How to meet Ukrainian refugees in Poland?

Meeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland requires a sensitive and respectful approach, as these individuals have often experienced trauma and upheaval. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Research Local Organizations: Many NGOs and charitable organizations in Poland are actively supporting Ukrainian refugees. Examples include Caritas, Polish Red Cross, and Polish Humanitarian Action. Joining or volunteering with these organizations can provide opportunities to meet and help refugees.

  2. Attend Community Events: Some local communities or churches may organize events or gatherings to support and integrate Ukrainian refugees. Attending these events can be a way to meet refugees and offer support.

  3. Language Exchange Programs: Offer to teach English or Polish in exchange for learning Ukrainian. This can be a great way to meet refugees and help them integrate better into Polish society.

  4. Offer Accommodation: If you have spare space, consider offering it to refugees. Platforms like Airbnb have in the past initiated programs to help refugees find temporary housing.

  5. Donate and Volunteer: Donating clothes, food, or other essentials can be a direct way to support refugees. Additionally, volunteering your time at refugee centers or shelters can provide opportunities to meet and interact with Ukrainian refugees.

  6. Online Platforms: There are online platforms and social media groups where you can connect with refugees, offer support, or learn about their stories.

  7. Be Respectful and Sensitive: Remember that refugees have often experienced traumatic events. Approach with empathy, avoid prying into their personal stories unless they're willing to share, and always prioritize their comfort and safety.

  8. Educate Yourself: Before meeting, educate yourself about the Ukrainian culture, the reasons for their displacement, and the challenges they face. This will help you communicate more effectively and show that you care.

  9. Offer Employment: If you're in a position to do so, offering employment opportunities can be one of the most direct ways to support refugees and help them integrate.

  10. Legal Assistance: If you have a background in law, especially immigration law, offer your services pro bono to help refugees navigate the complexities of their legal status.

Remember, the goal is to offer support, understanding, and friendship. Always approach with kindness and a genuine desire to help.

Can i marry a Ukrainian refugee in Poland?

Yes, you can marry a Ukrainian refugee in Poland, but there are specific procedures and requirements to be met. Here's a general overview of the process:

  1. Legal Status of the Refugee: Before marrying in Poland, the Ukrainian refugee should have legal status in the country. This could be in the form of a temporary residence permit, refugee status, or another legal status.

  2. Required Documents: Both parties will need to provide several documents to get married in Poland. These typically include:

    • A valid passport or another form of ID.
    • Birth certificates.
    • A certificate of no impediment to marriage (proving you're free to marry). For the refugee, this might be obtained from Ukrainian authorities or, in some cases, from Polish authorities if obtaining it from Ukraine is impossible due to their refugee status.
    • If either party has been married before, a final divorce decree or death certificate of the former spouse will be required.
    • Proof of legal stay in Poland (for the Ukrainian refugee).
  3. Civil Ceremony: In Poland, a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar is necessary for the marriage to be legally recognized. Religious ceremonies can be held, but they are optional and come after the civil ceremony.

  4. Application: The couple needs to apply to the appropriate local civil registry office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in the jurisdiction where at least one of them resides. After submitting all the required documents and paying a fee, a date for the marriage ceremony will be set.

  5. Language Requirements: If neither party speaks Polish, a sworn translator might be required during the ceremony.

  6. Residency After Marriage: After marriage, the Ukrainian refugee can apply for a residence permit based on the grounds of being married to someone residing in Poland. This can lead to a more stable and long-term residency status.

  7. Legal Counsel: Given the complexities involved, especially concerning refugee status and international marriages, it's wise to consult with a legal expert familiar with Polish immigration and marriage laws.

While it's possible to marry a Ukrainian refugee in Poland, it's essential to be well-prepared and informed about the process. Ensure all documents are in order and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure a smooth process.

And to conclude, about Ukrainian refugee in Poland!

Dear reader,

I have put together this guide to provide information on how to respectfully meet and potentially marry Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland. With over 1 million Ukrainian refugees now in Poland, many of us are eager to help however we can.

Together we learnt about different options for getting to know refugees: volunteering, social gatherings, language exchange, donations and online platforms. My advice is to be sensitive to the traumas many refugees face, to familiarise yourself with their culture and situation, and to prioritise their comfort with socialising.

Regarding marriage, I explain the legal requirements for refugees to marry in Poland, including obtaining the proper documents and going through the civil ceremony process. Marrying a refugee can allow them to gain a more stable residency status in Poland through your citizenship. However, I emphasize consulting immigration lawyers to ensure proper procedures are followed.

My goal with this guide is to encourage meaningful, ethical connections that provide support and friendship to Ukrainian refugees during this difficult time. Please approach any interactions with empathy, patience and respect. I hope these tips can lead to you making a positive difference in refugees' lives. Let me know if you have any other questions.


Nadzieja Woźniak

158 Duke Lane
Bound Brook, NJ 08805