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Living in Poland starter kit for Expats

Updated: Aug 30, 2022 are thinking of moving to Poland, or have already moved here and need to get settled, hopefully this guide can help you find your way!

What you need to do:

  1. Find accommodation

  2. Register for temporary residence

  3. Register with your local government office for tax purposes

  4. Register for a PESEL Number

  5. Getting a trusted profile

  6. Get a bank account

  7. Get a Polish phone number

  1. Find accommodation:

Unless you plan to live out of hotels...which will stop you from doing any of the above, you will need a place of residence.

You can check out this video for some tips:

Or, if you would rather read I would suggest the following:

If you want this to be as easy as possible I would suggest contacting a rental agency, all they need to know is your preferred area of the city, price range and how long you want the contract to be, agencies are professional and tend to have some of the better flats on offer...but be aware of the cost, they will charge you one months rent as their commission!

Personally I used Rent a Flat as my first agency and can recommend their service, they were efficient and helpful!

Alternatively if you are prepared to put in some effort you can check out the rental websites:

You will need to do a bit of searching, arrange visits with the landlord or agency representing them, but be quick...good properties vanish quickly and be wary as you have to kiss many frogs before you find your other words, be prepared to see a lot of crappy flats before you find the right place for you!

There are some facebook groups, however these are in unless you know the language you may find this an uphill struggle!

2. Register for residency:

This is when things start to be a little taxing...but if you have the right paperwork ahead of time it should go smoothly!

Firstly for full information check out the government website:

You need to find the local voivodeship office for your city.

You will need a few things to get through this...

  1. Your residence application form, if you are new to Poland ensure you fill in the temporary form, depending on your place of origin forms can be different, mainly there will be an EU form and a non-EU form, there can be a different form for students.

This will need to be filled out in Polish!

You will also need at least 2 copies of the filled out form with you!

2. ID: Here generally a Passport is best, or whatever identity documents you have from your local government, this will need to be photo ID

3. Proof of income, hopefully if you are applying for residence you will have a job, or a business of some sure to have your contract of employment, make sure this is the original with pen signature...photocopies will not be accepted!

4. There may be some other documents required, i.e. Marriage certificates if married to a Polish citizen, proof of medical insurance, bank statements, 4 passport photos if applying for an ID card...

Essentially make sure to research what your circumstances are and how that will impact the above...also, do not count on speaking with someone who knows English, I would advise taking along someone who knows Polish to make this easier!

3. Register with your local office

Once you have your residence permit taken care need to register with your local district, this will be for Tax purposes, and they will designate your specific Tax office based on your address of residence, for some people your employer may handle this for you

You need to find the Urzad Dzielnicy and be prepared to fill in another form in Polish...

I would take with you:

  • Your ID

  • Your Residence permit

  • Your accommodation contract

4. Obtaining your PESEL number

A PESEL number is pretty essential in Poland, I guess it' like a national insurance number in the UK for example. It forms your identity and is used when dealing with the government in any form, whether it be dealing with taxes or registering for a bank account...luckily the steps for getting one are basically the same as above, so you can kill two birds with one will just have another form to fill out!

5. Getting a Trusted profile

This is an optional thing...but it will make your life easier!

A trusted profile is basically an online identity that allows you to log into government systems more easily, whether for paying taxes or signing up for your next Covid vaccine, it can save a lot of hassle.

This website has some detailed steps: Careers in Poland

You are meant to be able to do it through your bank...but I've never got this to work...

The method I used was to fill in a form online and then go to a local 'confirmation' point to fill in another form and prove who I go armed with all your Polish paperwork!

6. Get a bank account

Technically you can do this earlier in the process and all you need it your residence card...depending on the bank.

I went with Millennium as they are a little more forgiving on the paperwork and proofs needed, I just needed to present my Passport and residence card for them to accept my application.

Though once you have a PESEL number you should update this with them as well!

7. Get a Polish phone number

I would recommend doing this sooner rather than will make your life a lot easier!

I was able to handle my taxes and government services more smoothly, my UK number didn't work, even before Brexit!

Plus it will keep expenses down...

However, being Poland it isn't straightforward for foreign nationals..

For your first two years you won't be able to get a contract on a phone (Called subscription locally), so when I started I had to buy a phone and a Polish SIM card. Of course any unlocked phone will do, but I wanted to get a newer keep a separate UK phone, which I rarely use but it can come in handy for online banking in the UK.

Once you have been here for two tax years you can then apply for a contract phone if you require.

You can sign up using a Passport, but I would recommend doing so with your residence card.

The main networks are T Mobile, Orange and Play...people debate which is the best, I would say more people have recommended T Mobile for coverage, however I recently switched to Orange as they had the model of phone I required.

The guide above is a little basic, but I hope it gives you a good idea of what you need to do in order to settle in here.

If you have any questions or additions...or maybe even corrections feel free to get in contact and I will amend the above!

Good luck on your journey!

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