Residence permit for non-European citizens

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

Residence permit is a document that allows a foreigner to reside in Poland legally.

It also entitles the holder, having also the travel document, to travel within the Schengen area for the period not exceeding 90 days within each 180-day period.

Residence permits are issued by Voivodeship Offices (Urząd Wojewódzki), competent for the region of your place of residence in Poland. You can either submit the documents in person or send them by post but in both cases you will be asked to visit the Office in order to leave your finger prints. 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). The residence permit is issued in a form of a plastic residence card.

There are different types of residence permits, depending on the conditions of the stay in Poland. The most relevant permits that research employees may be intested in are described below:

PhD students who intend to legalize their stay should apply for a residence permit for the purpose of undertaking higher education.


The following documents are required:

  • 3 copies of the application form,
  • 4 recent colour photographs, 45x35 mm,
  • 2 copies of valid travel document (passport),
  • confirmation from the university/institute of acceptance for studies or continuation of studies, or a certificate of participation in training course,
  • proof of payment of the required tuition/course fee, if they are payable,
  • health insurance document,
  • evidence of sufficient funds to cover the costs of living:

PLN 635 per month for an individual or PLN 515 per family member, if you stay in Poland with your family plus an amount of PLN 2500 for the return travel ticket to the country of origin or residence. The amounts have to be sufficient for 15 months as the first residence permit for studies is issued for such a period. Subsequent permits are granted for a maximum period of 3 years.


The documents have to be submitted at the latest on the last day of a legal stay on the territory of Poland.


Fees: PLN 340 when submitting the application; PLN 50 when collecting the residence card.


Work permit

Doctoral students who received the Polish residence permit are allowed to work in Poland without work permit.


All the above described documents for any of the residence permits described have to be submitted in Polish so sometimes it is necessary to provide official translations of documents, and they have to be original documents (or certified copies). The procedure of granting the above-described residence permits may take 3-4 months or more, depending of the case and number of application forms submitted in general.

That is why, please remember that if your visa or previous residence permit has expired and you are waiting for the new residence card, you cannot cross borders. You can only go back to your home country, but in order to come back to Poland, you will need to get a visa in a Polish embassy or consulate located in your country.