Foreigner in Poland: Legalization of stay

Citizens of non-EU/EFTA countries may enter Poland and stay within its territory on a basis of Schengen or national Visa. Visas are issued by a consul. They may also apply for a temporary or permanent residence permit in Poland. How does the process of legalization of the foreigners stay in Poland look like?

Please note, that the information does not apply to the nationals of the EU Member States other than Poland, Great Britain, Norway, Island, Liechtenstein and Switzerland and their family members or beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The article is based on resources released by Polish Government.

Stay in Poland: Two types of visas

Citizens of non-EU/EFTA countries need visa to enter Poland and stay in Poland. There are two types of visas:

  • Schengen Visa (marked with a C symbol)

The visa is issued when the planned stay on the territory of the Schengen area does not exceed 90 days within each 180-day period.

  • national visa (marked with a D symbol)

The visa entitles to entry and to a continuous stay in the territory of Poland or to several consecutive stays which jointly last longer than 90 days. The period of validity of a national visa cannot exceed 1 year.

Visa is not on par with a temporary residence permit. These are two different documents that a foreigner in Poland may apply for. At first the foreigner needs visa to enter the country and legally stay within its territory. Then he may apply for a residence permit which entitles him to live and work in Poland.

Residence permit: Who can apply for a permanent residence permit in Poland?

There are different types of residence permits that allow foreigners to stay in Poland legally and work or even run a business. One of them is a permanent residence permit. Who can apply for it?

Permanent residence permit is granted in cases specified in Article 195 of the Act on Foreigners and relates to*:

  • a minor child of a Polish citizen under his parental authority,
  • a minor child of a foreigner who has been granted a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident's EU residence permit, remaining under their parental authority,
  • a spouse of a Polish citizen,
  • a person of Polish descent who intends to settle permanently in the Republic of Poland,
  • a holder of a valid Karta Polaka (Polish Charter) who intends to settle permanently in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
  • a victim of a human trafficking crime.

*For details check the Article 195 of the Act on Foreigners

As you can see, foreigners not always may apply for a permanent residence permit. In other cases they are entitled to apply for temporary residence permits.

Legalization of foreigners: Temporary residence permits

Legalization of the foreigners stay requires a permit. In cases when a permanent residence permit cannot be granted, foreigners may apply for:

  • work and residence - legalization of stay for foreigners who want to live and work in Poland, it is granted for the intended period of employment from 3 months to 3 years,
  • Blue Card - legalization of stay for foreigners who want to live in Poland and work in a profession requiring high qualifications, it is granted for a period longer by 3 months than the period of performing the work, but not longer than 3 years, with the possibility of applying for another permit,
  • seasonal work – permit for a foreigner in Poland who wants to extend their legal stay due to seasonal work.

There are also other possibilities, such as: work of a delegated employee, business activity, residence with family, residence of a family member of a citizen of the Republic of Poland, studies and graduates, researchers and scientists, interns and voluntary service.

Polish citizenship: Ways of acquiring

A person can acquire Polish citizenship by:

  • birth to parents, at least one of whom is a Polish citizen – right of blood,
  • birth or being found on the territory of Poland – right of the soil,
  • full adoption,
  • granting Polish citizenship by the President of the Republic of Poland,
  • recognition as a Polish citizen.

The President can grant Polish citizenship to any foreigner. The foreigner who is interested in acquiring Polish citizenship is ought to make a request. That requires filling an application form. The application shall be submitted personally, or by mail, with an officially certified signature. Documents issued in a foreign language require translation into Polish. The translation ought to be prepared by a sworn translator or a consul of the Republic of Poland.