Living in Poland


Before coming to Poland, you should become familiar with basic information about working and living conditions here. This information is available at the following websites:

On what basis you can live and work in Poland? Which documents and permits do you need?

This depends on the purpose and duration of your stay.

There are two issues which must be addressed here: 1) registration (legalization) of your stay in Poland and 2) registration of your place of residence. Different rules apply depending on the purpose and duration of your stay.

Registration (legalization) of your stay in Poland

A foreigner who plans to stay in Poland longer than 3 months must apply for a temporary residence permit, which is valid for a maximum of 3 years. The permit can be valid for a shorter period if this is justified by the situation of the applicant. The family of the foreigner also must obtain a temporary residence permit if they wish to stay in Poland for longer than 3 months.

Applications for temporary or permanent residence permits are made in person at the voivodeship office handling foreigners’ affairs for the region where you are staying. You will need to bring supporting documentation to verify your identity and to prove that you meet the requirements enabling the office to issue a residence permit.

Key information on legalizing (registering) your stay in Poland is presented in the table below:

Length of stay in Poland A V4 citizen seeking work and family members, if they are citizens of an EU country The family members of a V4 citizen who are not citizens of an EU country
Up to 3 months § No need to legalize your stay, regardless of its purpose.

§ On the basis of a valid identity card or passport.

§ No need to legalize their stay, regardless of its purpose.

§ On the basis of a valid passport and visa, if required. A visa is applied for at a consulate of the Republic of Poland or with the commanding officer of the Border Guards station.

More than 3 months § If a V4 citizen stays in Poland for over 3 months, he/she must apply for a residence permit.

There is one exception: if the purpose of your stay is to look for work, you can stay for up to 6 months (you can stay over this period, if you can prove that you are actively seeking work and have a real chance of employment).

You can legalize your stay in Poland for more than 3 months if:

–        you are an employee or self-employed in Poland,

–        you have the sufficient means to support yourself and your family members (proven by the ownership of a credit card or a recently dated and signed bank statement),

–        you are entitled to health care benefits pursuant to the EU rules on the coordination of social security systems, or have private health insurance to cover health care costs that may be incurred during your stay in Poland,

–        you are studying or enrolled in vocational training and you are covered by public health insurance or by other insurance entitling you to health care benefits and have sufficient means to support yourself and your family members,

–        you are the spouse of a Polish citizen.

§  The family member(s) of an EU country citizen must obtain a residence permit.

Family members are defined as:

–        spouse,

–        direct line descendants (child) of the EU citizen applicant or his/her spouse up to age 21 or being supported by the EU citizen applicant or his/her spouse,

–        direct line ascending relatives (father, mother) of the EU citizen applicant or his/her spouse.

More than 5 years You must obtain a permanent residence permit.

Permanent residency in Poland can be obtained if your stay has been uninterrupted for 5 years. This means that you or your family member(s) did not leave Poland for more than a total of 6 months during your 5-year stay. The stay outside of Poland can be longer if it was due to compulsory military service or an important personal situation, for example, illness. The total period of stay outside of Poland cannot be longer than 18 months.


§  Gains the right to permanent residence on the same basis as the V4 citizen.

§  Must obtain a permanent residence permit for a family member of an EU country citizen.



Applications for legalizing your stay, issuance of a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for a family member of an EU citizen must be submitted personally to the relevant voivodeship office (Urząd Wojewódzki) for your place of residence. The card is issued within one month of submitting the application.

The fee for issuing a permit is 50 PLN. The fee for replacing the permit due to loss or damage is 100 PLN. Every subsequent replacement costs 150 PLN. If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, or are a students or minor under the age of 16, you can apply for a 50% reduction of the fee.

More information on the procedures for obtaining these documents, including the information needed to submit an application, can be found at: (English) (English)

The permit must be replaced or a new one made if:

  • it is lost or stolen,
  • your appearance has changed,
  • it is damaged,
  • the information on the permit changes.

The deadline for submitting an application for replacing the permit is 14 days from the time when one of the above situations has occurred. If the permit is lost or stolen, you must report this within 3 days of the event to the voivodeship office that issued it. A document will then be issued, which may be needed when, for example, someone may want to verify the legality of your stay in Poland. If the permit is found after you have notified the authorities of its loss, this also should be reported to the voivodeship office which issued the card.

You must personally pick up the residence permit when it is ready at the voivodeship office. If the permit is issued for a child under the age of 13, the legal guardian (usually one of the parents) can pick up the card.

Registration of your place of residence

All persons living in Poland must register their place of residence (zameldowanie). Foreigners who are citizens of a Member State of the European Union, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), European Economic Area (EEA) or the Swiss Confederation must register their permanent or temporary place of residence if staying in Poland no later than 30 days from the date they crossed the border into Poland.

Registering your place of residence is done in a municipal (gmina) office. Registration of temporary residence of up to 3 months is done verbally at this municipal office.

When you stay for more than 3 months, you must fill out a form. If you are renting a flat, you should bring with you the original, signed lease agreement, valid travel document or other document certifying your identity and citizenship and visa or temporary residence permit for non-EU citizen family members. Some municipal offices also require the consent of the flat owner, either in writing or in person, to register your place of residence. If you own the property where you are living, then you should bring the notarial deed of purchase or the excerpt from the land and mortgage register.

Persons who wish to register their place of residence for more than 3 months need a PESEL personal identification number. This is issued at the municipal (gmina) office. There is no charge for the document confirming the registration of residence, which is valid