Contact, yes, but I'm not sure that means they instantly can get their hands on Federation level technology. In First Contact (the episode), Picard and Durken have this conversation: And this is after first contact has been made because the species has essentially become warp capable. So it seems that the Prime Directive doesn't suddenly completely 'stop' once a species reaches that level... it just doesn't forbid contact anymore. Of course, it could be that Picard is taking things a bit too far here, for the sake of pontificating Interesting idea, so in essence that space is declared 'non-federation' for all intents and purposes (well, except perhaps that the Federation will defend it when attacked, and perhaps cruise through it if it's the shortest connection, etc). The question then becomes, what constitutes a civilization? I suppose intelligent humanoids in the early stone age qualify, but do proto-humanoids with gradually increasing brain sizes that could well -or could not- give rise to an intelligent species in, say, half a million years? Where do you draw the line?