Work Permits for Employees in Poland: A Complete Guide for Employers


May 24, 2023

When planning to hire or expand your company's operations in the Republic of Poland, it’s important to ensure that all employees possess the required work authorization. Hiring individuals without proper authorization is illegal and can lead to significant consequences, including fines, imprisonment, or a ban on employing foreign workers.

To ensure compliance with immigration laws and facilitate a smooth process, read our comprehensive guide before making your first hire in Poland or transferring an employee there. You’ll find essential information, including details about individuals who require a work visa, the application process for work permits, and frequently asked questions regarding work permits for employees in Poland.

What is a work permit in Poland?

Two documents are required for foreign nationals and non-EU citizens to work in Poland: a work permit and a work visa. The work permit allows an employee to work legally in the country and the work visa allows the worker to live in Poland. There are different types of work visas and permits.

The most common work permit is a Type A. It is used for standard employment contracts, if the employer has an office in Poland. A Type C work permit is for those employed by a foreign employer to work in Poland. The employer must apply for this work permit.

The most common work visas are the short stay (Schengen Type C) or the long stay (Schengen Type D). These allow foreign nationals to live in Poland.

Together, these documents enable foreign workers to engage in legal employment within Poland for a specified period. Upon expiration, individuals must either renew their permits or return to their home country.

Who needs a work visa in Poland?

Foreign nationals who don’t have permanent residency in Poland, need to obtain a work permit and work visa to be legally employed in the country.

However, there are several exemptions. Here are a few:

  • Citizens of EU/EEA member states, citizens of Switzerland, and their families
  • Foreign spouse of a Polish citizen
  • Those who have been granted refugee status or protection in Poland.
  • Those with a long-term EU resident's residence permit issued by Polish authorities.
  • Those with a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
  • Individuals holding a temporary residence permit granted in Poland for specific circumstances, such as family reunification or studies.
  • Trainers involved in professional internships, performing advisory or supervisory roles, or possessing specific qualifications and skills within programs implemented under the European Union or other international aid programs.
  • Teachers of foreign languages
  • Members of the media
  • Artists (maximum 30 days in a calendar year)
  • Long-term residents of the EU. These are people who are not citizens of the EU but have lived in the EU legally for at least five years.
  • Full-time students enrolled in studies in Poland or participants engaged in full-time doctoral studies in Poland.

It’s worth noting that foreign nationals who plan to work remotely in Poland for employers who do not have a legal presence in the country, are not required to hold a work permit. However, they will have to have a visa for residency.

When you send an offer letter to a new hire in Poland, it should include a clause about the offer being contingent on their eligibility to legally work in Poland.

Hiring in Poland? Learn how to create a compliant offer letter with our guide.
Learn more

How long does it take to get a work permit in Poland?

The processing times vary depending on the type of permit/visa, but typically range from six to 12 weeks.

Types of work visas in Poland

There are several types of work permits and work visas in Poland. These vary by the nationality of the employee, the length of employment, and the type of employment. The most important permits if you’re hiring foreign (non-EU) workers in Poland are a Type A work permit and either a Schengen Type C or D visa.

  • Work Permits:
    • Type A: For foreign individuals offered employment by a Polish employer. A valid residence permit is required.
    • Type B: For foreign individuals employed as board members.
    • Type C: For foreign individuals sent to work in Poland through an intra-company transfer.
    • Type D: For foreign individuals sent to work in Poland in export services by a foreign employer that does not have a Polish branch.
    • Type E: For foreign individuals sent to work in Poland for other reasons.
    • Type S: For foreign individuals working in agriculture or accommodation for a foreign employer.
  • Work Visas:
    • Type C: This visa is valid in the Schengen Area and permits the holder to stay in the territory of all of the Schengen countries (including Poland) for a maximum of 90 days during a 180-day period.
    • Type D: A Type D national visa allows entry and stays in Poland for over 90 days (up to one year). It also permits travel within other Schengen Area Member States for up to 90 days during a 180-day period, while the visa is valid.
    • Freelance/Entrepreneur Visa: The Freelance Visa in Poland is valid for two years and can be renewed before expiry. This visa requires the applicant to have Polish clients in addition to foreign clients.
    • The EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is granted to highly qualified non-EU workers, allowing them to live and work in an EU country. Eligibility requires higher professional qualifications as well as an employment contract or firm job offer with a duration of at least one year.

Remember, residents of the European Union are not covered by these permits as they automatically have authorization to work in Poland and other EU states.

Application process for Polish work permits and visas

These are the steps required to obtain the most common work permits and work visas in Poland:

Work Permits: In the case of Type A, the most common permit, the employer files the application on behalf of the employee. This is done at one of the regional Voivodeship offices in Poland (in the region where the employee will be working).

  • The employer files the application for the permit.
  • The application fee is paid.
  • The employer supplies documentation of their legal status, operating records, company deed, and a profit/loss statement.
  • The employer provides employee information, such as a copy of their valid passport, health insurance details, and other relevant information.
  • The employer provides a copy of the employment contract.
  • Upon approval by the Voivode (regional governor), the permit is issued by the regional Voivodeship office.

Work Visas: These are the steps required by the employee to obtain a work visa that will allow them to live in Poland. The Type C and D are the most common visas. A work permit is still required to work in most cases.

  • Type C - This is a short-term visa that covers a period of 90 days. The holder may stay in Poland and countries of the EU’s Schengen Area.
  • Type D - This is a long-term visa for up to one year, including 90 days in other Schengen countries.

These are the steps required to apply for Type C or D visas:

  • Before a worker applies, they must find the nearest Polish Embassy or Consulate and book an appointment. This information can be found on the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
  • The worker should contact the embassy or consulate to determine the documents required in their case.
  • The worker completes an online form.
  • The worker gathers the relevant documentation (photographs, passport, additional documents as specified by the consul).
  • On the day of the scheduled appointment, the worker submits the documentation to embassy/consulate staff. There may be a personal interview, if required. Processing time can take six to 12 weeks.
  • Upon approval, the employee is issued the visa.
  • Upon entering Poland, the worker must register their address, collect the relevant permits, and apply for a residency card.

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Frequently asked questions about work permits for employees in Poland

Do US citizens need a work permit to work in Poland?

Yes. US citizens must follow the same rules for foreign nationals to obtain a work permit and a work visa for Poland.

What documents are required to apply for a Polish work permit and visa?

When applying for a Polish work permit, the employer will need:

  • Work permit application form
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Copy of the worker’s passport or travel document
  • Proof of the employee’s medical insurance
  • Proof of the employer’s legal status (from the National Court Register)
  • Employer's economic activity records
  • Company deed
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Employment agreement
  • Additional documentation as required

When applying for a Polish work visa, the applicant will need:

  • Visa application form
  • Photograph
  • Passport or travel document
  • A copy of the passport page with personal data and a photo
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Proof of travel arrangements
  • Certificate of employment (only language teachers)
  • Work permit (see above)
  • Additional documents as required

What’s the fastest way to get a work permit in Poland?

The process cannot be expedited. However, employers and their workers can prevent processing delays by ensuring that the application is complete and includes all required documents and forms when initially submitted.

How much does it cost to get a Polish work permit and work visa?

Fees for the most common Polish work permits and work visas vary. The amounts below are listed in Polish zloty (PLN), Euro, and US dollars.

Type of Visa

Application fee
(excludes EU/EEA/Swiss citizens)

Short-term Visa (Type C)

PLN 350 (€78, $85)

Long-term Visa (Type D)

PLN 350 (€78, $85)

Work Permit (up to 3 months)

PLN 50 (€11, $12)

Work Permit (over 3 months)

PLN 100 (€22, $24)

Seasonal Work Permit

PLN 30 (€6.70, $7.20)

Work Permit Type D

PLN 200 (€44, $48)

Residence Permit

PLN 340-PLN 440 (€76-€98, $82-$105)

Residence Card

PLN 100 (€22, $24)

Are family members included in work visa applications in Poland?

Family members of a foreign national who is already living in Poland and is applying for a work visa can also apply for a visa. The application for a family member is made by the person already in Poland. This applies to work visas for highly qualified employees as well as employed workers. However, specific conditions may vary.

How do you renew your Poland work visa/permit?

A Polish work permit can be extended by the employer through the renewal of the employment contract. This process must be started 30 days prior to the visa expiration. The employer has the option to apply for the extension at a regional Voivodeship office or through an online application.

Regarding visas: Foreign nationals intending to stay in Poland for more than 90 days can apply for a long-stay or Type D visa. This visa allows them to enter Poland and stay continuously or for multiple periods totaling more than 90 days within the visa's validity period, up to one year. The long-stay visa is obtained at an embassy abroad and must be converted into a residence permit after arrival in Poland. For stays exceeding three months, a temporary residence permit, valid for up to three years, must be obtained. In rare cases, a Type C Schengen visa may be extended. Type D visas cannot be extended.

Is there a limit on the number of work permits you can obtain in Poland?

In most cases, work permits are valid for only specific employment contracts. The employer can extend the work contract in order to extend the validity of the permit. If the employee is on a Type D visa, they must switch to a residency permit for periods over one year.

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Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: May 11, 2024

The Author

Doug Murray

A Vancouver-based B2B and business trends writer, Doug is a charter member of the global workforce, having lived and worked out of Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Guatemala, Ghana and, of course, Canada.