More than 500,000 Ukrainians are believed to have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.
As a result, countries all over the world have opened their borders to refugees, with the European Union leading the way. According to EU and French officials, at least 300,000 Ukrainians have entered the EU so far, and countries should brace themselves for millions more as the conflict worsens.
Many European countries have eased entry and visa requirements for those fleeing the conflict.
So, what are the new ground rules?
On Sunday, EU internal ministers agreed to allow all Ukrainian refugees to stay in the EU for up to a year without first seeking asylum. This can then be extended twice for six months. EU has the option of extending it for another year if the war continues. The protection can last up to three years in total.
“Most of Ukrainians coming now, they are coming with passports that give them visa-free entry for 90 days. But we have to prepare for day 91,” European Commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson told Euronews.
The European Commission is preparing to activate a never-before-used mechanism known as the Temporary Protective Directive. This will assist EU countries in managing and sharing applications from Ukrainian nationals. This will come in handy to assist when traditional asylum systems receive a large influx of refugees.
Temporary protection does not imply that a person receives asylum. However, individuals can apply for asylum at any time during their stay. Children enrolled in school and people with medical conditions may stay after their temporary protection expires.
Ireland and Denmark do not bound by this legislation due to opt-out clauses.
Ukrainian citizens can currently enter Romania at border crossing points using a biometric or standard passport. Those seeking asylum may also enter with another form of identification. It may be a national ID card or a birth certificate.
You can submit directly at the border crossing point by any foreign citizen.
Ukrainian citizens can also enter without documents for humanitarian reasons if they declare their identity.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu stated on Twitter that the country’s “borders are open for Ukrainian citizens who require safe transit or stay.”
Because the country is in a state of emergency, Ukrainian citizens can enter even if they do not have passports. They can cross the border with valid domestic identification.
While many refugees have sought asylum in the EU, at least 100 have applied for asylum in Moldova.
Poland is allowing anyone from Ukraine to enter, even if they do not have a valid passport.
Officials have announced the opening of nine reception centers along the country’s 535-kilometer border with Ukraine. The scope is to provide meals, medical care, a place to rest, and information to those fleeing the invasion.