Moving to Poland?
Poland’s Visa Requirements
Since Poland became a Schengen country, border controls between Poland and Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania, or the Czech Republic have been abolished. This means that, for short-term visits, you need only apply for a Schengen visa and are then more or less free to travel between participating countries. Schengen visas are valid for three months. However, in order to legally work in Poland, expats need to apply for a work permit in addition to their visa.
Getting Ready to Work
If you wish to live and work in Poland legally, you need to apply for a valid visa with the responsible authorities. In order to do so, you need to turn to the nearest Polish Consulate before moving to Poland. All in all, Polish consulates issue three different types of visas: Airport Transit Visas (A), Short-Stay (Schengen) Visas (C), and National Long-Stay Visas (D). Expats whose assignments exceed 90 days need to apply for a long-term visa, which also allows them to visit other Schengen countries.
In order to apply for a long-term visa, you need to submit the following documents:
- a visa application form, duly completed
- a passport, valid until at least three months after the visa expires
- biometric, passport size picture
- payment proof of visa fee
- travel insurance or international medical insurance
- proof of sufficient financial means
- document stating the purpose of your visit
- document stating the reason for a long-term stay
In addition to a regular long-stay visa, you will have to secure a work permit and submit it with your visa application. Please remember that it is not possible to apply for a work permit or a visa from within the country, and it is strictly prohibited to work in Poland without proper authorization.
Your future employer needs to apply for a work permit on your behalf. This application should be turned in at least 30 days before your move to Poland. In the case of an inter-company transfer, for instance, expats are exempt from the work permit regulation. For more information on work permits and cases of exemption, please refer to the Polish Department of Foreign Affairs.
How to Apply for Your Residence Permit
After your arrival in Poland, you need to apply for a residence permit if you wish to stay longer than 90 days. This is also the case if you are exempt from acquiring a work permit. You have to submit your application to the responsible municipality or voivode (Wojewoda). These are the documents which are required in order to apply for this permit:
- four copies of the application
- four up-to-date passport sized photos
- three copies of your passport
- a work permit or a written statement from your employer (if you are exempt from requiring a work permit)
- a work contract
- proof of stamp duty payment
- proof of health insurance
- documents proving that you have a steady income with which to support yourself
- official lease or other legal title enabling you to occupy the dwelling in which you live
- proof that you have paid your taxes in the previous year
Make sure to submit this application at least 45 days before the end of your legal residence period. A residence permit is granted for the duration of your stay but never for more than two years.
Your Residence Card Opens Borders
Once you have successfully submitted your residence permit application, you will receive a residence card. Your valid residence card serves as confirmation of your identity during your stay in Poland. Along with your travel document, it enables you to cross the border and travel to other European countries without having to obtain a visa. If you have applied for your residence permit from abroad, you should receive your residence card upon entry. Make sure to collect your card in person at the responsible voivode.
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