Poland, as a member state of the European Union, offers foreigners the opportunity to acquire permanent residency. This status is highly valuable for individuals who wish to live, work, and engage in business activities within the country. Here is what you need to know about eligibility for permanent residency in the Republic of Poland and the necessary steps to obtain it.
Advantages of Permanent Residency
What are the advantages of obtaining permanent residence in Poland and what opportunities does it offer to the holder?
Firstly, holding the status of a permanent resident in Poland allows for visa-free travel to any Schengen country, with the ability to spend up to 90 days there within a six-month period. Secondly, a permanent residence permit grants the right to enrol in any Polish educational institution and pursue studies in research facilities within Poland. Furthermore, possessing a permanent resident card not only permits official employment within the country but also provides access to social guarantees on equal terms with Polish citizens. This document also enables individuals to establish and operate their own businesses in Poland and individuals with permanent residency in Poland are eligible for expedited visa processing for countries outside the EU, such as the UK, the USA, and others.
Gdansk, Poland. Photo: piqsels.com
Types of Residencies in Poland
In Poland, there are several categories of residence permits that allow their holders to legally reside in the country for significant periods of time:
- A temporary residence permit, known as Karta czasowego pobytu, enables individuals to reside and work in the country for a duration ranging from three months to three years. Once this period expires, it is necessary to reapply and submit the complete set of documents in order to obtain a new residence permit.
- A permanent residence permit is valid indefinitely, providing long-term residency in Poland. However, it is important to note that the resident's card, known as Karta stałego pobytu, will need to be renewed once every 10 years. The renewal process typically involves updating the resident's card without the need to resubmit all the initial paperwork required for obtaining the permit.
- A residence permit for a long-term resident of the European Union, known as Karta długoterminowego rezydenta UE, is initially issued for a duration of five years. After this period, renewal documents will need to be resubmitted, although the process is typically expedited compared to the initial application.
The best option for long-term residence, providing a lasting solution to paperwork concerns, is obtaining a permanent residence permit.
Krakow, Poland. Photo: piqsels.com
Who Is Entitled to Permanent Residency in Poland?
A permanent residence permit in the Republic of Poland is available to foreign citizens if they meet one of the following criteria:
- They are a child of a Polish citizen and remain under parental care at the time of application.
- They have proven that they have Polish roots and intend to settle and permanently reside in Poland.
- They have a Pole's Card (a document that confirms that a foreigner belongs to the Polish people; the Card alone does not give the right to entry and residence) and wish to permanently reside in Poland.
- They are a child of a foreign citizen who has a permanent residence permit or a long-term residence permit of an EU resident in Poland and are under parental care at the moment of application. For such an applicant, there is a condition regarding the date of their birth: they must have been born after their parent was granted the right to temporary or permanent residence in the Republic of Poland.
- They have been the spouse of a citizen of Poland for at least three years and have been living in Poland continuously for at least two years with a temporary residency granted upon entering into this marriage.
- They have legally (on the basis of any residence permit) resided in Poland continuously for at least 10 years.
- They have been on the territory of Poland for four years or more and have a temporary residence permit issued on the grounds of their performance in a profession that is a priority for the national economy, and also receive a stable income.
- They are a victim of human trafficking and have lived in Poland for a year or more cooperating with the investigation, and are also afraid to return to the country from which they arrived with these fears confirmed by the prosecutor in charge of the proceedings in the corresponding criminal case.
- They have been in the country continuously for at least five years, while having the status of a refugee, or a temporary residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
Ogrodzieniec castle. Photo: piqsels.com
How and Where to Obtain A Permanent Resident’s Card
The process of obtaining a permanent residence permit is conducted at the relevant voivodeship office in the applicant's place of residence. The application for a permanent residence permit must be submitted no later than the final day of the applicant's legal stay in the country.
According to official regulations, the maximum processing time for the application is 90 days. However, in practice, the period may extend beyond this timeframe. While some applications are reviewed and processed within two weeks, others may undergo scrutiny for up to one year. If the voivodeship office fails to meet the legally prescribed deadline, the applicant has the right to request an official notification explaining the reason for the delay and providing a new date for the resolution of the matter.
Main post office in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Photo: piqsels.com
General Document Package
An application for a permanent residence permit must be drawn up in Polish and submitted in two copies.
You will also need the original travelling passport and two photocopies of all its pages. The original is returned to the applicant on the same day that the application is submitted.
The applicant then needs to take four photographs in accordance with the following requirements:
- The size of the photo must be strictly 35 mm by 45 mm.
- The face should occupy between 70% to 80% of the frame size.
- The size of the face, in terms of height, should be between 30 mm to 32 mm, and in width, between 18 mm to 22 mm.
- The upper margin above the head should measure between 4 mm and 6 mm.
- The background of the photo must be white; no other background colours are acceptable.
- The facial expression should be neutral, with no smiles or grimaces.
- Headwear is permitted only for religious reasons. In all other cases, accessories such as scarves, hats, and bandanas are prohibited.
- If glasses are worn in the photo, they must have transparent lenses. Tinted glasses are not allowed, and the frame should not obstruct the eyes.
Lastly, you will be required to present a receipt as proof of payment for the stamp duty.
The information and details provided in the application must be supported by relevant documents. It is recommended to include the following additional documents in the application package:
- A bank statement or any other document verifying the applicant's income.
- A lease agreement or document confirming the applicant's ownership of the property where they currently reside.
In certain situations, it may be necessary to include supplementary documents as attachments.
When applying for a permanent residence permit for a minor child of a foreigner who holds a permanent or temporary residence permit in Poland, the following documents must be submitted:
- A copy of the ruling to grant such a residence permit.
- The birth certificate of the minor.
If the application concerns a child of a Polish citizen, the following documents are required:
- The birth certificate of the child.
- A copy of the parent's ID.
If the applicant is not a citizen of Poland but has Polish roots, you will need the following additions:
- Original documents confirming the Polish roots of one of the parents, or grandparents, or grandfather and two great-grandmothers, and/or
- A confirmation of kinship with a person who has Polish roots (preferably in the original, and if these are photocopies, they must be apostilled).
If the applicant is the spouse of a Polish citizen, they must provide the following papers:
- A copy of the marriage certificate issued within the last three months.
- An ID card of the spouse (photocopy),
- If there are children of this marriage, copies of their birth certificates.
- A certificate stating the fulfilment of any tax obligations to the state treasury of Poland.
If the applicant is a victim of human trafficking:
- Documents confirming cooperation with the investigation in the respective criminal proceedings.
- A list of well-founded grounds for the applicant’s fear of returning to the country of origin, and their confirmation from the prosecutor in charge of the investigation.
In case the applicant has resided in Poland for at least five years on the basis of refugee status or residence permit on humanitarian grounds:
- Documents confirming the necessity for such a stay on the territory of Poland (for example, an extract from the medical record of the applicant or their close relative issued by a Polish medical institution).
If the applicant has resided in Poland for at least 10 years on the basis of a permitted residence:
- Documents confirming a ten-year continuous stay in Poland (for example, copies of all previously issued residence permits, a corresponding valid residence card, rental agreements).
If the applicant has a valid Pole's Card:
- A photocopy of this card as well as the original.
If the applicant is granted asylum in Poland:
- Asylum documents.
Gdansk, Poland. Photo: piqsels.com
- The aforementioned list is not exhaustive. In each specific case, the voivodeship office reserves the right to request any additional documents deemed necessary. For instance, there may be instances where officials require proof of health insurance purchased in Poland or certificates from previous employment.
- During the application process, applicants are required to provide their fingerprints, which are then recorded and included in the Karta stałego pobytu. It is important to note that if an applicant refuses to submit their biometric data, the authorities will inevitably reject their request for a residence permit.
Costs Associated with Submitting Paperwork
The fee for submitting an application and the required document package amounts to 640 zlotys ($155) for the applicant. In the event of a negative decision, this amount will be refunded to the applicant. However, if the decision is positive, an additional payment of 50 zlotys ($12) is required for the issuance of the plastic card.
In a Nutshell
The approval of the Karta stałego pobytu card is largely determined by the clarity and coherence with which the applicant presents the claimed circumstances in their submitted documentation. Polish officials are known for their attention to detail, which is why it is crucial to thoroughly review all the documents before submitting them to the voivodeship office. Taking the time to double-check and ensure the accuracy of the paperwork will greatly increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Cover photo: piqsels.com