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Legal residence in Poland

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Legal residence in Poland

In order to enter Poland, you might need a visa, registration and, for a longer stay, a residence permit



A 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. 



Registration of citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland - those who plan to stay longer than 3 months are obliged to register their stay in the Voivodeship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki) of the region (voivodeship) where they intend to reside at latest on the next day following the 3 months. The registration procedure is easy and free-of-charge. 

You need to submit the following documents:  

  • an application form – the application form should be filled 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 sworn translator, 
  • ID or passport,   
  • in case of employment – employment contract,  
  • in case of higher education, including PhD education: a confirmation from a higher education institution, health insurance confirmation, and proof of having sufficient financial resources for the stay (also for accompanying family members), e.g. a bank statement or a credit card. The minimum monthly amount is 701 PLN if you come individually, or 528 PLN for each of your family member.  

The document confirming the registration is a written statement valid for an indefinite period.

Registration of citizens of third countries – after arrival they are obliged to register their short-term and long-term stays if they exceed the visa period. 

Residence permits are issued by Voivodeship Offices, 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. 

You should check if it is allowed to work in another Schengen country on the basis of the Polish residence permit; it may be obligatory to obtain a work permit or residence permit in that other country prior to employment.

When to apply for the residence permit

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. After submitting your application together with the required documents, your stay continues to be legal, even after your visa or other document expires.  

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 permit, depending on the conditions of the stay in Poland. Foreigners conducting scientific research, can choose between three types of permit:  

  • Temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting scientific research,  
  • EU Blue Card,  
  • Temporary residence and work permit.  

When choosing the permit type, you should take into consideration the required documents and some benefits that certain permits may offer, e.g. for family members. 


You need to submit the following documents, either in original or a certified copy (sometimes other documents may be required): 

  • 2 copies of the application form – which should be filled in Polish
  • 4 recent colour biometric photos
  • 2 copies of a valid travel document 
  • employment contract as a proof of your financial resources both for the stay and the return journey
  • health insurance confirmation 
  • apartment rental agreement, including information about bills 
  • fee payment confirmation
  • sworn translations of all documents issued in languages other than Polish. 


If you change your employer/host institution or terminate your contract earlier, you are obliged to notify the Voivodeship 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 are 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 a 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.  


More information about the residence card can be found on the Office for Foreigners website and Euraxess Poland website

Contact details of the Małopolska Provincial Office - Voivodeship Office in Krakow.

How to get a residence permit faster - guidelines from the Małopolska Provincial Office


The family members are: spouses of the EU citizens, EU citizens' or their spouse's children of up to 21 years of age being financially dependent, and EU citizens' or spouse's parents being financially dependent.  


Family members who are non-EU citizens: if the intended stay exceeds 3 months, it is obligatory to apply for a residence permit (a plastic card) at latest on the next day following the 3 months.  


The residence permit is also issued by the Voivodeship Office competent for the place of residence. The following documents are required:  

  • an application form,  
  • the registration confirmation of the family member – EU citizen who provides for the family,  
  • a travel document (passport),  
  • 5 photographs 
  • documents confirming family ties: marriage certificates, children's birth certificates and other documents confirming that they are financially dependent.  

As all the documents have to be submitted in Polish, documents issued in foreign languages have to be translated by a sworn translator of the Polish language. The residence permit for the family members is issued within 6 months but the Office issues a confirmation of submitting the documents during the visit. 

The registration (meldunek) is obligatory by law for both foreigners and Polish nationals. The procedure is free-of-charge; however, a written confirmation costs PLN 17. 

When to register

European Union nationals and the nationals of Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland as well as their family members register at latest on the 30th day after arrival if the planned stay exceeds 3 months; nationals of other countries need to register at latest on the 4th day after arrival if the planned stay exceeds 30 days.

Where to register

In a municipal/district office competent for the address where you are residing. If you move to another place (city, town, district), you have to register again. 

What documents are needed

EU nationals and the nationals of Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland as well as their family members:  

  • ID or passport, 
  • a registration form (signed also by the apartment owner or an authorised person from the hotel/dormitory), 
  • an apartment rent agreement or hotel/dormitory reservation document, 
  • family members – additionally a residence card or other document confirming family ties (translated into Polish by a sworn translator).

The registration will be valid for the period of your apartment rental agreement.  


Nationals of other countries:  

  • passport,  
  • registration form (signed also by the apartment owner or an authorised person from the hotel/dormitory),  
  • an apartment rent agreement or hotel/dormitory reservation document,  
  • visa or a residence permit.

The registration will be valid for the same period as your legal stay in Poland stated in your visa or residence permit or for the period of apartment rental agreement if it is shorter. If you came to Poland on the basis of the visa-free movement, the registration will be valid for the 90 days from your arrival in Poland.  

At registration, you will automatically be issued a PESEL number (personal identification number). The number starts with your date of birth and serves for common identification purposes. It is needed, for example, to settle down your annual tax declaration. Also, thanks to the number it is sometimes easier for instance to use medical services or borrow a book from a library. 

Contact details of the Małopolska Provincial Office in Krakow (Voivodeship Office)

Contact details of the Małopolska Provincial Office - Voivodeship Office in Krakow

Informational Saturday in the Voivodeship Office in Krakow

The Małopolska Provincial Office in Krakow, Department for Foreigners, kindly invites you to participate in the Informational Saturday (open day) at 6 Przy Rondzie Street in Krakow on 28 May 2022, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

During the event it will be possible to receive general information regarding legalization of residence and employment. The Office staff will also provide free help in the preparation and verification of a residence/work permit application.

The cancellation of the state of epidemic

The Malopolska Provincial Office kindly informs that since 16 May 2022 the state of epidemic has been cancelled in Poland and the state of epidemic emergency has been introduced. Detailed information on the validity of residence documents during the state of epidemic emergency is available at the Office website.

Video tutorials

You will find a number of useful video tutorials concerning the procedures of the Małopolska Voivodeship Office at the Office's YouTube channel. You will find tutorials on how to fill in the application form for a temporary residence permit, how to legalize the employment of a third-country national, the Blue Card procedure and a lot more.

Changing or cancelling your appointment

The Voivodeship Office kindly ask you to change or cancel your appointment ASAP if you cannot attend it, using the following e-mail address: Otherwise you might not be able to change the date/time of your appointment.