Whether I answer your questions for free on the blog, or if I assist you in Krakow’s offices with my paid concierge services, you often ask me about crossing Polish borders. It’s no wonder that you cannot find any information on this online – although the Polish Border Guard has published a very useful and detailed FAQ, there’s no English version of it. I’ve decided to fix it.

This article presents a translation of the content that belongs to the Polish Border Guard, published by Mr. Mariusz Dąbrowski on the official website of the institution. Please note that this translation is not certified and I am not a professional translator. You will find the original answers of the Border Guard linked to every question.

Before we begin please let me apologize for the complicated language. I usually try to write in simple English, but this time I decided that I should try to faithfully and accurately translate the content of the original. If you have problems understanding all of this, please feel free to send me a message to maciek@justaskpoland.com.

 

1. How can I check the type of my visa and my permissible stay period?

Source

Schengen visa (marked in the “type of visa” section with the letter: C) within the limits of its validity gives entitlement to entries and stays (one or more) not exceeding 90 days in total over each period of 180 days. For the purpose of calculating the allowed stay this means that one shall consider a period of 180 days preceding every single day of stay. This means that the stay of a foreigner exercising their right to 90 days is legal unless during the period of the previous 180 days their stay exceeded 90 days.

In practice checking the allowed C-visa stay consists of going 180 days back (from the day of verification) and calculating – for example by using border control stamps – the number of days that a foreigner has already used up in this period of 180 days.

On the website of the Migration and Home Affairs Directorate-General the European Commission has published a special calculator for short stay calculations.

The address of the calculator: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/visa-calculator_en.

 

National long-term visa (marked in the “type of visa” section with the letter: D) is a visa that gives entitlement to entry and continuous stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland or several stays following each other, exceeding 90 days in total (each time the exact number of days of stay that can be used is indicated on the visa in the duration of stay section) within the limits of the visa validity.

Entry on the basis of the D-visa (within the indicated number of days of stay) is allowed to the last day of the visa validity (unless the period of days of stay indicated in the visa has been exhausted).

 

2. How can one calculate duration of the allowed stay on the basis of the C-type visa on their own?

Source

On the website of the Migration and Home Affairs Directorate-General the European Commission has published a special calculator for short stay calculations.

Once opened, it contains empty fields where one should write respectively:

  • Date of entry/Control – Date of the planned verification or the date of the re-entry
  • Enter previous stay(s) in the Schengen area – dates of all entries and exits from the territory of the Schengen area countries

We kindly inform you that once all the data are entered, the calculator automatically calculates how many days have been used up already (out of the available limit of 90 days of stay over every period of 180 days) and shows the result in the third field. Moreover, the calculator also automatically shows the earliest allowed date of re-entry to the territory of the Schengen area countries.

The address of the calculator: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/visa-calculator_en.

The above calculator also helps you see the allowed stay period for travelers who repeatedly cross the border while coming into or leaving the Schengen area within their allowed stay period.

 

3. Is it permissible to freely cross the border only on the basis of the voivode’s positive decision to grant a foreigner with a temporary or permanent residence permit in the territory of Poland (in the form of a printed paper) without the document in the form of a plastic card?

Source

NO. All third country citizens subject to the visa requirement who enter the territory of the Republic of Poland must possess a valid travel document and a valid visa or a stay card confirming their right to legal entry and stay in Poland.

Therefore, in principle, a stay decision is not a document that entitles you to enter the territory of the Republic of Poland.

At the same time it should be pointed out that in the case of extraordinary, random events that justify necessity of the re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland by the persons awaiting the issuance of their stay cards (if those persons have been previously granted with the next – positive – Voivode’s decision that entitled them to stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland) there is a possibility of re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland without a valid stay card or visa.

In this case entry would be possible on the basis of the voivode’s decision regarding the consent for the stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland that a foreigner must carry during border checks and a valid travel document (passport). It will be also necessary to inform the border guard about the random event that prevented prior collection of a stay card and explain it in detail during the border checks.

Please note that every time the decision about letting a foreigner in is made (on the basis of documents and applicable explanations shown by a foreigner), it is made by a border guard responsible for border checks

 

4. I got married and changed my surname. I will change my passport in my country of origin. Can I exit Poland on the basis of the current passport and a stay card with my maiden name?

Source

YES. In the described case there are no obstacles to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of the existing rules, that is, having a valid passport and a stay card with a maiden name despite changing a surname due to marriage.

Whereas for having a new passport issued with a husband’s surname, in the case of tre-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland a foreigner should carry the following documents during the border checks:

  • travel document (passport) with a new name;
  • valid stay card with a maiden name
  • official document (the marriage certificate) confirming the change of surname translated by a certified translator to Polish if you were married abroad

In addition, where possible, it is recommended to carry an old travel document with a previous name or its xerox copy during the border checks.

At the same time please note that according to the Art. 241 p. 1 of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners, when the data contained in the current card have changed, a stay card shall be changed as well.

 

5. Which countries’ citizens can travel to Poland without visas?

Source

One can acquaint themselves with the current list of countries whose citizens can travel to Poland without visas on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.msz.gov.pl/pl/informacje_konsularne/przyjazd_do_polski/lista_panstw/lista_panstw.

[Actually, you will find a much better list on the website of the Office for Foreigners (click!). This list distinguishes countries whose citizens can renew their 90 days period of visa-free traffic without waiting until the end of the 180 days period – Maciek Stopa]

 

6. Are minor foreigners allowed to travel on their own and cross the border?

Source

YES. Under-aged third country citizens crossing the border are subject to the same entry or exit border checks as adults.

The Border Guard shall pay particular attention to minors, no matter if they travel accompanied by adults or alone.

If the minors travel accompanied by adults the Border Guard checks if the persons accompanying a minor are their legal guardians, especially if minors are accompanied by only one adult and there are serious grounds for suspecting that they could be unlawfully carried away from their legal guardian or guardians. In this case the Border Guard shall also take the necessary steps to verify if the given information is not inconsistent or contradictory. In case of a minor travelling on their own who possesses their own passport and a valid visa or a stay card it is also recommended that a minor carries a notarized power of attorney of the parent/parents together with their contact details authorizing a minor to travel alone.

Before the planned journey of a minor it is also necessary to contact the carrier that will be responsible for transporting a child, because land and air carriers have their own detailed arrangements in this matter (for example low-cost airline companies in principle do not agree to let minors travel alone or accept them onboard.

 

7. Is it possible to revoke a ban on re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland?

Source

YES. Pursuant to the Art. 321 par. 1 of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners, the authority that has issued a decision on obliging the foreigner to return (that is, a Border Guard’s unit or facility captain) can, upon the foreigner’s request, revoke a ban referred to in the Art. 318 par. 1 (that is, a ban on re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland and other Schengen area countries). This can be done if a foreigner shows that he or she has fulfilled the responsibilities delineated by the decision obliging the foreigner to return (that is, that he or she has left the territory of the Republic of Poland).

Therefore, a foreigner shall apply to the authority that has issued the decision on obliging the foreigner to return, that is a Border Guard’s unit or facility captain, in the form of a written request for the revocation of the ban on re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland and other Schengen area countries.

It is necessary to indicate in the request a representative staying in the territory of Poland (together with their personal data and correspondence address), who will collect the official answer to this case on behalf of a foreigner and will pay the administrative fee for the power of attorney on a general basis in the amount of 17 PLN into the account of the competent office of the city/municipality/district with territorial responsibility for the authority that receives the authorization.

In the absence of a representative, the investigating authority shall call for submission of the power of attorney ex officio in due time together with the official information that in case of the failure to provide the authority with the required document by the deadline the application will not be further considered.

Please also note that the authority investigating the application for the revocation of a ban on re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland and other Schengen area countries individually evaluates circumstances and evidence in the case within the time limit laid down in the Code of Administrative Proceedings KPA.

In principle the ban won’t be revoked if:

  1. entry or stay of a foreigner in the territory of the Republic of Poland can be a threat to security or national interests;
  2. a foreigner has not paid the fee covering the costs of issuing and executing a decision on obliging the foreigner to return that he was required to pay (Art. 320 par. 2 of the Act on foreigners)

 

8. I have been added to the register of foreigners whose residence on the territory of Poland is undesirable or to the Schengen Information System for the purpose of the refusal of entry. How can I check how long I will be denied entry to Poland?

Source

In order to get information on the period of the appearance of the person’s data in the register of foreigners whose residence on the territory of Poland is undesirable or the Schengen Information System for the purpose of the refusal of entry one should apply with a written request to the head of The Office for Foreigners on the basis of Art. 444 par. 1 p. 1-3 of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners.

According to the Art. 444 par. 1 p. 1-3 of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners when data of a foreigner have been included to the register of foreigners whose residence on the territory of Poland is undesirable a foreigner has the right to apply to the head of the Office of Foreigners to:

  1. make available information about inclusion on the register or Schengen Information System for the purpose of the refusal of entry, validity period of the entry in the register, and legal and actual basis of the entry;
  2. correct the data when incomplete, outdated or false;
  3. remove the data when included or stored in a way that infringes upon the provisions

On the website of the Office for Foreigners there are detailed instructions on how to get information concerning data appearing in the register of foreigners whose residence on the territory of Poland is undesirable or the Schengen Information System for the purpose of the refusal of entry.

Register of foreigners, whose residence on the territory of Poland is undesirable

 

9. Can I cross the border on the basis of my Pole’s Card?

Source

NO. The Pole’s Card is only a document confirming belonging to the Polish Nation.

It doesn’t entitle its owner to freely cross the border without a visa, nor to settle in the territory of Poland.

Entry to the territory of Poland is possible only on the basis of a valid passport and a valid short-stay C-type visa, long-stay D-type visa or a stay card.

The above-mentioned D-type visa can be obtained by a Pole’s Card owner free of charge in a Polish consulate.

 

10. Can I go from Poland to Germany on the basis of my C-type Schengen visa?

Source

YES. The owner of the C-type Schengen visa (marked in the “type of visa” section with the letter: C) with “Schengen countries” in the “valid for” section is entitled to travel within the territory of all Schengen area countries.

The above fact results from the Art. 19 par. 1 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders according to which foreigners holding uniform visas (that is C-type Schengen visa) who legally entered the territory of the contracting party can stay and freely relocate themselves within the territory of the entire Schengen area for 90 days over the period of 180 days on the basis of the possessed visa (within the limits of its validity). One shall take into account the period of 180 days preceding every day of their stay if they fulfill the conditions of entry described in Art. 6 par. 1 a, c, d and e of the Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).

 

11. Can I go from Poland to Germany on the basis of my Polish D-type national visa?

Source

YES. The owner of the national D-type visa (marked in the “type of visa” section with the letter: D) with “POLAND” in the “valid for” section is also entitled to travel within the territory of other Schengen area countries.

The above-mentioned fact results from the Art. 21 par. 2a of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders according to which foreigners holding a valid long-term visa (that is in this case a Polish D-type national visa) issued by one of the member states can stay and freely relocate themselves on the basis of this document and a travel document (that is passport) in the territory of other Schengen member states for up to 90 days over the period of 180 days if they fulfill the conditions of entry described in Art. 6 par. 1 a, c, d and e of the Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).

 

12. Can I go to another Schengen country and then come back to Poland on the basis of a Polish D-type national visa issued for 1 entry only?

Source

NO. National visa D, in which in the section “number of entries” there is only “1” entry entitles a foreigner to enter Poland and stay continuously in the territory of the Republic of Poland  during the period indicated in the section “duration of stay”.

Within the stay in the territory of Poland, according to Art. 21 par. 2a of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders it is possible to entry another Schengen country.

However, after the departure to another Schengen country, for example Germany, re-entry to Poland won’t be possible, because in accordance to its designation the visa entitles its owners only for 1 entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland.

Therefore, the next entry to Poland should take effect on the basis of the next visa, because this visa entitled the foreigner only to 1 entry and continuous stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland, and crossing the border when arriving from Germany would break the rule of 1 entry in the territory of Poland.

 

13. Can I go from Poland to another Schengen country and then come back to Poland once again on the basis of my short-term C-type Schengen visa with a limited entry number (1 entry)?

Source

YES. The short-term C-type Schengen visa (marked in the “type of visa” section with the letter: C) in which in the section “number of entries” there is only “1” entry within the limits of its validity gives entitlement to entry and stay in the territory of Schengen area countries not exceeding 90 days in total over the period of 180 days.

That means that on the basis of a short-term C-type Schengen visa with a limited number of entries (1 entry) it is possible to cross the external border of the Schengen area countries while arriving (for example to Poland) only once, and then it is possible to relocate and stay in the territory of the remaining Schengen area countries as well. After the entry to another Schengen country it will be also possible to come back to the territory of the Republic of Poland and stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland during the period indicated in the “duration of stay” section.

 

14. Can I come and stay in the territory of Poland on the basis of a stay card issued by another Schengen area country?

Source

YES. According to the Art. 21 par. 1 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders foreigners holding a valid residence document (that is, a stay card issued in accordance to the unified pattern for residence documents) issued by one of the member states and a valid travel document (that is, a passport) can freely relocateto the territories of other member states for up to 90 days over the period of  180 days if they fulfill the conditions of entry described in Art. 6 par. 1 a, c, d and e of the Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).

Before entering another Schengen country on the basis of a stay card one should always check with the issuer if the document has been added by the issuing country to the special register of residence documents referred to in Art. 2 par. 16 of the Schengen Borders Code.

Yet only residence documents (that is, stay cards) issued in accordance to the unified pattern and included to the register entitle their owners to short-term stays in the territories of other Schengen area countries.

One can acquaint themselves with the current register of stay documents on the website: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/borders-and-visas/schengen/docs/handbook-annex_22_en.pdf

 

15. I am a citizen of the United States of America. How should I calculate the duration of my allowed stay in Poland?

Source

The issue of US citizens’ stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland has been regulated by an arrangement in the form of exchange of notes between the government of the Republic of Poland and the United States government concerning the visa waiver for US citizens from 04.04.1991.

According to the provisions of the above-mentioned arrangement visa requirements for US citizens travelling to Poland for no more than 90 days have been waived.

On the basis of the Ministry of Interior and Administration interpretation of the above-mentioned provisions accepted by the Board Guard, a US citizen can depart the territory of the Republic of Poland before the end of the 90 days stay period to another Schengen area country (if the stay of a US citizen in this country is legal) or to a third country. The mere fact of crossing the border of the Republic of Poland and staying for at least one day in the territory of another country is relevant. A US citizen can prove that they have departed Poland before the end of the 90 days period on the basis of a border control stamp when entering the country from outside the Schengen area (that is for example Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, etc), or having documents confirming that a foreigner was staying in the territory of another country when departing to the Schengen area country (for example inscribed hotel bill).

After re-entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland, a US citizen has the right to another stay for a period not exceeding 90 days. The next periods of stay are then counted separately and are not restricted to semi-annual or annual periods. There is also no limit for repetition of 90-days stay periods of US citizens in the territory of the Republic of Poland.

 

16. Which visas entitle a foreigner to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland?

Source

According to the Art. 87 par. 1 p. 12a of the Act of 29 April 2004 on employment promotion and labour market institutions a foreigner is entitled to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland if they have a work permit and stay in Poland on the basis of a visa, except for visas issued for:

  • tourism – number ’01’
  • using temporary protection – number ’20’
  • arrival for humanitarian reasons, due to interest of a state or international responsibilities – number ’21’

 

17. How can an employer hire a Ukrainian citizen?

Source

[I skipped this question because it deserves its own article or private consultations. If you wish to discuss hiring foreigners in Poland or performing work in Poland contact me at maciek@justaskpoland.com – Maciek Stopa]

 

18. Is a foreigner holding a visa issued for performing work on the basis of the declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner (number ’05’) allowed to work on the basis of a work permit?

Source

Yes, visas issued for purpose ’05’ entitle a foreigner to work on the basis of a work permit as well.

Visas issued by Poland for purposes other than:

  • tourism
  • using temporary protection
  • arrival for humanitarian reasons, due to interest of a state or international responsibilities

within the limits of their validity entitle one to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of a work permit, or in the case of citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova – on the basis of a declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner registered by a Powiatowy Urząd pracy (District Employment Office).

 

19. Is it required to change a temporary residence and work permit when changing an employer?

Source

If the conditions of working have been specified in the decision issued to a foreigner, changing an employer indicated in this permit makes it necessary to obtain a new temporary residence and work permit.

 

20. Is a foreigner allowed to work for the entire period indicated in the declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner if the indicated period exceeds the validity period of the visa on the basis of which the foreigner stays in the territory of the Republic of Poland?

Source

A foreigner working in the territory of the Republic of Poland shall have valid documents that entitle them to enter and stay in this territory and relevant documents that entitle a foreigner to work.

If the validity period of the visa/ the stay period indicated in a visa has expired, a foreigner cannot work in the territory of the Republic of Poland despite having a valid declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner

 

21. Is a foreigner allowed to start working later than on the day indicated in the declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner?

Source

A foreigner can arrive to Poland in order to start working on the basis of the declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner and a valid visa if a job offer is still valid.

Accordingly, a foreigner should first contact an employer who issued a declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner in order to confirm that they still wish to employ him. Only then can a foreigner take the next steps intended to arrive to Poland.

 

22. Is a foreigner allowed to work while waiting for a temporary residence and work permit after the end of the validity period of the declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner?

Source

While waiting for a temporary residence and work permit, a foreigner cannot work after the end of the validity period of the declaration of the intention to entrust a job to a foreigner.

However, since a contract with an employer confirming the continuity of employment is required for the sake of the above-mentioned permit, it is possible to grant a foreigner with an unpaid leave.

 

23. Is a foreigner allowed to continue working while waiting for the voivode’s decision on the basis of a stamp in a passport confirming submission of the application if he or she has applied for the prolongation of the temporary residence permit on the basis of work for the same employer and in the same position?

Source

If a foreigner has applied for a residence permit referred to in the Art. 114 p. 1 of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners (that is a temporary residence and work permit) in order to continue their work for the same employer in the same position (and this fact has been confirmed by the voivode’s stamp in the passport) then according to the Art. 88g par. 1b in conjunction with the Art. 88g par. 1a of the Act of 29 April 2004 on employment promotion and labour market institutions their work in the territory of the Republic of Poland will be considered legal from the day of the submission of the application to the day when a decision in this case becomes final.

 

More useful content

You will find more useful content in the Visa to Poland section.

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