Legalization of stay in Poland

Polish law provides a number of rules for legalization of stay on the Polish territory for foreigners. The legalization of stay places requirements on foreigners that must be met in order to stay in Poland.

The procedure for legalization of stay of foreigners and legalization of employment of foreigners differs significantly depending on the country of origin of the foreigner.

As for third country nationals, they are required to have a valid residence and work permit.

Legalization of stay in Poland

Legalization of temporary residence

A temporary residence permit is granted, among other things:

  • to members of families of Polish citizens and members of families of foreigners
  • to take up or continue employment
  • to perform work in occupation requiring high qualifications
  • a foreigner delegated to Poland
  • to carry out economic activity
  • for studying
  • a foreigner leading a family life

A foreigner who wants to obtain a temporary residence permit should stay in Poland for more than 3 months. They can obtain it for a maximum of 3 years. The temporary residence permit cannot be extended again. In case of a longer stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland, a new permit must be applied for.

Under the Law on Foreigners the temporary residence permit is granted when a foreigner intends to take up employment in Poland.

Additionally, it must meet all 5 conditions:

  1. the foreigner has health insurance.
  2. the foreigner has a source of stable and regular income sufficient to cover the costs of living for themselves and their dependent family members.
  3. the foreigner has a guaranteed place of residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland.
  4. the foreigner’s remuneration, which is specified by the entity commissioning work in an appendix to the application for a permit, is not lower than the remuneration of employees performing at the same time work of a comparable type or at a comparable position.
  5. the amount of monthly remuneration from point 4 is not lower than the amount of minimum remuneration for work.

Temporary residence permit – refusal

Under the Act, a permit is denied when:

  • the entity commissioning work or the entity managing it has been sentenced by a final court decision
  • the foreigner has been sentenced by a final judgment, does not meet the requirements of the entity commissioning work, does not have appropriate qualifications or when in a given calendar year the limit of temporary residence and work permits has been reached

A foreigner who worked legally is obligated to notify the province governor when they lose their job. He/she has 15 working days from the date of termination of employment to do so – in writing.


Revocation of the temporary residence and work permit

  • the position specified in the permit has changed or the amount of remuneration has been decreased, and the permit has not been amended;
  • the entity commissioning work to a foreigner does not conduct business, agricultural or statutory activities, in particular has suspended its operations, has been deleted from the relevant register or is in liquidation.

Legalization of permanent residence

Permanent residency is issued to people who want to live in the Republic of Poland permanently. It is a document that gives the right to live and work in Poland to people who do not have Polish citizenship. In short, people with permanent residency status have the same rights as Polish citizens. Only they do not have the right to participate in elections.

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

  • is a child of an alien who has been granted a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EU residence permit, remaining under his/her parental authority:
    • born after a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EU residence permit was granted to that foreigner, or
    • born during the period of validity of a temporary residence permit granted to that foreigner
  • is a child of a Polish citizen remaining under his/her parental authority
  • is a person of Polish origin and intends to settle permanently on the territory of the Republic of Poland
  • remains in a marriage recognised by the law of the Republic of Poland to a Polish citizen and has been in that marriage for at least 3 years before submitting the application. Also, directly before submitting the application he/she resided continuously on the territory of the Republic of Poland for at least 2 years on the basis of a temporary residence permit granted in connection with staying in a marriage with a Polish citizen or in connection with obtaining refugee status, subsidiary protection or a humanitarian residence permit,
  • holds a valid Card of the Pole and intends to settle permanently on the territory of the Republic of Poland.

A residence permit for a long-term EU resident is granted to a foreigner who stays in Poland for at least 5 years and meets all the conditions. This type of permit is issued for an indefinite period of time. The situation is different with a residence card, which is only valid for 10 years. After the expiry of this period it needs to be replaced. Permanent residency allows foreigners to legally work in Poland without obtaining other, additional documents. The permit also entitles to travel in the Schengen countries. However, the stay of a foreigner on this basis cannot exceed 90 days within 180 days.


Permanent residence permit – waiting time

The waiting time depends on the circumstances of the case and the given office. According to the regulations, the proceedings to grant a permit to a foreigner should end no later than within 3 months from the date of its initiation. If the voivodship office does not issue the permit within the deadline, they should notify the foreigner of that fact, explaining the reasons for the delay and indicating a new deadline for the case.


Appeal against the Governor’s Decision

In the case of a negative decision on permanent residence, a person without Polish citizenship has the right to appeal. The appeal should be submitted by a voivode to the Head of the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw. The applicant has 14 days to do so. The case should be resolved within 2 months. If the interested party does not receive an answer or the answer is not fully satisfactory to them, they may file a complaint with the Administrative Court within 30 days.


For more information on legal employment, click here.

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