So you have decided to work in Poland, and now you are looking for information on how to go about it and where to start. Let us guide you through the most important aspects of the paperwork required to work and live legally in Poland.

A temporary residence permit or a visa?

First, it is important to know the difference between a temporary residence permit and a visa.

A visa is a document issued by a Polish consulate in a foreign country, e.g. in Mexico. You apply for a visa before coming to Poland. To apply for a work visa, your future employer first needs to obtain a work permit for you. This means that the first step in the process is finding a company that will be willing to offer you a job. Click here to read more about visas.

A temporary residence permit

A temporary residence permit is granted for a foreigner that needs to stay in Poland for a period longer than 3 months. There are different purposes for which a temporary residence permit can be obtained – and one of them is work. As a rule, it can be granted for a maximum of 3 years. After receiving a positive decision, you get a so-called Karta Pobytu (a physical card).

You apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland, at an Immigration Department of the Voivode Office in your place of residence:

It is important to submit the application not later than on the last day of your legal stay in Poland.

In order to apply for a temporary residence permit based on work, you need to already have a company willing to offer you a job.

Important: If you are currently in Poland with a visa that was issued for tourism, or to visit your family or friends, you will not be able to apply for a temporary residence and work permit!

Required documents for temporary residence permit

The documents you need to submit include:

  • An application form (filled in Polish!)
  • Four photographs
  • Copy of your passport

Important: If you fail to submit any of the above-mentioned documents, your application will be rejected.

You will also need to submit (among others):

  • A document stating that there were no Polish candidates fit for the given job position (this should be obtained by your future employer)
  • OR documents confirming that you do not need a work permit (e.g. if you are a full-time student of a Polish university, etc.)
  • Documents confirming that you have a place to stay (e.g. apartment rent contract)
  • Documents confirming that you have a source of stable and regular income
  • Documents confirming that you have a health insurance

Read more about the requirements here.

If you need more information, check the official government website:

Other types of residence and work permit

Apart from the standard temporary residence and work permit, there are also some other types of this permit, such as:

1. Work in the profession requiring high qualifications (Blue Card)

This type of permit is issued for highly qualified employees, e.g. for job positions where you are required to possess a specific university degree or specific work experience (min. 5 years of it).

The main advantages of this type of permit over a standard residence and work permit are:

  • After the first 2 years of holding the permit, you may change your employer without a need of applying for a new residence permit. This is provided that you comply with some conditions, e.g. inform the Office about your job loss within 15 days and that you start a new job within 3 months of losing the previous one.
  • It is easier to bring your family to Poland – if you have a Blue Card, you family members can apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland (while if you are a holder of a “normal” temporary residence permit – they may only apply for it if you have had your permit for at least 2 years)

2. Appointed employee

You may apply for this residence permit if you are being delegated to work in Poland by your foreign employer – Read more here

3. Seasonal work

It is issued if the purpose of your stay is to perform seasonal work.

I have applied for a temporary residence and work permit. Can I work while I await my decision?

You can work while awaiting your decision only if:

  • You have a valid work permit and directly before applying you had the right to work in Poland (e.g. you had your previous residence and work permit which was about to expire), or
  • You applied for a temporary residence and work permit for the same work that you have been doing directly before applying (meaning the same employer), or
  • Directly before applying you had a temporary residence permit for the purpose of:
    • undertaking studies
    • scientific research
    • long-term mobility as a scientist
    • staying with your Polish spouse (= residence permit based on marriage)

To see all conditions regulating the provision of work during the proceedings, click here.

Can I leave Poland while I await my decision?

Another common question is whether you are entitled to leave Poland or to travel while you are waiting for your decision. The short answer is: that depends on the agreements that your country of origin has with Poland. If you are from Mexico, you may re-enter Poland as many times as you want within the visa-free movement. Read more about it here.

However, at any point you may receive a letter from the Immigration Office requesting you to come in for an interview or to send some additional documents, which is why it is better not to leave Poland for a long time.

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Written by Karolina Kazmierska

Polish girl in love with Mexican culture and Spanish language. Experience in Marketing & HR, and also in Web Development.