[Simple Guide] How to Apply for Polish Residence Card (Karta Pobytu) for Foreigners


This post will go over the procedure on starting the Polish Residence Card, also known as the Karta Pobytu. You will need this if you want to stay in Poland long term. There are a few ways you can apply for this card:

  • Studying as a student
  • Working in a company located in Poland
  • Married to a Polish citizen
  • Having a Business in Poland

To get everything going, here are a few things you are going to need:

1 – Completed Application

Now, this used to be a hassle since the form is always in Polish. However, there is an site that translate the form into English and makes it easy for you to fill out. Here is the link: https://cudzoziemcy.gov.pl/en/?fbclid=IwAR1YiLL3Jk_YOkl6OVHah5HNp1GnCADXCKUCbd8tfBx67YHGDTsX_pN7Fow

Make sure to select interactive application forms tab and select permanent residence permit.

Just follow the instructions and you will be able to print out the form with completed details.

2 – Photos

So you will need 4 passport photos, which you can easily get in any of the major cities in Poland. You can take the photo at the office as well, but it is cheaper to do it elsewhere.

3 – Rental Contract/Agreement

You will need the rental agreement to prove that you are staying there and can afford to pay for it. You will need to talk to your landlord about this.

4 – Proof of Health Insurance

This is mostly for those outside of EU who don’t have health insurance. You will need to buy some to proof that you are covered in case of medical emergency. I get mine from: https://www.americanvisitorinsurance.com/poland/.

Keep in mind that you will need to buy an entire year of health insurance with minimum 30,000 euros coverage.

You will want to get something similar to the plan above. As long as the coverage is over 30,000 euros, you will be fine. The price will average, but I have seen anywhere from $280-450. Mine costs $330. It also depends on your age as well.

Once you get it, they will send you an email, with the medical visa letter, medical insurance ID and contact info. You need to print out the medical visa letter that they sent to your email.

Documents Required Depending on Type

  • Bank Statement – To prove you have sufficient means to stay here and pay for your living expenses. (Minimum to be safe is around 7000 zloty)
  • Work Contract/Company Documents– If you are working for a company, this will be mandatory to prove that you are here for that exact reason. Make sure to have a copy of it.
  • University Statement Letter and Invoice – This is for students and it is needed to prove you go to that school and has paid the tuition fees
  • Birth Certificate – Needs to be translated to Polish and verified via notary services in Poland.

Once you have the documents needed, you will want to submit them and then either setup an appointment in the office or do a walk in.

Things That Will Help

The address for the office in Warsaw is:

  • Marszałkowska 3/5, 00-624 Warszawa

Have a Polish speaking person going with you to the interview. This is especially important if you don’t know any Polish. At the office, they will not speak English to you, even if they know it. Unless you want to stand there looking like a dork and not understand anything, you will want to get a friend or maybe even pay someone if you don’t have any Polish speaking friends.

Get an Appointment. This is the best since you won’t have to wait in line. Otherwise, you need to go super early before the office opens.

Double check your documents. Make sure that you have everything with you, this includes the rental agreements, passport, birth certificate, bank statements and so on. Missing out on an item means that you need to come back on a later date and further delay the process.

Hiring a lawyer or Agency. If you are working for a company and they will help you with the work visa process, then this is not necessary. However, if you are here for other reasons such as business, marrying a Polish citizen, then this might be the better option.


Once you have successfully submitted your document, you will get a confirmation letter in the mail. Keep this letter because in the unlikely case the police asks you about your legitimate stay here, you have that to keep you safe.

If you missed some documents, you will get another letter, making you go through the dreaded appointment to the government office (Urząd) and repeat the process again.

As for how long it takes, this can go from 3 months all the way to 1 year. It really is hard to predict.

And when it is approved, you still need to go back to the office to get the card as well. 😀

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