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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, but to legalise a longer stay, registration or a residence permit is required. The institution responsible for legalisation is the Voivodeship Office. Besides, it is obligatory to register your stay in the Municipality/District Office. It may also be useful to obtain the PESEL number.



If you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and you plan to stay in Poland longer than 3 months, you are obliged to register your stay in the Voivodeship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki) of the region (voivodeship) where you 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, etc.) 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.


If you are a citizen of a third country (other than EU or EFTA) and your stay exceeds your visa period (or the period of your visa-free movement or your Schengen residence card), you are obliged to legalise your stay after your arrival and obtain a residence permit.

residence permit is a document that entitles you 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 should however 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.

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 considerably. 

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, as the procedure is quite long (at least a few months), it is recommended to book the appointment in the Voivodeship Office and to collect all the required documents as soon as possible. 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 you 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. If you are a foreigner conducting scientific research, you can choose between three types of permit:  

  • Temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting scientific research,  
  • Temporary residence permit for highly qualified employees - 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. The detailed information and complete lists of documents are available on the Euraxess website.

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 (and the original)
  • 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. 

More information on legal residence in Poland can be found on the Office for Foreigners website and Euraxess Poland website


If you change your employer/hosting 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.   

Your family members are: your spouse, your or your spouse's children of up to 21 years of age being financially dependent, and your or your spouse's parents being financially dependent. The registration procedure for family members is subject to charge.

Family members of EU or EFTA citizens

If you are an EU or EFTA citizen AND your family members are EU or EFTA citizens, they should follow the regulations provided in the section: Registration - citizens of EU and EFTA.

If you are an EU or EFTA citizen BUT your family members are not and their intended stay exceeds their visa period (or the period of their visa-free movement or their Schengen residence card), they must apply for a residence permit (a plastic card) at latest on the last day of their legal stay in Poland (though it is highly recommended to apply as soon as possible).

The residence permit for a family member is 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. 

Family members of non-EU or non-EFTA citizens

If neither you nor your family members are an EU or EFTA citizen and your family members' intended stay exceeds their visa period (or the period of their visa-free movement or their Schengen residence card), they must apply for a residence permit (a plastic card) at latest on the last day of their legal stay in Poland (though it is highly recommended to apply as soon as possible).

Since your family members will have various benefits depending on the type of your residence card, their application procedure may also vary. Please consult the Euraxess website for detailed information.

Apart from legalising your stay in the Voivodeship Office it is also obligatory by law to register in a Municipality/District Office (in Polish: meldunek).The procedure is free-of-charge; however, a written confirmation costs PLN 17. 

When to register

EU and EFTA citizens as well as their family members register at latest on the 30th day after arrival if the planned stay exceeds 3 months; citizens of other countries need to register at latest on the 4th day after arrival if the planned stay exceeds 30 days.

Where to register

For the registration you need to visit a Municipality/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 and EFTA as well as their family members need the following:

  • ID or passport, 
  • a registration form (signed also by the apartment owner or an authorised person from the hotel/dormitory), 
  • an apartment rental 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.  

Citizens of other countries and their family members need the following:

  • passport,  
  • registration form (signed also by the apartment owner or an authorised person from the hotel/dormitory),  
  • an apartment rental 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.  

In Poland every citizen has got the PESEL number which is your personal identification number. The number starts with your date of birth and serves for common identification purposes. It is needed to settle down your annual tax declaration, but it may also be required to open a Polish bank account or make an appointment with the doctor.

If you provide all the required documents you may get the PESEL number upon your visit in the Municipality/District Office. There are two ways of obtaining the PESEL number and both procedures are free-of-charge.

Getting the PESEL number automatically

The PESEL number may be issued automatically during your registration in the Municipality/District Office. This procedure is much easier than the other. Since you apply for the registration, you do not have to submit a separate application form for your PESEL number.

Getting the PESEL number without the registration

If for any reason you cannot register in the Municipality/District Office, you can apply for the PESEL number separately. It is also issued by the Municipality Office but the procedure is more complicated.

You need to submit (in person):

  1. The application form - available only in Polish.
  2. Documents that confirm the data you enter in the application form. If you need PESEL for taxation purposes you have to submit the employment contract.
  3. In your application form you have to define on what legal grounds you are applying for the PESEL number (e.g. you have to provide a specific act of law on taxation requiring you to have a PESEL number). 


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

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

Open house event in the Małopolska Provincial Office in Kraków

Information and Advisory Point of the Małopolska Provincial Office in Kraków kindly invites you to an open house event on 3rd June 2023, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 6 Przy Rondzie Street in Krakow.

As part of the event the following services will be provided:

  • opportunity to submit additional documents to pending cases,
  • free assistance in preparing and verifying applications,
  • general information regarding legalisation of residence and employment,
  • comprehensive information regarding pending cases,
  • the opportunity to obtain information regarding integration activities for foreigners (especially, for the citizens of Ukraine) in the Malopolska Region.

Repeal of the special provisions put in place for the COVID 19 pandemic

The special arrangements for foreigners introduced in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic will expire on 24th August 2023.

Foreigners who took advantage of the repealed legal solutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic should ensure their continued legal residence in Poland or return to their country of origin at the proper time. In the case of persons wishing to remain in the country after 24 August this year, it is advisable to submit the relevant applications for a residence permit or residence card (depending on the formal and legal situation of the foreigner concerned) in good time.

For detailed information please visit the website of the Office for Foreigners.

New fee rates for issuing / replacing a residence card

The Malopolska Provincial Office kindly informs you that the new fee rates have been introduced for issuing/replacing a residence card. Commencing from 29 July 2022 the fee is PLN100 (previously PLN 50).

Detailed information on how to collect your residence card is available on the website of the Małopolska Provincial Office in Krakow.

The cancellation of the state of epidemic

The Malopolska Provincial Office kindly informs you 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 on 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 legalise the employment of a third-country national, the Blue Card procedure and a lot more.

Changing or cancelling your appointment

The Voivodeship Office kindly asks 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.