Information for citizens of third countries
Third countries mean countries other than: the European Union member states, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK (till end of 2020 - brexit transition period)
Third country citizens entering Poland have to be able to justify the purpose and conditions of the planned stay in Poland and has to provide the following documents in case of the border control:
- valid for at least 3 months beyond the planned stay,
- issued within last 10 years,
- having at least 2 blank pages.
The proof of health insurance is required for the whole planned stay in Poland - can be covered by the employment contract or a scholarship agreement; if it is not covered by the employer, it can be a travel medical insurance (for at least 30 000 euro) valid on the territory of Poland for the whole planned stay.
Sufficient financial resources have to be proved for the planned stay and return journey or a possibility of earning/obtaining them in a legal way. The required amounts depend on the visa type:
- In case of visa issued for the purpose of conducting scientific research and student visa:
PLN 528 monthly for each family member or
PLN 701 monthly for a foreigner coming to Poland alone.
These amounts have to be at foreigner's disposal excluding the fixed costs of lodging/apartment such as rental fee, electricity and water bills, etc.
- In case of visa for the purpose of work and within visa-free movement:
PLN 300 for stays up to 4 days,
PLN 75 for each day in case of stays exceeding 4 days.
Additionally to all the above-mentioned amounts, for the return journey to the country of origin or residence, each foreigner needs to have:
- PLN 200 in case of countries neighbouring to Poland, OR
- PLN 500 in case of countries members of the European Union not neighbouring to Poland or in case of European Economic Area countries or Switzerland, OR
- PLN 2500 in case of other countries.
In many cases for scientists the work permit is not required. Namely, in case of carrying out scientific research and teaching activities at public institutions: universities, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, other state-funded research institutes, including those operating under the Łukasiewicz Research Network.
The work permit is also not required in case of PhD candidates enrolled at Polish programmes/doctoral schools as well as full-time students.
So generally speaking, the work permit is required for employment in the business/private sector.
Third country citizens can enter Poland based on one of the following:
Citizens of around 60 countries, based on agreements on the visa-free movement, do not need a visa to enter the European Schengen area*, including Poland. So they can come to Poland just on the basis of a valid travel document (e.g. passport). However, the total stay on the territory of all the Schengen states cannot exceed 90 days within each 180-day period. You can use this special calculator for counting the 90 days.
Note: additionally, citizens of certain countries or special administrative regions can re-enter Poland pursuant to visa-free traffic without complying with the 180 – day limit (on the basis of bilateral agreements concluded by Poland with those countries e.g. USA, Japan, Mexico or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region).
The list of countries and the exceptions is available here.
* Schengen area include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (the last 4 countries are Schengen countries not belonging to the European Union).
If you have a visa (national or Schengen) with the right to work or a residence permit (with access to labour market) issued by another Schengen country* and you do not need a work permit, you can come to Poland for the purpose of work (scientific research, delegation, conference, teaching, etc.) for up to 90 days counted within each 180-day period. The 90 days can be spent in Poland at one time or as several visits. You can use this special calculator for counting the days.
The fact whether you are entitled to work on the basis of the visa or residence permit depends on the purpose for which the document has been issued, for example you cannot work on a tourist visa or visa for the purpose of visitting family/friends.
*Schengen area include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (the last 4 countries are Schengen countries not belonging to the European Union).
If you don't have either the residence permit nor a visa issued by another Schengen area 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 embassies/consulates located abroad (the list of consular units) and there are two main visa types:
- Schengen visa (marked as "C") is for stays up to 90 days within each 180-day period either in several specified countries of the Schengen area or in the whole Schengen area, depending on the planned stay. The validity period of the visa can be even 5 years but any stay in the Schengen country/ies cannot be longer than the 90 days.
- National visa (marked as "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.
(You can use this special calculator for counting the 90 days of the stay in the Schenger area.)
Visas are issued for multiple or single entry and for various purposes of stay. However, in regard to scientific purposes, the following visas are most relevant:
- visa for the purpose of conducting scientific research or development activities - for this visa application a hosting agreement/contract has to be signed between the researcher and the research institution in Poland authorised by the Ministry of Interior and Administration for the purpose of hosting foreign scientists;
- visa for the purpose of work - for this type of visa the researcher does not need a signed agreement/contract, only a promise of employment/ a letter from the employer describing the work conditions (period, position, salary, main duties, etc.);
- visa for teaching purposes,
- visa for the purpose of study or PhD study/doctoral school - a document from the university/institution is needed stating the admission to the study programme/doctoral school;
How to apply
First you have to register on-line at https://secure.e-konsulat.gov.pl. Depending on the visa purpose, different documents are required which have to prove the purpose and conditions of the planned stay in Poland:
- a hosting agreement/work contract/ a scholarship agreement / admission document to the study or PhD programme,
- documents proving necessary financial resources,
- document proving health insurance on the territory of Poland,
- address of stay in Poland,
- travel document e.g. passport,
- visa fee (typically 80 euro),
- if you are coming with your family members, documents proving family ties such as marriage and birth certificates.
Please contact the embassy/consulate for the full list of the required documents.
The duration of the visa procedure should not exceed 15 days.
You can stay in Poland legally until the last day of the visa validity date.
* Schengen area countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (the last 4 countries are Schengen countries not belonging to the European Union).
You can stay in Poland within the periods permitted by the abovementioned documents. If you plan to stay in Poland longer, you need to legalise your stay by obtaining a residence permit (residence card).
Another possibility to enter Poland - intra-EU mobility
Foreign scientists who hold a residence permit or a long-term visa (with annotation "researcher") issued by one European Union country can go to other EU countries, including Poland, for the purpose of conducting part of their scientific research for the period of up to 180 days in any period of 360 days. This rule is called short-term mobility of researchers and applies also to family members of the scientists.
One of the conditions that have to be met before entering Poland is informing the Polish Office for Foreigners about the planned visit in Poland. The written notification (in Polish) should be sent to the Office at least 30 days before entering Poland by the Polish research institution that will host the researcher.
A similar rule applies to the intra-EU mobility of students - see more information.