Foreign family members – visiting and settling in Poland
You may have settled in Poland – you have your residence card, a place of your own, a job… But when homesickness knocks on your door and you cannot fly home – why not invite your family to show them around Poland or stay with you for good? Read about different scenarios.
If you are a foreigner…
If you are a foreigner staying in Poland your family may visit you simply by getting a tourist visa. If however they want to stay here for longer, you may have a right to family reunification. This process has a narrow family member definition: it is assigned only to your spouse, so a husband or wife (and your marriage has to be recognised by Polish law) or minor children (biological, adopted ones and other children dependent on you). However, family reunification is not possible for all foreigners. In order to be allowed to initiate the process, you need to have:
- permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit, or;
- refugee status, supplementary protection or a resident permit issued for humanitarian reasons, or;
- temporary residence permit for at least 2 years (while your last residence permit was issued for a stay of no less than one year), or;
- temporary residence permit issued for scientific researchers, or;
- EU Blue Card.
If one of the above applies to you, you can initiate the process of family reunification and apply for a temporary residence card for your family member. You apply for it on their behalf to a Polish voivodeship office, in the same way that you did for your own residence card. Once the decision is positive, your husband, wife or child can apply for a visa in a Polish consulate in your home country.
The fee to initiate the process is PLN 340, while you pay PLN 50 upon receiving a residence card (always in person). If the decision issued by the voivodeship office was negative, you can appeal to the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw within 14 days.
If you are a Polish citizen…
Sometimes Polish citizens have foreign family members. These generally include either their spouses or their spouse's minor children from previous relationships. Such people can apply for a temporary residence card on regular grounds, filing an application to the Voivodeship Office.
There are also exceptions to these rules. Sometimes, a person staying with a Polish citizen in an informal relationship can also be considered a family member, although this requires more paperwork. The couple has to prove that they live in the same household and that the foreigner has a health insurance and a stable source of income.
Another exception is related to other family members who are not a husband, wife or a minor. These may include for instance parents or cousins who are somehow dependent on a Polish citizen, either financially or in some other way. Such individual cases may also require more paperwork and individual approach.
If you are an EU citizen…
The most complex cases are related to EU citizens living in Poland who are not Polish and their non-EU family members. Such individuals can enter Poland on the basis of a visa (if it is required) or a residence card issued by another EU member state. If however their stay is going to exceed 3 months, a family member living in Poland has to apply for a long-term EU-resident card to the relevant Voivodeship Office.