Rules of entry & stay

Polish law divides provisions regarding the rules of entry and legalization of foreigners according to the their country of origin. The rules are different for persons who are citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland (as well as members of their families) and for the citizens of other countries.


Citizens of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland as well as their family members (if they are EU, EEA and Swiss citizens) can enter the territory of Poland without having a visa or other entry document. They must have a document that indicate their identity and citizenship.

Right of residence for up to 3 months

EU citizens and their family members, who are not EU citizens, can stay in Poland for up to three months without having to meet any of the conditions of residence, other than possessing valid travel document. An EU citizen may possess other valid document confirming his/her identity and citizenship.

Residence for over 3 months

If the residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland lasts longer than three months, an EU citizens are required to register their stay in Masovian Voivodship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki) . The registration procedure is free of charge.  


The citizens from outside UE  may cross the external borders of the EU, including Polish borders provided they:

  • hold a valid travel document,
  • hold a valid visa, in the event when it is obligatory,
  • justify the purpose and conditions of their intended stay and prove they have sufficient means of subsistence for the planned stay and for a return journey to their country of origin or that they are capable to obtain such means lawfully,
  • have appropriate travel medical insurance.


After the expiry of the period indicated in the visa or with its expiry, a citizen of a country other than the EU, EEA and Switzerland may apply for a temporary residence permit. The application for issuing the permit and thus obtaining a residence card can be submitted in the Masovian Voivodship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki). Having a residence card gives you the opportunity to freely cross the Polish border without having a visa.


Citizens of EU countries, Liechenstein, Iceland and Switzerland must register in the place of their temporary stay no later than on the 30th day after their arrival. Citizens of pending countries must register at the place of their temporary stay at latest on the 4th day after arrival. Applying for temporary or permanent residence is carried out in person or through a proxy at the City Hall (Urząd Gminy). For registration you will need:

  1. passport, another travel document confirming the identity
  2. the basis for a legal stay on the territory of Poland, i.e. a visa or a residence card
  3. a document confirming the legal title to the apartment of the owner or another entity with a legal title to the flat, such as a tenancy agreement or a copy of the Land and Mortgage Register.
  4. Registration form

The issuance of a registration certificate costs PLN 17.

  • PESEL number – for all foreigners

All foreigners can obtain a PESEL number (personal identification number), which as an identification number will allow you to set up an account in a bank or apply for a loan. It can be also helpful when you want to use medical services or borrow a book from a library.

Useful links:

Temporary Residence Card

PESEL number

Office for Foreigners