Is it safe to travel to Poland? UK travel advice explained amid Ukraine-Russia conflict

Travellers to Poland could notice the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict as refugees may seek refuge in the country

The FCDO is not currently advising against travel to Poland (Photo: Adobe)The FCDO is not currently advising against travel to Poland (Photo: Adobe)
The FCDO is not currently advising against travel to Poland (Photo: Adobe)

As Russian troops continue their attack on Ukraine, neighbouring countries and post-Soviet states in Europe are now questioning what the war will mean for them.

The UK and allies have announced a series of sanctions in a bid to try and cripple the Russian economy following Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric” assault on the country.

The FCDO is not currently advising against travel to Poland (Photo: Adobe)The FCDO is not currently advising against travel to Poland (Photo: Adobe)
The FCDO is not currently advising against travel to Poland (Photo: Adobe)

Boris Johnson promised a “massive” package of economic measures in tandem with the US and European Union, which he described as the “largest and most severe” sanctions Russia has ever faced.

Ukraine closed its airspace in the early hours of Thursday (24 February) morning prompting thousands of flight cancellations, and the UK Foreign Office is now advising people not to travel to the country.

But is it safe to visit any of Ukraine’s neighbours? Here’s what you need to know about the latest travel advice to Poland.

Is it safe to visit Poland?

Poland shares a 332-mile border with Ukraine and Nato has said it will strengthen its eastern flank along this.

There are currently no restrictions on travel in Poland, but visitors could notice some effects of the Russian invasion as refugees fleeing Ukraine are expected to seek shelter in its neighbouring countries.

Poland, Romania and Slovakia have all made plans for a potential influx of millions of refugees, which could mean hostels usually open to tourists could be filled with Ukrainians escaping war.

The Polish government has said it is planning to house Ukrainian refugees in hostels, dormitories and sports facilities.

(Graphic: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)(Graphic: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)
(Graphic: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)

In response to the recent migrant crisis instigated by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko on the Poland-Belarus border, the Polish government introduced a law in November last year limiting access to areas close to the border.

As of 30 November 2021, areas within approximately two miles from the border in parts of Podlaskie and Lubelskie Voivodeships are off limits to visitors until 1 March 2022.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth (FCDO) is not currently advising against travel to Poland, but is warning against crossing the border into Ukraine.

In an update issued on Thursday, the FCDO said: “You should not attempt to cross into Ukraine from Poland.

“You should abide by the instructions of the authorities at all times.

“If you have arrived in Poland from Ukraine and are in need of assistance, you should call +48 22 311 00 00 and select the option for “consular services for British nationals.”

“You can also send an enquiry via the web contact form.”

Do flights from the UK to Poland travel over Russian or Ukrainian airspace?

No. Flights travelling to Poland from the UK do not need to travel over Russian or Ukrainian airspace and all scheduled flights are currently operating as normal.

Even before the Russian invasion, most airlines had already taken steps to avoid flying over Ukraine.

Airlines began diverting around the country in response to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by pro-Russian separatists in 2014, and British Airways has not flown to Ukraine for several years, and like other carriers, will continue to avoid its airspace.

What are the entry requirements for Poland?

All travellers arriving from non-Schengen countries, which includes the UK, who are aged five or older must show evidence of a pre-departure PCR or lateral flow Covid test taken within 24 hours before arrival.

The certificate of your test result must be in English or Polish.

Those who fail to show proof of a negative test will be required to quarantine on arrival, regardless of vaccination status, unless you have an exemption.

Travellers are also required to fill out a passenger locator form to enter or travel through Poland as a visitor.

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