In this article you will read about the procedure for applying for international protection in Poland and what to do, if the decision turns out to be negative.
The first step in the procedure is to submit an application (letter, statement, verbal declaration) for international protection to the border guard. The officers are obligated to accept such a request, they cannot reject it.
When submitting the application, the person is supposed to declare at what address she/he is staying. If she/he does not provide such an address, he is obliged to go to the reception center in Dębak or Biała Podlaska within 2 days – the person who accepts the application will tell you which one to go to. If one doesn’t appear in the center by this date, the procedure will be discontinued.
Step two – the application is submitted to the Office for Foreigners (Urząd do Spraw Cudzoziemców (UDSC), Taborowa 33 in Warsaw). The Office for Foreigners sets the date of the interview and informs the applicant about it. The Office sends a letter called „Summons to Appear in Person” („Wezwanie do osobistego stawiennictwa”). The interview takes place on the date set by the office. It concerns the circumstances and reasons why the asylum seeker left the country of origin. If a person does not show up for the interview, provides false information which can later be verified, or says that he or she does not want international protection, then the decision will almost certainly be negative.
At the next stage, after the Office for Foreigners collects all the necessary data, your application will be reviewed. If you want to read about the rights of people in the procedure, check out THIS article.
Next, the Office for Foreigners issues a decision. At this point there are three possible scenarios:
– granting refugee status,
– refusal to grant refugee status but granting a subsidiary protection, or
– refusal to grant international protection (neither refugee status nor subsidiary protection).
Refusal to grant international protection
After receiving the decision refusing international protection (negative decision), the person has 14 days to file an appeal. The appeal, i.e. a letter informing about the disagreement with the decision, should include solid justification. It is important that the justification is factual and exhaustively describes the legal grounds for disagreement. It is worth asking a lawyer for help in writing it. However, it should be emphasized that the appeal, even with very solid justification, never guarantees that the next decision will be positive and that international protection will be granted.
Sending the appeal stops the running of the designated 14 days. It is worth noting that in a situation when you don’t have time to prepare a solid justification, you can just send a short letter called „Appeal” (“odwołanie”), where you write that you do not agree with the decision. The justification for the appeal may be sent at a later date.
If you receive a negative decision from the Office for Foreigners, you can ask for help in our Help Center for Foreigners. A lawyer will help you to write an appeal. Just remember to contact us early enough, within a few days of receiving the decision.
Second negative decision
You can also appeal against the second negative decision. The procedure is the same as for the first one. During the appeal procedure (the first or the second), your asylum procedure continues – you retain all the rights and obligations that you have in the procedure. The procedure for international protection is considered completed only upon the delivery of the final decision.
The final decision is a decision issued after considering the appeals. If the final decision is also negative, then you receive another document after a fairly short time – an obligation to return.
Obligation to return
The obligation to return is a document that imposes on a foreigner an obligation to return to the country of origin within 30 days of its delivery. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice. Maybe during the refugee procedure you managed to find a job or entered into a relationship with someone who has a residence permit (temporary or permanent residence, citizenship, international protection), or maybe you started studying or your spouse or minor child obtained international protection – then you can submit an application for temporary residence. When your application for a stay is accepted and your passport has a stamp confirming it, you can appeal against the obligation to return on the grounds that your stay in Poland is regulated.
If you have no grounds to apply for a temporary stay, you can submit another application for international protection. There are no limits to how many applications for protection can be submitted. After submitting a new application for protection, you can also appeal against the obligation to return on the basis of your residence in Poland being regulated. However, if no new circumstances have emerged, the application for protection will not be considered. However, usually several months pass from the submission of the application for protection to the delivery of the final decision to leave the application without consideration – during this time your situation may change and there may be grounds for applying for a temporary stay.
However, if neither of the above situations occurs, and you cannot return to your country of origin, you still can submit an application for a humanitarian or tolerated stay to the border guard. Such a request can be justified, among others, by the fact that the return would violate your or your child’s right to family life (especially if the child has a residence status in Poland), and that the return may pose a danger. There are also several other reasons. The lawyer from our Help Center for Foreigners may provide assistance in the procedure of applying for a humanitarian or tolerated stay, similarly to any other procedure.
Your asylum procedure continues until a final decision is made. Neither a negative decision, even a final one, nor an obligation to return is irrefutable. If you receive a letter from the office and you do not know what to do, contact our Help Center for Foreigners. We will explain what the letter you have received is about, what possibilities you have and what each of them entails. Where necessary and possible, we will also provide legal and mentoring support during the procedure.
Get it done with us!
Do you have questions concerning the asylum procedure? Contact our Help Center for Foreigners!
Send an e-mail to: [email protected] and briefly describe your problem. If you want us to contact you quickly, you can also send us your phone number – it will make communication easier and shorten the waiting time for our response.
The assistance we provide is free of charge. However, please note that we do not provide technical support for websites and services nor do we mediate contact with administrative organs.
Click HERE for more guidance on living in Poland and forms of help available in the Help Center for Foreigners.