cannot be provided. A New Ukraine Family Scheme has been made available for Ukrainian family of British or UK settled persons, which allows defined immediate and extended family members to come to or extend their stay in the United Kingdom. Family migration visas are available for immediate family of British citizens usually resident in Ukraine. The government is also providing automatic fast-tracking for family applications, a 24-hour helpline and is waiving application fees for eligible applicants. Lastly, the government has announced a new humanitarian sponsorship route, with guidance still to be published.
- COVID-19 entry rule exemptions. Some examples of countries that are exempting Ukrainian and/or other citizens from COVID-19 entry rules are below:
- In Canada, Ukrainian citizens with a Canadian temporary resident visa (visitor visa), temporary resident permit or written notice of their permanent residence application approval can enter even if they are not vaccinated or received a vaccine not currently recognized by Canada.
- In the Czech Republic, unvaccinated Ukrainian citizens can enter without proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test; vaccinated Ukrainian citizens without these documents can also enter.
- In India, Indian citizens evacuated from Ukraine are exempt from uploading vaccination certificates prior to departure from Ukraine. Fully vaccinated Ukrainian evacuees can leave the destination airport without undergoing a post-arrival COVID-19 test.
- In Poland, Ukrainian citizens and residents leaving Ukraine do not need to carry proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test.
- In Romania, Ukrainian citizens and residents leaving Ukraine do not need to carry proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
- In Slovakia, refugees from Ukraine are exempt from the pre-arrival COVID-19 test and quarantine requirements.
- In Saudi Arabia, Saudi citizens and their dependents arriving from Ukraine are exempt from the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement and instead can take a COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of arrival.
- In Taiwan, Taiwan citizens returning from Ukraine are exempt from the pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR test.
- In the United States, until April 1, 2022, nonimmigrants who were present in Ukraine on February 10, 2022 and who are traveling with U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be exempt from testing and vaccination requirements.
Temporary protection status is an expedited alternative to the asylum process in EU Member States, which includes labour market access and health care rights. The implementation of this status will be on a country-by-country basis, which may result in variations in interpretation or not all situations being immediately addressed.
Impacted citizens should take advantage of immediate concessions in all EU Member States and should remain informed of the growing number of concessions as they are released by local authorities, and prepare for delays in consular and immigration processes.