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Home » Europe, Expat Life, Immigration, country profiles

Immigration: Poland

By Lorna Kralik
June 4, 2010

Poland FlagAs relocation experts, at Move One we know how important it is to familiarize yourself with your potential new home before making the big move. Move One is therefore pleased to present its country profiles, which take a closer look at Relocation, Immigration, Moving and Pet Transportation issues in each of its locations.

Twenty years on from the fall of the socialist state, Poland has emerged as a secure democratic and economic anchor in the region, with one of the highest year-on-year growth rates in Central Europe. The country is widely perceived to have weathered the global economic crisis far better than most of Europe, and so it is little wonder that an increasing number of companies are relocating staff to Poland. The following are general guidelines for those companies considering sending employees to Poland, either for short business trips or longer work assignments.

Prior to Applying for a Visa or Permit

In order to determine which immigration procedure and permit would best accommodate the transferee’s situation, the following information should be verified at the initial stage:

  • assignee’s citizenship,
  • location of payroll,
  • job position and description in host location,
  • job location at host company,
  • expected start date of assignment,
  • duration of the assignment,
  • name of home company & contact details,
  • name of host company & contact details,
  • valid residence permits for other countries (within the EU),
  • valid work permits for other countries (within the EU),
  • family members who will travel with the assignee, and their citizenship.

With this information in hand, Move One can assess the case and determine the applicable procedure which needs to be followed and advise on what supporting documentation will be required.

The typical application process for non-EU citizens takes anywhere from four to seven weeks. In cases where a foreigner is to undertake work activities during this time, a work permit is required. Please keep in mind that all foreign documents need to be officially translated into Polish, which can add to the processing time.

Assignee’s citizenship, the length of stay, the purpose of the visit, and immigration status of the employee vis a vis the Schengen zone will determine which visa is appropriate.

Short Stay, Business Visitors

In Poland there are three groups of foreigners: EU citizens, a separate group for non-EU citizens who do not a require entry visa, and another group for non-EU citizens who require a visa for all purposes.

Additionally if a residence permit has been issued in another Schengen country to non-EU citizens, the permit holder can travel to Poland for tourist or business purposes, and stay for a cumulative 90 days within a 180 period. The limitation of the business stay is extended to all Schengen countries; meaning that, if for example, a foreigner stays in Poland for 30 days, then it is possible to stay in other Schengen countries for 60 additional days. Business travel is limited to attending meetings while representing the interests of the company based outside of Polish territory, discussions, and seminars. Polish legislation foresees an exemption from the work permit requirement if work activities are performed for not more than 30 days in a year on Polish territory, but foreigners may have to apply for work visa covering such period of stay.

Contact Move One should there be any question regarding whether a work visa is necessary for a particular event or activity.

Work Visa Application Procedure

Work permits are required in case of non-EU citizens who enter Poland for work purposes. Citizens of EEA as well as Switzerland do not require a work permit or visa in order to undertake work activities in Poland, although other administrative formalities must be completed in order to legalize their stay in the country.

In general, approval of a work permit application in case of local hire is dependent upon the applicant’s educational and professional experience. The higher the qualifications, the greater the probability that a transferee’s application will be approved.

Obtaining the Work Permit

The Company must submit a work permit to the Voivoideship in the jurisdiction where the headquarters of the Polish (host) company is located. Only after the Voiviodeship has approved the permit –typically three to four weeks from the date of submission (and up to eight weeks in Warsaw) can the employee apply for a work visa. There are five types of work permits, depending on the basis of employment. A Move One immigration professional can help you determine which permit is necessary.

Notable Exemptions from the Work Permit Requirement

Intra-company transfers that do not last over 30 days may not need a work permit. Foreign nationals who are members of the Management Board of the Polish company do not need a work permit provided their stay does not exceed six months during any twelve-month period. Citizens of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and Russia may work in Poland for six month of a 12-month period so long as a work visa has been secured prior to arrival.

In order to use an exemption companies must meet special terms. Should you wish to apply for an exemption, please contact Move One for further information.

Work Visa Submission

The assignee must apply for a work visa at the Polish consulate or embassy in the home country or in the country of current residence based on proper permits. Family members who will accompany the employee to Poland, depending on their nationalities, are either required to apply for visa before arrival to Poland or may apply for a residence permit upon arrival to Poland. Visa submission may require a personal visit to the embassy or consulate by the applicant and his or her family members. Work visas are typically issued for a 12-month period, with a possibility for renewal in Poland once the work permit is extended.

After Arrival

Transferees have to register their address with Polish authorities within four days of arrival in the country. Depending on the nationality, employees and their family members must then apply for a residence permit in the local immigration office. They have to file the application for the residence permit no later than 45 days before the family’s entry-visa’s expiration date or the non-visa period. . Move One representatives can collect all of the relevant documents from landlords and employers to ensure that these applications are submitted in a timely manner.

Important to Note

Passports must be valid for six months beyond the expected end of the work permit.
Poland has minimum salary requirements that, if not met, can cause delay or denial of a work permit and visa application.
Both educational background and professional experience are key to the work permit approval process. While absence of a degree is not an absolute barrier, you should discuss your options with a Move One professional early in the process.

An assignee can be in Poland while the work permit is being processed, but cannot work until work permit and work visa are obtained.

Move One can assist with renewal procedures while the transferee remains in Poland.

Non-compliance with Polish immigration laws can lead to severe penalties, including fines, deportation, and restrictions on hiring.

Immigration professionals at Move One can assist you at any stage of the relocation process, from gathering and certifying documents to renewing residence permits for family members. Contact our office to discuss your specific case.

Rest of the series:

Relocation: Poland
Pet Transportation: Poland
Moving: Poland

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