Last update: 28 July, 2016

Permanent residence permit

A decision on granting a permanent residence permit is issued for an indefinite period. A residence card remains valid for 10 years, which means that it should be replaced every 10 years.

A permanent residence permit issued in Poland does not entitle the foreigner to take up work in another country.

A permanent residence permit entitles the foreigner to travel to other Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days in a 180-day period for tourism purposes (which countries belong to the Schengen Area ->?).

Circumstances for granting 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:
    a) was born after the parent was granted a permanent residence permit in Poland or a long-term EU resident permit, or
    b) was born during the period of validity of the temporary residence permit granted to his parent,
  2. is a child of a Polish citizen in parental custody of the citizen,
  3. is a person of Polish origin (who is deemed as a person of Polish origin ->?) and intends to settle in Poland permanently,
  4. 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 (what is an uninterrupted stay ->?) 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,
  5. 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;
    c). has justified concerns regarding the return to the country of origin, confirmed by the prosecutor conducting proceedings in the particular case,
  6. has stayed in Poland uninterruptedly immediately before filing an application for a permanent residence permit (what is an uninterrupted stay ->?) for at least 5 years pursuant to refugee status, subsidiary protection or consent for stay issued due to humanitarian reasons,
  7. has stayed in Poland uninterruptedly immediately before filing an application for a permanent residence permit (what is an uninterrupted stay ->?) for at least 10 years in the case of a tolerated residence permit granted in the following cases:
    a. if an obligation of the foreigner to return (what is 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,
  8. has been granted asylum in Poland, or
  9. has a valid Pole’s Card and intends to settle in Poland permanently.

Procedure of legalisation of stay pursuant to a permanent residence permit

The procedure of legalisation of permanent residence takes place at the competent Office for Foreigners of the Voivodeship Office in the voivodeship where the foreigner resides.

Addresses of VOivodeship Offices are available here ->

The foreigner should file the application for a permanent residence permit in person during his legal stay in Poland.

The basic set of documents required for filing a complete application for a permanent residence permit:

  1. completed application for a permanent residence permit (the form is available here ->);
  2. 4 current photographs (guidelines concerning photographs are available here ->);
  3. a valid foreign passport for visual inspection purposes;
  4. documents necessary to confirm the information contained in the application and the circumstances justifying the application for a permanent residence permit;
  5. proof confirming payment of stamp duty.

Additionally, the following documents must be presented:

  1. in the case of the minor who is a child of a foreigner in Poland who has a permanent residence permit or long-term EU resident permit, who remains under his parental custody and who was born after his parent was granted the permanent residence permit or long-term EU resident permit:
    – a copy of the birth certificate;
    – a copy of the decision of granting a permanent residence permit or long-term EU resident permit to his legal representative (e.g. parent)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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;
    – a copy of their children’s birth certificates;
    – a certificate of discharge of fiscal obligations due to the Treasury issued by the tax office with jurisdiction over the foreigner’s place of residence – what is a certificate of discharge of fiscal obligations due to the Treasury? ->
  5. 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;
  6. in the case of residing in Poland legally and continuously for a period not shorter than 5 years on the basis of refugee status, supplementary protection or residence for humanitarian reasons directly before submitting the application: documents confirming the required 5 year residence in Poland
  7. in the case of residing legally and continuously for a period not shorter than 10 years directly before submitting the application on the basis of tolerated stay: documents confirming the required 10 year residence in Poland
  8. in the case of asylum in Poland: documents certifying the receipt asylum in Poland
  9. in the case of having a valid Pole’s Card: copy of the valid Pole’s Card and its original for inspection.

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 Voivode places a stamp in the foreign passport of the foreigner confirming the submission of the application for a permanent residence permit. The foreigner’s stay in Poland pursuant to such a stamp is legal (even if the visa or preceding residence card expires) until the date of issuing the decision on the residence card, and in the case of appeal against a negative decision of the Voivode until the date when the decision issued in the 2nd instance becomes binding.

Note! The stamp in the passport does not entitle the foreigner to travel to other Schengen Area countries. The foreigner may leave for their country of origin pursuant to the stamp, but they will not be able to re-enter Poland (in order to re-enter Poland, a valid visa or residence card is required).

Note! A permanent residence permit issued in Poland does not entitle the holder to undertake work in any other country in the Schengen Area. Pursuant to a permanent residence permit issued in Poland, the foreigner has the right to travel to other countries in the Schengen Area (which countries belong to the Schengen Area ->?) for up to 90 days in a period of 180 days, for tourism purposes only. In order to be able to travel to other countries in the Schengen Area, a valid foreign passport and health insurance covering the costs of medical treatment in the given Schengen Area country are required, along with a valid residence card.

Period of validity of a permanent residence permit

A permanent residence permit is valid for an indefinite period, although the residence card has to be replaced every 10 years.  Application for a subsequent residence card should be filed not later than 30 days before the expiry of the current residence card.

Duration of the procedure

A case should be considered within 1 month.

If the Voivodeship Office fails to consider the case within the period specified above, it shall notify the foreigner of this fact, stating the reasons for the delay and specifying a new deadline for resolving the issue.

Appeal procedure

A foreigner who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Voivode may appeal to the Head of the Office for Foreigners (UdsC) in Warsaw, via the Voivode who issued the decision. A written appeal should be filed within 14 days of the date of receipt of the decision.

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.

Important: 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, they should leave Poland.

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 a residence card.

These amounts can be paid at the cash desk of the Voivodeship Office where the case is being considered, or by bank transfer to the account of the Municipal Office. The bank account number can be received at the relevant Voivodeship Office.

Refusal to initiate proceedings for granting a permanent residence permit

A foreigner will not be granted a permanent residence permit in Poland if:

  1. he is staying in Poland:
    – without documents authorising him to stay; or
    – pursuant to a Schengen visa authorising him to enter and stay in Poland, if such a visa was issued due to humanitarian reasons;
    – pursuant to a temporary residence permit due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay in Poland (some exceptions from this rule apply to persons who apply for a residence card pursuant to their Polish origin);
    – pursuant to a long-term EU resident permit, or;
  2. he is detained, he is staying in a guarded facility or detainment facility for foreigners or if an order prohibiting him to leave the country has been issued,
  3. he is imprisoned or temporarily arrested,
  4. he has been obliged to return and the period of voluntary return specified in the decision obliging the foreigner to return has not yet expired; this also applies in the case of prolongation of such a period;
  5. he is obliged to leave Poland;
  6. he is staying outside Poland;
  7. he did not submit their fingerprints in order to receive a residence card.

Withdrawal of a permanent residence permit

The foreigner will receive a decision refusing a permanent residence permit if:

  1. he does meet the requirements for granting a permanent residence permit,
  2. he is entered into the register of foreigners who are undesirable in the Republic of Poland (what is the register of foreigners who are undesirable in the Republic of Poland ->?),
  3. his data are entered in the Schengen Information System for the purposes of refusal of entry (what is the Schengen Information System ->?),
  4. it is required for reasons of state security or defence or protection of public safety and order,
  5. it is required due to the interests of the Republic of Poland,
  6. the application for granting a permanent residence permit is based on the fact that the foreigner has entered into a marriage with a Polish citizen and the marriage was entered into in order to get around legal regulations,
  7. in the course of the procedure for granting a permanent residence permit the foreigner filed an application containing false personal data or false information, made false statements or concealed the truth or forged a document and presented it as authentic,
  8. he is in tax arrears, with the exception of cases where he has obtained a lawful exemption, deferral or division of overdue tax payments into instalments or if the decision of the organ responsible for tax collection has been suspended in its entirety,
  9. he did not repay costs resulting from the issuing and execution of a decision obliging him to return, and the costs were covered from the state budget.

A permanent residence permit may also be withdrawn, i.e. cancelled.

This takes place in the following cases:

  1. it is required due to reasons of state security or defence or protection of public safety and order,
  2. it is required due to the interests of the Republic of Poland,
  3. the application for the permit or the attached documents contained false personal data, forged documents or documents presenting false information,
  4. in the course of the procedure for granting a permanent residence permit the foreigner made false statements or concealed the truth or forged a document and presented it as authentic,
  5. if the foreigner has been convicted in Poland of a wilful offence and sentenced to  at least 3 years of imprisonment,
  6. he has left Poland for a period longer than 6 years.

If the permanent residence permit was granted pursuant to a marriage with a Polish citizen, the permit may be withdrawn if the foreigner divorces within 2 years of the date of granting the permanent residence permit.

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