Coming to Poland - formal issues


Temporary residence permit/visa requirements

EU/EEA citizens:

An EU citizen can enter Poland with his/her ID document (a valid travel document e.g. passport, or another document certifying his/her identity and citizenship).

For stay up to 3 months no legalisation of stay will be necessary. For stays exceeding 3 months, an EU citizen will have to obtain a temporary residence permit (Karta pobytu obywatela UE). In case of students, the residence permit is issued for one year. The residence permit - once issued - will also entitle its bearer to take up work. The residence permit and the right to work also extends to the immediate family - i.e. spouse and children.

This document will be issued by the Department of Citizens Affairs of the Voivodeship Office (province administration, in Polish Urzad Wojewódzki). Charge for issuing of the residence permit is 30 Polish zloty (ca 7 Euro).

Temporary residence permits will be granted to Union citizens who have health insurance and sufficient resources to cover their expenses without needing social security support.

Documents that have to be submitted by the student to the Voivodeship Office in order to obtain the residence permit:

  • copy of the travel document (passport or other ID document)
  • health insurance document
  • official letter of acceptance from the Polish university (with information about the planned period of study)
  • declaration about sufficient resources to cover the subsistence costs in Poland
  • 2 photographs
  • Application form (Wniosek o zezwolenie na pobyt, in Polish)

Institutional Erasmus Co-ordinators at Polish universities will help students to obtain the residence permit.

Citizens of the EEA countries are subject to the same conditions as the EU citizens.

The citizens of Switzerland can enter Poland only on the basis of a valid passport.

Non-EU/EEA citizens:


A citizen of a non-EU/EEA country can enter the territory of Poland on the basis of a valid travel document (passport) and a visa (if required). A citizen of a non-EU country has to obtain the visa from the consulate of Poland in his/her country of residence. The short-term visa entitles to stay in Poland up to 3 months, the long-term visa - up to 1 year. The prolongation of visa in Poland is only possible in case of a force majeure or situation impossible to foresee while applying for the visa in the consulate. The visa can be prolonged only once. It is therefore necessary to apply for a visa in a consulate for the whole planned period of stay in Poland.

Persons who have received a visa for the whole period of stay in Poland are not obliged to apply for a residence permit for their stay in Poland.


Medical care

EU/EEA citizens:

Poland has the health care system based on general health insurance.

Persons covered by the general health insurance are entitled to free health services in the territory of Poland at the health care providers who have concluded contracts with the National Health Fund (NFZ - Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia. The National Health Fund is the institution, which is responsible for assuring health services for insured persons and members of their families).

During a temporary stay in Poland, a person entitled to health care under EEA rules can receive health services in the following areas:

  • primary health care
  • specialist out-patient care
  • hospital treatment
  • dental treatment
  • rescue services and ambulance transport.

In case of necessity of providing medical care, a student from a member country staying temporarily in the territory of Poland is entitled to free health care on the basis of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or in particular cases on the basis of a special certificate. The student is obliged to present one of these documents (it is advisable to have also a copy) together with an identity document directly to the public health care provider.

The student will receive free health services at health care providers who have concluded a relevant contract with NFZ. In case of lack of the European Health Insurance Card or equivalent document, the patient will be obliged to cover costs of treatment by himself. The same obligation arises in case of treatment provided by a health care unit which has no contract with NFZ.

If there is a need of hospital treatment, a doctor's referral is required. In case of sudden illness, accident, injury, intoxication, life threat, a patient receives necessary medical benefits without referral. A patient who presented the European Health Insurance Card or a certificate, receives free hospital treatment within the general health care system.

Apart from academic and public medical care system there is also a well-developed private sector. The costs of medical care may be reimbursed if a student has purchased a health insurance policy in his country before departure.

Non EU/EEA citizens:

The students from non-EU/EEA countries should purchase health insurance in their home country, before departure. In case of the ISIC or Euro<26, insurance is included in the card and the student does not need to buy another one unless he/she wants to increase its scope or value. Erasmus students (having so called legitymacja studencka - student's card - issued by the host university) are usually allowed to consult doctors at academic medical care centres. Anyway, according to state health regulations foreigners (except the EU/EEA citizens, see above) have to pay for a medical consultation. The cost is then reimbursed by the health insurance company.

Apart from academic and public medical care system there is also a well-developed private sector.


Driving licence

Driving licenses issued by other EU member states are recognized by Poland and remain valid until the expiry date indicated in the document.

While driving a vehicle on the territory of Poland, the driver is obliged to have with him a driver's license and civil liability insurance.