Skip to main content
Living in Europe, Working in EuropeEntry conditions/visasPoland

Residence permit - scientists from non-EU countries

A Polish residence permit (residence card) is issued for stays exceeding 3 months and it entitles to:

  • reside in Poland legally,
  • in some cases also to work,
  • travel to other Schengen countries** for the period of 90 days within each 180-day period and cross the Polish border without the need to obtain the visa.

Note: even though you can travel to other European countries, the Polish residence permit does not guarantee you the right to work in these countries. You should check the law in another Schengen state as it may be required to obtain a work permit or a residence permit of that country.

Residence permits are issued by Voivodeship Offices (pl. urząd wojewódzki) competent for the region of your place of residence in Poland, following a positive decision on the residence permit application. The plastic card is issued usually a month after the decision.

When and how to apply

You can apply for the residence permit at any time within your legal stay in Poland, at latest on the last day of the stay, that is on the last day of visa or previous residence permit validity date, or last day of the stay within the visa-free travel. 

Note: it is highly recommended to submit the application form as early as possible as the procedure lasts several months. You are allowed to continue your legal stay and employment while waiting for the residence permit on condition that you have submitted the application during your legal stay in Poland.

How to apply:

  • the application have to be submitted to the Voivodeship Office cempetent for the region (voivodeship) of your residence in Poland;
  • register in the on-line system of the Office (if there is one) and reserve a visit at the Office;
  • if there are no available dates before your legal stay expires, you need to send the application documents by post; this way prolongs the procedure;
  • the minimum required documents to send by post are: the application form together with the required annex(es), copy of your travel document (passport), 4 photographs and the proof of fee payment. After up to three months the office will ask you to come to a meeting to bring all the required documents and leave fingerprints.

Types of residence permits

There are different types of residence permits that can be used in case of international scientists staying in Poland. The below permits are the most relevant options, also for PhD candidates and researchers' family members. When taking the decision which residence permit to apply for, you should consider the requirements, needed documents, as well as additional benefits that some permits result in.

Required documents

The below list includes the documents required for EACH temporary residence permit type:

  • an application form together with the annex(es) - filled in in Polish; it is helpful to use the on-line application form of the Office for Foreigners. Remember to print it out to submit it at the Office meeting;
  • 4 up-to-date photographs,
  • copy of your travel document (passport); the original document to be presented during the appointment,
  • payment confirmation: PLN 340 or 440 depending on the permit,
  • proof of having health insurance and having paid the most recent monthly contribution - ask your employer to obtain the documents,
  • proof of having enough financial resources to cover the costs of living in Poland. The required minimum monthly amounts are: PLN 776 for a single person or PLN 600 for each family member living in Poland; these are net amounts excluding the costs of acommodation;
  • proof of acommodation and its costs: e.g. apartment rental agreement together with the most recent monthly bills such as electricity, gas, water, etc.

There are also other specific documents required depending on the type of the permit - see the grey tabs

    Travel within the European Union

    As a general ruleall non-European citizens who hold a residence permit or a visa issued by one of the 27 Schengen countries** can move freely within the Schengen area for up to 90 days within each 180 period. After the 90 days pass, one needs to return to the country that has issued the residence permit/visa.

    * European Union (EU)

    27 EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

    ** Schengen area

    the Schengen area includes 23 EU member states plus 4 members of the European Free Trade Association: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (the last 4 countries do not belong to the European Union).

    The Schengen area explained