Step 1: visa
If you come from the European Union, you can skip this part. You may also be a native of a country where visas are not required to visit Poland for a short period of time (learn here who needs a visa to Poland). However, if you come from a country outside the EU or with no particular ties to Poland, it will be necessary to obtain a visa.
Step 2: application prep
Students who made up their mind and decided to go on with their education in Poland, can start thinking about extending their legal stay here. Even if your visa is still valid for a long time, even a few months, start gathering the documents necessary for getting your temporary residence permit. For students, these would include:
- application form;
- certificate of admission to university in Poland (example here);
- proof of paying all required tuitions and fees;
- proof of health insurance;
- possession of necessary funds to support oneself in Poland (at least PLN 543 per month for as long as you intend to stay here);
- possession of necessary funds to cover travel expenses back to home country if necessary (PLN 200 for a neighbouring country citizen; PLN 500 for a citizen of other EU country; PLN 2,500 for other citizens);
- proof of accommodation (e.g. rental contract, dorm admission, hotel booking).
Step 3: application filing
Application forms along with the necessary documents should be filed to your relevant Voivodeship Office, Department for Foreigners. Now you can await your decision, which may take up to a few months due to increased interest in relocation to Poland.
What if my visa expires?
Do not worry; while filing your residence application, you will receive a stamp in your passport indicating that your application was complete and now you are awaiting decision. Now, even if your visa or previous residence card expires, you will be able to stay in Poland legally. Leaving the country however may result in not being able to get back without a valid visa or residence permit.
What is my permit’s validity period?
Your first permit will be issued for a period of 15 months. If, however, your documents indicate that your stay is required for a shorter period of time, the residence card will be issued for the length of a given academic year, plus extra three months. Next temporary residence cards will be issued for a standard period of time, so up to three years.
What about employees & businessmen?
Students who are employed or own a business in Poland should apply for a temporary residence permit on the grounds of employment or business activity respectively, not education.
What if I stop studying?
Your university will inform the relevant Voivodeship Office about the fact, which as a result may deem your residence card invalid. If you want to stay in Poland in such circumstances, you’d better contact the office and present another compelling reason for the continuation of your stay here!