- How to move to Poland from The UK
- What to do if you lived in Poland before January 1st, 2021
- Overview Of Polish Immigrant Visas
- Supporting documents for a Polish visa application
- Polish Permits
- How to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit
- What activities and freedoms do Residence Permits allow?
- What do you need to do before moving to Poland from the UK?
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to move to Poland from the UK
The process of emigrating to Poland and obtaining a visa will hinge on several factors, including your age, country of origin, the reason for moving, and how long you expect to stay. Different methods and criteria are used to process and assess different visa applications.
Polish social policies are more conservative than those in some neighbouring countries. But while liberal values have not taken hold as they have in some neighbouring countries, you will still find unique and diverse cultural traditions in the country dating back centuries. So, whether you want to travel to Poland for vacation, work, or a permanent stay, this beautiful country in Central Europe is sure to impress.
Polish visas for UK citizens and residents usually fall into one of the following categories:
- Airport Transit Visas (A),
- Short-Stay (Schengen) Visas (C),
- National Long-Stay Visas (D).
Obtaining a work permit is necessary if you want to work in Poland. For those planning on staying longer than 90 days, you will need a temporary residence permit (Karta czasowego pobytu). And if you plan to stay permanently, you will need a permanent resident’s permit (Karta Pobytu).
Also, note that if you have lived in Poland before 1st January 2021, you may be able to stay in the country without obtaining a visa based on the provisions of the withdrawal agreement the UK entered into on leaving the European Union.
What to do if you lived in Poland before January 1st, 2021
According to the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals who lived in Poland before January 1st, 2021, have rights. Nevertheless, you must prove your stay and re-register to:
- Turn in your old residence permit and get a Dokument pobytowy dla beneficjenta umowy wystapienia residence card
- Sign up for a Dokument pobytowy dla beneficjenta umowy wystapienia residence card
That card proves your right to enter Poland and exempts you from the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and visa requirements.
UK nationals moving to Poland after the transition period would likely need a visa.
Overview Of Polish Immigrant Visas
You will need a valid visa if you are a non-EU/EEA or non-Swiss citizen and wish to reside and work legally in Poland. Because the UK is no longer in the EU, you may need a visa if you did not have residence permission in Poland before January 1st 2021.
Before moving to Poland, you must contact the Polish Embassy or Consulate closest to you for the visa.
Before applying for a visa, determine which type you require. Long-term visas are required for ex-pats with assignments exceeding 90 days. These will allow you to visit other Schengen member states visa-free. There are three types of visa:
Airport Transit Visa (A)
You’ll need this visa if you are planning to pass through a Polish or any other Schengen international airport with a passport from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Somalia, Ghana, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Visa Type-C (Schengen Visa)
Using this visa, you can stay in Poland or another Schengen country for up to 90 days every three months. Therefore, if you haven’t spent more than 90 days in any Schengen country over the past 180 days, you will be allowed to stay in Poland legally for up to 90 days.
The European Commission’s website has a handy tool to help you calculate how many days you have left to travel and stay in different Schengen countries, considering the days you have already spent in one of these countries.
The validity of a Schengen visa is three months. A Polish diplomatic mission can issue a Schengen visa to you if:
- Your visit to the Schengen zone only takes you to Poland
- Your main destination is Poland despite stopping in more than one Schengen state
- You are not sure which Schengen country you are going to end up in but are to cross the Polish border
In some instances, a Schengen Limited Territorial Visa may be issued. That is valid only in specific Schengen states.
National visa (D-Type)
If you plan to stay longer than 90 days in Poland, you should apply for this type of visa. National visas are valid for one year only. With this visa, you will travel to other Schengen countries. Asylum seekers, students, workers, or users of Polish card privileges will need this type of visa.
Supporting documents for a Polish visa application
Through e-konsulat, you can schedule your visa application appointment. The following documents are necessary for a Schengen visa:
- An appropriately completed and signed visa application form
- Passport with validity at least 90 days after the planned departure from Poland and issued within the last decade
- UK residence permit with validity up to 30 days following the expiry of your Schengen visa
- Healthcare insurance acceptable in all Schengen member states and valid for the duration of your visit with a minimum of EUR30,000.
- A reservation for a return flight to the UK or confirmation of onward travel
- Passport-size photographs (biometric)
- Proof of visa fee payment
- Evidence of financial capability
- A statement of the reason for your visit
- Proof of accommodations
For D-Type Visa, you will need all the above documents plus
- Documents confirming that long-term residency is necessary
The format of the documents must also be considered. A sworn translator must translate birth or marriage certificates into English or Polish. They must also be legalised and notarised. Check with the embassy to see if they require originals or copies.
If you plan to stay and conduct some business for fewer than 90 days, you won’t need a work permit. The Schengen visa waiver allows for activities such as job interviews, trade shows, board meetings, internal audits, and fact-finding trips.
Also, a transfer between companies does not require expats to apply for a work permit. Work permits may be compulsory if you are going to do other jobs. It would help if you asked your prospective employer to get you the work permit. Work permits usually take about a month or two.
Foreigners living temporarily or permanently in Poland require a residence permit to prove their identity. For a temporary residence, you will need to apply for the Karta Czasowego Pobytu. For a permanent stay, you will need to apply for the Karta Pobytu. They both allow you to remain in Poland for between 6 months and ten years without applying for a visa extension. They also come with visa-free Schengen travel.
How to Apply for a Temporary Residence Permit
A temporary residence permit can be issued for up to two years during your visit. For this permit, the following documents are usually required:
- Application form filled out in full
- Four recent passport-sized photos
- Three photocopies of your present passport
- proof of administrative fee payment
- Your work permit or an employer’s letter (if you do not need a work permit)
- A contract of employment
- Documents verifying the price of your home and legal agreements allowing you to occupy your home.
- Verification of temporary residence
- Valid and sufficient health insurance
- Proof of financial stability
You must send this application to the municipality or Wojewoda (Voivode), where you are staying within one month of arriving.
What activities and freedoms do Residence Permits allow?
Entrance rules are set and enforced by Poland’s authorities. They determine which activities need a visa or permit and which may not while living in Poland.
With a residence permit, you can buy property, get a car, get a loan from a bank, or even work if you want. Residence cards are your passports across Europe, too. Paired with other travel documents, you can enjoy tourism in major cities across Europe and even travel to other European countries for other reasons without a visa application. Your residence card should be provided to you if you have applied for it from abroad.
A permanent residence permit can be issued upon obtaining a temporary residence permit in Poland for at least five years. The requirements for these permits are much more rigorous.
What do you need to do before moving to Poland from the UK?
It is your responsibility to inform the UK government offices that handle your tax, pensions, and benefits tax that you are moving to Poland permanently.
- Give your local council your new forwarding address
- Tell your benefits office where to send your benefits
- Contact the International Pension Centre to discuss how the move impacts your pension
- Talk to your Student Loans Company if you’re still paying loans
Talk to the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make sure you don’t overpay your taxes.
There are many aspects to moving to a new country, from figuring out which of the Polish cities to live in, which house or apartment to rent or buy, a school for yourself or family members, visas and permits, etc. It can be overwhelming to handle it all by yourself, which is why at Immigration Advice Service, we provide services that enable any UK resident looking to immigrate to Poland to do so with ease.
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The visa application fee is 69GBP. However, spouses, parents, and dependent children of citizens of EU countries are exempt from paying the visa application fee.
If you are denied a visa, you appeal the decision to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Poland does not require quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers as long as your present proof of full vaccination and negative pre-departure tests (PCR or antigen testing) upon arrival. You must’ve received your second vaccination dose at least 14 days before your arrival. Also, the vaccine must be approved in the EU.
You cannot vote in Polish elections unless you are a Polish national. British citizens will also not be able to vote in UK elections from Poland, though the British government is working on that.