Do I need a PESEL number to stay legally in Poland?
It is not necessary. In order for a Ukrainian refugee’s stay in Poland to be considered legal, several conditions must be met.
According to the special act, the right to it is vested in, for example, citizens of Ukraine who legally entered the territory of the Republic of Poland in the period from February 24, 2022 and declare their intention to stay in Poland (the applicable regulations also require the refugee to come to Poland directly from Ukraine, but the parliament will soon remove this condition).
PESEL number to get benefits
Thus, Ukrainians who escaped from the war have the right to legally stay in Poland for 18 months from February 24, 2022. There is no requirement to have a PESEL number. However, without it, it is not possible to get access to some benefits. It may also turn out to be necessary when the entry of the Ukrainian into Poland has not been registered by the Border Guard during the border control.
Then you have to submit an application to the commune office, on its basis not only the arrival to Poland is registered, but also the PESEL number is issued. In the application, the Ukrainian must state when she/he came to Poland. A photo must be attached to it and fingerprints are taken.
Importantly, assigning a PESEL number also allows you to create a trusted profile and use the mObywat application, which opens access to many public services.
Do I need a PESEL number to start work?
PESEL is not necessary to legalise the work of a Ukrainian refugee. The special act introduced simplified rules for taking up work by Ukrainians. They show that a citizen of Ukraine is entitled to work in Poland if his stay is legal.
In such a case, the employer who wants to entrust him with the work must notify the poviat labour office competent for the company’s seat or place of residence within 14 days of its commencement. Such a notification should be sent via the ICT system – praca.gov.pl.
The regulations indicate what personal data of a citizen of Ukraine must be included in the employment notification. Those are:
date of birth,
the type, number and series of the travel document or other document confirming or allowing to establish the identity and the country in which the document was issued,
Is the PESEL number necessary for the fugitive to open a bank account?
Not necessarily. Banks put different conditions on Ukrainians. First of all, they require documents that will certify the identity of these people. Some do not want to open accounts on the basis of documents written in Cyrillic characters, requiring e.g. biometric passports, but many Ukrainians do not have these.
Banks also refuse to set them up only on the basis of the PESEL number. This is due to the fact that in order to get a PESEL, it is enough to have a refugee’s declaration and provide your data, which is often not enough for banks. However, there are institutions that propose minimum requirements for opening accounts for war refugees (e.g. they do not require biometric documents and respect the so-called Ukrainian passports).
Can I open a company without a PESEL number?
No, a PESEL number is necessary for this. A Ukrainian refugee who resides legally in Poland may set up a business and run it on the same terms as Poles. According to the special act, the right to open a business is available on condition that a citizen of Ukraine obtains a PESEL number.
Is the PESEL number needed to apply for family benefits granted by ZUS?
Yes, the condition for obtaining them by a citizen of Ukraine is having a PESEL number, which results directly from art. 26 sec. 3 special acts. ZUS is currently offering a child benefit, i.e. PLN 500 per child (500+), family care capital, which is granted for every second and subsequent child in the family between the 12th and 35th month of life (CPR), and a benefit of PLN 300 per layette school (300+) from the “Good Start” program (but you can no longer apply for it for the current school year).
Refugees can submit their applications via PUE ZUS and must have a bank account, because the aforementioned benefits are paid only in a non-cash form. Similar rules will also apply to the new benefit that will come into force on 1 April – co-financing the fee for a child’s stay in a nursery, children’s club or day carer, who will also be serviced by ZUS.
Is the PESEL number required when applying for family and social assistance benefits?
As in the case of support granted by ZUS, here it is necessary to enter the PESEL number in the PESEL register and provide its number in the application. Pursuant to the provisions of the special act, citizens of Ukraine have access to financial assistance classified as family benefits, as well as cash and non-cash benefits from the social assistance system.
On the other hand, the payment of family benefits and social assistance may be made in the manner chosen by the citizen of Ukraine, i.e. either to a bank account or to the hand, at the cash desk of the social welfare center. The PESEL number is also the basic condition for obtaining a one-time benefit for Ukrainian citizens in the amount of PLN 300 (paid in cash or transferred to a bank account).
Is the PESEL number necessary to benefit from medical care?
It is not essential. Pursuant to the special act, refugees from Ukraine are entitled to medical benefits – that is, treatment analogous to Polish citizens, with the exception of spa treatment and treatment abroad under the cross-border directive.
Their costs are financed by the National Health Fund. This entitlement covers Ukrainian citizens and their spouses who do not have Ukrainian citizenship and citizens of Ukraine with a Pole’s Card (they did not have to cross the Polish border with Ukraine directly), as well as members of their immediate family – who came to Poland from February 24, 2022.
Verification of entitlement to benefits for persons entitled under the special act are carried out on the basis of the PESEL number issued to citizens of Ukraine, an e-document (adults who register in the municipality and will be given a PESEL number and set up a trusted profile, can activate an e-document confirming the status of an authorised person) or a printout confirmation of the creation of a trusted authorised person’s profile (includes: name and surname, PESEL number). The right to benefits may also be verified on the basis of any document that confirms identity, including:
passport of a citizen of Ukraine with the stamp of the Polish Border Guard,
a certificate issued by the Border Guard of the Republic of Poland,
Another document certifying the status of Ukrainian citizenship, crossing the border, place of crossing the border; the status of the spouse of a citizen of Ukraine, kinship in the case of the immediate family of a citizen of Ukraine with the Pole’s Card.
Do I need a PESEL number to receive and fulfil a prescription for reimbursed drugs?
The PESEL number facilitates the fulfilment of such a prescription, but it is not necessary. A person entitled under the special act to reimbursed drugs, who does not have a PESEL number, should receive – after issuing an e-prescription in Poland – an information printout with an access key, additionally presented in the form of a barcode, which will allow the person who provides the prescription to read the prescription from the electronic SIM platform (P1). If a Ukrainian has a PESEL number, it is not necessary.
At the pharmacy, there is no need to copy or scan the document confirming the authorization. Importantly for issuers, a prescription for a person covered by the special act must bear the code IN (this is one of the additional entitlements, it includes persons who are entitled to benefits under separate provisions).
IMPORTANT: People who fled Ukraine before the war, but not covered by the special act, are also entitled to free treatment and reimbursed drugs in Poland. This is guaranteed by the implementing decision of the EU Council 2022/382, effective in Poland from March 4, 2022, which states the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine.
They are entitled to medical care under the Act on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland (i.e. Journal of Laws of 2021, item 1108, as amended), as amended by a special act. Its costs are covered by the head of the Office for Foreigners from the state budget.