Rules for entry and residence

Legal basis

The Act of July 14, 2006 on entering the territory of the Republic of Poland, residence and departure from this territory of nationals of Member States of the European Union and their family members (Journal of Laws No. 144, item. 1043, as amended) and its implementing legislation.

Definitions

An EU citizen should be understood as an alien who is a national of another Member State of the EU / EEA or Switzerland.

Under Polish law, an alien is anyone who does not have Polish citizenship.

A family member of an EU citizen should be understood as an alien being or not being a citizen of the EU:

  1. the spouse of an EU citizen,
  2. direct descendant of an EU citizen or his/her spouse, to the age of 21 years or a dependent of an EU citizen or his/her spouse,
  3. direct ascendant of an EU citizen or his/her spouse, a dependent of an EU citizen or his/her spouse – who joins or stays with an EU citizen.

Right of residence for up to 3 months

EU citizens and their family members, who are not EU citizens, can stay in Poland for up to three months without having to meet any of the conditions of residence, other than possessing valid travel document. An EU citizen may possess other valid document confirming his/her identity and citizenship.

An EU citizen who entered this territory in order to seek employment may stay in Poland without having to meet the conditions of residence for a period of not more than six months, unless – after the expiry of this period – person demonstrates that he/she continues to actively seek employment and has genuine chances of employment. During this period, an EU citizen is required to possess a valid travel document or another document confirming his/her identity and citizenship.

Residence for over 3 months

If the residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland lasts longer than three months, an EU citizen and a member of his family who are nationals of the EU are required to register their stay, and a family member who is not an EU citizen is required to obtain a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen.

Residence registration obligation does not apply to an EU citizen who has the right of residence in order to seek employment, as discussed above.

Note: The obligation to register the EU citizen’s residence is not synonymous with national registration obligation in Polish territory. The competent authority for registration of EU citizen’s residence is the voivode competent for the his/her place of residence. The competent authority in matters of registration obligation is the competent authority of the municipality (the voit, the mayor, the city mayor).

In order to register the an EU citizen’s residence (including members of his family who are also citizens of the EU), and to obtain a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen, it is required for an EU citizen to meet the conditions of the right of residence exceeding 3 months.

EU citizen has the right to stay for a period longer than three months, if he/she satisfies one of the following conditions:

  1. is an employee or is self-employed in the territory of the Republic of Poland;
  2. is in the possession of sufficient financial means to support themselves and their family members, so that they are not a weight for the social security system, is in the possession of proper health insurance;
  3. studies or participates in vocational training in the territory of the Republic of Poland:
    a) is in the possession of sufficient financial means to support themselves and their family members, so that they are not a weight for the social security system, is in the possession of proper health insurance,
  4. is a spouse of Polish citizen.

Right of permanent residenc

After 5 years of continuous residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland, an EU citizen acquires the right of permanent residence. A family member who is not an EU citizen acquires the right of permanent residence after five years of continuous residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland with an EU citizen.
Stay on Polish territory is considered to be continuous if breaks in total did not exceed a 6 months in a year. Stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland is considered as not interrupted when leaving its territory for a period longer than 6 months due to:

  1. to serve compulsory military service or
  2. important personal situation, in particular pregnancy, childbirth, illness, studies, training, secondments, which requires staying outside that territory, provided that this period is not longer than 12 consecutive months.

An EU citizen who acquired permanent residency, is issued with document confirming the right of permanent residence.

A family member who is not an EU citizen, who acquired right of permanent residency under the conditions set out in this section, is required to obtain permanent residence card of a family member of an EU citizen.