A residence card – what is it?

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For some foreigners, Poland has become practically a home country. People work here for years, their children attend local schools and universities, and many plan to stay permanently. Others are only planning to go to work in Poland for the first time and to experience the level of European life. At the same time, almost everyone wants to have a residence card (karta pobyty), residence permit, permanent residence permit, and with them all the benefits. So, let’s go into more detail on the issues of the residence card and everything that goes with it.

What is a residence card?

This document confirms the special status of a foreign citizen in Poland, allowing him/her to stay in the country longer than on a visa. A residence permit allows you to freely cross the Polish border without restrictions, as well as to work and study without the need for additional permits.

Temporary residence card (Zezwolenie na pobyt czasowy). This document is issued for up to three years and is based on official documents indicating the reason for the stay. This could be a long employment contract, studies at a local university, research activities or extended language courses. Other options may also be available, so it is recommended that you look into this in more detail if you are interested in this particular type of card.

The list of grounds for issuing a temporary residence permit (Hourly Residence Card) is quite long:

  • Work and accommodation
  • Entrepreneurial activity
  • Family reunion
  • Training
  • Scientific activity
  • You have a highly skilled profession


Many people working in Poland seek to obtain a residence card because of certain advantages:

  1. Visa-free border crossing to Poland without restrictions.
  2. No need to extend the visa.
  3. The right to stay in Schengen countries for up to 3 months without additional visas.
  4. Possibility to apply for visas to the USA and UK while in Poland.
  5. Acquisition of real estate in one’s own name.
  6. The right to purchase and register the vehicle for yourself.
  7. Legal employment for students.
  8. 37% off trains.
  9. Opportunity to start and run a private business.

The pobytu card actually grants foreign nationals a permanent residence and work permit in Poland. Here are some of the benefits and added bonuses:

  1. Holders of a temporary residence card can extend it without leaving Poland, allowing children to continue their studies without interruption.
  2. While the applicant is waiting to receive the card, he or she may not be allowed to enter the country or work without a visa and permit, but children can continue in school without problems.
  3. A child born in Poland to parents who are Polish citizens or have a residence permit may be eligible for a residence permit.
  4. If the child has an MSP, his or her parents can initiate their own MSP through the family reunification program.

Which document provides more benefits?

There are several options to choose from for living and working in Poland. A regular visa, obtained in advance, has a limited period of stay and requires constant extensions. The residence card provides a longer period of stay, but is not issued to everyone. So which is the best option to choose?

The answer depends on your needs. If you are planning a temporary stay in Poland for seasonal work, a visa may be a suitable choice. However, if your goal is permanent residence in Poland with the possibility of obtaining citizenship in the future, then it is worth paying attention to a residence card.

If you see yourself and your children’s future in Poland, consider getting a residence card. With a little effort in collecting the necessary documents and applying, you will have a great opportunity to live and work in a developing European country with a high level of medicine, education and security. You will no longer have to constantly return to your country, prepare documents and wait for your next trip. And if you do not have time or desire to deal with all the bureaucratic issues related to the registration of a residence permit, welcome to our company MIGRANT GO – a team of experienced lawyers will help you.Good luck!