Moving to Poland?
Poland’s Visa Requirements
Getting Ready to Work
Visas — From Type A to D
As a non-EU/EEA or non-Swiss citizen, 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 Embassy or Consulate before moving to Poland. In some case, nationals from specific non-EU countries, so-called third-country nationals, do not need a visa, provided they are planning on staying in Poland for less than 90 days and do not intend to work. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a list of visa-free countries on their website.
Polish missions 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.
For short-term visits, you need only apply for a Schengen visa and are then more or less free to travel between participating countries. This is because Poland is part of the Schengen Agreement. 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.
Applying for Your Visa
In order to apply for a long-term visa (D), you need to submit at least the following documents:
- a visa application form, duly completed
- a passport, valid until at least three months after the planned departure from Poland
- biometric, passport size picture(s)
- payment proof of visa fee
- proof of travel insurance or international medical insurance
- proof of sufficient financial means
- document stating the purpose of your visit
- document confirming the necessity of a long-term stay
How to Get Your Work Permit
In addition, you will have to secure a work permit and submit it with your visa application. Your future employer needs to apply for a work permit on your behalf. It usually takes around a month, two in more complex circumstances, for your work permit to be issued. 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 temporary residence permit if you wish to stay longer than 90 days. This is also the case if you are exempt from acquiring a visa and/or work permit. You have to submit your application to the responsible municipality or Voivode (Wojewoda) within the first month of your stay.
These are the documents which are typically required in order to apply for this permit:
- completed application form
- four up-to-date passport sized photos
- three copies of your valid passport
- proof of administrative fee payment
- a work permit or a written statement from your employer (if you are exempt from requiring a work permit)
- a work contract
- documents confirming the cost of your residence and an official lease or other legal title enabling you to occupy the dwelling in which you live
- confirmation of registration of temporary residence (find out more about how to register your address in Poland on the next page)
- proof of health insurance
- documents proving that you have a steady income with which to support yourself
A residence permit is granted for the duration of your stay but never for more than two years. After living in Poland over a prolonged period of time, it is possible to apply for a settlement permit or a long-term EC residence permit. These permits are subject to stricter requirements. More information can be found on the website of the Polish Department of Foreign Affairs.
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.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.