Residence permit for citizens of third countries

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas | Poland

Citizens from countries other than: the European Union members, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Residence permit is a document that entitles a foreigner to:

  • reside in Poland legally,
  • work in Poland - if the foreigner does not need the work permit
  • travel within the Schengen countries for the period not exceeding 90 days within each 180-day period. You can use this calculator to count the 90 days period.

Residence permits are issued by Voivodeship Offices (pl. Urząd Wojewódzki), competent for the region of your place of residence in Poland. You should submit the application form for the residence permit in person during a pre-arranged appointment. In case you are not able to submit the documents in person, it is possible to send them by post but this makes the procedure longer. The application for the residence permit can be submitted at latest on the last day of your legal stay in Poland, for example of the last day of your visa expiration date (see Entry conditions). However, it is highly recommended to apply much earlier due to currently prolonged procedures, lasting several months. The residence permit is issued in a form of a plastic card which the foreigners should carry at all times in case of control.

There are different types of residence permits, depending on the conditions of the stay in Poland. If the purpose of the stay is employment for scientific research, you can actually choose between the threee types of permits: (1) residence permit for the purpose of conducting scientific research, (2) EU Blue Card or (3) permit for work and residence. When taking the decision which one to apply for, you should take into consideration the required documents and certain benefits that they may offer e.g. for family members.

However, if your stay in Poland is due to a scientific scholarship/fellowship related to conducting research but not based on an employment contract (for instance NAWA scholarships), then you should apply for the first type of the residence permit.

This permit type is foreseen for scientists/researchers coming to Poland to conduct scientific research. A minimum requirement for the foreigner is to hold a professional title equivalent to Master in Poland which authorises to apply for a doctoral degree. Before applying for this type of residence permit, please make sure that the Polish institution-employer has been acreddited by the Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA) for the purpose of employing foreigners. Here is a list of the approved Polish institutions (only in Polish).

Another important requirement is that an agreement/work contract is signed between a scientist/researcher and the employing institution and that this agreement includes the following elements:

  • the title or purpose of scientific research or development activities or their scope,
  • a committment of the researcher to participate in scientific research or development activities,
  • a committment of the research institution to ensure appropriate conditions for the research and development activities,
  • start and end date or an estimated duration of scientific research or development activities,
  • remuneration* of the researcher and other employment conditions,
  • information on intended scientific research or development activities to be performed in other European Union countries.

An example agreement is used by the Polish Agency for Academic Exchange. 


In addition, the research institution should provide the researcher with a written statement saying that, in the event that a researcher remains illegally in Poland, the research organisation is responsible for reimbursing the costs related to the stay and return incurred by the Polish authorities. The financial responsibility of the research organisation will end at the latest six months after the termination of the agreement.


Apart from the above-mentioned agreement and statement the following documents are required:

  • 2 copies of the application form for a temporary residence permit (taken from the Voivodship Office or its website),
  • 4 recent colour photographs, 45x35 mm,
  • 2 copies of a valid travel document (passport - all the pages, except for empty pages),
  • a document confirming a stable and regular source of income* -  the agreement/work contract described above is sufficient,
  • documents confirming having health insurance,
  • fee payment confirmation (PLN 340):

Fee: PLN 340 when you submit the application and then PLN 50 when you collect the residence card.


* The amount of funds, after deducting the costs of residence (fixed charges such as apartment lease, electricity, water, gas bills etc.) held by the foreigner have to be higher than PLN 528 monthly for each family member or PLN 701 monthly for persons living in Poland alone.


This permit is issued for stays of minimum 3 months and for a maximum period of 3 years. If you want to stay longer, you need to apply for a new permit. The permit is granted for the same duration as the work contract.


  • family members of the holder of this type of residence permit can work in Poland without a work permit,
  • holders of this type of residence permit and their family members can go to other European Union countries for a so called "short-term mobility of researchers" (up to 180 days) or "long-term mobility" (above 180 days) within the validity date of the residence permit. You should check detailed rules with the country where you intend to go.
  • researchers holding this permit whose job contracts end can stay in Poland for additional 9 months in order to look for another job or to set up their own business. In order to do that, they need to apply for a residence permit for scientists looking for work or planning to establish economic activity.

All the documents have to be submitted in Polish which means that some of them have to be translated by a certified translator of the Polish language.

Important note: if your visa or previous residence permit has expired and you are waiting for the new residence permit, you are not authorised to cross borders within the European Union Schengen area. You are only allowed to go to your home country but in order to come back to Poland, you will need to get another visa (if required) in a Polish embassy or consulate located in your home country.


Obligation to notify the Office

If you change your residence address or if your employment situation change, for example you changed a job or you plan to terminate your work contract earlier or leave Poland, you are obliged to notify the Voivodship Office within 15 working days following the change.

The employer is obliged to notify the Office of such changes as soon as possible.


Information on all types of residence permits is available at the website of the Office for Foreigners