When can a foreigner obtain a temporary residence permit?
Foreigners who are planning to stay in Poland for a period longer than 3 months may apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland. A temporary residence permit is granted for a maximum period of 3 years. However, the validity period of the permit may be shorter if a shorter stay is justified, pursuant to the grounds for application.
NOTE: A temporary residence permit is not automatically prolonged. If the foreigner wishes to prolong his stay in Poland, he must apply for a new permit.
Note: The foreigner should leave Poland prior to the expiry of the temporary residence permit, unless he has obtained another valid document entitling him to stay in Poland legally (e.g. a subsequent temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit, or a EU resident permit).
The procedure of legalisation of temporary residence takes place at the competent Office for Foreigners of the Voivodeship Office in the voivodeship where the foreigner resides.
In order to obtain a temporary residence permit, the foreigner has to present documented grounds for their stay in Poland. Such grounds may include:
- Starting or continuing work in Poland;
- Performance of work in an occupation requiring high skills (what does it mean to perform work in an occupation requiring high skills?);
- Performance of work by a foreigner delegated to Poland by a foreign employer;
- Conducting business activity in Poland;
Starting or continuation of studies in Poland;
- Completion of a preparatory course prior to starting education in undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral studies in Polish;
- Conducting academic research in Poland;
- Visiting family members by a Polish citizen or family member of a foreigner;
- Status of victim of human trafficking who resides in Poland, starts co-operation with organs conducting an investigation as part of efforts to combat human trafficking and who has ceased all contacts with persons suspected of human trafficking;
- Intention of a family member to reunite with a citizen of EU an Member State, EFTA Member State or the Swiss Confederation, residing in Poland;
- Status of a child (minor) of a foreigner who resides in Poland pursuant to a national visa or temporary residence permit, if the child was born during the validity period of the national visa or temporary residence permit;
- Status of a child (minor) of a foreigner who is married to a Polish citizen and possesses a temporary residence permit issued for a family member of a Polish citizen;
- Other important, documented circumstances.
Fingerprints are collected from foreigners who apply for a temporary residence permit, in order to include them in the residence card.
Foreigners who cannot apply for a temporary residence permit
- The initiation of proceedings for granting a temporary residence permit to a foreigner is denied in the following cases:
- The foreigner was granted a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit,
- The foreigner resides in Poland pursuant to a Schengen visa entitling him to enter Poland only for humanitarian purposes, due to interest of the state or international commitments,
- The foreigner resides in Poland pursuant to a temporary residence permit that was issued due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay,
- The foreigner was granted a tolerated residence permit, residence permit due to humanitarian reasons, asylum, subsidiary or temporary protection or was granted refugee status in Poland,
- The foreigner is applying for refugee status or seeks asylum,
- The foreigner is detained, placed in a guarded facility or detainment facility for foreigners or if an order prohibiting him to leave the country has been issued,
- The foreigner is imprisoned or temporarily arrested,
- The foreigner was obliged to return and the period of voluntary return specified in the decision obliging the foreigner to return has not expired yet; this also applies in the case of prolongation of such period,
- The foreigner is obliged to leave Poland within 30 days of the date when the decision of refusal to prolong a visa, grant a residence permit, to grant refugee status or to grant subsidiary protection or the decision to withdraw residence permit for humanitarian reasons became binding,
- The foreigner resides outside Poland (this does not apply to applications for a residence card for family reunification purposes),
- The fingerprints of the foreigner were not collected for the purposes of issuing a residence card when filing the application for granting a temporary residence permit.
When can a temporary residence permit be withdrawn?
A temporary residence permit may be withdrawn, i.e. cancelled, if:
the purpose of residence that constituted the basis for issuing the temporary residence permit to the foreigner has ceased to exist,
the foreigner ceases to fulfil the requirements for granting a temporary residence permit,
the foreigner’s personal data have been entered into the register of foreigners whose stay on the Polish territory is undesirable,
for reasons of state security or defence or protection of public safety and order,
in the course of the proceedings for granting a temporary residence permit:
a). the foreigner filed an application containing false personal data or false information or attached documents containing such data or information to the application, or
b). the foreigner provided an untrue statement, concealed the truth, forged or altered a document in order to present it as true,
the foreigner is in tax arrears, with the exception of cases when they have obtained a lawful exemption, deferral or division of overdue tax payments into instalments or if the decision of the organ responsible for tax collection was suspended in its entirety,
a decision obliging the foreigner to return was issued and the foreigner did not reimburse the costs associated with the issuing and execution of such decision, and such costs were covered from the state budget (what is a decision obliging a foreigner to return ->?),
the foreigner is subject to compulsory medical treatment and he does not consent to such treatment (individuals suffering from tuberculosis, syphilis and gonorrhoea are subject to compulsory treatment).
The above provisions contain a general list of grounds for withdrawal of a temporary residence permit that apply to all temporary residence permits. Additional grounds for withdrawing a temporary residence permit are also foreseen in respect of specific residence permits (e.g. temporary residence and work permit, temporary residence permit for the purpose of undertaking studies, etc.). Information concerning additional grounds for the withdrawal of a temporary residence permit is available below, in the section on types of residence permits.
Procedure of application for a temporary residence permit
A temporary residence permit is issued by the Office for Foreigners of the competent Voivodeship Office for the place of residence of the foreigner.
Addresses of the Voivodeship Offices are available here ->
Fingerprints are collected from foreigners who apply for a temporary residence permit in order to include them in the residence card (what are fingerprints ->?)
If a foreigner files an application for a temporary residence permit during their legal stay in Poland and if the application is completed in full, the Voivode places a stamp in the travel document of the foreigner confirming that an application for granting a temporary residence permit has been filed. This stamp legalises the stay of the foreigner in Poland (even in the event of expiry of the visa or of the previous residence card) until the date of issuing a decision on the residence card, and in the case of an appeal against a negative decision until the moment when the decision made upon appeal i.e. by the Head of the Office for Foreigners) becomes binding.
Note: The aforementioned stamp does not entitle the foreigner to travel to other Schengen countries or EU Member States. Pursuant to the stamp in the passport the foreigner may leave for their country of origin, although they may not return to Poland with the stamp – in order to re-enter Poland, the foreigner should obtain a visa.
Foreigners applying for a temporary residence permit should file the application for a temporary residence permit in person. If the foreigner does not file the application in person (e.g. if it is filed by an attorney) he will be summoned by the Voivode to appear at the office in person within 7 days (in order for the competent authorities to collect the foreigner’s fingerprints). If the foreigner fails to appear at the office, their application shall remain unconsidered, i.e. the procedure for granting a residence card will be discontinued.
Essential documents required for filing an application for a temporary residence permit:
4 completed copies of the temporary residence permit application (form available here ->);
3 copies of a valid travel document and the original available for inspection on request – what to do when the foreigner does not possess a valid travel document? ->
4 current, colour photographs – guidelines for the photographs are available here ->
written consent of the individuals who exercise parental authority over a minor foreigner applying for a permit.
Additionally, the applicant should submit documents confirming the data included in the application and confirming the purpose of the foreigner’s stay in Poland. Submitting the most complete and exhaustive set of documents possible accelerates consideration of the case. Below you can find information concerning the procedures for an application for specific types of temporary residence permits and a list of documents required when applying for the given permit. However, one should bear in mind that the Voivodeship Office may always summon the foreigner to appear in person and present additional documents to confirm the declared purpose of his stay in Poland.
Duration of the procedure
The decision for granting a temporary residence permit should be issued within 1 month, and in particularly complex cases not later than 2 months from the date of submission of documents.
The appeal procedure also lasts for 1 month, starting from the date of receipt of the appeal at the Office for Foreigners. These periods do not include the duration of suspension of the proceedings and periods of delay for which the foreigner is at fault or to reasons beyond the control of the Office for Foreigners.
However, the procedure may be prolonged. This results from the fact that the Voivode is obliged to check whether the entry and stay of the foreigner in Poland does not constitute a threat to national defence, public safety and order. Institutions which the Voivode contacts in this case have 30 days to provide information. Moreover, as each case is considered on an individual basis, the procedure may be prolonged until all important circumstances of the case are clarified.
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.