High net individuals and their families from outside of the EU are looking for opportunities to settle down in European countries for various reasons. Poland, especially after the Brexit, is now an attractive direction for foreign investors who wish to gain a residence permit in one of the EU countries.

Investors trying to acquire a residency permit in Poland must meet certain criteria. The individual investor must not only have set the company up but also be either its shareholder or a board member. Accordingly, temporary stay permit may be granted to passive investors. Board members who are not bound with the company by the contract of employment and do not receive salary are, however, not eligible for temporary residence permit. Contrary to some other countries, no fixed number is set on the number of board members or shareholders entitled to a residency permit.

The investor’s company must not only be of a share capital surpassing PLN 5,000 (approx. EUR 1,400) but also meet one of the following criteria: in their previous fiscal year (the year before the permit was granted) the company has achieved an income of minimum 12 times of what is the average monthly salary in the region where the company is located e.g. for Warsaw it would be about PLN 61,876 (approx. 14,089.17 EUR), or the company has employed at least two Polish nationals or refugees, permanent residents or nationals of the European Union on a full-time basis for at least a year before the investor’s temporary residence application was submitted, or the company must prove that either its capital is enough to satisfy the abovementioned criteria or that its activities regarding latest technologies and innovation will enable the satisfaction of the abovementioned criteria in the future.

The applicant for the temporary residence permit must also acquire social insurance. He must also prove a regular and stable income, which is enough to cover the expenses generated by him and his family while residing on the territory of Poland, and a place of residence which can be also a company-rented apartment provided that the investor is a member of the management board as well. Temporary residence is generally granted to applicants who prove that they have resided on the territory of Poland for a minimum of 3 months, which excludes remaining on the territory of other EU member states.

As to the temporary resident’s access to both Polish and EU labor markets, it varies due to the grounds on which the permit was obtained. Unless the permit was issued due to providing work in Poland, a separate work permit is needed. In any case, access to labuor markets in other parts of EU is not granted. Moreover, residents are not permitted to act as an individual when conducting business as it can only be done through a corporate entity.

If the permanent or temporary resident resides on the territory of Poland for a minimum of 2 years, their children of under 18 and spouse may apply for temporary residence. They can also acquire a temporary residence permit on the grounds of their separate investment.

Once the permit is granted, a temporary resident may open a bank account in Poland and have access to the healthcare system. University education is only available to permanent Polish and EU residents. Each child between the age of 7 and 18 that resides on the territory of Poland is however subject to compulsory education regardless of their citizenship and their parents’ status. The Schengen Treaty provides both the temporary and permanent resident with access to its state parties’ territories as tourists.

As to the scope of limitations: a temporary residence permit is granted for a maximum period of 3 years and is not subject to an automatic extension. One willing to become a permanent resident must meet the requirement of a residency surpassing the period of 10 years with terms of absence not longer than 6 months. The procedure takes place before the Voivodeship (Province) Office of the voivodeship in which the individual wishing to obtain a permit resides. The application should be joined by 4 actual photographs, documents proving personal information from the application and grounds on which the application is made and a proof of stamp duty payment. Additionally, the applicant must show their valid passport for the Office’s inspection. Some additional documents may be required e.g. when the applicant is a child or is married to a Polish citizen. The application shall be reviewed in a period no longer than 1 month. If dissatisfied with the decision, one can file an appeal to the The Head of The Office for Foreigners through the respective Voivode no later than 14 days after receiving the decision. The permanent residency permit is issued indefinitely although the residence card itself needs to be replaced every 10 years.

Citizenship can be obtained by permanent residents who have resided in Poland for 3 years since their permanent residency was granted. Additionally, they must show a stable and regular source of income and a place of residency.

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