It seems that more and more people are choosing to leave their home country to come and work in Poland. For some, it is because they want to have a higher quality of life with the chance to earn a higher income. For others, it is because they want more diverse opportunities for themselves or their families.

While it may seem surprising that these migrants do not chose to move to a larger country such as the USA, Russia, or Germany, Poland has many attractive features to offer.

The geographic location of Poland offers foreigners many exciting travel opportunities. Europe is made of up many small countries and is very culturally diverse. From Poland, there are several other countries nearby that do not require a visa to enter, most of which can be visited in just a weekend. Poland is also regularly adding new flights to its airports, making travel to and from the country easier than ever.

The standard of living in Poland is quite high, making it very attractive to foreigners looking to re-locate. A foreigner working in Poland can earn an income of over $800/month. This includes work that does not require having a degree or even high. This is why many people from countries like Bangladesh and India want to move here. There are a lot of opportunities for work, and so Polish companies are very welcoming to foreigners who want to move and work here.

Before moving here, however, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations around getting legal permission to live and work in Poland.

First you should know that there are two kinds of Polish work visas:

  1. A semi-annual visa, informally called an “invitation.” This one is obtained based on an employer’s application to their local government.
  2. A visa based on a work permit from the governor, called the “voivode invitation.” This visa is generally issued for just one year.

If you receive a document from your employer confirming that he or she will employ you either by regular invitation or “voivode” invitation, you might get the impression that you will only ever be allowed to work for this particular employer. This is not the case. If something happens and you want to change employers, it is entirely possible as long as you find another employer who will sponsor your work permit. For the sake of crossing the border without hassle, however, it is best to proceed as if you plan to always work for this first employer. Otherwise, the process may not be considered official.

Do I need a work permit to work in Poland?

The answer depends on where you are from and your reasons for staying in the country. First and foremost, you must be a legal resident of Poland in order to work within the country. However, whether or not you need a work permit depends on where are you coming from.

Poland is a member of the European Union; therefore, EU citizens do not need any extra working permits or meet any extra conditions in order to work in Poland. This includes citizens coming from the other countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland.

Anyone with citizenship outside of the EU or EEA will be required to get a work permit; however, there are some exceptions:

General Exceptions:

  • You have a document proving you are already allowed to legally work in Poland.
  • You hold a permit allowing you to settle in Poland.
  • You have a permit granting you long-term residency of the European Communities.
  • You are a current or former spouse of a Polish citizen and have a residence permit for Poland.
  • You hold a valid Polish Card.
  • You have a family member who is a born-citizen of any of the EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland.
  • You get a temporary residence permit to join a family member living in Poland.

Seasonal Exceptions:

If you are from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, or Ukraine and do not plan to stay and work for longer than six months within a year you do not need a work permit. However, your employer will still need to register your information with the local labor office.

Education Exceptions:

  • You are in Poland for the purpose of education.
  • You are studying in Poland.
  • You are a full-time student or doctoral candidate, or you have completed your full-time studies from a Polish secondary school or university.
  • You are an exchange student.
  • You are participating in a short-term humanitarian aid or developmental work program approved by the Polish government.
  • You are administering a training course or participating in professional training

Protective Exceptions:

  • You have received refugee status in Poland.
  • You have been given a residence permit for a humanitarian project.
  • You have received subsidiary protection in Poland.
  • You have a permit for a tolerated stay in Poland.
  • You have temporary protection in Poland.

Scientific Research Exceptions:

If you are employed at a scientific public research institution (university, Polish Academy of Sciences, or research institute) you do not need a work permit. In these other similar cases the law does not require a work permit:

  • When you have a Polish national visa in order to conduct scientific research.
  • When you have a temporary residency permit in order to conduct scientific research.
  • When you have a residence permit from a different EU country stating that you are a researcher coming to Poland in order to conduct scientific research. This is allowed due to the “short-term mobility rule,” which gives work permissions between EU countries from up to 6 months.
  • When you give the occasional lecture or presentations that hold a certain level of scientific or artistic value (this is allowed for up to 30 days a year.

If you don’t qualify for any of these aforementioned exemptions you will have to apply for a visa and a work permit.

Legalisation of Work

EU citizens may legally work in Poland without meeting any extra conditions; however, non-EU citizens will need a work permit. The rules for obtaining a work permit depend on one’s nationality. The different categories and their respective requirements are listed in full on the website of the Office for Foreigners. If your nationality is not exempt from needing a work permit, you must legalize your job.

There are three ways you can legalize your job:

  1. Apply for a work permit
  2. Apply for a single temporary residence and work permit
  3. Submit the “declaration on entrusting the performance of work to a foreigner[1] form

[1] There is a simplified procedure for these nationalities: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine

A work permit allows foreigners to work in Poland. They are only necessary for citizens of non-European countries, that is, countries not in the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland.

The work permit alone does not legally allow you to be in the country. In addition, you must also have a visa or residence permit. It is important that you do not confuse these two types of permits, because they are two very different legal processes. A visa or residence permit gives you permission to be in the country legally, but it does not give you permission to work.

Your employer is responsible for requesting your work permit from the government. So keep in mind that you cannot apply for one by yourself. First, you will have to connect with an employer that wants to hire you, and then he/she will have to apply with the local regional office, called the Voivodship Office, in order to get the document issued. The document should include the employer’s name, the job position or description, the minimum salary (as required by law), whether the job is full or part-time, and the permit start date.

There are different types of work permits depending on the details and location of the job. Generally, your work permit will only be granted if the employer is able to prove that no one else in the local labor market is qualified for the job. Once this request is completed and approved, you will then qualify for a visa or residence permit.

Due to this process, employers often have to apply for a work permit first before you enter the country. Legally, an employer cannot employ you until your work permit is valid. Doing so could result in negative consequences for both you and your empoloyer. For example, it might hurt your chances of obtaining a visa or residence permit, or you may be forced to return to your home country with limitations on returning.


The law requires that applications for work permits submitted at the same time as other necessary documents should be reviewed within one month. Cases that are more difficult in nature should be reviewed within two months. In practice, however, these types of cases can end up taking longer.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you do not begin work within 3 months of the permit’s valid start date, you pause your work duties for more than 3 months, or you stop working 3 months before the permit’s valid end date, then your employer must notify the local Voivodship Office within 7 days.

Unlike the previous option where you have to apply for your visa or residence permit separately, this option allows you to apply for them both at the same time. You will still have to find an employer who wants to hire you and is unable to employ a Polish citizen for the position (this is done through a labor market test, which you must include in your application), but you will be the one in control of the permit application process.

The Provincial Office in Poland is responsible for granting temporary residence and work permits. If you meet the following conditions, you may apply:

  • You have health coverage in Poland.
  • You have a stable and regular income that covers the cost of living for you and your dependents.
  • You have a confirmed place to live in Poland.
  • There is no other Polish citizen that can work in your position.
  • Your salary is equal to or higher than the salary of those completing the same type of work and number of hours.
  • Your monthly salary is equal to or higher than the minimum salary in Poland for a given year.

If you are applying to stay longer than 3 months and you meet the above conditions, the government will issue a work permit and a temporary residence. The temporary residence and work permit can allow you to stay and work in Poland for up to 3 years; however, its duration will depend on how long your employer has committed to employing you. For example, if your contract is only valid for one year, then your residence and works permits are similarly only valid for one year. And if you decide to change employers, you will have to begin the application process all over.

Cost of a temporary residence and work application

When you apply for the temporary residence and work permit as an employee about to be hired, the cost is 440 PLN (stamp duty) plus 50 PLN (residence card). When you plan to oversee either a company or someone else’s shares and stocks, the cost is 340 PLN (stamp duty) plus 50 PLN (residence card).

Dos and Don’ts when applying for a work permit or temporary residence

In order to avoid any extra hassle during the application process, keep in mind this important checklist:

  • DO NOT give anyone your passport or identity card.
  • DO ensure you get a copy of your work permit, or certificate of legal entry if you are coming for seasonal work.
  • DO first research your future employer online to make sure they are legitimate. If you the company’s REGON number, you can verify their details on the government’s website, or if you don’t know their number, you can still verify the company’s details online at the National Court Register.
  • DO search for reviews of any work agency you plan to work with to see how other expats rated them.

Your employer qualifies for this simplified process of getting a work permit if you meet all three of these criteria:

  1. You are a citizen of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, or Ukraine.
  2. The duration of your employment will not surpass 6 months in the following 12 months.
  3. Your work will not incorporate any seasonal work that requires a permit.

In this case, your employer would submit a statement to the District Labour Office called a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner. He/she can submit it in person, via the post, or online at

If any information is found to be insufficient or inaccurate, the Authority may request that your employer submit supplemental information. In this case, your employer has 7 days to comply. If the supplemental information clarifies the issue, the Employment Office will record the declaration into the register, and officially stamped it. At this point, your employer or his attorney may pick up the registered declaration. The waiting period for this is up to 7 days unless there is a hearing, in which case the waiting period is up to 30 days. If the case is refused, your employer can appeal within 14 days after the refusal.

Please note: Your employer is responsible for sending you the registered declaration.

Changing Employers

Please remember that work permits are assigned to a specific employer. If you change your employer, you will have to repeat the process of applying for a new work permit.  If you know ahead of time that you want to switch jobs, your first step should be to get a new work permit for that specific employer. Obtaining a new work permit from the Provincial Office can take up to 6 months.

You are required to inform the Provincial Office when your employment relationship ends. This notification must be made in writing to the Governor who granted the permit within 15 working days. You then have 30 days from the termination date to submit your application for a new residence permit.

Zielona Linia

Zielona Linia is an employment consultation centre that can answer your questions and provide information about finding employment. They can advise you where you can go for training to improve your skills, and they also help foster relationships between employers and job seekers in order to find suitable matches. More information can be found on 

In addition, they can answer more complicated questions relating to labour market services, benefits and support offered by the labour offices, The Act on Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions and the Labour Code, and the purposes of the following employment institutions:

District Employment Agency (PUP)

This agency assists in the advancement of employment and the activation of local labor markets. Mainly they help job seekers locate suitable jobs, offer career counseling, train job seekers in new skills, and offer to fund to those looking to start a new business. In addition, the PUP also partners with EURES (European Employment Services), another platform that offers job assistance in Europe.

Even further, PUP will get involved during the employee recruitment period. They do so in a variety of ways, such as compensating an employer for creating a new job position, financing the continuing education for an employee, or assisting employers in the simplified process of hiring foreigners outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) for seasonal work for foreigners from outside of EEA (European Economic Area)

National Labour Inspectorate (PIP)

This agency is responsible for labor law enforcement. They do this by enacting precautionary health and safety measures to reduce workplace accidents, as well as by carrying out inspections to ensure labor law compliance under the scope of the Act of 13 April 2007. All employers, even those who hire contractors or freelancers, are subject to the regulations of the PIP.

Zielona Linia aims to make its services easily accessible at any time in order to help everyone who reached out to them. Therefore you can contact them in a variety ways: Via telephone at 19524, via their social media pages, or online at their website,


What is the Pole’s Card?

The Pole’s card was introduced in 2007. Since then, over 170,000 people have applied to receive one. The Pole’s Card is a document that confirms you are in some way connected to the country of Poland and feel a certain historical, traditional, or linguistic bond with it. Officially, serves as a written declaration of your Polish heritage. Beyond that declaration, it comes with several benefits and entitlements within the country of Poland. Most importantly, its holders will have an easier time getting a permanent residence permit free of charge, and their Polish citizenship granted that they stay in the country long enough to meet the requirements. The Pole’s Card is valid for 10 years and upon request, may be extended.


You are allowed to apply for a Pole’s card if you either currently have, or in the past have had relatives of Polish descent AND you plan to move to Poland for a lengthy period of time. Any foreigner is allowed to apply for a Pole’s card, even if he or she is considered to be a stateless person. You are then eligible to apply for the Pole’s card granted that you do not already have your Polish citizenship or your permanent residence permit.

You must meet the following conditions in order to qualify for the Pole’s Card:

  • You have a basic understanding of the Polish language, including the local customs and traditions.
  • You assert that you belong to the Polish nation.
  • You have proven that you are of Polish descent. In order to prove your lineage, you must demonstrate that one of your parents or grandparents was Polish, or that two of your great grandparents were Polish. Alternatively, you can submit a certificate from a Polish community organization verifying that you have been active in their community for the last three years, working to promote the Polish language, culture, and traditions.
  • You assert that you or your ancestors were not repatriated from the territory of the Republic of Poland or the People’s Republic of Poland, based on the repatriation agreements signed in 1944-1957 by the Republic of Poland or the People’s Republic of Poland with the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with one of the States party to those agreements.

When can a minor child of a foreigner receive the Pole’s Card?

Minors do not automatically get a Pole’s card when their parents do. Only after both parents have submitted their application, and either both parents have the Pole’s card or one parent has the Pole’s card while the other gives their consent, then the minor child of a foreigner can be granted a Pole’s card. However, if the child is over 16, he or she can still get a Pole’s card without either parent having one, so long as both parents give their consent.


Obtaining a Pole’s Card is the fastest and easiest way of getting your official legal status in Poland, as long as you are eligible. Having a Pole’s card will also grant you certain entitlements. For example:

  • You are exempt from paying any consular fees when applying for your national visa
  • You are exempt from paying any consular fees when applying for Polish citizenship
  • You are allowed to study in Poland and pursue your education in the same manner of rules that Polish citizens do. This gives you the right to free public education and the same kinds of financial aid that are offered to students who are Polish citizens.
  • You get a priority right when you apply for financial assistance to support Poles abroad
  • You get the right to participate in scientific research per the Act on Higher Education and the Act on the Education System.
  • You do not have to apply for a work permit to work in Poland
  • You can conduct business under the same rules as Polish citizens.
  • You get free healthcare in the state of emergency unless an international agreement applies that provides for a more favorable service.
  • You qualify for a 37% discount on all single-trip tickets for public transportation, including passenger, fast and express trains
  • You get free entrance into state museums.
  • If you apply for permanent residence in Poland, you have the right to a monetary benefit that covers a portion of the costs of development and maintenance in Poland.
  • You have the right to assist the consul, if you are qualified, in situations where life or safety is in danger.
  • You can provide a Polish consul with a written declaration that you identify as Polish, granted that you are formally a citizen of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine or Uzbekistan.

While you are granted certain entitlements, remember that having a Pole’s Card does NOT mean:

  • You have been given Polish citizenships
  • You have been given residence, either temporary or permanent, in Poland
  • You are allowed to cross over the border without your visa.

Where to apply for the Pole’s Card

Applying for a Pole’s card is completely free of charge. To apply for or request an extension of your Pole’s card, you have to visit the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in your own country. For example, if you are a Ukrainian citizen applying for a Pole’s card, then you must visit the consul of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine. In exceptional cases, there are regulations allowing the Council of Ministers to grant a voivode the authority to accept applications or extension requests for a Pole’s card, or to make decisions regarding the validity of a particular Pole’s card. Still, the reigning authority for granting a Pole’s card is the Consulate of the Republic of Poland.

Important: You are obligated to immediately return your Pole’s card when you receive your residence card.

For more information about the rules and regulations of applying for the Pole’s card, and what benefits it provides you, please visit the following website:


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:–usluga-dla-cudzoziemcow-en

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.