Gaining permanent residence permit in Poland

by Ewelina Nurczyk in: Legal & Taxes, 12 Jan 2016     0 Comments

A permanent residence card is a stable way of legalising your stay in Poland, but there are a lot of conditions to fulfill. In most cases foreigners can apply for it only after several years of uninterrupted stay in the country. Read more below.

Do I qualify to apply?

Usually you can apply for a permanent residence card only after a few years of a legal stay in Poland. The number of those years varies in different cases, but remains crucial in the application process. In general, individuals who are able to obtain a permanent residence permit are:

  • Children of foreigners who hold a permanent Polish or long-term EU residence permits, who were born within the period of the document’s validity;
  • Children of Polish nationals remaining in their custody;
  • The Pole Card’s holders or people of Polish descent intending to settle in Poland;
  • Individuals married to Polish citizens for at least 3 years who had lived in Poland prior to the permanent residence card application for at least 2 years;
  • Human trafficking victims who had stayed prior to the application for at least 1 year in Poland on the basis of a temporary residence card, have cooperated with the police and have expressed justified fear of returning to their home country;
  • Individuals living in Poland for at least 5 years prior to the application, who hold a refugee status, subsidiary protection status or who are allowed to stay in Poland because of humanitarian reasons;
  • Individuals living in Poland for at least 10 years prior to the application, who have been granted a tolerated residence permit and although are obliged to return are unable to do that for legal or humanitarian reasons;
  • Asylum seekers.

Uninterrupted stay in Poland

In some points above, one of the conditions refers to staying in Poland for a stated period of time. This should be understood as an uninterrupted stay in Poland, during which a person does not leave the country for a period longer than 6 months and all interruptions in a given period do not exceed 10 months in total. Some exceptions to this rule include foreign internships and job-related delegations (including accompanying your spouse in such) or breaks due to extraordinary personal circumstances which do not exceed 6 months.

When permit is not granted

There are circumstances which prevent Polish authorities from granting a permanent residence permit. These include first and foremost not meeting the requirements listed above. Apart from that, applications can be rejected if an applicant is an undesired individual in Poland, remains in a fictitious marriage, provides false documents, has tax arrears or fails to repay costs of their obligation to return.

Application process

The application process is similar to applying for a temporary residence card (see here). Foreigners need to file a set of documents to their competent Voivodeship Office (list here). The documents include:

  • 3 copies of a completed form (download here)
  • 4 current photographs
  • 2 copies of valid travel documents
  • Any documents confirming data present in the form
  • Applicant’s fingerprints
  • Stamp duty confirmation
  • Other necessary documents

If the application is complete and correct, a foreigner receives a stamp in their passport allowing them to stay legally in Poland even though their visa or residence card may expire in the process of awaiting authorities’ decision. This usually takes up to 1 month.

When a permanent residence card is issued, it is valid for the period of 10 years and needs to be renewed regularly. The fee is PLN 640 and the fee for issuing the card is PLN 50. It can be reimbursed if the application is rejected.

One last thing that foreigners need to remember is that having a valid permanent residence permit in Poland does not entitle them to work abroad. It does allow them to travel as tourists to other Schengen countries for up to 90 days each half a year.

Have you gone through this process and want to share your experience? Feel free to join the discussion in the comment section below!

Ewelina Nurczyk

Ewelina Nurczyk


Contact the author

Editor at A graduate of English studies and Polish language and literature at Warsaw University, specialising in teaching Polish to foreigners. 

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