Residence permit for citizens of third countries

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

Citizens from third 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!).

When to apply

You can apply for the residence permit 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). However, it is recommended to apply earlier due to currently prolonged procedures, lasting at least 4 months. After submitting your application together with the required documents, your stay continues to be legal, even after your visa or other document expires.

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.

Types of residence permit

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.

Please also read about special solutions for foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 maximum of 3 years. Afterwards you need to apply again if you need to stay longer in Poland.

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 applying for the Blue Card permit. The average salary is announed each year by the Polish Statistical Office. For this year's applications the salary should be at least PLN 8493,73 gross monthly.

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,
  • travel document (passport) plus 2 copies  (all the pages with stamps or information should be copied),
  • employment contract as above,
  • a document confirming higher education (e.g. university diploma), translated into Polish by a sworn translator,
  • health insurance confirmation (called ZUS ZUA) and a proof of last month's payment - ZUS RCA (both documents can be provided by employer),
  • apartment rental agreement with the amount of monthly rent and bills such as gas, water, electricity,
  • for scientific employees it is also recommended to submit a statement that according to the law on higher education, article 325, you are not required to have a work permit,
  • fee payment confirmation (PLN 440):

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



  • 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;
  • In case of applying for the residence permit for EU long-term resident, the required 5-year period of residence within the territory of Poland shall include the total period of a legal stay within the European Union, if the foreigner has resided legally and uninterruptedly within the territory for at least 5 years on the basis of a residence document issued by the EU member state annotated the “EU Blue Card”, of which within the territory of Poland for at least 2 years directly prior to making the application for residence permit for EU long-term resident on the basis of the temporary residence permit for the purpose of highly qualified employment;

  • holders of the EU Blue Card issued by one EU country, after 18 months of regular employment, can move to another EU member state to take up employment. The authorities of the country have to be notified one month prior to the arrival. Note that Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom are not part of this program. Read more

Information at the Office for Foreigners website



Residence permit for students/PhD candidates:


For family members:



Note: if you change employer/host institution or terminate your contract earlier, 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.