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Legal residence permit in Poland

One of the most important steps to register a legal residence in the territory of Poland, as well as an important stage in the process of naturalization, is obtaining of the Residence Card.

How the Permanent Residence Card in Poland can be obtained? What documents are necessary and what organizations should they be submitted to? Let us consider the procedure with all the details.

What advantages does the Permanent Residence Card give? This type of permission gives the foreigner the opportunity to do the following:

  • To say in the country permanently;
  • To find employment in the territory of the Republic of Poland without any other legalizing documents
  • To carry out visits to other Schengen countries for tourist purposes;
  • To benefit from free medicine;
  • To get credits in Polish banks;
  • To have other rights that are almost equal to those of a citizen, with the exception of the right to election.

One of the most important advantages of the Permanent Residence Card is the opportunity to qualify for Polish citizenship after three years of being in permanent residence status.

Foreigner‘s Act

Legally, relationship with citizens of foreign countries in Poland are regulated by the Foreigner‘s Act ( «Ustawa o cudzoziemcach») of 12 December 2013. In Chapter One, beginning with the Article 195, all nuances in relation to the Permanent residence permit (Zezwolenie na pobyt stały) are considered.

Let us consider the main requirements related to the procedure of obtaining the Permanent Residence Card.

Who can obtain a Permanent Residence Permit?

A permanent residence permit may be granted to a foreigner who:

  1. is a child of a foreigner who has a permanent residence permit in Poland or a long-tern EU resident permit, remaining in the parental custody of the foreigner, and:
  1. a) was born after the parent was granted a permanent residence permit in Poland or a long-term EU resident permit, or
  2. b) was born during the period of validity of the temporary residence permit granted to his parent,
  1. is a child of a Polish citizen in parental custody of the citizen;
  2. is a person of Polish origin who is deemed as a person of Polish origin and intends to settle in Poland permanently;
  3. has been married to a Polish citizen in a marriage recognized by Polish law for at least 3 years prior to filing the application for a permanent residence permit and has stayed in Poland without interruption immediately before filing the application for at least 2 years pursuant to a temporary residence permit issued pursuant to marriage with a Polish citizen or to obtaining refugee status, subsidiary protection or consent for stay issued due to humanitarian reasons.
  4. is a victim of human trafficking and:

a). lived in Poland immediately before filing the application for a period of at least 1 year pursuant to a temporary residence permit issued to foreigners who are victims of human trafficking;

b). has co-operated with law enforcement organs in criminal proceedings;

с) has justified concerns regarding the return to the country of origin, confirmed by the prosecutor conducting proceedings in the particular case.

  1. has stayed in Poland uninterruptedly immediately before filing an application for a permanent residence permit for at least 5 years pursuant to refugee status, subsidiary protection or consent for stay issued due to humanitarian reasons.
  1. has stayed in Poland uninterruptedly immediately before filing an application for a permanent residence permit for at least 10 years in the case of a tolerated residence permit granted in the following cases:
    if an obligation of the foreigner to return may only apply to a country where:
    – the foreigner’s right to life, freedom and personal safety would be threatened, or
    – the foreigner may be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or
    – the foreigner may be forced to work, or
    – the foreigner may be deprived of the right to fair judicial proceedings or be punished without legal grounds,
    b). the foreigner may be obliged to return only to a country to which it is impermissible to extradite the foreigner pursuant to a court decision or to a judgment of the Minister of Justice refusing to extradite the foreigner.
  1. has been granted asylum in Poland;
  2. has a valid Pole’s Card and intends to settle in Poland permanently.

Permanent residence permit: how to obtain?

The procedure begins with filing the application. The application should be filed in the voivodeship where the applicant resides.

In order to initiate the procedure for permanent residence permit, three simple but mandatory conditions should be followed:

  • a foreigner must already be within the territory of Poland;
  • the stay in Poland must be legal;
  • the applicant must personally visit the Voivode.

How to apply?

The application form for the Permanent Residence Card should be filled in Polish only. The applicant should use printed letters or other symbols and write strictly in the specified fields. For more details on how to fill the application, please see information on our website.

All fields of the applications that cause doubts for the applicant should not be filled in advance and the applicant should ask the voivodeship for assistance. The voivodeship will help to fill the application form in a right way.

Documents to be submitted

Besides the application (Wniosek), the following documents for the Permanent Residence Card should be submitted to the voivodship:

  • 4 current photographs;
  • a valid foreign passport;
  • documents necessary to confirm the information contained in the application and the circumstances justifying the application for a permanent residence permit;
  • proof confirming payment of stamp duty.

Depending on the circumstances and local norms, the other documents may be required for obtaining the Permanent Residence card:

  1. In the case of a child of a Polish citizen who remains under his parental custody:
    – a copy of the birth certificate
    – a copy of the identity card of the legal representative (e.g. parent)
  2. In the case of a foreigner of Polish origin:

–  originals of the documents confirming Polish descent of at least one of his parents, grandparents or two great grandparents;

– documents confirming the relationship to the person of Polish origin (in the case of copies of documents confirming Polish origin, the documents should be appended with an apostille clause)

  1. In the case of the marriage to a Polish citizen:
    – a current copy of the marriage certificate (not older than 3 months);
    – a copy of the spouse’s identity card.
  2. If a foreigner has a Polish card – a copy thereof.
  3. In the case of the victims of human trafficking:

– documents confirming cooperation with law enforcement authorities in the criminal proceeding related to the offence of human trafficking and legitimate concerns regarding return to the country of origin, confirmed by the prosecutor conducting criminal proceedings;

  1. Other documents requested by the voivodship officers.

Upon submitting the documents, it is necessary to meet the consul who will ask a foreigner necessary questions.

Fingerprints are collected from foreigners applying for a permanent residence permit, in order to include them in the Residence Card.

If a foreigner files an application for a permanent residence permit during his legal stay in Poland, the voivodship places a stamp into the foreign passport of the foreigner confirming the submission of the application for a permanent residence permit without the right to travel to other Schengen Area countries. The applicant is recommended to follow this requirement.

Permanent residence permit: the period of validity

A permanent residence permit is valid for an indefinite period, although the Permanent Residence Card has to be replaced every 10 years.

Upon expiry of  the period of validity the Permanent Residence Card should be replaced. Application for a subsequent residence card should be filed not later than 30 days before the expiry of the current residence card.

Fees

Stamp duty for initiating the procedure of granting a permanent residence permit is 640 PLN. This amount is reimbursed in the case of a negative decision, upon written request of the applicant. If a positive decision is issued, an additional 50 PLN must be paid for issuing the Permanent Residence Card.

Duration of the procedure

A case should be considered within 1 month. However, the term may be prolonged. In such case the applicant will be notified of this fact and reasons for the delay as well as of new deadline for resolving the issue.

What to do if you were refused?

In case of a negative decision a foreigner has the right to appeal.

For this purpose, a foreigner should address to voivodship as to the mediator for filing an appeal to the Head of the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw.

The appeal must be filed in written in Polish language within 14 days upon receipt of the negative decision of the Voivode.

In case of a negative conclusion from Warsaw the foreigner may file an appeal against the decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners in an administrative court within 30 days of the date of receipt of the decision.

Filing an appeal in an administrative court does not legalise the stay. This means that unless the foreigner has another valid document authorising them to stay in Poland, he or she should leave Poland.

What to do with the Pole‘s card?

It is necessary to change the Pole‘s card to the Permanent Residence Card in the local voivodeship. This procedure takes 14 days upon the day of validity of the decision. This is an obligatory condition.

The Polish residence card is a very convenient and, in some circumstances, a necessary tool for foreign citizens. Its usefulness for future naturalization is undeniable. After all, 3 years of permanent residence will give you a chance for an attempt to obtain full citizenship.