Before You Arrive

1 min read
22 Sep 2023

Although summers in Warsaw are generally warm, it is known for subzero temperatures in winter.  You’ll need to pack something for each season and include snowproof clothing. House-hunting is challenging, so searching online before arriving can help. Be prepared to stay at a hotel, a short-term rental or with a friend while searching. Once you are a resident in Warsaw, you must register your address with the local authority, which requires a tenancy agreement and proof of your right to reside in Poland or another Schengen-Area country. Driving licenses for any EU or EEA country are valid to use in Poland. If your driver's licence is not from EU/EFTA, it is valid for six months in Poland from the day you register yourself in Warsaw. After this, you are required to pass a driving-theory test to exchange it for a valid Polish licence.

Visa and Work Permits

Poland is a part of the European Union’s Schengen Area, meaning any EU-national is free to live, work and start a business there, as are third-country nationals with permanent residence, long-term EU residence, a spousal visa, or student or research residence. For other third-country nationals, fully licensed and incorporated employers must sponsor and secure a visa and work permit for prospective employees. They must conduct a labor-market test to prove there is no eligible Polish or EU national who could be employed instead. This test is not needed if the local Voivode (official) has included the particular field of work in a list of high-demand jobs. Work permits have a duration of three years, but, depending on the type, work visas may last only six months or one year. The entire visa application process generally takes three to four weeks for approval, but may extend to up to eight weeks.

You can obtain permanent residence (and eligibility for citizenship after five years) by investing a minimum of €100,000 ($118,300) in a form of Polish commercial activity. You can also secure a temporary residence permit by setting up a startup that is able to generate €15,000 ($17,700) a year. After three years of temporary residence on this basis, you will qualify for permanent residence. Investment in real estate qualifies as a form of commercial activity in both of these cases.