Lex Ukraine IV: Questions and answers on the change in the conditions of residence of Ukrainian refugees

The third amendment to Act No. 65/2022 Coll., called “Lex Ukraine”, redefines the conditions for the extension of temporary protection visas, which will expire on 31 March 2023. In the following article, you will find answers to the most frequent questions regarding (not only) the stay of Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic.

Стаття доступна українською мовою.

What conditions must be met for a temporary protection visa to be extended?

A new online registration platform was launched from 30 January 2023, where current holders of temporary protection can register for renewal. Registration on the platform will have to be made no later than the end of the validity of the current temporary protection visa, i.e. by 31 March 2023. If this does not happen, the holder will lose their temporary protection status on the last day of March.

The following information will be required upon registration: personal data, place of declared residence in the Czech Republic; for children, the address and name of the school or kindergarten where they are registered for compulsory attendance, or the relationship to the person under the age of 18 for whom the adult is applying for an extension of temporary protection. The registration automatically extends the temporary protection until 30 September 2023.

Is online registration the only step that temporary protection holders must take?

No, it is not. As part of the online registration, the applicant will be offered a date for a face-to-face appointment at a department of the Ministry of the Interior to obtain a new visa sticker, which must take place no later than 30 September 2023. After successful registration, the applicant should receive a confirmation email with the date and address of the specific department where the appointment should take place.

During the appointment at the Ministry of the Interior, the foreigner will receive a new visa sticker which is valid until 31 March 2024.

What documents do I need to bring to the appointment at the Ministry of the Interior?

The following documents are required at the appointment to extend temporary protection:

  • Valid travel document or other proof of identity (if the applicant has one).
  • Confirmation of accommodation. Not required if temporary protection was granted after 27 June 2022 and the place of residence has not changed. The document also does not have to contain a certified signature of the owner or authorised user of the flat or house.
  • Documents proving representation of a minor may also be required.

Is personal presence required to collect the new visa?

Yes, you must appear in person. You can only collect the visa without being present for a minor. Collecting a visa by proxy is not possible.

Can the date of the meeting at the Ministry of the Interior be rescheduled?

If the holder of temporary protection cannot attend the appointment for any reason, a new booking must be made. The appointment may be postponed only once. Foreign nationals who do not appear for the affixing of the visa sticker by 30 September 2023 will have their temporary protection automatically terminated.

Do the same conditions apply to holders of a special tolerance visa?

Holders of a special visa for tolerated stay (also known as leave to remain visa) will have their temporary protection automatically extended. It is not necessary to register in the online system, but it is necessary to make an appointment at the relevant department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic to have a new sticker affixed.

Did the amendment bring any other significant changes?

Lex Ukraine IV does not differ in any fundamental way from the previous regulation. It continues to provide that an application for temporary protection is inadmissible if it is requested by the holder of temporary protection issued by another EU Member State. Temporary protection already granted will lapse if the foreigner is granted a visa or residence in the territory of the Czech Republic or another state. This is not limited to EU countries. Applications for residence permits submitted to the embassy in Ukraine are still inadmissible.

Is it possible to switch from temporary protection to another type of residence permit?

The possibility to switch to another type of residence from temporary protection is not regulated by the current amendment and it is still unclear what will happen to temporary protection holders after 2024. It is still possible to apply only for a long-term residence permit for the purpose of family cohabitation after 6 months or a permanent residence permit without the condition of 5 years of continuous residence (but only under very specific conditions).

A temporary protection holder has acquired citizenship of another country. How should they proceed?

The granting of other citizenship is not covered by Lex Ukraine. In this particular case, the foreign individual will not lose the status of temporary protection. Moreover, they have the possibility to apply for a residence permit in the Czech Republic at the Czech embassy in the state where they have just acquired citizenship. Temporary protection will then expire only upon the issuance of a residence permit in the Czech Republic.

Have the rules changed for citizens of Belarus and the Russian Federation?

Restrictive measures against citizens of Belarus and the Russian Federation remain in force by special regulation. Exceptions apply only to student scholars, family reunification, and humanitarian visas.

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