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. Due to that it is no longer needed to apply for a NIP number. Some information contained in this article may be no longer up-to-date. Work is ongoing to update and rebuild the blog by the end of January.


I’ve got no official statistics on this, but I would guess that out of all the duties and registrations foreign residents forget about the zameldowanie most frequently. So what is this zameldowanie for foreigners all about? And how do residents in Kraków complete it? Let’s start with some general knowledge and then we’ll go through the application process in Kraków step-by-step.


Zameldowanie = registration for a place of living

Each person in Poland must register their address of residence. This type of registration is called “zameldowanie” in Polish. Don’t confuse this one with the other registration that you submit to the Voivodeship’s office to legalize your stay. To complete zameldowanie you go to the municipality office instead of the voivodeship’s office. This type of registration is also always free, only the official confirmation costs 17 zł.

Anytime you come to Poland intending to stay longer than 14 days you should complete zameldowanie tymczasowe – temporary registration for a place of living. Remember to update your registration status when you move to a new flat, even within the same city.


According to the law: non-EU citizens should complete zameldowanie within 4 days after they move in a new flat. EU/EEA citizens have up to 30 days.

In practice it takes much more time. And in many cases it’s the system’s fault. For example, the office will refuse to register your address if your tenancy contract will only be valid for less than three months from the date of application.


In the past, failure to comply with the obligation of zameldowanie could lead to financial punishment. Right now these rules are no longer current – there are no penalties if you don’t complete zameldowanie. But it could be an obstacle in some other procedures.


Register your address in Poland: what do you need zameldowanie for?

Here are two examples of procedures that require that you have your zameldowanie completed:

  • the application for a stay card in the Voivodeship’s office (only if you’re a non-EU citizen)
  • a PESEL


Let’s start with a stay card

Voivodeship offices interpret rules and requirements differently, so first go to the website of your office to check if the zameldowanie confirmation is obligatory. In some situations a tenancy contract is enough.


What about a PESEL?

As I wrote in another article that should help you a lot („What to do upon arrival in Poland?”), there are two numbers used for identification in Poland: a PESEL and a NIP.

Until two years ago all foreigners in Poland used a PESEL number for taxes, for insurance, and for identification. A NIP number was only for entrepreneurs. Since the reform in 2015 it’s still very easy for EU-citizens to obtain a PESEL number, but most non-EU residents find it difficult to get one. The reform is widely considered to be useless and unfair, but it happened.

So right now all EU-citizens and their family members obtain a PESEL number the same way as they used to. Non-EU citizens have three options:

  1. To have no number. It’s possible for people who don’t work, because when you’re employed, your employer must be paying personal income tax (PIT) contributions for you, so you need a number for taxes.
  2. To apply for a NIP in a tax office. Learn more here: NIP for foreigners.
  3. To take some extra steps and apply for a PESEL in the municipality office. Lean more about this case here.


So why do you need a zameldowanie to get a PESEL?

Most of the time the same office is responsible for both procedures. When you’re an EU citizen you’ll get your PESEL number from a clerk who will complete your zameldowanie – same day, automatically, in no time, for free. When you’re a non-EU citizen and you want to obtain a PESEL anyway, you submit the special form to the department in which you completed your zameldowanie.

To sum it up: zameldowanie could be important when applying for a stay card and it is crucial when you wish to have a PESEL number.


Where to register your address in Poland

Generally you complete zameldowanie in a so-called urząd gminy – a municipality office.

When you live in a city, your urząd gminy is called urząd miasta. This institution is led by the city authorities. One of their duties is to keep track of who lives where. The department of the municipality office responsible for those registrations in Kraków is called Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych.

When the city is big, there could be more departments responsible for zameldowanie for different parts of the city. Like in Kraków, where there are 18 city districts and 3 different offices. You need to find the office responsible for your district. If you go to the wrong one they’ll refuse to register you, because they won’t have right stamps for your district.

  1. Districts 1-7 go to the building of the urząd miasta at aleja Powstania Warszawskiego 10
  2. For districts 8-13 there is an urząd miasta department at ulica Wielicka 28a
  3. People from districts 14-18 go to the building at Osiedle Zgody 2

You could also go to one of the points in shopping centers, but you will wait longer in a queue:

  • Galeria Bronowice, store number 157, Monday-Saturday 10:00-18:00
  • Galeria Bonarka, 1st floor, G26, Monday-Saturday 10:00-18:00

I talked about that with the clerks of urząd miasta and they told me that they prefer you going to one of three regular offices, where it’ll be easier to register you.


That means that you should find the number of your district. How do you do that?

Go to the website, type in your address with the name of the city and click on “Szukaj” = “Search”.

After few seconds of waiting, click on “Kliknij aby pokazać wyniki wyszukiwania” which means something like “Click here for a search result”.


And in this example we now know that our district is called Stare Miasto.

When you register your address in Poland, first you need to find your city district

Register your address in Poland: results


What number could it be? Check it out here:


1 Stare Miasto
2 Grzegórzki
3 Prądnik Czerwony
4 Prądnik Biały
5 Krowodrza
6 Bronowice
7 Zwierzyniec
8 Dębniki
9 Łagiewniki-Borek Fałęcki
10 Swoszowice
11 Podgórze Duchackie
12 Bieżanów-Prokocim
13 Podgórze
14 Czyżyny
15 Mistrzejowice
16 Bieńczyce
17 Wzgórza Krzesławickie
18 Nowa Huta


Register your address in Poland: documents

non-EU citizen
  • form (check out the next point)
  • tenancy contract that’s valid longer than 3 months after the date of application (contact me if you don’t have a tenancy contract)
  • passport
  • visa or a stay card

If you’re a non-EU citizen who came to Poland on the basis of a visa-free movement and you’re still waiting for your stay card from the Voivodeship’s office (so basically you have neither a visa, nor a stay card) you still can complete zameldowanie. On the basis of a stamp in your passport from the Voivodeship’s office you’ll obtain zameldowanie that’s valid for 3 months.


EU/EEA citizens
  • form
  • tenancy contract that’s valid longer than 3 months after the date of application (contact me if you don’t have a tenancy contract)
  • passport
  • ZR: this document that you got from the Voivodeship’s office when you registered there

If a non-EU citizen is married to an EU citizen, he or she takes the card of an EU citizen’s family member. With this card the procedure is exactly like in case of an EU citizen, including automatic registration of a new PESEL number for the foreign resident.

In Kraków you only need to bring original documents to urząd miasta, and then they make xerox copies on-site, on their own. That’s a nice difference between them and the Voivodeship’s office and a tax office.


Register your address in Poland: how to fill out the form

The form is written in Polish and in English. You will find it easily in the urząd miasta, but the form is also available online here.

There are only a few problematic parts of the form.

  • Point 7 is for the “address of the place of permanent residence” – if you haven’t registered for permanent residence then skip it. It’s for Polish citizens and permanent residents.
  • In point 8 they ask for the “address of the previous place of temporary residence”. If it’s your first zameldowanie, just skip it.
  • Point 9: “Address of the new place of temporary residence”: here you put the address of your flat.
  • Point 10: “Period of intended stay” – the period should begin on the day when you submit the documents for zameldowanie, and finish on the last day of your legal stay in the flat. It will be either the final day of your tenancy contract, or the last day of your current visa/residence permit’s validity period. It depends on which one of those two dates comes first.
  • [edit 05.08.2017]: If you have a tenancy contract skip the part with the statement: “I hereby confirm that the above-mentioned person stays at the address provided” signed by a a person who holds a legal title of the flat. It’s used only when people don’t have contracts confirming their right to rent a flat. When you have a contract you don’t have to notify your landlord about the zameldowanie procedure at all.

A clerk will ask you if you wish to obtain a confirmation of zameldowanie. You would need to pay 17 zł for that. The confirmation could be useful for non-EU citizens.


As you may see it’s not a problem to complete zameldowanie. Personally I consider Urząd Miasta as my second favourite office in Kraków – there are no queues, clerks are kind and helpful, there is no stress, finally the procedure itself is really easy. Actually it could be a good idea to go there just to take a rest after the crowded and stressful Voivodeship’s office. It really works! 🙂



You can find more useful articles in the Just After Moving to Poland section.



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