Numerous changes to the law came into effect on the 1 January 2018 or will be implemented soon. Among other things, Polish lawmakers allowed all foreigners to automatically obtain their PESEL numbers while registering their addresses of residence. This article is no longer up-to-date. Work is ongoing to update and rebuild the blog by the end of January.

 

Many of the problems which expats face in Poland cannot be avoided, but quite a few of them result only from the lack of imagination of Polish lawmakers. In my opinion a PESEL number issue is one of the most bizarre and incomprehensible problems that should never happen. We’ve spent a long time looking for a way to get PESEL numbers for children from non-EU countries and, thanks to Jullie Giovanna, we finally got it.

 

What a PESEL number is and why you need it

PESEL is an 11-digit number, in principle issued once for life. Those who have it use it for various purposes, such as for personal income tax identification, to register a car, open a bank account, take out a loan, submit forms in the state offices, register a domain for a website, or even obtain power of attorney in order to collect someone else’s registered letters at the post office.

Most importantly, Poles use their PESEL for identification in the NFZ (Polish National Health Fund) databases that are checked in order to verify that your insurance is valid every time you go to a public doctor.

 

Most foreigners have problems obtaining a PESEL

Before 2015 all foreigners could obtain their PESEL numbers the same way as Polish citizens. Unfortunately the rules have changed. Although EU citizens still have no problems obtaining their PESEL numbers, it’s more complicated for people from non-EU countries. There are several exceptions for non-EU expats who have:

  • permanent residency
  • long-term EU residency
  • Pole’s card
  • card of the family member of an EU citizen
  • refugee status
  • subsidiary protection
  • asylum
  • permit for tolerated stay
  • temporary protection
  • authorization to stay for humanitarian reasons
  • who are spouses or children younger than 21 y.o. of a refugee status or subsidiary protection holder
  • who are children older than 21 y.o. or parents of a refugee status or subsidiary protection holder if they’re financially dependent on him/her or his/her spouse

But if you’re a citizen of a non-EU country and none of those conditions apply to you, you won’t obtain a PESEL automatically.

 

Is it possible to survive without a PESEL?

Although the lawmakers changed the rules of issuing PESEL numbers, they didn’t manage to successfully change the system of personal identification. In practice the percentage of people who don’t have their PESEL numbers is so small that although theoretically you shouldn’t feel any inconvenience due to not having your PESEL number, your life would be much easier with it.

For example you may have problems with some banks which still require PESEL numbers to open accounts (check more here). Also, you will have to explain your situation numerous times to various clerks and companies when they ask you for your PESEL number for insurance, service, purchase of a product, or an administrative procedure. You will also need some alternative number for tax identification, so you will have to apply for a NIP (NIP number for foreigners).

Among all the problems you’re going to have the biggest one will be using the public health care system. Since you cannot be put in the NFZ database, medical facilities won’t be able to check if your insurance is valid. For every visit to the hospital or doctor you will have to bring the ZUS ZUA sheet to confirm that you’ve been admitted to the public health care system, together with ZUS ZCNA to confirm that the insurance also covers your children and spouse, and also with the most recent ZUS RMUA report to confirm payment of health insurance for the previous month.

That’s why although it’s possible to live without a PESEL, people desperately look for a way to obtain it.

 

Non-EU foreigners have to prove that they must have a PESEL

Even when you’re not allowed to obtain a PESEL ex officio like Polish or EU citizens do, you will still get one if you prove that you need it for some reason. It’s not that easy though, because you need to provide the office with the legal provision that says that you must have a PESEL number for some particular purpose.

Many legal acts which used to require PESEL numbers for identification have been modified since 2015, so they now alternatively accept birth dates or passport numbers in place of PESEL numbers. There are only a few situations which don’t accept any alternative for PESEL numbers. One of them regulates the system called ePUAP. This is an online system used for communication with some administrative bodies and public institutions in Poland. Every user of it must have a PESEL and foreigners have the right to use it. You can read more about it here.

 

How you can get a PESEL for your child

In many cases it’s easy to obtain a PESEL when a child is born on the territory of Poland, but usually children relocate to Poland together with their parents. What can be done in a situation like this?

Minors are not allowed to register for ePUAP. I was contacted by several parents frustrated by the fact that they could get PESEL themselves but knew no way to obtain it for their children. We’ve spent months looking for any legal basis that could work for children and then Jullie Giovanna showed up and solved our problems. She told me about two legal provisions to use. We’ve tested them with four different readers and now we can spread the good news – there is a legal basis to obtain a PESEL for children.

 

Legal basis depends on the age of your child

Younger children

If your child is 3 years old or younger, please use the following legal basis:

Art. 3a ustawy z dnia 4 lutego 2011 r. o opiece na dziećmi w wieku do 3 lat  (Dz. U z 2016 poz. 157 ze zm.)

Among other things it says:

Rodzic ubiegający się o objęcie dziecka opieką w żłobku lub klubie dziecięcym albo przez dziennego opiekuna przedstawia, w formie oświadczenia lub zaświadczenia, następujące dane: (…) imię, nazwisko, datę urodzenia oraz numer PESEL dziecka (…)” – Parent who applies for taking custody of their child at the nursery or in the kids club or by a caretaker shall present the following data in the form of the statement or certificate: (…) first name, surname, birth date and a PESEL number of the child (…).

 

As I said, we tested this legal basis with four parents. In three cases it worked without any problems. The fourth parent, however, was told by a clerk that they can apply for a nursery for their child without having a PESEL number. This is not true. After 2015 almost all legal acts which used to require the PESEL number have been changed and were given alternatives, but this legal provision is different and mentions only a PESEL number.

If a similar situation happens to you, insist on submitting the form anyway in order to force the office to issue a written decision. It’s crucial because then the lawyer will be able to address this decision if you decide to use legal assistance.

 

Older children

For older children write:

Art. 92k ust. 2 pkt 2 ustawy z dnia 7 września 1991 r. o systemie oświaty  (Dz.U. z 2017 poz. 2198 ze zm.)

This legal provision describes rules for organizing recreation for school-age children, for example field trips or camps. It says that the organizer of the trip is required to create a qualification card containing – among other things – some key data about the child participating. One of the pieces of data included to this card must be the child’s PESEL number which confirms the child’s valid health insurance. Again, there is no alternative for it here.

One of the parents who helped me test those legal provisions was told that their child was too young to go on school trips. If such a situation happens to you, please insist on submitting the request anyway in order to force the office to issue a written decision that you will then show to a lawyer.

 

How to obtain a PESEL

How to fill out the form

If you need to apply for a PESEL number, first fill out this form.

Print it out and let’s deal with it together.

Legal basis for a PESEL number: instructions for completion in three steps

Legal basis for a PESEL number: instructions for completion in three steps

Wniosek o nadanie numeru PESELThe application for a PESEL number

Instrukcja wypełniania w trzech krokachInstructions for completion in three steps

  1. Fill out the form with CAPITAL LETTER
  2. Use one of the given symbols in order to check options
  3. Fill the form out with black or blue coloured ink

 

1

Legal basis for a PESEL number: the applicant

Legal basis for a PESEL number: the applicant

WnioskodawcaThe applicant – Fill out this part using the data of the parent who will sign the form

  • ImięFirst name
  • NazwiskoSurname
  • Adres do korespondencji…Your mailing address
    • UlicaStreet
    • Number domuHouse number
    • Numer lokaluFlat number
    • Kod pocztowyPost code
    • Miejscowość City

 

2

Legal basis for a PESEL number: data of the person concerned

Legal basis for a PESEL number: data of the person concerned

Dane osoby, której dotyczy wniosekData of the person concerned – Fill it out with your child’s data

  • ImięFirst name
  • Imię drugieMiddle name
  • Imiona kolejneOther names
  • NazwiskoSurname
  • PłećSex
    • kobietafemale
    • mężczyznamale
  • Data urodzeniaDate of birth (dd-mm-yyyy)
  • Kraj urodzeniaCountry of birth
  • Kraj miejsca zamieszkaniaCountry of residence
Legal basis for a PESEL number: the most recent passport of a Polish citizen

Legal basis for a PESEL number: the most recent passport of a Polish citizen

  • Obywatelstwo lub status bezpaństwowcaCitizenship or the status of stateless persons
    • polskiePolish
    • bezpaństwowiecstateless person
    • inneother
  • Ostatnio wydany paszport obywatela polskiegoThe most recent passport of a Polish citizen (skip it)
  • Dokument podróży cudzoziemca lub inny dokument potwierdzający tożsamość i obywatelstwoTravel document of a foreigner or other document confirming identity and citizenship
    • Seria i numerSeries and number
    • Data ważności dokumentuExpiration date of the document (dd-mm-yyyy)

 

3

Legal basis for a PESEL number: extra data of the person concerned, and data of their parents

Legal basis for a PESEL number: extra data of the person concerned, and data of their parents

Dodatkowe dane osoby, której wniosek dotyczy, oraz dane jej rodzicówExtra data of the person concerned, and data of their parents

Wypełnij, jeżeli dane są dostępne i wynikają z przedstawionych dokumentówFill it out, if data are available and are confirmed in the documents

I was told in Krakow that foreigners can skip point 3 of the form because it’s included for Polish citizens. I cannot guarantee that it will be like that in all cities though, so I’ve included translations for this part as well. If clerks ask you to fill out this part, you will be able to do so.

As for now skip it and go to point 4 of the form.

  • Nazwisko rodoweFamily name
  • Miejsce urodzenia (nazwa miejscowości)Place of birth (name of the locality, for example city)
  • Oznaczenie aktu urodzeniaNumber of the birth certificate
  • Oznaczenie urzędu stanu cywilnego, w którym został sporządzony akt urodzeniaIdentification of the registry office where the birth certificate was issued
  • Imię ojca (pierwsze)Father’s first name
  • Nazwisko rodowe ojcaFather’s family name
  • Imię matki (pierwsze)Mother’s first name
  • Nazwisko rodowe matkiMother’s family name
Legal basis for a PESEL number: the most recent ID card of a Polish citizen

Legal basis for a PESEL number: the most recent ID card of a Polish citizen

Ostatnio wydany dowód osobisty obywatela polskiegoThe most recent ID card of a Polish citizen

Skip it.

 

4

Legal basis for a PESEL number: marital status of the person concerned

Legal basis for a PESEL number: marital status of the person concerned

Dane o stanie cywilnym osoby, której wniosek dotyczyMarital status of the person concerned

Wypełnij, jeżeli dane są dostępne i wynikają z przedstawionych dokumentówFill it out, if data are available and are confirmed in the documents

  • Stan cywilnyMarital status
    • kawaler/pannaunmarried
    • żonaty/zamężnamarried
      • Then if you checked żonaty/zamężna you should fill out the next part. Otherwise skip it.
        • Imię małżonkaSpouse’s first name
        • Nazwisko rodowe małżonkaSpouse’s family name
        • Numer PESEL małżonkaSpouse’s PESEL number (only when issued)
    • rozwiedziony/rozwiedzionadivorced
    • wdowiec/wdowawidowed

 

5

Legal basis for a PESEL number: the last event affecting your marriage

Legal basis for a PESEL number: the last event affecting your marriage

Ostatnie zdarzenie mające wpływ na małżeństwoThe last event affecting your marriage

Wypełnij, jeśli osoba, której dotyczy wniosek, kiedykolwiek zawarła związek małżeński. Zaznacz tylko jedno, najbardziej aktualne zdarzenie i uzupełnij pozostałe pola – Fill it out only when the person concerned has ever entered into matrimony. Choose only one, the most recent event, and leave the remaining fields empty

Again – in Krakow you’re not required to fill this part out, but I’ve included translations just in case. As for now skip point 5 and go straight to point 6.

  • ZdarzenieEvent
    • zawarcie związku małżeńskiegoact of marriage
    • rozwiązanie związku małżeńskiegodissolution of marriage ties
    • unieważnienie związku małżeńskiegodeclaration of invalidity of marriage
    • zgon małżonka (zaznacz, jeśli znasz datę zgonu)spouse’s death (check it only if you know the exact date of death)
    • zgon małżonka – znalezienie zwłok (zaznacz, jeśli małżonek zmarł, ale znasz jedynie datę znalezienia ciała)spouse’s death – finding the body (check it, if your spouse has died, but you know only the date of finding their body)
    • Data zdarzeniaDate of the event (dd-mm-yyyy)

Oznaczenie aktu małżeństwa albo sygnatura akt sądu, który rozwiązał/unieważnił małżeństwo, albo numer aktu zgonu małżonka – Number of the marriage’s certificate, or a file reference of a court that dissolved/annulled the marriage, or the number of the spouse’s death certificate

Oznaczenie urzędu stanu cywilnego, w którym sporządzono akt małżeństwa albo akt zgonu, albo oznaczenie sądu, który rozwiązał/unieważnił małżeństwo – Identification of the registry office where the marriage certificate or death certificate was issued,  or the court that declared annulment.

 

6

Here you choose how you want to be notified when your PESEL number has been issued

  • papierowapaper
  • elektronicznaonline

Choose “papierowa” option. They’ll simply give you a written confirmation within 15 minutes after you submit a form for a PESEL number. At least in Krakow it works like that.

 

7

Legal basis that entitles you to obtain a PESEL number

Legal basis that entitles you to obtain a PESEL number

Podstawa prawna upoważniająca do otrzymania numeru PESEL – wskazanie przepisu, z którego wynika obowiązek posiadania numeru PESELLegal basis that entitles you to obtain a PESEL number – indication of the legal provision which shows that you must have a PESEL number

Use one of the provisions from this article.

 

8

Legal basis for a PESEL number: signatures

Legal basis for a PESEL number: signatures

PodpisySignatures

MiejscowośćCity

DataDate (dd-mm-yyyy)

Własnoręczny podpis wnioskodawcyThe handwritten signature of the applicant

 

Go to the office

With the form in hand go to the office where you’ve registered yours and your child’s address of residence (zameldowanie). Most of my readers live in big cities, so they should go to their city hall. Usually city halls have branches dedicated to particular parts and districts in the city.

If you haven’t registered your child’s address of residence yet, please give the clerk both forms – for a PESEL and for zameldowanie – at the same time.

The PESEL should be issued in 15 minutes for no cost.

 

 

Read more

Living in Poland Category

NIP number

Legal basis for a PESEL number for ePUAP users

Registration of the address of residence in Krakow

 

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