The relocation process starts after you get an employment contract with a Polish company. See the article Recruitment process for more details.
Some IT companies that hire foreign nationals offer free relocation packages for staff and their families. Those packages may include all or some of the following:
- Visa support.
- Opening a Polish bank account.
- Applying for health insurance.
- Accommodation, including temporary accommodation for 14 days, home search, and assistance with the rental agreement.
In any case, you may need to get familiar with the whole process of relocation that is usually quite complicated.
1. Applying for a work visa
You may need to get a Schengen visa if your country doesn’t have a visa-free regime with Poland and if you’re planning to travel to Poland to search for a job on site.
If you’re a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you can work in Poland without a visa or residence permit.
If you’re a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea or the United States, you don’t need a work visa and you can apply directly for the Blue Card (see section 5 of this guide).
Others require a 3-month national Polish work visa (D type visa) to start working in Poland.
You should apply for a work visa when you already have an employment contract in Poland. And your spouse can apply for a visa based on family reunification. Make an appointment at the Polish Embassy or a visa center in your country and apply for a visa with the following documents (the ultimate list may be different depending on your country):
- Valid passport (with at least 3 months validity) and a copy of its data page.
- National identity document, if applicable.
- Application form in English or Polish.
- Employment contract (original and photocopy).
- Job offer or invitation to work in Poland (oświadczenie) registered in a Polish labor authority by the employer.
- 1 or 2 photos (3,5 × 4,5 cm).
- Medical insurance (original and photocopy) with a minimum coverage of €30,000, valid in all countries of the European Union and covering the entire duration of the visa (not less than 30 days).
The processing time is about 1 month. You can be employed in Poland with a work visa for 180 days in one year. To work longer than that, you need to get a residence permit. IT specialists usually apply for an EU Blue Card (a residence permit for high-skilled international workers). See section 5 of this guide for more details.
2. Finding a place to live
The first thing you should do after arriving in Poland is finding a place to live. As it’s hard to find a permanent apartment at once due to the high rental demand, allow 2 to 3 weeks to hunt for a home. Remember that summer is the worst season to look for an apartment as there is too much student demand.
Temporary accommodation can be offered by your employer. If not, you can find it on Airbnb or similar websites before you arrive in Poland.
A permanent home can be found on one of the real estate websites:
While renting an apartment for the long term, you need to sign a rental agreement for at least 3 months. It’s recommended to have the following things in your rental agreement:
- Your full name and the name of your partner or spouse if you’re relocating with them.
- The possibility of using the apartment’s address for registration (zameldowanie).
- The fact that you paid the rental deposit (kaucja). It’s usually a sum equal to one month of rent that is refunded 14 days before you move out unless you damage the landlord’s property.
Here are some tips.
Ensure that the apartment is rented out legally and that the landlord pays all property taxes because when you will be later applying for a residence permit, you may need to submit a copy of a title or a registry number (numer księgi wieczystej) confirming that the landlord owns the property.
Monitor property listings early in the morning and call the landlord no later than 9–10 a.m. — the rental demand in major cities of Poland is very high.
While inspecting the apartment, record all the flaws (scratches, stains, etc.), make photos of them, enumerate them in the rental agreement, and ask the landlord to put their signature underneath. Otherwise, by the time you move out, those flaws can be named your responsibility and deducted from the refundable rental deposit (kaucja).
Check all meter boxes (for water, natural gas, electricity) and record their values in the rental agreement to ensure you don’t pay extra utility costs.
Pay attention to what the rental price really is. Rental listings in Poland can contain two types of prices: with or without service costs (“czynsz”, pronounced “chinsh”). This sum usually amounts to PLN 500–600 and includes costs associated with maintaining communal areas of the residential building (garbage disposal, cleaning, etc.), excluding utility costs. So if you see advertisements with similar apartments and their rental prices differ dramatically, this may be because the price of one of them includes “czynsz”.
And here are expenses associated with renting an apartment for the long term in Poland:
- Refundable security deposit (kaucja): 1 month of rent.
- Broker’s fees: 1 month of rent.
For example, if you rent an apartment for PLN 2,000, you will need to pay for at least one month ahead, make a security deposit, and pay the broker’s fees, which will result in PLN 6,000 in total.
Some rental apartments in Poland come unfurnished, with just some basic things like a fridge and washing machine. In that case, you will need to buy some furniture. You can purchase second-hand things on gratka.pl or olx.pl.
3. Opening a Polish bank account
To get your salary in Poland, you need to have a bank account in that country. To open it, you need to come with your passport to one of the banks. The largest ones include the following:
- Alior Bank (aliorbank.pl)
- Bank Pekao (pekao.com.pl)
- Bank Millennium (bankmillennium.pl)
- BNP Paribas (bnpparibas.pl)
- Citi Handlowy (citibank.pl)
- Getin Bank (getinbank.pl)
- ING (ing.pl)
- PKO Bank Polski (pkobp.pl)
- Santander (santander.pl)
A bank account in Poland can be opened within one day.
4. Registering and getting an identification number
To live in Poland for more than 3 months, you need to register at a local registration office. The process of registration is called “zameldowanie”, and the registration document is “meldunek” in Polish.
To get registered, you need to have a visa and at least a three-month rental agreement and come to a registration office called Urząd Dzielnicy. To find its address, google “Urząd Dzielnicy” plus the name of the district and city where you live, e. g. “Urząd Dzielnicy Śródmieście Warszawa”. If you don’t speak Polish, use your browser’s automatic translation options.
Those who live in Poland for more than 2 months also must have an 11-digit identification number — PESEL (Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności). You don’t need to apply for it separately: you’ll be automatically given this number when you’re registering at a registration office. No additional documents are required.
The processing time for registering and getting a PESEL is 7–10 days. You will need to come to the registration office (Urząd Dzielnicy) the second time after you get a notice about your documents being ready.
5. Getting a Blue Card
If you’re a non-EU national, you need to obtain a temporary residence permit (zezwolenie na pobyt czasowy) to stay in Poland for more than 90 days.
IT workers normally apply for a residence permit called the EU Blue Card (Niebieska Karta). This kind of permit has great advantages:
- It allows high-skilled specialists to live and work in any EU country, excluding Denmark and Ireland. The only condition is to work at least 18 months in the country that issued your Blue Card.
- It also allows the main applicant’s spouse to live and work in the country by getting a temporary residence permit with a work permit (zezwolenie na pobyt czasowy i pracę). The spouse is not required to have proof of Polish language knowledge.
- Children (under 18 years of age) of the main applicant can also live in Poland and study in the country’s educational institutions for free. They don’t have to meet the requirements for the Blue Card.
- You are entitled to an EU long-term residence permit (zezwolenie na pobyt rezydenta długoterminowego UE) after holding the Blue Card for 5 years if you’re proficient in Polish at a minimum level of B1.
- The holder of the EU Blue Card can spend up to 90 days within 180 days in the other Schengen States for tourism.
- Owners of the Blue Card can stay out of the EU for up to 12 months without losing the right of staying in Poland or the EU.
You can apply for the Blue Card if you:
- Have a university degree that is comparable to a Polish one or relevant work experience of at least 5 years.
- Have a Polish employment contract with the minimum term of 12 months and the minimum annual salary of PLN 7,800 a month (at least 1.5 times the average gross salary in Poland — PLN 5,200 in Q4 2019).
The Blue Card costs PLN 440 plus PLN 50 for the plastic card.
You need to apply for the Blue Card before the last day of your visa validity. If you’re applying at the end of December, it’s recommended to do it before Christmas. You need to apply for the Blue Card in the Foreigners Office (Urząd do Spraw Cudzoziemców) in the Polish voivodeship where you live. Here are the links:
To get the Blue Card, you will need to provide the following documents:
- National long-term visa.
- Birth certificate.
- Work permit. Citizens of the EU countries don’t need a work permit to be able to be employed in Poland. Citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine can get an invitation to work (oświadczenie (oświadczenie o zamiarze powierzenia pracy cudzoziemcowi)) for no longer than 6 months. In other cases, you need to get a work permit (zezwolenie na pracę). Your employer should apply for this document at a local labor office (powiatowy urząd pracy, PUP).
- Employment contract (umowa o pracę) for at least 1 year. There should be information about your salary.
- Educational credentials or proof of 5-year work experience (with reference letters from your former employers). If you have a non-EU diploma or degree, you may need to get a confirmation of the recognition of your qualifications.
- Rental agreement (umowa najmu).
- Registration document (meldunek).
- Proof of insurance payments (ubezpieczenie): your employer’s accounting or HR department must provide you with 3 forms — ZUS ZUA (1 form) and ZUS RMUA (2 forms). They will prove that you work in Poland, receive a salary and make insurance payments.
- Tax statements for the last year.
- Marriage certificate, if you’re relocating with a spouse.
- 3 copies of an application form (nowy wniosek o pobyt czasowy). You’ll be applying for the Blue Card on the ground of high-skilled work in Poland (wykonywanie pracy w zawodzie wymagającym wysokich kwalifikacji), and your partner’s or spouse’s ground will be “stay with a foreigner” (pobyt z cudzoziemcem). You can find application forms in your local Foreigners Office.
- Biometrics: fingerprints and 4 photos (3.5 × 4.5 cm) no older than 6 months.
- Copies of documents.
- Certified translations of all documents into Polish, with notarization (tłumaczenie przysięgłe).
Your spouse also needs to submit documents:
- National long-term visa.
- Passport and copies of all pages.
- Birth certificate.
- Registration document.
- Proof of insurance payments from their spouse’s Polish employer.
- Marriage certificate.
- 3 copies of an application form.
- Certified translations of all documents.
You may also need to write a sponsorship letter in Polish for your spouse and children. Here’s an example:
Kraków, 5 marca 2020 r.
ul. Swiętego Tomasza 1/2
Ja, niżej podpisany, [Your name], legitymujący się paszportem [Your passport number], oświadczam, że zobowiązuję się do pokrywania wszelkich kosztów, związanych z pobytem w Polsce mojej żony — [Your spouse’s name], legitymującej się paszportem [Your spouse’s passport number] oraz mojego dziecka — [Your child’s name], legitymującej się paszportem [Your child’s passport number].
Koszty pobytu obejmują zakwaterowanie, wyżywienie, koszty transportu, oraz wszelkie inne koszty, ponoszone w gospodarstwie domowym.
Z wyrazami szacunku,
[Your name and signature]
The processing time is 30–60 days but usually longer (up to 6 months) due to the high demand. You may need to call or write to your Foreigners Office to get information about the status of your application. You can live in Poland while your application is processing, but it’s not recommended to leave the country during that period.
The Blue Card is valid for 2 years or for the period of the employment contract plus 3 months (but no longer than 2 years). It’s possible to renew the card after it expires.
If you want to change your job in Poland in the first 2 years of employment, you need to get authorization from the local Foreigners Office. If you become unemployed, you will have 15 days to inform your Foreigners Office.