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 additional work permit is not required,
  • 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). You should check if it is allowed to work in another Schengen country on the basis of the Polish residence permit; it may be required to obtain a work permit or residence permit in that other country prior to employment.

Residence permits are issued by Voivodeship Offices (pl. Urząd Wojewódzki), competent for the region of your place of residence in Poland. It is highly recommended to submit the application form for the residence permit in person during a pre-arranged appointment. In case there is not enough time to do that, it is possible to send the documents by post, but this prolongs the procedure (even by 3 months!).

The application for the residence permit can be submitted at any time within your legal stay in Poland, at latest on its last day (e.g. on the last day of your visa validity). Please also read about special solutions for foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is recommended to apply a few months before the end of your legal stay due to currently prolonged procedures, lasting at least 4 months. Also please remember that in order to have your residence permit issued without additional delays, it is crucial to submit ALL the required documents at one visit.

The application form should be filled in in Polish and any documents in foreign languages (such as your MA or PhD diploma, marriage/birth certificate) have to be translated into Polish by a certified translator.

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. Foreigners conducting scientific research, can actually choose between threee types of permits: (1) temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting scientific research, (2) EU Blue Card or (3) temporary residence and work permit. When taking the decision, you should take into consideration the required documents and some benefits that certain permits may offer e.g. for family members.


Note that if your stay in Poland is not based on employment (without work contract) but on a scientific scholarship/fellowship agreement (for instance NAWA scholarships), you should apply for the residence permit for conducting research.


This is a temporary residence permit for the purpose of highly qualified employment. It is issued for stays of minimum 3 months and for a period 3 months beyond the work contract, but for maximum of 3 years. If you want to stay longer, you should apply for a new permit.

The minimum requirements are:

  • completed higher education (minimum Masters title),
  • employment contract in Poland has to be signed for at least 12 months (calculating from the date of the permit decision so considering the procedure, in fact the contract should be a few months longer),
  • monthly salary cannot be lower than 150% of average salary in Poland from the year prior to signing the work contract. (the average salary is announed each year by the Polish Statistical Office). According to this, for contracts signed in 2021 the salary should be at least PLN 7751,21 gross monthly. For contracts signed in 2020 the monthly salary should be minimum PLN 7377,26 gross.

 

The following documents are required:

  • 2 copies of the application form for the residence permit plus annexes (taken from the Voivodship Office website),
  • 4 recent colour photographs, 45x35 mm,
  • 2 copies of valid travel document (passport), all the pages with stamps or information,
  • employment contract as above,
  • a document confirming higher education (e.g. university diploma), translated into Polish by a sworn translator,
  • health insurance confirmation, including proof of last months' payments (ZUS RCA),
  • apartment rental agreement with the amount of monthly rent and bills such as gas, water, electricity,
  • fee payment confirmation (PLN 440):

Fees: PLN 440 paid when submitting the application; PLN 50 for issuing the card.

 

Benefits:

  • the EU Blue Card is issued for a period exceeding the work contract duration by 3 months (but max 3 years) while other residence permits are issued for the same duration as the work contract;
  • family members of the Blue Card holders can work in Poland without the work permit based on their family reunification residence card.

Information at the Office for Foreigners website

 

 

Residence permit for students/PhD candidates:

 

For family members:

According to the Polish law, the term 'family member' includes a spouse or a child (aged under 18) who accompany the foreigner in Poland.

In the application form for the residence permit the family member should either tick the box 1) "stay with a foreigner" or  2) "other cirtumstances" - depending on the spouse's/parent's (scientist's) residence permit.

Therefore, number 1) should be ticked if the spouse-scientist is applying for or has already obtained:

  • a temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting scientific research,
  • a temporary residence permit for the purpose of long-term mobility of a scientist,
  • the EU Blue Card (for highly skilled employees),
  • a temporary residence permit of a scientist who has finished his research activity and is seeking employment or plans to set up his own business in Poland,
  • permanent residence permit or a residence permit for EU long-term resident,
  • or if the foreigner has been residing in Poland for at least 2 years on the basis of temporary residence permits issued for at least 1 year each.

In such a case the residence permit that will be issued to a family member will give her/him the right to work without work permit.

 

The "other circumstances" box should be ticked by a family member if the foreigner-scientist (spouse/parent) is applying for or has received the temporary work and residence permit or the permit as a student/doctoral candidate. This permit does not give the right to work in Poland without the work permit.

 

In order to obtain a residence permit for the family member, you need to prove that their stay in Poland is secured. The required documents include:

  • 2 copies of the application form for the residence permit,
  • spouse's/parent's employment contract to confirm sufficient regular income to cover the costs of the stay in Poland (minimum PLN 528 net per person in family, excluding the accommodation costs),
  • health insurance document, including proof of last 3 months' payments (ZUS RCA),
  • documents confirming family relationships (marriage certificate, birth certificate) translated into Polish by a certified translator,
  • apartment rental agreement with the amount of monthly rent and bills such as gas, water, electricity (all family members have to be mentioned by names),
  • 4 recent colour photographs, 45x35 mm,
  • 2 copies of valid travel document (passport - all pages except for empty ones), for children up to 13 years old - 1 copy,
  • fee payment confirmation (PLN 340):

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

The permit is issued for the same period as the spouse's/parent's permit, maximum for 3 years, with a possibility to apply for a new permit to continue the stay.

More information at the Office for Foreigners website

 

 

Note: residence permits are issued for given employers, thus if you change employer or terminate your work earlier than stated in the contract, you are obliged to notify the Voivideship Office within 15 days. Employers have the same obligation. Also if you change your address or phone number, you need to inform the Office as these data is used for communicating important information - sending requests for additional documents and permit decisions.

 

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 (except for visa-free movement) in a Polish embassy or consulate located in your home country.

See also: practical tips when applying for residence permit

Moving within the EU

As mentioned above, having a Polish visa or residence permit allows for travelling within the European Schengen countries for periods up to 90 days (within each 180 days). Additional possibility to travel within the EU for longer periods is available for scientists (and their families) and students. This is so called 'intra-EU mobility rule' which allows to carry out a part of research or study abroad for periods exceeding 3 months.  

Note that the countries that do not apply this rule are the UK, Ireland and Denmark.