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. 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.



Residence permit for 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 situation of the foreigner.

Therefore, number 1) should be ticked if the foreigner 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 having to obtain a separate work permit.


The "other circumstances" box should be ticked by a family member if the foreigner 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,
  • your employment contract to confirm that you have regular income to cover the costs of their stay in Poland (if they depend financially on you),
  • documents confirming that your family members have health insurance in Poland,
  • documents confirming family relationships (marriage certificate, birth certificate) translated into Polish by a certified translator,
  • apartment contract to show place of residence,
  • 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 family member's permit with whom the family stays in Poland, maximum 3 years, with a possibility to apply for a new permit to continue the stay.



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.


Another option for scientists from non-EU countries who work in another EU country and would like to come to Poland to carry out a part of their research is the so called intra-EU mobility rule which applies also to researchers' families. A similar option can also be used by students:


Notification obligation

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.