Visit card – list of documents for obtaining. Relevant in 2024.

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The document, known as a pobytu card (from the Polish word “Pobytu”), confirms the status of a foreign citizen residing in Poland. Colloquially, the term is often used as a synonym for residence permit (LPR). The Polish Citizenship Card is also an official identity card both in Poland and in some cases in the European Union and Schengen area. It is a plastic card, similar in appearance to other EU documents, with personal details, a photograph, a PESEL (Personal Identification Number) and biometric data.

In order to obtain any type of residence card, except for the grounds for residence permit, it is necessary to submit a package of documents. In this article we will look at what documents are required to obtain a visit card. You will also get an answer as to what documents you will need for a 2024 residence card.

Types of residence cards

There are different types of documents that confirm status and validity:

  1. Temporary residence permit, also known as temporary residence permit (pobyt czasowy). It is issued for a period of up to three years and grants the right to cross the border and stay in Poland for the specified period of time. In some cases, this document may also serve as a work permit if it bears a permission to access the Polish labor market (e.g. “dostęp do rynku pracy” or a similar mark).
  2. Permanent residence, also known as permanent residence or pobyt stały (pobyt stały). This status is issued indefinitely, but the card itself must be replaced every ten years. A permanent residence permit automatically grants the right to work without the need for additional permits. In most cases within Poland, it grants similar civil rights, with the exception of voting rights.
  3. An EU long-term resident card can also refer to the status of a permanent residence permit.
💡 There are many reasons why the cards listed above are issued. They include factors such as being of Polish origin, long-term residence in the territory, employment, education, possibility of family reunification, humanitarian circumstances and others. Detailed information about each type of card can be found later in the text or in the relevant articles in this section.

Rights and benefits

A residence card is a type of authorization to stay in the country. What are its main differences from others, and first of all from the long-term visa?

  • With the presentation of a valid passport and card, it is possible to cross the border without the need for an additional visa.
  • If you have permanent residence or certain types of temporary residence with a work permit, you can work without additional permits in Poland.
  • The ownership and registration of real estate and vehicles can be formalized.
  • If you have a residence permit or temporary residence permit of the appropriate status, it is possible to register and run a business.
  • Studies in Polish universities, including free forms of study, are available at certain residence statuses.
  • Visa-free travel and residence for up to three months every six months is possible throughout the Schengen area.
  • Certain statuses provide visa exemptions to the US and UK.
  • Successive legalization of status is possible, for example, obtaining residence permit, then permanent residence and citizenship, if the relevant requirements are met.

Conditions for obtaining a residence card.

There are several categories of people who have the opportunity to obtain a residence card in Poland:

  1. Students and pupils who are officially enrolled in Polish educational institutions on a full-time basis. In this case, a one-hour visit is provided.
  2. Graduates of Polish universities can apply for an hour-long stay with the possibility of employment after graduation. They can obtain a full-fledged temporary residence permit upon execution of an employment contract.
  3. Participants of the Family Reunification program can apply for a residence card if one of the spouses is a Polish citizen or has permanent residence. This gives the other spouse the opportunity to obtain a stay.
  4. Entrepreneurs who have a registered legal business in Poland can get a visit card. This usually refers to an hour-long visit.
  5. Persons who have concluded a long-term employment contract can also apply for a visit card. An hourly residence permit is possible, but there are also options for legalization through a Blue Card (special status for highly skilled workers), a card for work in a sought-after profession, or an EU long-term resident card.
  6. Holders of a Pole card or persons of Polish origin can immediately apply for permanent residence and, after one year, for citizenship.
  7. There are also possibilities to obtain temporary residence on other grounds not mentioned above. The legislation provides for a wide range of grounds for legalization of stay in Poland.

If it is a temporary residence permit (hourly residence permit) for work, the card is issued for a specific place of employment (employer, position and salary). If any of the parameters change, it is necessary to notify the authorities, who will decide whether to extend the residence permit or revoke it. Lack of notification may cause the status to be canceled.

What documents do I need to get a residence card?

Depending on the grounds on which a person applies for a visit card, the requirements to the package of documents may differ. However, there is a set of common documents that must be provided regardless of the specific situation.

Let’s look at the general documents one by one, and then move on to the specific requirements for each method of obtaining a residence card.

General package of documents

  1. The application form for a Polish residence card (Wniosek o udzielenie zezwolenia na pobyt czasowy), which is filled in by the applicant, and its annex (Załącznik nr 1 do wniosku o udzielenie zezwolenia na pobyt czasowy i pracę), which is prepared by the person who issued the reason for stay (employer, supervisor, etc., if the reasons for the card require it).
  2. Four photos taken according to special rules.
  3. The original and at least two copies of all pages of the passport (the original is provided for review, the copies are attached to the file).
  4. A receipt confirming the payment of stamp duty.
  5. Health insurance for the entire period of stay.
  6. Biometrics data (fingerprints, for which the applicant will be called separately).

Specific documents for each category are just as mandatory, and are usually proof of the reasons for the card.

Job card

In order to obtain a residence card as an employed foreigner, it is necessary to submit a long-term contract – Umowa o pracę, Umowa zlecenie or Umowa o dzieło, confirming the fact of employment. It is important to provide a certified copy (or original) of this contract. The contract also confirms the required income.

However, a contract alone is not sufficient grounds for obtaining a residence permit without a work permit (unless there are other grounds for employment without a permit). According to Polish law, this can be an awareness (a statement of intention to employ a foreigner) or a zezwolenie (a work permit issued by the voivode).

Another mandatory document for the job card since some time is Appendix 1 to the application form. It is filled out by the employer.

Consideration of a residence permit application can take a considerable amount of time, from several months to a year or even longer. However, while the request is being processed, the foreigner is granted temporary status, as evidenced by the Voivode’s stamp. With this stamp, a person has the right to stay in Poland and work officially, even after the expiry of the visa (if applicable) and with a work permit (awareness or authorization).

For the student

For students applying for a visit card, two main documents are required:

  1. Certificate of enrollment in an educational institution.
  2. Proof of sufficient financial means meeting the established profitability criterion, which is determined by the Polish government. The following documents can be provided to prove financial solvency:
    • – A statement of account confirming that the required amount is available.
      • – Labor Contract.
      • – Certificate of Sponsorship. In some cases, information on scholarships, grants, and other sources of funding may also be taken into consideration. Proof of funds can be provided from several sources.

Family reunification (by kinship)

The following documents are required in this category of issuance of a residence card:

  1. A residence card for the spouse of the applicant or proof of citizenship of the spouse.
  2. Proof of income or the ability of one spouse to provide financial support for the other.

Particular attention should be paid to the situation related to the reunification of children with their parents. If both parents have a residence card or Polish citizenship, obtaining a residence permit for a child by consanguinity is not a difficult task. However, in the case of a sole relative, guardianship or other particularities, additional documents may be required, including the consent of the second parent if he or she has not been deprived of parental rights, even if he or she is not in Poland.

It is important to note that different voivodships may have different rules in this matter. When children are removed, each case must be considered on an individualized, case-by-case basis.

Other grounds

Supporting reasons are required on a case-by-case basis with appropriate documentation. Detailed lists of documents and processing procedures are available in specialized articles on our website.

  • University graduates to look for jobs.
  • Businessmen in Poland.
  • Blue Card.
  • In-demand occupation cards.
  • On intra-corporate mobility.
  • For Volunteers.
  • Humanitarian Circumstances.
  • Illegals.
  • Victims of human trafficking.
  • Cards for other circumstances.
  • Permanent residence on a Pole card or of Polish origin.
  • Kart on the basis of marriage to a Pole / Polish woman.

Additional documents

While the following documents are not required, some voivodships may require them:

  1. Criminal record certificate: this is a document issued by the competent authorities which confirms that the applicant has no criminal record. Although it is not on the list of required documents, some voivodships may request it for additional verification.
  2. Medical certificate: some voivodeships may require a medical certificate confirming that the applicant is free from certain infectious or airborne diseases. This may be related to ensuring public safety and health.
  3. Other documents: depending on the specific requirements of the voivodship, there may be requests for other documents not mentioned in the list of mandatory documents. This may include documentation of family ties, photographs, additional information on financial status, etc.

When applying for a residence card, it is advisable to check the requirements of the particular voivodeship in order to be prepared to submit additional documents if required.

Acceptance and processing of documents for a residence card are handled by the departments for work with foreigners at voivodships (exceptions are humanitarian circumstances, cases for which are transferred to the Border Guard from 2023). They are the place where the process of issuing a visit card takes place.

Initially it is possible to submit all available documents or only the application form and applicant’s contacts, however, within 7 days it is mandatory to submit everything required from the mandatory list. Otherwise, the case will not be considered.

Methods of filing

The required package may be submitted in person or through a representative to the voivodeship council in the place of the applicant’s residence. In these cases, pre-registration is often necessary. Free places in the electronic queue are not always available, to put it mildly.

In such a case, you can use an alternative option – filing by mail (registered letter with notification).

How can I bring the missing documents for my residence card?

If there are no documents that are not on the mandatory list (and, remember, the Township has the right to request any additional document), or if some of the previously provided information is outdated, the body responsible for reviewing the application will send a notice to the applicant. The notice will specify the additional documentation required. In doing so, the applicant will be required to provide the required documents for further consideration of their request.

It is important to note that submission of additional documents in response to the notification is an integral part of the application process for a residence card. The applicant must pay due attention to the requirements and deadlines specified in the notification and submit the required documents within the stipulated time frame. This will ensure a more complete and accurate review of the application for a visit card.

Reporting changed circumstances

A foreigner is obliged to notify the migration authorities of any significant changes in his or her life. This includes events such as a change of employment or termination, dropping out of school, change of residential address, change of contact information, etc.

In case of dismissal, the employee must notify the migration authorities within 15 days. If the voivode decides to cancel the request for a visit card due to loss of grounds (e.g. expulsion, dismissal, etc.), the foreigner must leave the country immediately. Otherwise, he may be subject to deportation from Poland and a possible ban on future entry.

Compliance with the obligation to notify of life changes is an important requirement to keep information up to date and to comply with the rules of residence.

How do I extend the deadline for document delivery?

If there are valid reasons, the waiting period for documents may be extended. However, this requires notification to ujend, and evidence must be provided.

Written notice must be provided prior to the deadline for submission of documents. In some cases, the Office of Foreigners’ Affairs (OFAC) uses electronic queues that cannot be bypassed. During busy periods, it may be difficult to attend UWEND within the time limit. In such cases, you can use postage with a delivery notice. The date the letter is received by the Post Office will be considered the date the request is received by UWEND (postage stamp should be on the letter).

Thus, sending a letter with a delivery notice by mail ensures timely notification to UWEND and preserves confirmation of the date the request was submitted.

What to do after submitting?

Once the required documents are submitted, the legislation gives officials up to 45 days to review the request. During this time the applicant has the right to stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland and benefit from the advantages of the residence permit.

A special stamp in the passport is used to confirm the legality of stay at this stage. Theoretically, it should be stamped as soon as the documents are accepted, but in practice it is most often stamped when fingerprints are taken, which can be several months after the request is submitted.

Regardless of the method of status confirmation, it remains legal to stay in the country. There may be some difficulties in carrying out inspections, but in such cases it is recommended to contact the relevant authority (ujend) to clarify the situation. More information about the stay, the stamp and possible problems and how to solve them can be found in the corresponding article.

It is important to note that the status allowing legal stay in the country starts to take effect from the moment the documents are accepted. Getting a stamp in your passport is a convenient and reliable way to confirm your status, especially during inspections. However, it is also possible to use other forms of proof of lawfulness of stay, such as a stamp on the deposit or on a separate document.

After the decision of the voivodship, it takes up to two weeks to produce the card (although we know of cases when from the moment of positive decision the applicant waited for the plastic itself for 3 months), except in cases of refusal to receive the card. Before the card is produced, the applicant will be sent a notice stating that it is necessary to come to the Voivodeship office to sign the relevant documents and pay a fee of PLN 100 for the production of the plastic card. Upon completion of the card process, a notification of readiness will be sent to the applicant. At that point, the applicant must visit the office and get the finished card by presenting his passport.

Obtaining a residence card in Poland for foreigners staying in the country legally is a complicated procedure. However, if the foreigner belongs to the categories eligible for this document, it is worth taking the time to execute it.

It is important to note that each foundation has its own characteristics and nuances. This article provides generalized data, but references in the text direct to materials that describe each individual process in detail. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with them to more fully understand the procedure you are interested in.

And how to find out the status of the card you can learn in this material.