EU support to Ukraine: practical information for refugees


If you are fleeing the war in Ukraine and coming to the European Union, here is the key information about your rights with regard to crossing the border into an EU country, eligibility for temporary protection and applying for international protection, as well as the rights of travel inside the European Union.
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Preparing to leave

If possible, please take valid travel documents with you when leaving. However, the lack of travel documents or medical documents (certificate of vaccination, COVID-19 test) should not be an obstacle to entering the EU.
All EU countries bordering Ukraine are allowing entry to all people fleeing the war in Ukraine on humanitarian grounds regardless of whether or not you have a biometric passport. This applies also to children. If you have Ukrainian nationality and a biometric passport, you can enter the EU by presenting your passport at the border. In all the other cases, EU countires will admit you on humanitarian grounds.

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Your rights in the EU

Once you have crossed into the EU you have a number of options depending on your personal circumstances. The authorities will inform you accordingly about your rights.

1. You can be granted temporary protection

If you were permanently residing in Ukraine, and you left the country to escape war from 24 February 2022 onwards, you may be entitled to temporary protection in any EU country. Temporary protection will last for at least one year, this may be extended depending on the situation in Ukraine. Rights under the Temporary Protection Directive include a residence permit, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, and access to education for children. Anyone residing legally in the EU also has a right to open a basic bank account. You will also have the right to open a basic bank account.
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2. You can apply for international protection in the EU

Beneficiaries of temporary protection have the right to make an application for international protection (asylum) at any time.
If you choose to do so, your temporary protection may be suspended while you have the status and rights of an asylum applicant. If at the end of the examination your asylum application is rejected and the current temporary protection is still in place in the EU, your temporary protection status will revive.
You should inform yourself about which practices the Member State applies in order to decide whether to ask for international protection in addition to a residence permit showing your temporary protection status.

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3. You can request repatriation assistance

Irrespective of your nationality and right to international protection, if you were living in Ukraine and have fled the war, you should be able to cross the EU border. If it is safe to return to your home country, you should contact relevant authorities or organisations to help you get back.
For repatriation assistance, you should contact the embassy/consulate of your country of origin in the EU country where you are currently staying. The national authorities in this country can also help you to contact your embassy/consulate in case you encounter problems and may offer assistance for your repatriation.
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Onward travel in the EU

In most cases, if you have fled the war in Ukraine, you will be able to travel to other EU countries. For Ukrainians with a biometric passport this right comes from the visa free regime in place between the EU and Ukraine. If you come from a third country, you need to check whether your country of origin is on the list of third countries whose nationals are exempt from the requirement to have a visa.
On the website below you will find key information about which national authorities to contact for temporary protection and which organisations are active in helping those fleeing Ukraine, as well as how to contact them. You can also learn about some free travel options offered by transport companies in EU countries.

The rights of children arriving from Ukraine

All children (i.e. persons under the age of 18) fleeing from the war in Ukraine are entitled to protection in the EU. They have the right to:

have their identity registered upon entry to the EU – and, where children do not travel accompanied by parents or other adults responsible for them, border guards will also register the identity of the known adults accompanying them in their travel or waiting for them, as well as the declared EU country of destination
be given access to care (including housing) as soon as possible, healthcare (including psychological support), and education
be heard and express their views about any decision about to be taken concerning them (where age and degree of maturity allow for this)
In the case of unaccompanied or separated children, they also have the right to be appointed a guardian as soon as possible, who will provide the parental authority figure for them until they can be reunited with their parents or other family members.

Access to healthcare in the EU

If you are granted temporary protection, you will have access to healthcare in your host Member State. So, once you register and get the temporary residence permit, the host Member State will offer you access to its healthcare system.
If the public healthcare system of the host Member State considers you fully insured, you will also be entitled to receive the European Health Insurance Card that gives you the right to necessary healthcare treatment during a temporary stay in another Member State.

More information and information from national ministries and health agencies:

Access to the job market

People with temporary protection should be able to engage in employed or self-employed activities, as well as vocational training and should also enjoy equal treatment with workers in the Member States, in terms of pay and other conditions.

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Information on accommodation and housing

Immediate accommodation is being provided by the authorities or by charities. The Temporary Protection Directive offers the right to suitable accommodation and housing and sustainable solutions therefore need to be found in the medium term combining the public reception system with private accommodation offers.

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Stay safe while travelling in the EU

When travelling to and around the EU, please be aware of the risk of trafficking and exploitation. Try to use transport and accommodation organised by authorities and civil society organisations. Do not give your identification documents, personal information and belongings to anyone other than government or border officials and always inform your relatives or friends about your whereabouts.  If you are offered employment, research the company and in case of doubt ask national police authorities or civil society organisations for more information.

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