Updated at 23:25,12-02-2019

Local deputies banned to use Polish Card


Following officials and members of the illegitimate Belarusian Parliament, local deputies are banned to use Karta Polaka (Polish Card/Polish Charter).

This follows from amendments to the law "On the Status of Local Council of Deputies", published on January 9 on the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus.

The Article 5 of the law will now be amended with the following provisions: A member of the Council shall not have the right to obtain documents from foreign countries that provide rights to benefits and privileges in connection with political, religious beliefs or nationality, as well as enjoy such benefits and advantages unless anything else derives from international agreements of the Republic of Belarus. The member of the Council who has the documents referred to in part four of this Article, is obliged to transfer them for time of exercising of his power to the corresponding local executive and administrative body".

The actions of the Belarusian authorities on limitation of the validity of the Polish Card have been exercised since 2011. The Constitutional Court expressed its opinion that the Polish law on the Polish Card ran counter to international law, namely, the universally accepted principles of the sovereign equality and non-interference in home affairs of States, the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Consular Convention between the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Poland; the provisions of the agreement between the Governments of Belarus and Poland on mutual travel of citizens, concluded by exchange of notes on December 20, 2007.

A number of lawyers and Polish diplomats considered the decision of the Constitutional Court unprecedented as courts of one State, as a general rule, do not speak out against the laws of the other one.

The Polish Card is the document that confirms the connection of a citizen of CIS and the Baltic States to the Polish people. A person speaking Polish language at a basic level, with relatives in Poland or someone who had Polish citizenship (father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, and great-grandmother) can get it. The card is valid for 10 years from the date of issue and in case of the respective application shall be extended for the following 10 years.

The Card holder has the right to: get a long-term multiple entry visa to reside in Poland; legally work in Poland without obtaining a work permit; do business on a par with Polish citizens; as a matter of priority to claim the funding from the state or local budget (at the level of a gmina) to support the Poles abroad; travel by rail with a 37% discount.