In order to enter Poland you might need a visa and, for a longer stay, a residence permit and registration. You should apply to the Polish Embassy or Polish Consulate in your own country or current country of residence for your visa at the earliest possible opportunity. Depending on the duration and purpose of your stay you will need a Schengen Visa - marked with a C symbol (research visit lasting up to three months) or National Visa marked with a D symbol (research visit lasting more than three months). You will need to include additional documents in your visa application such as your passport photo, documents justifying the purpose of your visit or confirming that you have enough resources to support yourself (and your family) during your stay.
More information can be found on the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office for Foreigners website (more information).
WORD OF ADVICE
DO YOU NEED A VISA TO POLAND AT ALL?
- There are several countries with a visa-free traffic to Poland. Check out if you can find your country on the list published by the Office for Foreigners.
- Find a polish consulate - the website of your consulate should be your final source of information, as the rules may significantly differ from country to country.
Register your stay
All foreign citizens are obliged to register their long stay in Poland. This obligation applies to citizens of member states of the EU as well as to all other international visitors.
- To cross the Polish border you need a valid identification card (ID) or passport.
- You can stay in Poland for the first three months only on the basis of the document.
- If you stay longer than 3 months you are required to register in the Voivodeship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki) of the region (voivodship) where you are staying. The registration procedure is easy and free-of-charge. The document confirming the registration is a written statement.The application should be submitted in person to the appropriate voivodeship office, not later than one day after the expiry of the three- month period since the date of entering the Polish territory. In Kraków, this procedure is dealt with by the Lesser Poland Voivodeship Office. Detailed information (including the list of required documents, addresses, list of exemptions from this obligation) can be found in Polish on the Lesser Poland Voivodeship Office website and in English here.
- Temporary registration in a municipal/district office. It is a separate procedure called in Polish meldunek which is obligatory not only for foreigners but also for Polish nationals and is handled at a municipal/district office ( If you are staying in Poland for more than 14 days, you must register in the relevant municipal office of a city/town or city district where your residence is. If you move to another city, town or district, you need to register again. European citizens have to register on 30th day after their arrival in Poland at the latest. The temporary registration should be done in a community office (in Kraków in an appropriate vital records department of the Kraków Municipality Office (website in Polish only)).
Note: The obligation to register the EU citizen’s residence is not synonymous with the national registration obligation in the Polish territory. The competent authority for registration of the EU citizen’s residence is the voivode relevant for his/her place of residence. The competent authority in matters of registration obligation is the competent authority of the municipality (the voit, the mayor, the city mayor). In the past, failure to comply with the obligation of zameldowanie could lead to a financial punishment. Right now these rules are no longer observed – there are no penalties if you don’t complete zameldowanie. But it could be an obstacle in some other procedures.
- If your are not a European citizen, you can enter Poland and start working here on the basis of one of the following conditions:
- Visa-free movement
- Residence card / national of another EU Schengen country
- Polish visa
- Citizens of countries that are not member states of the European Union or EEA enter the Polish territory on the basis of an obtained visa.
More information can be found on the Lesser Poland Voivodeship Office in Kraków website.
After receiving a positive decision regarding the residence permit, a foreigner is also granted a residence card. A residence card allows its holder to stay on the Polish territory and to travel abroad without the need to obtain another visa. There is a fee for issuing a residence card. The card has to be collected in person and proof of registration of stay will be needed.
Note: All the above mentioned documents for any of the residence permits have to be submitted in Polish so sometimes it is necessary to provide official translations of documents. They have to be original documents (or certified copies). The procedure of granting the - aforementioned residence permits may take up 3-4 months, depending on 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.
You can find information on entry regulations on the following websites :
- the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Office for Foreigners
- Euraxess Polska – here you can find more information for family members as well
- the Lesser Poland Voivodeship Office
Here you can find an index of all foreign diplomatic missions in Poland.