How to become a temporary resident in Poland

by Ewelina Nurczyk in: Legal & Taxes, 08 Jan 2016     0 Comments

Extending your visa may seem like a good idea to prolong your legal stay in Poland, but it is possible only under extraordinary circumstances. Individuals willing to stay longer in Poland usually choose to apply for a residence card. Learn how to do it.

Obtaining a visa is usually the first step to legalise your stay in Poland, but it is difficult to extend it (read about prolonging your visa). Therefore, when a visa’s expiration date is nearing, foreigners willing to stay here for more than 3 months choose to apply for a temporary residence card. The document allows them to stay in Poland for the maximum of 3 years (the length of the period depends on specific circumstances) and can be renewed if necessary. It also allows you to visit other Schengen countries for touristic purposes - up to 90 days in half a year.

Find a reason

Every foreigner willing to become a temporary resident of Poland needs to give grounds for their stay in the country. There is a variety of reasons to choose from and it is important to apply on the basis of the correct one. Here follows the list of the most common grounds for application:

  • Starting or continuing work in Poland;
  • Working as a highly skilled employee (the Blue Card);
  • Working as a delegate of a foreign company;
  • Starting a business in Poland;
  • Pursuing higher education studies in Poland (as well as language courses prior to studies);
  • Academic research in Poland;
  • Visiting relatives by a Polish national or a foreigner’s family members;
  • Being a victim of human trafficking;
  • Intending to reunite with a family member who is a EU national;
  • Being a minor child of a person residing in Poland on the grounds of a national visa or a residency card, provided the child was born during the document’s validity period;
  • Being a minor child of a foreigner married to a Polish citizen and possessing a temporary residence permit issued for a Polish citizen family member;
  • Other compelling and documented grounds.

Who will not be granted temporary residence card?

There is also a number of circumstances which prevent Polish authorities from issuing a temporary residence card. If you fall into one of these categories, you will not be granted a temporary residence card. The reasons may include:

  • Being a long-term or permanent EU resident;
  • Staying in Poland on the grounds of a Schengen visa issued for humanitarian reasons;
  • Already staying in Poland on the basis of a temporary residence card issued under circumstances requiring a short stay;
  • Being granted a tolerated stay, permit for a stay on the grounds of humanitarian reasons, asylum, subsidiary or temporary protection, refugee status;
  • Already being the process of applying for a refugee status or seeking asylum;
  • Being placed in a guarded facility, detention or being subject to a ban on leaving the Polish territory;
  • Being imprisoned or in pre-trial custody;
  • Being obliged to return and the period of voluntary return has not expired yet (even in the cases of extending the period);
  • Being obliged to leave Poland within 30 days of the relevant decision;
  • Residing outside Poland (does not apply to those applying for a card to reunite a family);
  • Failing to provide fingerprints.

File your forms

In order to obtain a residence card, you will need to file appropriate forms in the relevant Voivodeship Office in person. Depending on the type of reasons behind your application, different documents need to be filed, but some of them remain the same:

  • Application form for a temporary residence permit – 4 copies (download here)
  • Valid travel document – 3 copies
  • Current colour photographs – 4 copies
  • Written consent of individuals exercising parental authority over a minor applying for a permit.

Please bear in mind that it is possible to obtain other important permits along with your temporary residence card. To be more specific, if you are applying on the grounds of starting your work in Poland, you are able to get a temporary residence card and work permit at the same time.

Already have a temporary residence card? 
Check out how to apply for a permanent residence permit! See the article.

How long do I have to wait?

The whole process may take up to 2 months, but usually a month is enough to issue a residence card. Individuals who are refused to be granted the document, may appeal to the Head of the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw within two weeks of the decision. In this scenario, their case will be revised in one month as well.

Once you initiate the process of temporary residence application, you shall get a stamp in your travel document stating that you are allowed to stay in Poland until after the final decision is granted. 


There are fees to be considered during the process. If an individual applies only for a temporary residence permit, the fee amounts to PLN 340 and is fully reimbursable if a negative decision is issued. If an applicant wants to obtain a work permit along with the residence card, the fee is PLN 440. Once a positive decision is given, a fee of PLN 50 must be paid in order to cover the costs of issuing a card. 

We hope that all of our readers will use this information to successfully apply for their temporary residence cards. Good luck!

See also

Extending visa in Poland

How to extend visa in Poland

All the information you need about prolonging your visa in Poland.
Read more

Residence card in Poland

Residence card in Poland

Residence cards, apart from visas, are one of the most common documents among foreigners in Poland. Read why!
Read more

Temporary residents working in Poland - see what you need

Temporary residents working in Poland - see what you need

Taking up a job in Poland? Whether you are delegated to Poland, hold the EU Blue Card or simply have been offered a post here, this article will clear your doubts about formalities!
Read more

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. 

Related articles

Are you a student or about to become one in Poland? If you want to know how to handle your residence permit application, read our step by step guide to that. Read more

Ready to do the maths? Let’s calculate your uninterrupted stay in Poland in order to get your residence or citizenship sorted. Read more

Taking up a job in Poland? Whether you are delegated to Poland, hold the EU Blue Card or simply have been offered a post here, this article will clear your doubts about formalities! Read more

Why have the police or border guards paid you a visit? Do not worry, it is standard procedure! Read more

In 2016, Polish authorities issued 585,969 first temporary residence permits. Read more