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Residence card (residence permit or permanent residence)

A residence card (“karta pobytu” - a residence permit (temporary or permanent) is a document that confirms legal stay during his life in Poland, as well as its purpose. The card together with the passport confirms the right of a foreigner to stay in Poland and allows cross the border many times without a visa (not only the border of Poland, but of the entire European Union). The basic information that the card contains is the purpose of issue, the type of card and its validity period.

There are 2 main residence cards, this is a temporary residence card (karta czasowego pobytu) which is issued for a period of 1 to 3 years.

And a permanent residence card (karta stalego pobytu) is issued after living in Poland for at least 5 years and is issued for 10 years without any obligation (on a temporary residence card, if you leave work or drop out of school, the card can be canceled). After the expiration of its ten-year term, it can be extended or obtained citizenship (citizenship after 8 years of residence, but there are many exceptions, such as marriage). It is also worth considering that for students, in order to receive a permanent residence card, this five-year period is considered differently - twice as long. Consider the option of obtaining a temporary residence card (up to 3 years).

There are many reasons why you can get a residence permit, the main ones are:

- apparatus employed;
- for the purpose of doing business (to the founder of a legal entity);
training in Poland, as well as a family member who is a citizen of Poland, in the event of a wedding with a citizen of the Republic of Poland.
There are other options for issuing, but they are extremely rare.

You need to apply for a residence card personally to the department for foreigners in your city (in special cases when personal presence is not possible, another person can submit by proxy, but within one or two weeks the Voivode can call this person to come personally to take prints fingers).

Correct execution of all documents will speed up the process of considering the case and reduce the refusal factor to a minimum. If everything is fine with the documents, then a stamp is put in the passport, which confirms the application for a residence permit. This stamp gives legal grounds for staying on the territory of Poland, even in cases where the validity period of a visa or a previous residence card expires, before a decision is made to issue a residence permit.

Important! The stamp that you are waiting for the Residence Card does not give the right to travel to other countries of the European Union or the Schengen area. On the basis of the stamp, a person can leave Poland from his own (or another country where he has the right to enter), even if he has run out of a valid visa, but he will not be able to go back, he will have to obtain a visa.

In case of refusal to issue a residence card (it is extremely rare), a person has the opportunity to file an appeal, and if it is refused, he will need to leave the country within 30 days. The reason for refusal is mainly incorrectly completed documents or false documents are provided (for example, in the case of work, a fake contract with a company).

The documents

To apply for a residence card, you must provide documents that confirm the data contained in the applicant's questionnaire, there is a purpose of applying to the card - study, then you need to take with you documents that you are accepted for study, a receipt for payment of tuition, an additional certificate from bank about the presence of money in the account (in the region of 10,000 zlotys you must have in an account in a Polish bank).

In the case of work activities - an agreement with the company that they will hire you. Also, in all cases, a residence permit or umova (agreement) for rental housing is required, as well as insurance and photographs. Also, other documents may be required, they may not immediately, but in the process of considering the case for issuing a card.

The timing

The average issuance of a card to students is 1-3 months, for business hours it can be more than half a year, depending on the city in which you apply.


The cost of applying for a residence card is 340-450 zlotys (depending on the purpose of the student, worker or other), in the case of a positive decision, you will also need to pay 50 zlotys for the "plastic" itself. In case of refusal to return the money paid for the submission of documents to you.