Are you an expat in Poland? Have you already moved to Poland or do you plan to relocate in the near future? Here you’ll find all the information about what you need to fulfill after the relocation. Here we go!
If the relocation is still ahead of you, check the guide about 7 things you have to do BEFORE moving to Poland. And now, let’s go to the main topic and let’s see what you have to do after relocation.
Do you prefer watching to reading? Check our video guide:
1. PESEL Number
PESEL is a Polish national identification number. All Poles have one and so should foreigners.
But why do you need one?
Since 2018 all people living in Poland (including foreigners) have to register their residence address. When applying for it, you will receive PESEL automatically.
But you’ll need PESEL not only for residential purposes. You’ll also need that for the tax report. Without it, your employer cannot register you to the Polish tax office.
How to get one?
As already mentioned, you receive it automatically along with the residence registration. The other way is to fill out the application form (in Polish, but you’ll find our step-by-step guidelines here) and deliver it to the city hall of the city you live in.
Also, don’t forget to bring your passport or ID Card with you.
How long will you have to wait?
Your application will be accepted immediately and you’ll get the PESEL right away.
In Katowice, applications can be submitted to the City Hall:
Population Register Unit
at Młyńska 4, 1st floor
rooms: 105, 108 – 109
Monday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday – Friday 7:30 am – 3:30 pm
2. Residence Registration
In Poland, there is an obligation for both Poles and foreigners, to have their address registered if they stay in Poland for more than 30 days (for non-EU citizens) or 3 months (for EU citizens). We call it ZAMELDOWANIE.
If you already know that you’re going to stay here in Poland for over these 1 or 3 months, go and register your address. If you are a citizen of an EU Member State, an EFTA country, or Switzerland or a family member of such a foreigner – you have 30 days to report a new place of residence (counting from the date of arrival to this place).
If you are a citizen of another country – you have only 4 days to register.
In order to fulfill that obligation you have to visit the district office (pol. urząd dzielnicy) competent for your place of residence. The requirements are different for EU citizens and non EU citizens.
Take with you also:
- rental agreement (you don’t need the landlord to be signed on the application form, rental agreement is enough)
- passport or ID card
- visa or residence card (if you’re not EU citizen)
You’ll also need an application form, filled out in Polish.
If you’re an EU citizen, you need to be registered in the Voivodeship’s office first. Only after that can you complete the “zameldowanie”.
When leaving Poland or changing your address you have to notify the office. This will result in the removal from the temporary residence.
Few more things to remember:
- a temporary registration address can be valid only as long as the rental agreement is;
- the application is free of charge;
- make sure to check with your landlord that the property you rent is a residential unit (lokal mieszkalny). You can register your residence only in an apartment with residential unit status.
In the past, failure to comply with the obligation of “zameldowanie” could lead to financial punishment. Right now these rules are no longer valid – there are no penalties if you don’t register your stay. But it could be an obstacle in some other procedures. For example, getting a temporary residence permit.
3. Health Insurance
As you know from our previous guide, there are two options for health insurance in Poland: public and private.
Health insurance is a very important thing. When coming to Poland, non-EU citizens have to get travel insurance (when applying for a visa) but it usually only covers emergencies.
Public Health Insurance
The health insurance system in Poland is based on principles of equal treatment and access to healthcare services. National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia; NFZ) is the institution responsible for public medical services in Poland and it is they who manage public funds for healthcare.
When can you access public health care in Poland?
- if you are citizens of a country of EU, EFTA or Switzerland
- if you have a visa with permission to work
- if you have a temporary residence permit
- if you have a permanent residence permit
- if you have a long term residence permit of EU
- if you have a humanitarian residence permit
- if you have a tolerated residence permit
- if you have a refugee status in Poland
Employers on employment or fee-for-task contracts get public health insurance automatically. Every month, 9% percent of the salary will be transferred for insurance purposes.
An insured employee has an obligation to report his/her family members to be covered by the health insurance under their employment contract if they aren’t insured in NFZ. If you change an employer, you have to report your family members to the new employer too. Adding family members doesn’t result in paying additional or higher contributions.
Health insurance is mandatory for all students for the whole duration of their stay in Poland, even if it’s a short-term study. Students have to apply for it on their own.
In order to get voluntary public health insurance, you need a registered address for your stay.
To get it, you need to fill in a few documents in Polish and bring them to the NFZ branch in your city. To learn how to fill out the documents, check out this guide.
What about the cost?
The cost depends on the average salary in Poland. In July 2021 it was about 500 PLN.
Students and doctoral students pay much less – about 55 PLN a month.
The most important thing about this insurance is that NFZ will check your previous insurance period. If you have never been to Poland or haven’t paid the insurance in the last 3 months, you’ll have to make a payment for the gap period.
The National Health Fund gives you the free access to:
- general practitioner/family doctor (“lekarz rodzinny” in Polish)
- firsty you have to choose one – go to the closes NFZ clinics, ask for the declaration and the name of the doctor you should choose and fill it out according to the nurse guidance
- night and medical care on holidays, hospital care and emergency room
- diagnostic tests – you firstly must get a referral from the doctor
- visits at the specialists – you firstly must get a referral from your general practitioner and then you have to sign to the list and wait for you visit
- without a referral you can go to psychiatrist, oncologist, dentist or gynecologist
All residents of European Union countries and the European Economic Area are entitled to get free public health care offered by NFZ. They only need to have health insurance in their country and to facilitate the appropriate documents. Before coming to Poland, they have to get a European Health Insurance Card.
Private Insurance Providers
Obviously, you can decide to insure yourself privately. You have to remember that private insurance policies do not provide the same equal access to medical services that you can expect from the public one.
Everything depends on the policy (the package). The cheapest one usually offers only visits to a general practitioner and some specialist doctors. Of course, the more you pay, the more you get, but the costs might go up even up to 3000 PLN per year.
What do you have to know?
Private insurance policies often set delay periods. This means that you cannot go to a certain doctor or have surgery unless you pay the contribution for 60 or even 120 days.
Also, private health insurance doesn’t cover emergencies. In case you have an accident and you go to a public hospital, you’ll have to pay for your stay, all the tests, and treatment. Depending on your package, you may receive some kind of sickness benefit but it’s not a standard in all packages.
Some employers (usually large international companies) in Poland do offer private healthcare packages, as an extra benefit.
4. Residence Permit and Card
If you want to stay here longer than your legal stay or visa is – apply for a residence permit.
The temporary residence permit is valid between 3 months and 3 years. To apply for it, fill out the application form (it has to be filled out in Polish) and bring it to the voivodeship office along with the photos and a copy of your passport. Do it at least on the last day of your legal stay in Poland.
If you also want to start or continue working in Poland, apply for a temporary residence permit with permission to work. When applying, add attachment no 1 filled out by your employer.
The list of recommended additional documents it’s quite long, thus we recommend you to check the website, where you can find all the information.
When submitting the application, you’ll get a stamp on your passport. It will allow you to stay in Poland even if your visa expires. However, if you would like to go back to your country, you’ll have to get a visa again to get back to Poland.
The minimum waiting time is one month, but as always everything depends on the number of people applying. So better don’t wait until the last day.
If everything goes well, you’ll receive the residence permit with a temporary residence card. You can freely travel across Europe (or at least countries in the Schengen Zone).
How much does it cost?
As for costs, the stamp duty costs 440 PLN, there is also a fee for issuing a residence card – 50 PLN.
PS: If you’re a member of the board in a limited liability company or a joint-stock company, whose shares or stocks are not owned by the foreigner, you’ll pay 340 PLN for the stamp and 50 PLN for issuing a residence card.
What if your application got rejected?
You can make a complaint to the Head of the Office for Foreigners within 14 days from receiving the decision. Then, they have 7 days to answer you. If this doesn’t help, you have 30 days to leave Poland.
If you stay in Poland after your visa expires and you won’t apply for a temporary residence permit, you will be forced to leave the country.
You can leave voluntarily and you can expect assistance, like financing the cost of travel, administration fees related to the issuance of the travel document and visas or permits, the cost of alimentation during the travel, or the cost of medical assistance.
If you won’t leave after the deadline, you’ll be forced to leave. Not only you’ll have to pay for the whole process, but also your family, friends, or company, who invited you/entrusted you may have problems. And you’ll be banned from entering Poland and other countries in the Schengen Zone from 6 months up to 5 years. This is of course an extreme situation, but we just want you to know how important the residence permit is.
Important information for EU citizens
If you’re an EU/EEA citizen and you’re intending to stay in Poland for longer than 3 months, you must be registered in the Voivodeship’s office. Some people haven’t been registered there even after years of living in Poland. If you don’t register you won’t be expelled from the country, but you may be punished financially.
5. Tips Before Moving To Poland
- When you’re still in your country, make a copy of as many documents as possible, you never know what you’ll need. We also recommend translating them to Polish.
- Birth certificate
- Driving license
- Bachelor/Master/Doctor certificate
- Work certificate
- A certificate that proves that you were paying the health insurance contribution in your country
- Marriage certificate (if you’re married)
- Remember that in Poland same sex marragies aren’t legal
- No-claims bonus
- If you want to have a car
- This is a document provided for your overseas car insurance company that rewards you with a discount for making no claims on your car insurance. Make sure you have this document on hand if you plan to drive in your new location so you can prove you have a claims-free record and can receive a discount on your car insurance.
- Medical and Dental Records
- especially if you need a special treatment
- Financial records
- Although many Poles speak English, all the documents must be filled in Polish. So find a friend who can help you with filling them up and going to the office with you!
- Last but not least, don’t leave everything to the last minute. The bureaucracy may take much longer than you think and you don’t want to get in trouble and stressed, don’t you?
6. TO-DO Checklist After Moving to Poland
4 days after :
- register your address if you’re not from EU
- register to Voivodeships Office (if you’re a member of EU)
1 week after:
- register your address if you’re from EU
- get a private or public health insurance (if you don’t have one already)
2 weeks after:
- register your family members to NFZ via your insurance, if they don’t have one
- get a polish zloty bank account
2 months after:
- apply for a temporary residence permit (if you have a 3-month visa)
10 months after:
- apply for a temporary residence permit (if you have a 12-month visa)
That’s all you should know for now. We hope that your relocation process will go smoothly and soon you’ll be able to enjoy your stay in Poland.
And if you need any help or would just like to ask us a question, contact us at [email protected] or use the chatbot on our website.
See you in Poland!
*”This information does not constitute any source of law. The authors showed due diligence for it to be compliant with the binding legal regulation. However, it is necessary to remember that it concerns typical frequently occurring cases, and may not fully refer to particular cases. The number and type of documents, which may be required by administrative authorities during the proceedings, may differ from the listed on a case-by-case basis. In case of any doubts, it is necessary to contact the authority competent for hearing the individual case or to independently review the legal regulations.”