As a matter of principle, all non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who intend to work and live in Poland, before the beginning of an employment, must obtain a work permit and a Polish visa.
In principle, a work permit is required for a foreign national to perform work in Poland on the basis of a contract concluded with a Polish entity, including board members and proxies, as well as those performing work in Poland based on an assignment.
In case of contracts concluded with a Polish entity, it is a two-step process.
First, prior to the submission of a work permit application, an employer has to obtain a positive opinion of the Local Labour Office allowing the company to employ a foreigner. To obtain this document the employer has to place a job offer at the Local Labour Office in order for the Office to verify whether there are any candidates, registered as unemployed or as jobseekers, suitable for the offered job position. The search process for possible work candidates should be completed within 14 - 21 working days. If no candidate is found, the Local Labour Office issues a positive opinion and the company can proceed and submit a work permit application.
Pursuant to the Polish law, public administration authorities shall dispose of matters without unnecessary delay. However, the duration of the process regarding the issuance of a work permit depends greatly on the number of applicants at a given moment and may last 2 - 6 months from the date of the submission of a work permit application.
In case of assignment to a Polish entity, obtaining a positive opinion of the Local Labour Office is not required. Therefore, the application for the issuance of a work permit can be submitted without having to obtain the aforementioned document.
According to the Polish immigration law, an individual is obligated to start his/her employment in Poland within three months from the starting date of the validity period of the work permit . If the performance of work does not start work within the above mentioned period of time, the employer must inform the Office about the delay in employment of a foreigner to keep the work permit valid.
Legalization of work– simplified procedure for citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine
A declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner is a type of permit issued by the Local Labour Office only for citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine. This kind of permit may be granted for a maximum period of 6 months in 12 consecutive months.
In case of a declaration on entrusting work, obtaining a positive opinion of the Local Labour Office is not required.
The average duration of the process regarding the issuance of a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner depends on the number of applicants at a given moment, however, it usually does not exceed 7 days from the date of filing the complete set of required documents.
D-Type national visas
After obtaining a work permit/declaration on entrusting work, an individual should apply for the issuance of a D-type national visa at the Polish consulate in one’s country of origin or legalized stay.
National D-type visas based on work permits can be issued for the maximum period of one year.
The standard process of obtaining a visa should take approximately 14-21 business days from the date of the submission of a complete set of required documents at the consulate.
Important! Please note that a valid work visa without a valid work permit/declaration on entrusting work usually does not entitle one to legally work in Poland.
Residence permit and residence card
If an individual intends to work and stay in Poland longer than the validity period of obtained visa, an application for the issuance of a temporary residence permit for the purpose of work should be submitted.
The application regarding obtaining a residence permit for the purpose of work must be filed during a legal stay of a foreigner in Poland. And it should be filed to the Provincial Office with jurisdiction over the address of residence of foreign nationals.
As the procedure of obtaining a residence permit decision and card may last 6-12 months, it is best to apply for it at least six months prior to the expiry of a visa (if possible), however, it can be filed even on the last day of legal stay of the foreing national in Poland.
The residence permit should be issued for the period of foreigner’s work in Poland, however its validity will not exceed 3 years.
Family members of an employee relocating to Poland can move together with him/her as well. In such situations, it will be necessary for them to obtain visas and then (after arrival to Poland) legalize their stay by the submission of residence permit applications for the purpose of stay with a foreigner. Documents required to obtain residence permits should be submitted to the Provincial Office prior to the expiry of their visas.
Address registration and PESEL number
Pursuant to the Polish law, it is mandatory to register one’s address no later than by the 4th day of stay at a specific address in Poland. The process of address registration can be completed within 1 day. While registering the address, a PESEL number should be granted to an individual.
In Poland a PESEL number is necessary for tax purposes but it can also be useful for other formalities such as opening a bank account in Poland or concluding legal agreements. A PESEL number is granted only once and does not require renewal.
If the process of the address registration in Poland cannot be completed, a PESEL number can be obtained separately by filing an appropriate application and stating a justifiable reason for applying for a PESEL number.
From 1 January 2021, UK nationals are subject to the same immigration regulations on legalisation of stay and employment in Poland as those applicable in case of citizens of third countries.
Based on the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (hereinafter the Withdrawal Agreement), persons who exercised the right to stay in Poland before the end of 31 December 2020 and intend to continue living in Poland will retain the existing rights and privileges, providing that they apply for new residence permits to the competent provincial office by 31 December 2021.
The same Withdrawal Agreement contains provisions allowing frontier workers to retain their rights to work in Poland. It is required to register residence not later than until 31 December 2021.
Persons who have been working in Poland as posted workers until 31 December 2020 and continue their work after 1 January 2021 are exempt from the obligation to have a work permit valid for the entire period of its performance, and their stay is considered legal until 31 December 2021. In such a case, posted workers have the right to apply to the voivode for a special temporary residence permit, which may be granted for 5 years. Such a permit will entitle them to stay and work without a work permit.