Have you been thinking about moving to Poland or have you just found out that you’re supposed to go on a long-term contract to a Polish branch? Great news! Poland is a wonderful country, easy to travel around, great to live in, and beautiful to discover.
If you already did the research of what you need to do before relocating and you feel a little bit overwhelmed, keep calm. Here you’ll find all you need. In this article, you’ll find the 7 most important things you need to know before moving to Poland.
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1. The documents
No visa requirement
As a member of the European Union or Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, or Switzerland you can stay in Poland for up to 3 months without any extra formalities. All you need is a valid travel document – passport or other document confirming your identity and citizenship.
There are a few countries that don’t belong to European Union or the countries listed above and they still don’t require a visa to come to Poland. If you’re a citizen of one of them, you just need a valid travel document to come to Poland and stay here for a maximum of 90 days, within 180 days.
All these countries are listed here.
If you aren’t a citizen of any listed country, you’ll need a visa to come and stay in Poland.
There are two basic visa types:
- type C – lets you stay in Poland for max 90 days
- type D – allows you to live in Poland up to a year
To get a visa, apply for it in the Polish consulate in your country. The usual waiting time is 15 days, but depending on the number of people applying the whole process may take up to a few months.
If you want to work in Poland your employer has to apply for a work permit for you in advance. When applying for a visa take this document with you. Based on it you can get a visa with permission to work.
You also have to prove that you have enough money to live here and go back to your country (just in case you’d like to or need to). You should have a minimum of 701 PLN plus rent and utility fees for each month of your stay.
The cost of the return tickets are:
- 200 PLN if you are from one of Poland’s neighboring countries
- 500 PLN if you are a citizen of another EU country
- 2500 PLN when you arrive from a Non-EU country.
Of course, you’ll need to prove that you have that money and there are a few ways to do this:
- show a certificate of the limit of your credit card issued by the card provider,
- show a certificate of having funds in an account from a bank based in Poland,
- show a certificate of having been awarded a scholarship,
- show a certificate of employment and the amount of earnings.
The certificate must be issued no earlier than one month before the date of submission of the application for a visa and must show at least the last 3 months’ history.
2. Health Insurance
According to Polish law, all citizens and legal residents have the right to health care and equal access to health services. All people insured by the National Health Fund have the right to free public health care. The institution responsible for providing public health care is National Health Found (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia).
All uninsured people will receive medical services, but they’ll have to pay for them. It’s very important to have travel health insurance even if your visit to Poland is no longer than a few days. In case of an accident, you’ll have to pay for the medical treatment, but depending on your insurance policy you may receive a reimbursement after you pay for the medical services.
As an EU citizen, you can apply for the European Health Insurance Card. Remember to do it before your arrival in Poland while still in your home country. With the card, you’ll get access to Polish public healthcare the same as Polish citizens.
In case you have to apply for a visa you’ll need to apply for travel health insurance first. You can’t choose any random company, it must have been approved by the Polish government. The list of such companies can be found here.
Remember that this kind of insurance usually covers only emergencies and is valid as long as your visa. Thus, we recommend you switch to public or private health insurance after your arrival.
Just to be clear, Poland has a high level of public healthcare. If you’re going to work in Poland, as a worker on an employment or fee-for-task contract, you receive public healthcare automatically.
3. Flat Rental
The average rental price with utilities in Poland is:
- 1000 PLN for a room in a shared apartment
- 2000 PLN for a studio
- 2500 PLN for a 1-bedroom apartment (2-room apartment)
The final price depends on the location of course. The most expensive apartments are in Warsaw and Krakow so take this into consideration.
The advanced monthly payment for utilities includes water, electricity, gas, waste disposal, heating, and the Internet. Not all of these utilities have to be included: in some apartments, there is no gas, only electricity.
The cost of waste disposal, heating, and the Internet is fixed and the same for the whole year. Yes, in most places in Poland the heating costs are paid all year long, although the heating season is usually from October to April. Due to the fact that the payment for heating is fixed for the whole year, in winter, you don’t have to pay more.
The costs of water and electricity are calculated based on the actual usage. Every month (or at any other regular interval) the meters installed in the apartment are checked. Based on those numbers the costs of these utilities are calculated.
Tips when renting a flat in Poland:
- Start searching about a month or two before coming here. You’ll know the market better and you’ll know what to expect.
- The easiest way is to go to a real estate agency, but you can also search on your own on the internet.
- The most popular rental websites in Poland are otodom.pl or olx.pl.
- Many Polish landlords may not speak English or know only the basics, so if you don’t have a Polish speaking friend, the agency may be a good option. Remember to ask the agent how much the commision fee would be.
- As security for the owner of the flat, you’ll be required to pay a deposit.
- Usually it varies from 1 to 3-months rent
- It must be returned to you after the rental period.
- Always sign an agreement! Sort out all the details, like the length of the rental, the renter’s duties, and other important details.
- If you want to book an apartment in advance, sign a preliminary agreement. Just mind that you may be required to pay a booking fee.
- Make sure that utilities are paid along with the rent. If not, you’ll have to sign an agreement with the providers on your own.
- The rental prices you’re given are usually set for a 12-month contract. It’s not impossible to find a place for 3 or 6 months, but the shorter time usually means a higher price.
- According to Polish law a lease agreement signed for a defined period of time cannot be terminated earlier. Some landlords let their tenants end the contract earlier, but make sure to ask about that before signing the agreement.
- Watch out for the description! A 2-room apartment is not 2-bedroom apartment:
- in older Polish buildings each room was separate, so 2 rooms mean one living room and one bedroom;
- kawalerka (studio flat) is a room with a kitchenette and a bathroom.
Poland has its own currency – Polish zloty.
1 zloty splits up to 100 groszy (1 grosz).
The exchange rate is around
- 3.80 PLN to 1 USD / 1 PLN is 0.26 USD
- 4.52 PLN to 1 EUR / 1 PLN is 0.22 EUR
*data from 07/2021
- You can pay by card almost everywhere
- If you need cash ATMs are on every corner so it shouldn’t be a problem. The most popular chain is Euronet.
- We don’t use personal checks
- Don’t waste money on currency conversion, open a bank account in PLN
- at the beginning and during your travel the best option is Revolut
- after you settle down, open a bank account in Polish zloty. The most popular Polish banks with English customer service are ING, mBank, and Bank Millennium (here you can open an account with a selfie).
As for prices: The services in Poland are cheaper than in Western European countries, especially for those who earn euros or dollars.
We recommend not to bring too many things with you. You can buy everything here in Poland. We have all kinds of shops, starting from tiny, little convenience shops, up to huge shopping centers, malls, and open-air markets, so you’ll find everything you need.
Online shopping is also extremely popular in Poland and not only because of the COVID pandemic. Poland has its own online marketplace, Allegro, which is much more popular than Amazon.
A very popular form of shipping is InPost. These are the 24/7 parcel lockers where your package is delivered. You can choose a parcel locker that is close to your house and you open the locker with a code or an app (you have 48 h from the delivery). The parcel locker network is widely spread, you’ll surely have not one, but a few of them around your home or work.
On Sundays, big malls and supermarkets are closed. Only small convenience stores can stay open. but there are many of them everywhere, especially our “Żabka” chain that is basically on every street.
Polish is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world.
The pronunciation may be difficult, but we use the Latin alphabet (the regular one). We just have a few of our own letters.
Pro tip: If you want, try learning some basic Polish words. This will make your life a little bit easier and we’ll love you for that! To learn Polish we recommend using the Duolingo app and the Easy Polish YouTube channel.
English in Poland
Many Poles speak English, especially young people and those who live in cities. According to the EF English Proficiency Index, which ranks countries depending on the knowledge of English, Poland is in 16th place out of 100 classified. Of course, some speak better, some worse, but don’t be afraid, we’ll communicate easily.
7. Travel and Transportation
Public transportation is well developed, especially in large cities, like the Silesian Metropolis, Krakow, Gdańsk, and Warsaw.
If you’re going to live in a large city, we recommend using public transportation instead of a car. You won’t lose time sitting in traffic jams
and looking for a parking spot.
Driving license in Poland
As an EU citizen, you can drive a car in Poland just with your driving license.
If you’re not an EU citizen, you have to apply for an international driving license (IDL) before arrival, while still in your home country.
The international driving license is given based on a valid driving license issued in your country. In order to receive it you have to fill out a form, have an actual picture of yourself, bring your valid driving license, and the confirmation of payment.
The IDL is issued based on either the Vienna or Geneva Convention. Poland has signed them both, so no worries.
An international driving license is valid for 1 to 3 years depending on your home country.
Traveling around Poland
Poland has a good road and railway network. If you plan to visit our largest cities and tourist spots, you can get to them easily by bus or by train.
We also have quite a few airports and low-cost airlines so traveling to other European cities and countries, like Germany, France, or the UK is easy and not too expensive.
Checklist Before Coming to Poland
To sum up here is the checklist of things you should do before your arrival.
3 months before coming to Poland:
- get travel health insurance
- make sure your company applied for a work permit for you
- apply for a visa (if needed)
2 months before coming to Poland:
- start searching for a flat and sign a preliminary contract
- learn some basic Polish words
1 month before coming to Poland:
- apply for a European Health Insurance Card (if you’re an EU citizen)
- open a Polish zloty bank account
If you need more information about Poland and relocating we recommend you to check all our “Relocation to Poland” guides.
And if you need any help or would just like to ask us a question, contact us via email [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.”