At a Glance
- Nationals of any country who can demonstrate their Polish origin and who speak Polish are now eligible for the Karta Polaka, a status that grants permanent residence immediately upon arrival in Poland. Previously, the card was only available to nationals of certain areas of Russia, as determined by law.
- Foreign nationals who travel to Poland with the card can apply for permanent residence without meeting the minimum length of stay requirement, which is usually five years unless the foreign national is married to a Polish national, when the requirement is reduced to three years.
Eligibility for the Karta Polaka has been expanded to nationals of any country who can demonstrate their Polish origins and speak Polish. Previously, the card was only available to nationals of certain areas of Russia, as determined by law.
A closer look
Details of the Karta Polaka include the following:
- Requirements. Foreign nationals must prove their Polish origin through identity documents and birth and marriage certificates; the immigration officer at the consulate determines whether the applicant meets the Polish language proficiency requirement through a conversational test. The applicant can also present documents of their Polish language skills, but such documents are not mandatory.
- Application process. A foreign national can apply for a Karta Polaka by submitting an application at a consulate in their home country or country of residence. The applicant is subject to a background check, which can take up to 30 days to process. Once the foreign national has been granted the card, they can apply for a one-year entry visa at a Polish consulate. After receiving the visa, they can travel to Poland.
Upon receipt of the card, foreign nationals who travel to Poland can apply for permanent residence without meeting the minimum length of stay requirement, which is usually five years unless the foreign national is married to a Polish national, in which case the requirement is reduced to three years.
Permanent residents benefit from the ability to work in Poland without a separate work permit and the ability to change jobs in Poland without being connected to their original employer.
Despite its anti-immigrant political sentiment, Poland is trying to attract foreign nationals to work in the country due to strong economic growth and a shortage of local workers. These efforts are likely to continue, though changes are not expected to be implemented until 2020 due to the national election expected to take place in November 2019.
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