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Permanent residence permit

The decision on issuing a permanent residence permit is issued for an indefinite period. The residence card itself is valid for 10 years, which means that the card must be replaced every 10 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. A permanent residence permit issued in Poland does not entitle you to work in a country other than Poland.

The permanent residence permit (permanent residence card) 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 PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

A permanent residence permit may be granted to a foreigner who:

  1. is a child of a foreigner who has a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU  resident's residence permit in Poland and is under their parental care, and who:
    a) was born after their parent obtained a permanent residence permit in Poland or a long-term EU resident's residence permit, or
    b) was born during the period of validity of the temporary residence permit granted to the foreigner or the period of stay of this foreigner on the territory of Poland on the basis of a residence permit for humanitarian reasons or a permit for tolerated stay or in connection with granting them refugee status or subsidiary protection;
  2. is a child of a Polish citizen and remains under their parental care;
  3. is a person of Polish descent and intends to settle in Poland permanently;
  4. has been married and it is recognized by Polish law, with a Polish citizen for at least 3 years before submitting the application for a permanent residence permit and immediately before submitting the application, has lived in Poland continuously for at least 2 years on the basis of a temporary residence permit issued on the basis of a marriage with a Polish citizen or on the basis of obtaining the refugee status, subsidiary protection or residence permit for humanitarian reasons;
  5. is a victim of human trafficking and:
    a) resided in Poland immediately before submitting the application for a period of at least 1 year on the basis of a temporary residence permit issued to foreign victims of trafficking in human beings, and
    b) cooperated with law enforcement authorities in criminal proceedings;
    c) has well-founded fears of return to the country of origin, confirmed by the prosecutor conducting the proceedings;
  6. has lived in Poland continuously for a period of at least 5 years on the basis of refugee status, subsidiary protection or a residence permit for humanitarian reasons immediately before submitting the application for a permanent residence permit;
  7. has lived in Poland continuously for a period of not less than 10 years immediately before submitting the application for a permanent residence permit on the basis of a tolerated stay permit granted:
    a) if the obligation of the foreigner to return may be made only to a country where:
    - the right to life, liberty and personal security would be threatened, or
    - the foreigner could be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or
    - the foreigner might be forced to work or
    - the foreigner could be deprived of the right to a fair trial or punished without a legal basis
    b) if the obligation of the foreigner to return may only be made to a country to which it is not admissible on the basis of a court decision or due to the decision of the Minister of Justice to refuse the obligation of the foreigner to return;
  8. has a valid Pole's Card and intends to settle in Poland permanently or
  9. was granted asylum in Poland
  10. has a source of stable and regular income and who immediately before submitting the application has been in Poland for a continuous period of at least 4 years on the basis of a temporary residence permit granted in connection with performing work in a profession desirable for the Polish economy will also be able to apply for a permanent residence permit (the list of professions will be indicated in a separate regulation).

PROCEDURE AND DOCUMENTS

The procedure for obtaining a permanent 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).

The basic set of documents necessary to submit a complete application for a permanent residence permit:

  1. 2 copies of an application for a permanent residence permit completed in Polish (the application is available here: https://www.gov.pl/web/uw-mazowiecki/zezwolenie-na-pobyt-staly-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 necessary to confirm the data contained in the application and the circumstances justifying the application for a permanent residence permit;
  3. Proof of stamp duty payment.

Additionally, the application should be accompanied by:

  1. In the case of a minor who is a child of a foreigner, holding a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident's residence permit in Poland, remaining under their parental authority and born after the foreigner has been granted a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident's residence permit:
    - a birth certificate;
    - a copy of the decision on granting a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident's residence permit or a residence card of a legal representative;
  2. In the case of a child of a Polish citizen remaining under their parental authority:
    - a birth certificate;
    - a copy of the identity card of the legal representative;
  3. If they have Polish origin:
    - original documents confirming the Polish origin of one of the parents, grandparents or two great-grandparents;
    - documents confirming kinship with the person of Polish origin (in the case of submitting photocopies of documents confirming the Polish origin, the above-mentioned documents should bear the apostille clause);
  4. In the case of being married to a Polish citizen:
    - a recent copy of the marriage certificate (issued not earlier than 3 months before submitting the application);
    - a photocopy of the spouse's ID card;
    - in the case of having children together - copies of birth certificates;
    - a certificate of fulfilment of tax obligations towards the State Treasury;
  5. If they are a victim of human trafficking:
    - documents confirming cooperation with law enforcement authorities in criminal proceedings concerning the crime of trafficking in human beings and well-founded fears of return to the country of origin, confirmed by the prosecutor conducting the criminal proceedings;
  6. In the case of staying in Poland immediately before submitting the application for a period of not less than 5 years on the basis of refugee status, subsidiary protection or permission to stay for humanitarian reasons:
    - documents confirming the required five-year uninterrupted stay in Poland;
  7. In the case of staying in Poland immediately before submitting the application for a period of not less than 10 years on the basis of a tolerated stay permit:
    - documents confirming the required ten-year uninterrupted stay in Poland;
  8. If they have a valid Pole's Card:
    - a photocopy of a valid Pole's Card with the original for inspection;

Note! The Pole's Card should be returned to the voivode competent for the place of stay, no later than within 14 days from the date on which the decision to obtain a permanent residence permit became final. More information on this issue can be found in the POLE'S CARD tab.

  1. If they are granted asylum in Poland:
    - a document confirming granting asylum.

Note! The above list cannot be considered complete. The set of documents necessary to obtain a permanent residence permit may differ due to the given foreigner's situation and the office where the foreigner applies for this permit.

Fingerprints are collected from a foreigner applying for a permanent residence permit for the purpose of including them in the residence card.

Note! The voivode places an imprint of a stamp in the foreigner's travel document confirming the submission of the application for a permanent 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). 

Duration of the permanent residence permit

The permanent residence permit is issued indefinitely, however, it is necessary to replace the residence card every 10 years. The application for another residence card should be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry of the residence card.

Length of the procedure

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

Pursuant to the provisions, the decision on granting a permanent residence permit to a foreigner is issued within 6 months.

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. 

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 from the date of receipt of the appeal. 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. 

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 at the request of the foreigner in the event of a negative decision (discontinuation of the procedure or the application not being examined). In the event of a positive decision, the foreigner must pay an additional PLN 100 for the issuance of a residence card.

Holders of the Pole's Card, submitting an application for permanent residence in connection with the intention to settle in Poland permanently, are exempt from the fee of PLN 640 for issuing a permit.

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). 

 

REFUSAL TO INITIATE PROCEEDINGS

A foreigner will not be granted a permanent residence permit in Poland 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 to enter and stay in Poland, as was issued for humanitarian reasons;

- on the basis of a temporary residence permit due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay in Poland (certain exceptions in this regard apply to persons of Polish origin and those applying for a card for this reason);
- on the basis of a long-term EU resident's residence permit or

  1. They are detained or in a guarded centre or in a detention centre for foreigners or forbidden to leave the country,
  2. They are serving a sentence of imprisonment or temporarily arrested,
  3. 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,
  4. They are obliged to leave Poland;
  5. They are outside of Poland;
  6. They did not provide the office with their fingerprints in order to issue a residence card.

 

REFUSAL OF PERMIT

A foreigner will receive a negative decision on granting them a permanent residence permit if:

  1. They not meet the requirements for granting a permanent residence permit,
  2. They are obliged to enter the data in the list of foreigners whose stay in Poland is undesirable;
  3. Their data is in the Schengen Information System for the purposes of refusing entry;
  4. It is required for reasons of state defense or security or the protection of public safety and order;
  5. The interest of Poland requires it;
  6. The basis for applying for a permanent residence permit is a marriage concluded by a foreigner and a Polish citizen, and the marriage was concluded in order to circumvent the law;
  7. In the procedure for granting a permanent residence permit, the foreigner submitted an application containing false personal data or false information or testified untrue or concealed the truth or forged a document in order to use it as authentic;
  8. They are in arrears in paying taxes, except in cases where they have obtained an exemption, a deferment, distribution of overdue payments into instalments or suspension of the entire execution of a decision provided for by law;
  9. They did not return the costs related to the issuance and execution of the decision obliging the foreigner to return, as were covered by the state budget.

 

WITHDRAWAL OF PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

The permanent residence permit may also be withdrawn. This happens in the following cases:

  1. It is required for reasons of state defense or security or the protection of public safety and order;
  2. The interest of Poland requires it;
  3. The application for granting this permit or the documents attached thereto contained false personal data, false documents or documents proving false information;
  4. When applying for a permanent residence permit, the foreigner testified untruthfully or concealed the truth or forged a document in order to use it as authentic;
  5. When a foreigner has been convicted by a final judgement in Poland for an intentional crime and sentenced to at least 3 years' imprisonment;
  6. The foreigner left Poland for more than 6 years.

Note! If the basis for issuing a permanent residence permit was getting married to a Polish citizen, the permit may be withdrawn if the foreigner divorced within 2 years from the date on which they were granted a permanent residence permit.

Note! The permanent residence permit expires by operation of law when  the foreigner is granted a long-term EU resident's residence permit or the foreigner acquires Polish citizenship.

 

Legal basis

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

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