Safeguarding your application: preventing residence card fraud.

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For many foreigners staying in Poland, obtaining a residence card is an important step in the legalization process. Whatever the reason – work, study, family reunification or other circumstances – filing can be done either in person or with the help of intermediaries.

According to statistics, about 50% of foreigners in Poland prefer to seek mediation assistance. There are several reasons to explain this phenomenon, but most often it is due to insufficient language skills and lack of understanding of local legislation. It is perfectly legal to use intermediaries, but there can be serious risks and problems in applying for a residence card.

Is it possible to apply for a residence card in Poland with the help of an intermediary?

In Poland, it is allowed to apply for a residence card through an intermediary using a power of attorney. Although there may not be a precise article that explicitly mentions it, each ground for obtaining a visit card is described in the relevant section of the legislation. Despite this, there are several factors that support the use of an intermediary:

  1. No prohibition: The legislation does not specify a restriction on the use of an intermediary to apply for a residence card.
  2. Power of Attorney: The list of required documents for filing by proxy always includes the requirement for a power of attorney.

It is important to note that these parameters apply to any case of issuing a residence card, and although the documents may differ in each specific situation, the requirements for intermediaries remain the same.

Responsible person

By default, full responsibility for submitting documents, paying the state fee, providing the necessary information, familiarizing with the decision and receiving the ready plastic card lies on the applicant – a foreigner who seeks to obtain a residence card (or on his parent/guardian, if it is a minor child).

The mediator obtains this authority in part or in full through a power of attorney. However, this is where the complexities and risks can arise, which we will discuss next. The main thing to understand is that without a power of attorney, all actions related to obtaining the card are the responsibility of the foreigner.

Who can be an intermediary when applying for a residence card?

According to §1, Article 33 of the Polish Code of Administrative Procedure (Kodeks postępowania administracyjnego), any legally capable natural person may act as a proxy.

The provisions of the Polish Civil Code (Articles 95-109 Kodeks cywilnego) do not limit the possibility of granting a power of attorney to natural persons. This means that a power of attorney can be executed for either an individual or a legal entity.

Can an employer act as an intermediary?

It is important to pay special attention to situations where the employer offers to take over the issuance of a residence card for the employee, whether as a natural or legal person. In these cases, problems can arise that are worth elaborating on.

One of the common situations is when the employer assures the employee that he will take care of all the formalities for registration of residence permit. An inexperienced employee may trust the word of a supervisor, but eventually it turns out that the employer either forgot to file the paperwork or didn’t file it at all.

The first step a foreign worker who has delegated the card process to an employer should take is to make sure that a power of attorney has been issued. As previously noted, an employer cannot represent another person without an executed power of attorney. If the power of attorney has not been executed, it could be fraudulent or a serious mistake, which in turn could lead to problems in obtaining a residence card.

What can’t I sign a power of attorney for when applying for a residence card?

Despite the existence of an executed power of attorney, there are certain processes that can only be performed by the foreigner himself. While these processes may be obvious, let’s list them:

  1. Submission of a photograph: The authorized person may submit a photograph, but the photograph (taken in accordance with certain rules) must depict the foreigner.
  2. Fingerprinting: The foreigner must be fingerprinted.

In addition, the Office of the Township Superintendent has the right to summon the applicant for an interview or other procedures. If it is specified that the alien’s personal presence is required, a proxy cannot substitute for the alien.

There is also an issue related to the execution of some documents confirming the grounds for obtaining a residence permit. For example, for a work card, the employer must complete and submit Attachment #1 to the application. This document must be executed by the employer himself or his authorized representative, not by the foreigner.

Advantages of filing through an intermediary

There are several advantages to filing through an intermediary that depend largely on the type of attorney. However, when discussing the merits, it should be understood that we are not talking about all situations, but those where the intermediary is an experienced person or company:

  1. Receipt of mail: The Trustee shall act as the recipient of letters from the Township Office. This is especially useful if you have limited language skills and if you change your place of residence, as you don’t have to worry about receiving letters at your address.
  2. Correct execution of the application and the package of documents: A mediator, with experience, knows how to properly execute all documents, which will help avoid mistakes.
  3. Experience in immigration law and up-to-date information: The mediator is experienced in immigration law and keeps abreast of changes in the law. It also has the latest and most up-to-date information on accommodation and employment.
  4. Speeding up the process: Due to the large number of applications submitted, the review does not always take place within the expected timeframe. The mediator follows the case from filing to receiving a decision (decisión).

It’s worth noting that the final point is relative, as the process of tracking and finalizing a case can have its own challenges, which we’ll discuss next.

Problems of filing through an intermediary and how to deal with them

The quality of the mediator and his intentions play a crucial role not only in the advantages but also in the disadvantages of mediation. Let’s look at some common situations.

Amount of authorization

As mentioned above, one of the reasons for going to a mediator is lack of language skills. This problem can also arise when signing a contract with a mediator.

Mediation services may cover the entire process (except for steps to be performed by the alien himself), or may be limited to individual services only. Sometimes the intermediary is only engaged in registering the time of visit to the office of the agency, while all other tasks are assigned to the applicant for residence permit status.

However, a poor quality mediator or a mediator with questionable intentions can lead to the following disadvantages:

  1. Limited access to information: If the intermediary does not have sufficient knowledge and experience, they may not be able to provide complete and accurate information about the requirements, process and opportunities for obtaining a residence permit. This can lead to misunderstandings and filing errors.
  2. Lack of control: If the mediator does not provide a full range of services, some important steps may be left outside of his or her responsibility. This means that the applicant will have to figure out these issues on their own, which can be complicated and make it difficult to obtain a residence permit.
  3. Additional costs: Some intermediaries may charge high fees for their services and may also include hidden commissions and costs. This can increase the overall cost of the process and can be a disadvantage to the applicant
  4. Poor quality of services: If the mediator is not competent or does not care about its reputation, the quality of its services may be low. This can manifest itself in inadequate preparation of documents, lack of support and advice, and failure to meet deadlines and commitments.
  5. Loss of control over the process: Dependence on the intermediary can lead to the job seeker becoming a passive participant in the process. If the intermediary does not fulfill his/her duties properly, the applicant may find himself/herself without the necessary information and assistance, as well as without control over the process of obtaining a residence permit.
  6. Failure to meet expectations: Sometimes mediators can create inflated expectations or promises that they cannot fulfill. This can lead to frustration and loss of trust in the mediator.

Overall, the quality of the mediation and its intentions play an important role in determining the advantages and disadvantages of the process. It is therefore necessary to choose the intermediary carefully, research their reputation, verify their qualifications and experience, and consult reliable and trusted sources of information for reliable advice and support.


Often, the contract includes the filing phase and the associated fees for these services. However, the contract may not contain an obligation to track the fate of the filed documents and bring the case to completion.

As a result, unscrupulous intermediaries may accept payment from a foreigner for filing and then forget about the process. Getting information from them can be a challenge, and sometimes they stop responding to inquiries altogether.

Therefore, it is important to be careful when entering into a contract with an intermediary and to make sure that he undertakes not only to submit documents, but also to ensure proper tracking and support of the process of obtaining a residence permit. If these commitments are missing, it can be a disadvantage in mediation and can lead to problems and unsatisfactory results.

To avoid such situations, it is recommended to choose intermediaries with a good reputation and proven experience, as well as to consult with other clients and evaluate reviews about them. It is also helpful to discuss in the contract the details of process support, including requirements for keeping informed of case progress and availability to respond to client inquiries.

Unfair service provision: deliberate deception of clients

Intermediaries acting in bad faith sometimes deliberately deceive clients. They may accept payment for filing, but then willfully ignore the process and stop responding to customer inquiries. This creates serious challenges and makes it difficult to get the information and support you need.

Therefore, it is very important to be careful when choosing an intermediary and to ensure that the contract clearly states the obligations of the intermediary to track the status of submitted documents and to support the client at all stages of the residence permit process. This will help to avoid deliberate deception and ensure reliability and accountability on the part of the intermediary.

This is also a problem mostly suffered by unscrupulous employers. They promise foreigners the issuance of a residence card, but do not actually take the necessary steps. The essence of the deception is to make the foreigner continue working until the expiry of his legal stay in Poland and then fire him because of the expiry of this period (it is worth noting that it is the employer’s responsibility to check the legality of his stay in the country).

Additional deception is also possible, for example in relation to the last paycheck. Foreigners who overstay are likely to be deported with a ban on entry to Poland, and it is not always easy to resolve issues related to wage payments from abroad.

How do I draw up a power of attorney for obtaining a residence card?

This material discusses in detail the procedure for executing a power of attorney. Here just a reminder that it requires an official written registration, which is subject to a stamp duty of 17 zloty.

Stamp duty is not charged if the principal’s attorney is his/her spouse, siblings, ascendant, i.e. parents, grandparents, or descendant, i.e. children, grandchildren, or certified by a notary public or other authorized body.

It is better to obtain the power of attorney form directly from the voivodeship office in the place of residence, as it may contain local parameters already entered.

How do I opt out of the middleman?

If your engagement with the mediator is going negatively and you are unable to obtain information about the status of your case, there are a number of actions you can take, depending on your particular circumstances.

If you did not sign a power of attorney

If you did not sign a power of attorney: In this case, as mentioned earlier, it may be due to your employer filing on your behalf but without executing a power of attorney. In fact, the institution of migration service is sure that they handle the cases of foreigners personally.

If you are unable to obtain information from your employer, you can inform the local voivodeship office of your change of residence address and provide your actual address. Since you are a responsible person from the point of view of the migration service, all further correspondence will be sent to your new address.

However, it is also advisable to contact legal or migration counselors for further assistance and advice on your specific situation.

Details on how to notify the Township (including a form for reporting) can be found in this article.

If the power of attorney was executed

If a power of attorney for representation has been executed, it can be revoked. For this purpose, a separate message (odwolaniye) is sent to the uchond.

Once the document has been handed over, the foreigner himself or another representative becomes the responsible person, if a new power of attorney has been issued for him.

It is important to note that revoking a power of attorney and terminating a contract are two different procedures. It is advisable to carefully read the text of the contract (and, if necessary, consult a lawyer) to clarify the terms of its termination. This may not be necessary in certain cases, especially if the intermediary has fulfilled all of its obligations under the contract.

Can I get a refund for mediation services?

If the intermediary fails to comply with the terms of the contract, the intermediary is obliged to return the funds. You can demand their return through negotiation, by sending a demand for a refund, or by filing a lawsuit in court.

However, if, according to the signed contract, the intermediary has fulfilled all his duties, for example, if the foreigner signed the contract on unfavorable terms, it may be difficult to recover the funds.

In such situations, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer or legal professional to assess your rights and refund options. Each case requires a case-by-case approach and legal evaluation of the contract and the mediator’s actions.

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