Freedom of movement


Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 13/06/24



Officially there is no restriction to the freedom of movement of asylum seekers: they can travel around Poland wherever they want. However, when an asylum seeker accommodated in a reception centre stays outside this centre for more than 2 days, the assistance will be withheld by law until the moment of his/hers return.[1] Moreover, asylum seekers can leave the centre whenever they want, during the day, but they should be back before 11:00 p.m.[2] Asylum seekers may leave the reception centre for a couple of days upon earlier notification in the centre.[3]

The Office for Foreigners decides to which reception centre asylum seekers will be allocated. This decision cannot be formally challenged. In practice, nuclear families generally stay in the same centre. The decisions are made taking into consideration family ties (asylum seekers should be allocated in the same centre as their families), vulnerability (e.g. asylum seekers with special needs can be allocated only to the centres which are adapted to their needs), the continuation of medical treatment (when it cannot be continued in other premises), the safety of the asylum seeker and capacity of the centres.[4]

Under the law, an asylum seeker staying in one centre can be required to move to another facility if this is justified for organisational reasons.[5] Polish authorities interpret this rule as applying mostly to transfers from first-reception centres to an accommodation centre. As a result, asylum seekers are expected to move from the first reception centre to the other centres. In practice, it can take a few to several days (depending on how long the epidemiological filter procedure lasts and whether the interview is conducted in the first reception centre). Afterwards, if they are allocated to one centre they are very rarely moved to another. If so, it happens mostly upon the request of an asylum seeker. Except for 2020 (due to the pandemic), in the previous years, most of the requests to move to another centre were accepted. However, in 2022, out of 124 persons, 78 were allowed to move to another centre, while 44 were denied this possibility. According to the Office for Foreigners, the denials resulted from organisational reasons: the need to have free spaces left in the first-reception centres and making all centres equally occupied.[6]

Moving an asylum seeker to another centre without a request from them is very rare. In 2022, 2 asylum seekers were required to move to another centre due to the fact that they had alcohol in the centre (which is prohibited) and disturbed the order therein.[7]




[1] Article 77 Law on Protection.

[2] Para 12(3) of the Annex to the Regulation on rules of stay in the centre for asylum seekers.

[3] A. Garbolińska, ‘Rodzaje ośrodków dla osób w procedurze uchodźczej w Polsce’, 2022, available in Polish here:

[4] Information provided by Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2021.

[5] Article 82(1)(6) Law on Protection.

[6] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 3 February 2023.

[7] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 3 February 2023.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation