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EU long-term residence permit

Long-term EU resident

RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR A LONG-TERM EU RESIDENT

The long-term EU resident's residence permit is a permit that entitles to permanent residence in Poland. The decision on issuing a residence permit is issued for an indefinite period. The residence card itself is valid for 5 years, which means that the card must be replaced every 5 years as part of the card replacement procedure. However, there is no need to re-apply for a permit and go through the process of obtaining it.

This permit entitles you to work in Poland without the need to obtain additional documents. To check how it is possible to work in another EU country by a foreigner who has a long-term resident's residence permit issued by Polish authorities, check how this issue is regulated by the national regulations of the country where the foreigner is intending to work.

A long-term EU resident's residence permit (long-term EU resident's residence card) issued by Poland entitles you to travel to other countries of the Schengen area. However, a foreigner's stay on this basis may not exceed 90 days in a 180-day period. If a foreigner intends to stay in a given country longer than the indicated limit allows, he should legalize his stay on the basis of the regulations in force in the given country.

 

CIRCUMSTANCES OF GRANTING A LONG-TERM EU RESIDENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

A long-term EU resident's residence permit may be granted to a foreigner who:

  1. stayed in Poland legally and continuously for at least 5 years (what is an uninterrupted stay->?);
  2. has a stable and regular source of income during the 3 years of stay in Poland immediately before submitting the application (in the case of people with a Blue Card, stable earnings are required for a period of 2 years);
  3. has a health insurance;
  4. has a guaranteed right to the premises;
  5. presents a document confirming the possession of temporary registration or a certificate of the impossibility of obtaining such registration;
  6. has a confirmed knowledge of the Polish language (at least B1 level).

 

PROCEDURE AND DOCUMENTS

The procedure for obtaining a long-term EU resident's residence permit takes place at the voivodeship office competent for the foreigner's place of residence.

The application must be submitted by a foreigner legally residing in Poland, i.e. not later than on the last day of legal stay (e.g. on the last day of validity of their temporary residence card or visa).

In order to apply for a long-term EU resident's residence permit, the following documents must be submitted:

  1. 2 copies of an application for a long-term EU resident's residence permit completed in Polish (the application is available, among others, here: https://www.gov.pl/web/uw-mazowiecki/zezwolenie-na-pobyt-rezydenta-dlugoterminowego-ue-dokumenty);
  2. The original of a foreign passport (available for inspection) along with two photocopies of all its pages with stamps, annotations and entries;

Note! The original passport must be presented when submitting the application. The passport will be returned during the same visit, it is not kept at the Office at any stage of the procedure.

  1. 4 recent photos (in accordance with the requirements);
  2. Documents confirming the required 5-year legal and uninterrupted stay on the territory of Poland (e.g. a photocopy of the previous passport containing visas and stamps confirming departure and entry to Poland - the original must be presented for inspection).
  3. Documents necessary to confirm the data contained in the application and the circumstances justifying the application for a long-term EU resident's residence permit - including documents confirming;

- the number of dependents at present and during the past three years (declaration on the number of dependents signed by the foreigner);

- having a stable and regular source of income (e.g. employment contracts and PIT-37 / PIT-11 tax returns with confirmation of posting to the competent tax office);

- having health insurance (e.g. valid ZUS RCA declaration together with confirmation of posting the document to ZUS);

  1. Legal title to the premises where the foreigner will stay;

Note! A contract for lending the premises is not considered a legal title to the premises, unless the lender is a descendant, ascendant, spouse, spouse's parents or siblings of the foreigner.

  1. Official certificate of knowledge of Polish;

    NOTE: On 24.06.2023, the decree of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration of May 31, 2023 on the list of certificates of proficiency in the Polish language confirming the knowledge of this language required for granting a residence permit for a long-term resident of the European Union enters into force. The full list of documents can be found here: MOS - Changes to the regulations governing the granting of long-term EU resident's residence permits (cudzoziemcy.gov.pl)
  2. Proof of stamp duty payment.

Note! The voivode places an imprint of a stamp in the foreigner's travel document confirming the submission of the application for a long-term EU resident's residence permit on time (and without formal defects). A stay in Poland on the basis of a stamp is considered legal (even if the validity of the visa or the previous residence card expires) until the decision on granting the permit is issued, and in the case of appealing against the negative decision, until the decision of the second instance becomes final.

The stamp (if it is the only basis for staying on the territory of Poland) in the passport does not entitle to travel to other countries of the Schengen area. Having a stamp that confirms the legality of stay, a foreigner may travel to the country of origin, but will not be able to return to Poland / cross the border of the Schengen area on its basis (to enter Poland again, a visa must be obtained - for citizens of countries that are not covered by visa-free travel). 

Fee

Stamp duty (to be attached to the application at the time of application) for issuing a long-term EU resident's residence permit is PLN 640. The fee is returned in the event of a negative decision (discontinuation of the procedure or the application not being examined), at the request of the foreigner. In the event of a positive decision, the foreigner must pay an additional PLN 100 for the issuance of a residence card.

The payment can be made at the cash desk of the voivodeship office in which the procedure is pending or transferred to the account of the competent office. Information about the account number can be obtained directly at the office or on the website www.gov.pl (after selecting the voivodeship office where the application will be submitted). 

Length of the procedure

The waiting time for a decision depends on individual circumstances of the given case.

Pursuant to the provisions, the procedure for granting a permit to a foreigner should be completed no later than within 3 months from the date of its initiation.

If the voivodeship office does not deal with the matter on time, it should notify the foreigner about it, explaining the reasons for the delay and indicating a new date for settling the matter. 

Validity of a long-term EU resident's residence permit

The a long-term EU resident's residence permit is issued indefinitely, however, it is necessary to replace the residence card every 5 years.  The application for another residence card should be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry of the held residence card.

Appeal procedure

A foreigner dissatisfied with the voivode's decision may appeal to the Head of the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw, through the voivode who issued the decision. Written appeals must be submitted within 14 days of receiving the decision. In appeal proceedings, the matter should be settled within 2 months. A foreigner may submit a complaint against the decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners to the administrative court within 30 days from the date of delivery of the decision.

Important: submitting a complaint to the administrative court does not legalize the stay. This means that the foreigner, if they do not have another valid document authorizing them to stay in Poland, must then leave Poland.

 

 

REFUSAL TO INITIATE PROCEEDINGS

A foreigner may not start the procedure of applying for a long-term EU resident's residence permit or obtain such a permit if:

 

  1. They are staying in Poland:
    - without documents authorizing them to stay (i.e. contrary to the provisions);
    - on the basis of a Schengen visa authorizing them only to enter and stay in Poland, as was issued for humanitarian reasons;

  2. - in order to pursue studies or vocational training,

  3. - in connection with the intention to start or continue education in Poland,

  4. - in connection with obtaining a residence permit for humanitarian reasons, a permit for tolerated stay, asylum or temporary protection,

  5. - on the basis of a temporary residence permit due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay in Poland;

- on the basis of a temporary residence permit for the purpose of performing work pursuant a the intra-corporate transfer or a temporary residence permit for the purpose of using long-term mobility or a temporary residence permit due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay;


- on the basis of a local border traffic permit.

 

  1. They are posted workers for the purpose of cross-border provision of services or a service provider providing cross-border services;
  2. They are in a detention centre for foreigners or forbidden to leave the country,
  3. They are serving a sentence of imprisonment or temporarily arrested,
  4. They have been obliged to return and the period of voluntary return specified in the decision in this case has not yet expired, also in the case of extension of the period,
  5. They are obliged to leave Poland;
  6. They are outside of Poland;
  7. They did not provide the office with their fingerprints in order to issue a residence card. 

 

REFUSAL OF PERMIT

A foreigner will not be granted a long-term EU resident's residence permit if:

- they do not meet the above-mentioned requirements;

- it is required for reasons of safety, public order or the interests of Poland.

 

 

WITHDRAWAL OF A LONG-TERM EU RESIDENT’S RESIDENCE PERMIT

A long-term EU resident's residence permit may be withdrawn.

This happens in the following cases:

  1. The long-term EU resident's residence permit was obtained unlawfully;
  2. The foreigner poses a threat to the defense or security of the state or the protection of public safety and order;
  3. The foreigner left Poland for more than 6 years,
  4. The foreigner left the territory of the European Union for the following consecutive periods:

  5. a) 12 months,

  6. b) 24 months, if they had a temporary residence permit in order to perform work in a profession requiring high qualifications or are a family member of a foreigner who had such a permit,
  7. The foreigner has obtained a long-term EU resident's residence permit on the territory of another EU country,
  8. The foreigner has been deprived of the refugee status or subsidiary protection under the provisions of law, if the long-term EU resident's residence permit was granted in connection with the stay in Poland on the basis of a refugee status or subsidiary protection.

Note! The long-term EU resident's residence permit expires by operation of law on the day of acquiring Polish citizenship.

Legal basis

Act on foreigners of December 12, 2013 (unified text Journal of Laws of 2020, item 35).

 

UNINTERRUPTED STAY

UNINTERRUPTED STAY WHEN APPLYING FOR A LONG-TERM EU RESIDENT’S RESIDENCE PERMIT

A foreigner's stay is considered uninterrupted when none of the breaks in it:

  1. was longer than 6 months and all interruptions did not exceed a total of 10 months in a 5-year period;
  2. was not longer than 12 months and all breaks did not exceed a total of 18 months in a 5-year period - this applies only to a foreigner who has stayed on the territory of another EU Member State on the basis of a temporary residence permit in order to work in a profession requiring high qualifications (the so-called Blue Card).

The period in Poland is still considered uninterrupted if the interruption was caused by:

  1. Performing professional duties or work outside Poland under an agreement concluded with an employer whose seat is in Poland;
  2. The foreigner referred to in the above point being accompanied by his spouse or minor child,
  3. A special personal situation requiring the presence of a foreigner outside Poland, if the absence in Poland lasted more than 6 months,
  4. Departure outside Poland in order to undergo internships or participate in classes planned in the year of studies at a Polish university.

Only half of the period of stay of the foreigner is counted towards the 5-year stay in Poland, if the foreigner stayed on the basis of:

  1. a visa, issued for the purpose of undergraduate, graduate or doctoral studies;
  2. a visa issued for the purpose of vocational training;
  3. a temporary residence permit for the purpose of studying (undergraduate, graduate or doctoral studies);
  4. a temporary residence permit in order to undergo vocational training;
  5. proceedings on granting the refugee status (if the proceedings for granting the refugee status exceed 18 months, then the entire period of stay in Poland during the proceedings is counted).

The stay of a foreigner is not included in the 5-year stay in Poland:

  1. Being an employee delegated by the service provider for the cross-border provision of services or being a service provider providing cross-border services (when can a provision of services be considered cross-border?
  2. Staying in Poland on the basis of a Schengen visa, authorizing only to enter and stay in Poland, issued for humanitarian reasons, due to the interest of the state or international obligations;
  3. During their studies in Poland

NOTE! Within the meaning of the migration regulations, education also includes education at a university other than full-time studies at first-cycle studies, second-cycle studies, uniform master's studies and other forms of education at higher studies);

  1. Having been obliged to return and the period of voluntary return specified in the decision in this case has not yet expired, also in the case of extension of the period,
  2. Having been obliged to leave Poland (within 30 days from the date on which the decision to refuse to extend a Schengen visa or a national visa, to grant a temporary residence permit, a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident's residence permit or a decision to withdraw a residence permit temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident's residence permit or refusal to grant refugee status or subsidiary protection or a decision to discontinue the proceedings on granting refugee status, or a decision to withdraw the refugee status or subsidiary protection or to withdraw the permit to stay for humanitarian reasons - became final, and in the case of issuing a decision by a higher-level authority, from the date on which the final decision was delivered to the foreigner);
  3. Being a member of a diplomatic mission or consular post of a foreign country;
  4. Residing in Poland on the basis of a temporary residence permit granted for the purpose of performing work as part of intra-corporate transfer, in order to use long-term mobility and issued due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay.
  5. In the course of the proceedings on granting them the refugee status, if the proceedings ended with refusal to grant them the refugee status or subsidiary protection;
  6. On the basis of a permit to cross the border under local border traffic.

 

BLUE CARD

In the case of applying in Poland for a long-term EU resident's residence permit by a foreigner who has stayed legally and continuously in the EU for at least 5 years on the basis of the so-called Blue Card, the 5-year stay in Poland includes the total period of legal stay in the territory of EU countries. Important! For at least 2 years, immediately before submitting the application for a residence permit for a EU resident, the foreigner must stay in Poland on the basis of a Blue Card issued by Polish authorities.

 

UNINTERRUPTED STAY WHICH CONSTITUTES THE BASIS FOR GRANTING A FOREIGNER’S PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

The stay of a foreigner being the basis for granting a permanent residence permit to a foreigner is considered uninterrupted if none of the breaks in it was longer than 6 months and all breaks did not exceed 10 months in total, unless the break was caused by:

  1. Performing professional duties or work outside Poland under an agreement concluded with an employer whose seat is in Poland;
  2. The foreigner referred to in the above point being accompanied by his spouse or minor child,
  3. A special personal situation requiring the presence of a foreigner outside Poland, if the absence in Poland lasted more than 6 months,
  4. Departure outside Poland in order to undergo internships or participate in classes planned in the year of studies at a Polish university.

If the foreigner applies for permanent residence on the basis of the refugee status or on the basis of the permit for tolerated stay, the period of the foreigner's stay in Poland during the procedure for granting international protection is counted for uninterrupted stay, even if they stayed in a guarded centre or detention centre for foreigners during the period.

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