Information for non-European citizens
You can enter Poland and start working on the basis of one of the following conditions:
If you are a citizen of one of the countries which have signed agreements on the visa-free movement, you do not need a visa to enter the European Schengen area, including Poland. You can come to Poland just on the basis of your valid travel document (e.g. passport). However, the total stay on the territory of all the member states of the Schengen area cannot exceed 90 days within each 180-day period.
Note: the 180-day period does not apply to certain countries (e.g. USA, Japan, Mexico or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) so if you leave the Schengen zone and enter again, the 90 days are counted from the start.
The list of countries and the exceptions is available here.
If you have a residence permit or a visa issued by another EU Schengen country, you are authorized to move within the territory of the Schengen area member states for the period not exceeding 90 days within each 180-day period. Therefore, you can come to Poland and start working on the basis of one of the documents for the period of up to 90 days.
If you don't have neither the residence permit nor visa issued by another European Schengen country or you are not coverd by the visa-free movement, you have to apply for a visa to Poland before arrival. Visas are issued by Polish consular units abroad – embassies or consulates (the list of consular units) and they are issued for different purposes. If your purpose to come to Poland is to work, you need to apply for the visa for employment. It is important because you cannot work for instance on the basis of a tourist visa.
Visas can be issued as national visas or Schengen visas:
- National visa (marked with the letter D) can be issued for a maximum period of 365 days, depending on the length of your planned stay in Poland. Having the D-type visa also entitles you to travel to other Schengen countries for max 90 days within the 180-day period.
- Schengen visa (marked with the letter C) is issued for stays on the territory of the Schengen area, including Poland of max. 90 days within each 180-day period. The total validity of the visa can be even 5 years but any stay in the Schengen countries cannot be for more than the 90 days. If you get a multiple entry Schengen visa, you can leave and return any number of times within the 180-day period but the combined stay in Europe cannot be more than 90 days.
How to apply?
In order to apply for the visa, first you have to register on-line at https://secure.e-konsulat.gov.pl. You will then need to submit several documents:
- travel document (e.g. passport)
- visa fee
- if you are coming with your family, documents proving family ties (marriage and birth certificates)
- documents that prove your purpose of stay - a letter from future employer in which he/she describes the conditions of your employment: period of employment, position, salary, health insurance. This is necessary to prove also your financial resources
- document proving health insurance on the territory of Poland
- in some cases you also need to submit a work permit.
The procedure of issuing the visa usually lasts a few days, depending on the consular unit. In complicated cases it may take more time so it is advisable to apply for the visa early enough. Visa fees vary from country to country. You can stay in Poland legally until your visa expires.
You can stay in Poland until the periods mentioned above, depending on the condition on which you entered Poland. If you plan to stay in Poland longer, you need to legalise your stay by obtaining a residence permit (residence card).