HIAS Europe and Right to Protection (R2P) are calling on the EU and states to address paperwork problems that risk preventing people fleeing Ukraine from finding safe havens in Europe. R2P is an independent Ukrainian NGO that has managed HIAS’ humanitarian programming in Ukraine since 2014. More than 150 staff, many of whom have themselves been displaced, remain inside Ukraine and continue to deliver legal and humanitarian aid to people fleeing. R2P highlights the following concerns:
Digital identity documents not accepted
On 21 March 2022, the European Commission issued an indicative list of documents that are accepted as proof of Ukrainian nationality for the purposes of accessing temporary protection and related rights. Though this list was not exhaustive, digital documents were not included.
- This puts Ukrainians who do not have paper identity documents – often as a result of loss, theft or destruction during hostilities or travelling – at risk.
- The next EU guidance on implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive should call on member states to accept digital ID documents on the Diia app.
- Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia should accept digital identity documents as valid entry documents at the border. These are already accepted by Poland and Moldova.
Validity of Ukrainian driver’s licences not guaranteed
The validity of Ukrainian driver’s licences varies state to state, and people are required to apply for national replacements after a certain time lapse – e.g. 185 days in Slovakia, 365 days in Hungary. This creates unnecessary uncertainty and stress for refugees.
- Ukrainian driver’s licences should be accepted as valid for the duration of temporary protection in at least Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Moldova, if not all European states.