Alert – Travel Information for U.S. Citizens, U.S. Embassy Warsaw, Poland (March 31, 2020)
Event: There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with hundreds of thousands of reported cases worldwide. This alert provides additional information regarding additional restrictions on movement and activities implemented in Poland.
On March 19, the State Department advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The State Department is advising U.S. citizens traveling or residing outside the United States to arrange for immediate return to the U.S. unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period of time. U.S. citizens are urged to take advantage of commercially available options for returning to the U.S. while they are still operating. Those U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States should work with their airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.
We strongly urge all U.S. citizens to enroll in our Smart Travelers Enrollment Program at step.state.gov to receive alerts and ensure you can be located in an emergency.
CHARTER FLIGHT PROCEDURE: The U.S. Mission to Poland is assisting LOT Polish Airlines with verifying eligibility for U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who wish to return to the United States on charter flights offered by LOT. These are not U.S. government operated or funded flights. Availability and cancellations are controlled by LOT. At this time, this is the only direct way to travel between Poland and the United States. The U.S. government is not evacuating U.S. citizens from Poland.
These times are subject to change or cancellation, but, as of this time, LOT has scheduled flights from Warsaw to Chicago on the following days:
· Thursday, April 2
· Saturday, April 4
Please note that we do not expect any additional flights after April 4.
In order to secure seats on the upcoming LOT flights, you MUST send an email to WarsawUSCitizen@state.gov with the subject line: LOT Charter Information [Your Last Name]
Your email message should include the following information for EACH traveler (even small children):
· Full name as spelled in your passport
· Information that we and LOT Polish Airlines can use to contact you now – please include a current phone number and email address. Please double check the information you provide for accuracy. You must diligently monitor both
your incoming calls and e-mail messages in order to book a seat on one of these flights. The airline may call at any time, including early morning or late evening, in order to arrange booking.
· Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
· Passport number, and its date of issuance and expiration. If it is not a U.S. passport, please note the country that issued it. Please also note any non-U.S. citizen immediate family members traveling with you.
· Please note your current location (city) and any special needs you may have, such as medical issues.
PLEASE NOTE: By providing this information to us, you give your consent to our providing it to travel service providers for the purpose of facilitating your return to the United States.
WARSAW AIRPORT INFORMATION: You may be screened for visible symptoms and fever before being allowed to board these LOT-operated flights. Passengers exhibiting any symptoms, including fevers, may not be allowed to board. Restaurants and shops in the Warsaw airport are closed and food service on the flights is minimal. Please consider bringing your own snacks to the airport.
CHICAGO AIRPORT INFORMATION: Although the situation is subject to change, we have received reports that upon arrival in Chicago, travelers are screened for symptoms. Travelers without symptoms have been able to catch connecting flights and asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Travelers with symptoms may not be permitted to board a domestic onward flight.
IF YOU FEEL ILL: The Polish government has set up a national informational hotline for COVID-19 health-related inquiries. To reach this hotline, dial +48 800 190 590 and press 6 for an English-speaking operator. For emergency services, dial 112.
The government has designated certain hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients. A list of those hospitals can be found here: https://www.gov.pl/web/coronavirus/hospitals.
More information about the steps the Polish government is taking to address the outbreak can be found at the following website: https://www.gov.pl/web/coronavirus/. This website includes health suggestions and explains the travel and movement restrictions the Polish government has put into place.
FRAUD ALERT: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is warning against fraudsters, claiming to be ministry employees, who are calling and trying to extort money from foreigners living in Poland. The fraudsters are spoofing the MFA’s phone number and accusing foreigners of failing to complete their visa process correctly. They threaten deportation and demand payment via international money transfer. Anyone who has experienced this should report it to the local police Please also inform the MFA at email@example.com and American Citizens Services at ACSWarsaw@state.gov.
MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS IN POLAND: On March 24, the Polish authorities announced new restrictions on public movement. On March 31, these restrictions were tightened, effective April 1. All public gatherings, events, and reunions are banned, and places of public recreation, such as parks will be closed. No gatherings of more than two people are allowed in public, except for family groups (for example: two parents and two children walking together would be allowed), and space of at least 2 meters (approximately 6 feet) must be maintained, except with respect to young children and disabled people. Minors (under age 18) are not allowed outside without a parent or guardian. Public transport will continue to operate, with limited capacity. The number of people who may be inside those shops that remain open, as well as at open air markets, will be strictly limited. Special shopping hours from 10 am – 12 pm will be reserved for persons over age 65. Shoppers will be required to use disposable gloves. Hotels and hostels will be closed effective April 2. You may be fined up to 30,000 PLN for violating these restrictions.
The following activities are permitted, subject to the restrictions on numbers and distancing described above:
· Commuting to and from work.
· Traveling to purchase goods or perform services connected to your employment.
· Essential activities of daily life, such as shopping for food and medicine (for your family or for others under quarantine), seeing a doctor, taking care of relatives, walking your dog or taking a short stroll.
· Religious events may include up to five people, but the government recommends participating in religious services online or via radio or TV.
· With the exception of food stores and pharmacies, almost all shops will remain closed. Restaurants and bars remain closed, except for take-out and delivery. All entertainment and cultural venues, such as theaters and museums, and all schools and universities remain closed.
ENTRANCE RESTRICTIONS: On March 15, Poland instituted strict border entry requirements. All travelers seeking to enter Poland are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Only the following categories of travelers are allowed to enter Poland. The U.S. Embassy cannot insist that Polish authorities allow a traveler into the country in violation of Polish regulations.
· Polish citizens
· Spouses or children of Polish citizens
· Foreigners holding a Karta Polaka (a Polish-Government-issued Certification of Polish Heritage)
· Persons with diplomatic status and members of their families
· Foreigners who have the right of permanent or temporary residence in Poland
· Foreigners who have the right to work in Poland or who have a work permit
· Foreigners who drive a vehicle used to transport goods
· Other particularly justified cases may be considered, but entry must be granted with the permission of the Commander in Chief of the Polish Border Guard Agency.
U.S. Embassy, Warsaw, Poland
+48 22 504 2784 (business hours)
+48 22 504 2000 (after hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens)
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
Poland Country Information
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