Right to stay in Poland for EU and EEA nationals

Though immigration laws are not a part of employment law, they are closely connected to it by work permits requirements. If you want to work in Poland, you should not only check whether you are caught by the work permits legislation and get one when required, but you also need some sort of legal instrument to legitimize your stay.

As I wrote in one of my earlier entries on EU and EEA nationals they are not required to obtain a work permit to work in Poland. Despite this they still have to deal with some immigration formalities. Here’s what they are:

1. There are no more visas nor residence permits for EU and EEA nationals.

2. EU and EEA nationals may stay in Poland for as long as three months for any purpose (employment included) without having to go through the immigration procedures.

3. If the EU or EEA national’s stay in Poland is to exceed three months, he or she must meet of the following conditions, i.e.:

  • be employed or self-employed in Poland,
  • be covered by health insurance and have sufficient financial resources to provide for him- or herself and his or her family members without the need to rely on the social aid,
  • study or participate in a professional training in Poland, be covered by health insurance and have sufficient financial resources to provide for him- or herself and his or her family members without the need to rely on the social aid,
  • be married to a Polish citizen.

Under certain circumstances EU and EEA nationals who ceased to be employed or self-employed in Poland maintain the right to stay, e.g. when they are unable to work due to an illness or an accident or as a result of unintended unemployment.

Stay exceeding three months must be registered with the relevant provincial governor, who issues a certificate of registration. Registration may be denied only when the statutory conditions for stay have not been satisfied or on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health.

4. EU and EEA nationals who have been staying in Poland for a continuous period of five years acquire the right of permanent stay, without having to fulfil any additional conditions (with some exceptions as to the required period of stay, which may be shorter in some cases).

The stay in Poland will be considered continuous if temporary absences do not exceed a cumulative total of six months per year. Also, longer absences are allowed if they result from obligatory military service, or an important personal matter (like pregnancy, illness, or professional training) provided that they do not exceed twelve consecutive months.

EU and EEA nationals who have acquired the right of permanent stay are issued a formal confirmation, on their application. The confirmation may be denied on the same grounds as registration of stay (see above).

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