IMMIGRATION TO POLAND

Poland | FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. IMMIGRATION TO Poland:

Introducing the Republic of Poland: Poland can be described as a European country in a heart of Eastern Europe. Statistics tell us that the population of Poland can currently be estimated at around 38 million people. The dominant ethnic group is polish (94%). The official language is Polish.

2. RESIDENCE PERMITS:

A residence card is a document confirming the identity of a foreigner during his stay in Poland. This document, together with a valid passport, confirms the right to stay in Poland and entitles the foreigner to cross the Polish national border numerous times without the need to have a visa. When crossing the border, the residence card should be presented to the Border Guard Service officials, together with a valid foreign passport. The residence card contains the following information:

  1. name(s) and surname of the holder and parents’ names.
  2. date, place and country of birth of the foreigner.
  3. address of registered permanent or temporary residence.
  4. information about citizenship.
  5. information about sex.
  6. information about height (in cm) and eye colour.
  7. PESEL number (what is a PESEL number?) if one has been assigned.
  8. information about the type of permit granted.
  9. annotation “scientist” if the temporary residence permit was issued for the purpose of conducting academic research.
  10. annotation “EU Blue Card” if the temporary residence permit was issued for the purpose of employment of highly skilled workers.
  11. annotation “access to labour market” – in the case of a permit granted to a foreigner who is entitled to perform work in Poland or is exempt from the obligation to have a work permit.
  12. “seasonal work” annotations, if the temporary residence permit was issued for the purpose of seasonal work.
  13. fingerprints.
  14. name of the authority issuing the card.
  15. date of issue.
  16. date of expiry.
  17. photograph of the foreigner.
  18. annotation “international protection granted by… (specification of the EU Member State granting protection) on (date of granting international protection) – in the case the foreigner obtained a long term EU residence permit and was at the same time granted international protection in Poland or in another EU Member State.

3. TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMITS (TRP):

Foreigners who are planning to stay in Poland for a period longer than 3 months may apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland. A temporary residence permit is granted for a maximum period of 3 years. However, the validity period of the permit may be shorter, pursuant to the grounds for application. 

NOTE:   A temporary residence permit is not automatically prolonged. If the foreigner wishes to prolong his stay in Poland, he must apply for a new permit.

The foreigner should leave Poland prior to the expiry of the temporary residence permit, unless he has obtained another valid document entitling him to stay in Poland legally (e.g. a subsequent temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit, or a EU resident permit).

CIRCUMSTANCES FOR GRANTING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

A permanent residence permit may be granted to a foreigner who:

  1. is a child of a foreigner who has a permanent residence permit in Poland or a long-tern EU resident permit, remaining in the parental custody of the foreigner, and:  
    a) was born after the parent was granted a permanent residence permit in Poland or a long-term EU resident permit, or
    b) was born during the period of validity of the temporary residence permit granted to his parent,
  2. is a child of a Polish citizen in parental custody of the citizen, 
  3. has been married to a Polish citizen in a marriage recognized by Polish law for at least 3 years prior to filing the application for a permanent residence permit and has stayed in Poland without interruption immediately before filing the application (what is an uninterrupted stay ->?) for at least 2 years pursuant to a temporary residence permit issued pursuant to marriage with a Polish citizen or to obtaining refugee status, subsidiary protection or consent for stay issued due to humanitarian reasons,
  4. is a person of Polish origin (who is deemed as a person of Polish origin ->?) and intends to settle in Poland permanently,
  5. has been granted asylum in Poland

5. Polish Citizenship: 

By virtue of law, a minor acquires Polish citizenship if:

1) at least one of the parents holds Polish nationality at the moment of the child’s birth (right of blood), or

2) he was born on the territory of the Republic of Poland and his parents are unknown, hold no citizenship or their nationality is undefined (right of soil)

A child acquires Polish citizenship if found in the territory of Republic of Poland and his parents are unknown.

If a minor foreigner before reaching the age of sixteen is adopted by a person or persons holding Polish citizenship, it is assumed that the foreigner acquired Polish citizenship on the day of his birth.

Polish citizenship is granted by the President of the Republic of Poland. The President shall not be restricted by any conditions that must be met by a foreigner to grant him Polish citizenship. This means that the President can grant Polish citizenship to any foreigner, regardless of how long he has stayed in Poland.

Granting Polish citizenship takes place at the request of the foreigner. The application for granting Polish citizenship to a person residing legally in Poland shall be submitted to the President via the Voivode competent for the place of residence of the applicant. If the foreigner lives abroad, the application shall be filled via the competent consul. Addresses to the Provincial Offices and to consular departments of the Republic of Poland.

The application shall be filed in person or by mail. Documents issued in a foreign language shall be submitted with their translation into the Polish language drawn up by a sworn translator or by a Polish consul.

RECOGNITION AS A POLISH CITIZEN

A foreigner can be recognized as a Polish citizen.

Recognition as a Polish citizen shall be granted to:

  1. a foreigner residing continuously in Poland (what is an uninterrupted stay?->) for at least 3 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit -> or a long-term EU resident permit -> and who has a stable and regular source of income in Poland and legal title to the occupied dwelling->;
  2. a foreigner residing continuously in Poland (what is an uninterrupted stay?->) for at least 2 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit -> or a long-term EU resident permit  -> and who has been married to a Polish citizen for at least three years or holds no citizenship;
  3. a foreigner residing continuously in Poland (what is an uninterrupted stay?->) for at least 2 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit -> which was obtained in connection with refugee status granted in Poland;
  4. a minor foreigner with one parent who is a Polish citizen residing in Poland on the basis of a permanent residence permit -> or a long-term EU resident permit ->, and the other parent who does not hold Polish citizenship has agreed to this recognition;
  5. a minor foreigner with at least one parent whose Polish citizenship has been restored, if the minor resides in Poland on the basis of a permanent residence permit -> or a long-term EU resident permit -[gt] and the other parent who does not have Polish citizenship has agreed to this recognition;
  6. a foreigner residing continuously and legally in Poland for at least 10 years (what is an uninterrupted stay?->) who meets all of the following conditions:
  •  has a permanent residence permit -> or a long-term EU resident permit ->,
  • and has a stable and regular source of income in Poland along with legal title to the occupied dwelling;

Important: to be able to be recognized as a citizen of Poland – except for a foreigner referred to in section 1 points 4 and 5 – the foreigner is obliged to have a command of Polish language. Language proficiency must be confirmed with an official certificate  obtained after passing a State examination, a school-leaving certificate (e. g., elementary, secondary or tertiary school) in Poland or a school-leaving certificate obtained from a school abroad with Polish as the language of instruction. 

Certificates for Polish language skills are issued by the State Commission for the Certification of Proficiency in Polish as a Foreign Language. Currently, to receive a certificate the applicant must pass an exam organized by the Commission at the basic communication level (level B1).

The application for recognizing a foreigner as a Polish citizen shall include:

  1. a completed application for recognition as a citizen of Polish drawn up in Polish – the application form is available
  2. 1 photograph – photo guidelines are available
  3. the original or a certified copy of the applicant’s  birth certificate. There is no obligation to submit a copy of a Polish civil register act. Foreign acts shall be submitted together with a sworn translation into Polish.
  4. a certified copy of a document confirming the foreigner’s identity and citizenship (foreign passport, travel document)
  5. a certified copy of a permanent residence card in Poland, settlement permit or residence permit for a long-term EU resident
  6. a certified copy of a permanent resident card issued by a Voivode,
  7. an official certificate of Polish language competence

Note: Polish language skills must be documented at not lover than the level of communicative. Documents certifying Polish language skills are, among others, a school-leaving certificate obtained in Poland, a school-leaving certificate obtained from a school abroad with Polish as the language of instruction, or a certificate issued by the State Commission for the Certification of Proficiency in Polish as a Foreign Language,

  • a statement concerning the dates of departures from and returns to Poland as well as places of residence abroad during the required periods of uninterrupted stay (i.e. 10, 3 or 2 years, depending on what basis the foreigner is applying for recognition as a citizen of Poland) together with documents confirming the uninterrupted stay in Poland (e.g. passport with stamps, tickets). If the applicant does not remember the specific dates of departure from Poland and there is no possibility of obtaining such information (for example, currently in Ukraine and Belarus citizens do not receive entry and exit stamps when crossing Polish boarder), he may submit a statement that he does not remember the specific dates of the departures and can provide only approximate dates. The application form for a statement of uninterrupted stay is available 
  • documents confirming professional achievements (e.g. scientific or professional degrees and titles) or pursued political and social activity,
  • a document confirming the citizenship of the foreigner’s spouse (e.g. passport),
  • documents confirming the foreigner held Polish citizenship in the past, or has applied for it,
  • proof of payment of stamp duty for issuing the decision on recognition as a Polish citizen,

A foreigner applying for recognition as a Polish citizen on the basis of points 1 and 6 (read above) shall additionally submit: 

  1. evidence of a stable and regular source of income in Poland (e.g. certificate of employment, a PIT form for the previous year, a certificate of owning a farm with information about its size from the municipal office, a decision concerning the granting of a pension),
  2. evidence of legal title to residential premises ->

DUAL CITIZENSHIP IN POLAND

A Polish citizen may hold Polish citizenship and the citizenship of another country at the same time. If an individual holds dual citizenship – Polish and that of another country – the individual has the same rights and obligations in respect to the Republic of Poland as a person who has only Polish citizenship. This means that a Polish citizen cannot rely with legal effect on the citizenship of another country and on the rights and obligations resulting thereof in dealings with Polish authorities.

A person applying for recognition, granting or restoration of Polish citizenship does not have to renounce his current nationality.

Prior to submitting an application for recognition as a Polish citizen, the applicant should learn how his country of origin regulates the issue of dual citizenship. Some states do not recognize dual citizenship and at the moment when a person acquires the citizenship of another country he can automatically lose his previous citizenship. Therefore, it is crucial to check information about the regulation of dual citizenship in both countries – in Poland and in the migrant’s country of origin.

TAXES IN POLAND

TAXES ARE A COMPULSORY AND NON-REFUNDABLE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE STATE TREASURY RESULTING FROM BINDING REGULATIONS OF POLISH LAW. TAXES MUST BE PAID WHEN INCOME IS OBTAINED.

As a rule, taxes in Poland have to be paid not only by Polish citizens, but also by people who obtain income in Poland. In the case of many foreigners (in particular those who do not conduct economic activity), in order to settle with the tax office it is sufficient to have a PESEL number 

WHEN DO FOREIGNERS HAVE TO PAY TAXES IN POLAND?

Every individual whose place of residence is located in Poland has to pay tax on income obtained in this country. An individual with a place of residence in Poland is a person whose “center of personal and economic interests” is here (e.g. someone who lives, works in Poland) or who stays in Poland for a period longer than 183 days a year.Such persons are called tax residents.

On the other hand, a person who does not have their place of residence in Poland will pay tax in Poland only on the income obtained in Poland.

CONSEQUENCES OF NOT PAYING TAX

Paying taxes is compulsory in Poland. Failure to pay tax, providing false information in one’s tax return form or other attempts to deceive the tax institutions may result in a penalty in the form of a fine or even in a custodial sentence and failure to renewal the TRP card in future.

LIVING EXPENSES IN POLAND

Living costs in Poland vary. They tend to be highest in Warsaw and other large urban areas (Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk). 

Generally the costs of food, public transportation and housing are somewhat lower in Poland than in Western Europe. Nonetheless, they increase every year. 

Approximate prices of staple food items in Poland in PLN (January, 2015)

  • Bread: 3-5
  • Margerine, 500 g: 4-6
  • Milk 2%, 1l: 2-4
  • Eggs (10 pieces): 4-8
  • Cream 18%, 200 g: 1.2-2
  • White sugar, 1 kg, 3-5
  • Chicken breasts, 1 kg: 15-20
  • Boneless pork, 1 kg: 13-18
  • Spaghetti: 3-4
  • Domestic apples, 1 kg: 1-3
  • Carrots, 1 kg: 0.4-1.5
  • Potatos, 1kg: 1-3
  • Tomatoes, 1 kg: 4-9
  • Orange juice: 3-5
  • Washing detergent: 4-7

EDUCATION

Every child between the ages of 7 and 18 living in Poland is subject to compulsory education or compulsory schooling, ie. he or she must attend school under pain of sanctions against the parents. This obligation also applies to children who do not possess Polish citizenship, regardless of the migration status of their parents in Poland. From school year 2014/2015, compulsory education shall apply to children from the age of 6 years.

The school year begins in Poland on 1 September and ends on the last Friday in June the following year. Lessons are held in schools for five days a week, Monday through Friday. Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are free for the children.

The school year is divided into two semesters. The first semester ends in January. The second term ends in June and this is also the end of the school year. Grades given out for the 2nd semester are also the final grades for the given year/form, and shall be entered on the school certificate – the document certifying that the child has completed education at a given form level.

HEALTH INSURANCE AND MEDICAL CARE

A resident of Poland may receive public medical assistance or opt for private medical care and pay fees for healthcare services provided. 

If a person wants to enjoy free public health care services, insurance with the National Health Fund (NFZ) is necessary. A holder of NFZ insurance may also use the services of private medical facilities, but such a facility must have a signed contract with the National Health Fund. 

All those employed in Poland, including foreigners, are obliged to possess health insurance. This means that every month a contribution is paid on their behalf (usually done by their employer) to the NFZ. Immediate family members of the insured person may also benefit from free medical assistance after proper registration with the NFZ, if they are not insured under a different title. 

If a person (including a foreigner) is not insured in the NFZ, he can also benefit from health care services upon payment of a fee. If such a person has an insurance policy taken out in a private company, that insurance company covers the costs of healthcare. In many private medical facilities you can purchase a subscription, or pay a monthly facility-specific fee, which covers a package of specific medical services. Prices vary depending on the institution and the services covered. Detailed information can be obtained directly from the individual private insurance companies.

Foreigners residing in Poland on the basis of a visa can not, in principle, benefit from free  public healthcare services in Poland.

Citizens of Albania, Tunisia, Russia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have the right to access certain health care services financed from public funds on the basis of agreements signed by these states with Poland. Said agreements apply only to certain services, or only specific groups of foreigners. To learn more, check with your embassy or consulates.

Russian citizens temporarily residing in Poland are entitled to free health care in case of emergencies and accidents, until the patient’s condition allows for transport to Russia.

ACQUIRING POLISH CITIZENSHIP ON THE BASIS OF MARRIAGE

A foreigner entering into a marriage with a Polish citizen does not automatically obtain Polish citizenship.

 A foreigner who has resided permanently in Poland for at least 2 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit and who remains married for at least 3 years with a person holding Polish citizenship may apply for recognition as a Polish citizen.

TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR FAMILY MEMBERS OF A FOREIGNER RESIDING IN POLAND

Foreigners entitled to obtain a temporary residence permit for family members of a foreigner residing in Poland are:

  1. the spouse (the marriage must be acknowledged under  Polish law);
  2. minor children (i.e. those under the age of 18) – not only biological children, but also adopted children or other children dependent on the foreigner and under his parental authority (e.g. a spouse’s child from a previous relationship).

Note: In case of a minor foreigner staying in Poland without a parent or caretaker with refugee status or subsidiary protection in Poland, the child’s parents, grandparents or other adults bearing responsibility for the child under Polish law (e.g. legal guardians) are also considered members of the family.