PESEL is the Polish acronym for “Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population.” It is an 11-digit number that identifies each citizen, and like citizens, each foreign visitor who is registered for a temporary or permanent stay is assigned a PESEL. The information included in your PESEL is the owner’s date of birth, gender, serial number, check number. It is important that you do not share your PESEL with anyone else, because they could use it to steal your identity. If any data or document containing your PESEL is stolen, report it to the police immediately.
The PESEL number is practical. Any official form you will have to fill out, such as at your bank or doctor’s office, will ask you to input your PESEL. It will also be necessary to give your PESEL to your employer when you start a new job, or when you apply to change your marital status. If you do have one yet, it is usually possible to give the number of your proof of identity instead.
Since 2018 all foreigners in Poland are required to get a PESEL number and register their address at the district office nearest to where they live. Getting a PESEL is free. You will receive a PESEL number automatically from the authorities if you are either a non-EU citizen registering to stay for more than 30 days, or an EU citizen registering to stay for more than 3 months. In these cases, you will not have to complete any extra paperwork to receive your PESEL.
Technically the process of moving to Poland for work or school includes the assigning of a PESEL number, but some foreigners still do not go through the correct process. However, you will need your PESEL number in order to settle matters with the tax office, so you should consider going through the process of getting one.
To apply for a PESEL individual, you will need to complete the application form for the PESEL, either by yourself or allow your attorney to complete it on your behalf. It will be easiest if you apply for a PESEL when submitting other documents to come to Poland. You can find the application form at your municipal office, or online at the following address:
If you do not yet have a place of residence for your stay in Poland, but you are already employed, then you will need to submit the application for the PESEL to the municipal authority that oversees the registration of your employer. When everything is processed, you can collect your PESEL at that same municipal authority.
If you do not yet have a place of residence for your stay in Poland AND you are not yet employed, you will have to undergo different regulations to apply for your PESEL. Therefore, you will need to submit your application for the PESEL to the commune authority. When everything is processed, you can collect your PESEL at that same commune authority.
Applications for PESEL numbers are processed quickly. If you qualify for a PESEL number, you will be notified. If there are any problems with the application, they will notify you on how to fix the issue with supplemental documents. Until the issue is resolved, the office will not be able to review your application.
Important: If your child is born while you are in Poland, you will need to officially register his or her birth with the Civil Registry Office. Under these circumstances, your child will automatically be assigned a PESEL.