• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



    Regulations concerning the arrival and stay in Poland of EU citizens and their family members have changed from the day of accession of Poland to the EU. The relevant Union regulations and the law of July 27 2002 on the terms and conditions of entry and stay on Polish territory of citizens of EU member states and members of their families (Journal of Laws No. 141 item 1180, Journal of Laws No. 128 item 1175 of 2003) incorporating those regulations, have come into force effective May 1 2004.


    The above law applies to EU citizens and their family members as well as to citizens of states of the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland) which do not belong to the EU, but pursuant to agreements with the EU enjoy free movement of persons and members of their families (spouses, children below the age 21, being their legal wards, direct relatives who are their dependants or share their household).

    In order to cross the border of Poland, a citizen of the EU needs a valid travel document or another document certifying his/her identity and citizenship. Family members who are not a citizen of the Union are able to enter the territory of Poland on the basis of a valid travel documents and visas - if required. Denial of entry by EU citizens onto the territory of the RP is possible only in the event of need to protect order and public security, or in the event of threat to the security and defense of the state.




    Stays beyond three months' duration require the obtainment of a residence permit or temporary residence permit. This requirement does not apply to persons who perform work or a free profession on the territory of Poland, or conduct business activity here, provided they retain permanent residence on the territory on another EU state, to which they return at least once a week.

    In consequence of the procedure of granting a residence permit or temporary residence permit, a EU citizen will obtain a EU citizen's residence card, while a family member who is not a Union citizen will obtain a document of residence.

    Decisions concerning residence permits and residence cards for EU citizens and residence documents (also with regard to their prolongation and revocation) are issued by the voivode of the voivodship where the EU citizens intends to reside. Appeals will be considered by the President of the Office for Repatriation and Aliens.


    A residence permit will be granted to a EU citizen on condition that he/she:
    - intends to perform or performs work, a free profession or business activity on the territory of the RP for a period exceeding 12 months, or
    - has health insurance and sufficient resources to cover his/her expenses without needing social security support.

    (A detailed elaboration of the premises for granting EU citizens residence permits is contained in article 5 of the Law on the terms and conditions of entry and stay on the territory of the RP of citizens of EU states and members of their families).

    Residence permits is valid for five years with the possibility of prolongation for further five-year periods. If a EU citizen staying on the territory of the RP in connection with work performed here is - on the day of applying for the first prolongation of his/her stay - without such work not due to his/her fault, but not for a period exceeding 12 months, the permit will be extended for 12 months.

    Temporary residence permits will be granted to Union citizens who have health insurance and sufficient resources to cover their expenses without needing social security support - and who on the territory of the RP:

    1) take up studies - permit for residence of one year, to be extended by further one-year periods until completion of studies,
    2) intend to or perform work, a free profession or conduct business activity on the territory of the RP for a period from 3 months to 12 months - for the duration of such occupation,
    3) seek employment - for six months.

    Residence and temporary residence permits issued to Union citizens will cover family members (excluding relatives in the case of students).

    The residence card and document of residence are replaced in the event of change of the personal data in the document, change of the appearance of the holder, damage of the document, or its loss. The residence card or document of residence should be immediately returned upon obtainment of Polish citizenship or revocation of the permit of residence. A Union citizen and members of his/her family may be denied a residence permit exclusively in the event of need to protect public order and security, protect public health, or due to a threat to state security or defense. This also applies to the prolongation of the permits, though refusal to issue them cannot be based on the need to protect public health. The denial decision contains the date of departure from Poland, which will not be later than:

    1) the 15th day from the day when the decision refusing the permit becomes final,
    2) the 30th day from the day when the decision denying prolongation or revoking the permit becomes final.


    If the application for granting or extending a residence permit or temporary residence permit covers family members, the Union citizen will be obliged to enclose the following documents along with the application:

    1) documents certifying marriage or kinship with the family member,
    2) document certifying that the family member is his/her dependent, or member of the same household in the state from which he/she has arrived (does not apply to a spouse, a EU citizen, who is not a dependent),
    3) written consent of the family member who is over 16.


    Any documents attached to the application, issued by foreign authorities or institutions, should be translated into the Polish language by an authorized translator.


    It is possible to expel a Union citizen or his/her family members from the territory of the RP only in the event of need to protect public order and security, or in the event of threat to state security and defense. The decision on expulsion will result, by law, in the revocation of the residence permit or temporary residence permit. Limited-term permits and residence cards issued to EU citizens and members of their families (also to those who are not EU citizens) on the basis of the law of June 13 2003 on aliens, remain valid. Permanent and temporary registrations are issued by Gmina Offices appropriate to the place of residence. To obtain registration, a Union citizen or members of his/her family will need to present personal data and produce a residence card, residence document or residence permit.


    Aliens registered for permanent or temporary residence exceeding two months, and aliens, who are subject to social security or health insurance while on the territory of the Republic of Poland, are issued PESEL numbers.




    Effective May 1 2004, EU citizens and members of their families are exempted from the obligation of possessing work permits as a precondition for taking up employment. In accordance with EU norms, such persons seeking employment in Poland are treated on a par with citizens of the RP. Work-seekers from member countries will be given preference over work-seekers from third countries. Certain jobs in the public sector are reserved for Polish citizens.


    The Union coordination of social security systems for persons migrating within the Community (Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72) applies as well. In consequence, employees in Poland do not lose any contributions and are covered by the Polish social security system. Periods of social security coverage and employment in any EU country are taken into account in calculating the size of pensions and unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits will be granted in accordance with domestic law; in the case of Poland that refers to the law of December 14 1994 on employment and prevention of unemployment (Journal of Laws of 2003, No.58, item 514 with subsequent amendments). Citizens of other EU countries residing in Poland and entitled to retirement and disability pensions, are able to collect those benefits in Poland.




    Pursuant to the Accession Treaty of April 16 2003, Poland is authorized to apply the Law of March 20 1920 on the purchase of real estate by aliens (Journal of Laws of 1996 No.54, item 245 with subsequent changes) with regard to the purchase of "second homes" - for a period of five years, and with regard to the purchase of agricultural and forest land - for a period of 12 years. During the transitional period, permits will be issued for the purchase of real estate, with equal treatment of the citizens of all member states residing in Poland.


    In order to purchase real estate in Poland, a EU citizen has to obtain an appropriate permit. The permits are issued - with the authorization of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration - by the Director of the Department of Permits and Concessions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, and require the additional consent of the Minister of National Defense. In the case of agricultural land - the consent of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development is also required. The provisions of the Code of administrative proceedings are applied during the purchase of real estate. The permits are issued in the form of an administrative decision, in response to the submitted application.


    The application (with annexes) and all documents addressed to the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration under an administrative proceeding should be submitted in the Polish language. The administrative proceeding for the purpose of obtaining a permit of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration to purchase real estate usually lasts about 2 months.


    Detailed information on the purchase of real estate in Poland by aliens (also in an English version) may be obtained from the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (BULLETIN for natural persons applying for a permit to acquire real estate in Poland issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs (




    Effective May 1 2004, citizens of EU and EEA member states and members of their families are able to sign up for medical care coverage with the National Health Fund (NFZ). Persons coming to Poland on tourist visits are able to obtain emergency medical assistance in the framework of health care coverage they have in the countries of permanent residence. It is necessary to present form E-111 certified before arrival in Poland by a competent domestic authority. Form E-112 - along with the consent of the insurer - entitles the bearer to come to Poland for other than emergency medical treatment. Students from EU countries are entitled to all medical services on the basis of form E-128. Persons entitled to retirement and disability pensions have the right to all health benefits needed during their stay in Poland. The status of pensioner has to be certified by form E-121.


    An EU citizen engaged in legal work in Poland, or conducting business activity here, is able to obtain - along with the members of his/her family - NFZ coverage, even if he/she and the members of his/her family do not reside in Poland (coverage in accordance with the principle of the place of work). The following procedures should be followed:

    - application for coverage of members of one's immediate family residing in Poland should be made on form E-106,
    - persons living and working in Poland, going to another EU state (e.g. for a tourist visit) are entitled to medical assistance upon producing form E-111 certified by the NFZ,
    - if one's immediate family lives in another EU country, its members are entitled to benefits in that country on the basis of form E-109, certified by the NFZ and registered with a competent authority of that country,
    - persons living abroad, but working and paying their contributions in Poland (e.g. border-area workers) and members of their immediate families, are entitled to health care in both countries; in such instance, in order to obtain free medical care in another Union country, it will be necessary to obtain in Poland certification on form E-106 and to register it with the competent authority in the country of residence. The children of such workers have medical coverage and receive health care in the country of their residence. In Poland, they will be entitled only to emergency assistance (similarly to tourists).


    EU citizens delegated to work in Poland should possess form E-101, certifying their coverage and exempting them from payment of contributions in Poland.


    Persons employed in Poland on the basis of task contracts are entitled to health benefits on the basis of form E-128. Persons registered in employment offices in EU member states as unemployed, entitled to medical coverage and seeking work in Poland, have the right to medical assistance in Poland on the basis of form E-119 - on condition that at least four weeks have passed since registration at an employment office. The right to medical assistance in connection with seeking work outside the country of permanent residence lasts for only 3 months.




    Citizens of EU members states have the possibility of coming to Poland for studies, to conduct scientific research and to take part in training - enjoying the same rights as Polish citizens. It is not necessary to obtain a student visa prior to arrival. After initiation of studies, they will be it is required to legalize their stay by applying to the appropriate voivodship office for a residence permit. Permits are issued to students for a period of one year, with subsequent one-year extensions until the completion of studies. Along with the application, the student should submit a certificate from the school where he/she will be studying. The student should also have health insurance and sufficient resources. The residence permit - once issued - also entitle its bearer to take up work. The residence permit and the right to work also extends to the immediate family - i.e. spouse and children.


    Pursuant to bilateral and multilateral agreements on the recognition of education, documents required for higher study enrolment (corresponding to the Polish ‘matura') in the country of their issuance, should be automatically recognized by the Polish higher school enrolling the applicant. The school may require the translation of the diplomas into the Polish language by a sworn translator. The enrolment requirements is the same as in the case of Polish students. If the lectures are conducted in Polish - the foreign student may be required to demonstrate knowledge of the language. Students who are EU citizens have to pay the same tuition as their Polish counterparts. The same principle of equal rights applies to scholarships, medical assistance and student travel cost privileges. The rule does not extend to benefits covered by the Polish social security system - such as social scholarships.




    Driver's licenses issued by other EU member states are recognized by Poland and remain valid until the expiry date indicated in the document. A EU citizen permanently residing in Poland is not obliged to replace his driver's license for a Polish driver's license - though he/she has the option of doing so. Should the document become lost or its validity expire - it will not be necessary to pass a driving test again. While driving a vehicle on the territory of the RP, the driver is obliged to have with him a driver's license and civil liability insurance.


    Seat belts must be used in both front and back seats, with children up to the age of 12 and up to 150 cm tall using special certified seats. Using a mobile phone while driving is banned, though a loud-speaking phone system is permitted. The legal alcohol limit is 0.2 promille.


    Speed limits:

    - town - 60 km/h.
    - open road - 90 km/h.
    - single carriageway - 110 km/h, dual carriageway - 120 km/h.
    - motorway - 130 km/h.
    - with trailer - 70 km/h (on highways - 80 km/h).


    All year long drivers have to use day lights during the day. Front fog lights may be used only during fog or heavy rain. Rear fog lights may be used only when visibility is under 50 meters. The vehicle must be equipped with a reflector triangle.The vehicle has to be marked with a sign indicating the country of its registration. Radar-warning systems are banned.


    Effective May 1 2004, the "green card" is not required upon entry by car into Poland. However, it may be used as international proof of insurance , facilitating the obtainment of compensation in the event of an accident.






    Persons entering Poland from another EU country have the right to duty-free importation of goods purchased during the journey provided that the goods are intended for private use and will not be resold. The concept of "private use" includes the disposal of the goods imported as gifts, though their sale would be illegal - possibly leading to confiscation and fine. If a traveler is unable to demonstrate that the goods being transported are intended for private use and the customs officer is convinced that the goods are intended for sale - the officer is authorized to confiscate the goods along with the vehicle in which they are being transported.


    Goods not exceeding the following quantities will be considered intended for private use:

    - 800 cigarettes,
    - 200 cigars,
    - 1 kilo of tobacco ,
    - 10 liters of spirit,
    - 20 liters of fortified wine (e.g. sherry, port),
    - 90 liters of wine (including up to 60 liters of sparkling wine),
    - 110 liters of beer.


    Persons under the age of 17 are not allowed to import alcoholic beverages or tobacco. Tourists returning to their country will not be able to claim VAT refunds on goods purchased in Poland (applies to EU territory only).




    Emergency phone numbers:

    997 - police,
    998 - fire brigade,
    999 - ambulance,
    112 - mobile phone emergency number,
    981 - road assistance






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