An aerial shot of a Polish city

Poland 14 min

Work permits and visas in Poland: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
Sally Flaxman


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If you want to hire an employee in Poland or relocate a team member to the country, you’ll have to make sure they have the right legal status.

Polish immigration laws can be complex, especially if you have limited knowledge about international hiring. While hiring abroad, you'll have to follow local labor and tax laws and ensure legal compliance while you pay and manage employees.

In this article, we’ll take you through the work permits and work visa process in Poland, eligibility criteria, and processes for employee work visa sponsorship. We’ll also briefly look at how an employer of record like Remote can make it easy for you to hire in Poland.

The importance of immigration compliance in Poland

​​The rise of remote working means that workers can now work across the globe while they travel. In response, many countries have introduced laws that restrict individuals from working on a tourist visa.

New regulations on remote work came into force in Poland in 2023 which places new obligations on employers to make sure that provisions are in place to support remote workers. 

If individuals are found to be working illegally, they may be subjects to fines and deportation. If employers hire individuals without the correct work permit, they may also receive hefty penalties and/or be banned from working in the country.

Given these stringent rules, companies need to make sure that their team members are working legally and are always compliant with local laws.

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Who is eligible to work in Poland?

Foreigners who can legally stay in Poland and have a work permit can lawfully work in the country. Those who hold a residence card with an “access to the labor market” note can also work without applying for a visa. 

However, those who solely possess a tourist visa or visa to visit friends or family cannot perform any paid work. European Union citizens, as well as citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, and their family members can legally work in Poland without a work permit. There are also a few countries from outside the EU/Western Europe region that are granted access to the Polish job market. These include nationals of Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Belarus. 

However, citizens of these countries can only work without a visa for no longer than six months within each subsequent period of 12 months. If they exceed this limit, then their Polish employer needs to submit a special declaration to the labor office, stating that they wish to hire them on a long-term employment contract. 

There’s also a possibility of applying for a seasonal worker permit, which lets the foreigner work in Poland for nine out of 12 consecutive months.

Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Poland?

Yes, a legal work permit status is generally necessary for non-citizens to work in Poland.

As explained before, there are several countries whose citizens don’t have to apply for a work visa or work permit if they decide on a short-term stay. 

Those who are eligible for visa-free entrance can cross the border into Poland solely based on a passport or (for EU citizens, a national ID card). However, they must remember that they can only conduct work under the visa-free regime for no longer than 90 days during a 180-day period. If they wish to work in the country for a longer period, then they need to apply for a residence permit (which EU citizens are entitled to upon request).

How is the Schengen visa applicable? 

A Schengen visa is required for some nationals to enter any country within the Schengen area (Poland falls within the Schengen area). 

The good news for businesses is that an individual can also apply for a Business Schengen visa, which allows them solely to execute their current business agenda while on Schengen territory. So, if the employee were to spend a few weeks on Polish territory to represent your interests, then they would safely be able to do so with this document.

However, it’s critical to understand that a Business Schengen visa does not function as a work permit, i.e., it does not grant the holder access to the local labor market. 

That being said, if a worker has a Polish national employment (Type D) visa, which we discuss later in this article, they would be automatically permitted to seek employment not only in Poland but also in other Schengen Area states.

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable?

A European Union Blue Card is a special, temporary residence permit, which is granted to those who wish to enter the EU for “highly-qualified employment”. It’s given to foreigners whose skills are highly in demand in the country they want to move to. 

The card gives the individual the right to perform the type of work they’ve declared on their application. It’s valid for anywhere between three months to three years.

To apply for a Blue Card, an applicant needs to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have a higher education diploma relevant to the type of work they want to perform, or

  • Prove that they have at least five years of work experience in the field (which can be treated as an equivalent of the years spent on formal education).

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Poland?

The eligibility requirements depend on the type of Poland work visa or work permit the foreigner is applying for. They also vary depending on whether they’re entering the country to work for a specific employer or want to set out on a job hunt.

If a foreigner wants to perform commercial work for their own business but isn’t seeking employment, then a Business Schengen visa might be the right choice. Meanwhile, others might be invited into the country by an employer, who would like to hire them for their high-level or unique skills, as is the case of the Blue Card. 

As mentioned, some nationals (mainly those from EU member states) can be hired on the same terms as your Polish full-time employees, provided that they register themselves as residents.

Before you apply for a visa in Poland, you have to consider the nationality of the employee, their contract duration, and the circumstances of their work.

What are the long-stay visa types in Poland?

In Poland, long-stay visas are known as Poland Type D visa, or National visa. Foreigners from non-EU/EEA countries who wish to reside in the country for anywhere between 91 and 365 days a year must apply for this document. 

Type D visas are most commonly granted for family reunions, work, and gaining higher education. It’s also given to anyone with Polish roots, who can present a Card of Pole ID. 

Some Type D visas are granted for multiple entries to the country, while others let them enter Poland just once or twice. Let’s look at the main national visa types that allow for work. For a full list of Type D visas, including those that don’t require a work permit, visit the Migrant service.

How to apply for a work permit in Poland?

If you want to employ a foreigner, you’ll have to apply for a work permit on their behalf at the local Voivodeship office. For this purpose, you’ll need to submit the following documents: 

  • The application form

  • Proof of paying the application fees

  • Proof of the employer’s legal status, issued by the National Court Register

  • Records of the employer’s economic activity

  • Scans of the employee’s passport 

  • A confirmation of the health insurance

  • A company deed

  • Employer’s profit/loss statements 

  • A copy of the employment contract.

Bear in mind that employers who hire foreigners based on a work permit have the same duties towards them as towards Polish citizens. Therefore, before you bring a non-European citizen on board, you should:

  • Verify if they have a valid residence permit

  • Copy the residence permit, and keep it on file until the employment comes to an end

  • Prepare and sign a written contract, in line with the terms of the work permit

  • Share a copy of the work permit with your international employee

  • Inform the foreigner what they’ll have to do to get the work permit or extend it. 

  • Inform the voivode within seven days if the foreigner:

    • doesn’t start working within three months of issuing the work permit 

    • stops working for more than three months

    • ends the employment three months before the expiration of the permit. 

Luckily, if you work with a partner like Remote, you can significantly accelerate this process. We will handle legal eligibility checks on your behalf. All you have to do is ask your employee to submit the right documentation to our platform.  Our expert Mobility team will perform a work eligibility check to make sure the provided work permit is valid. If it turns out that it’s invalid or hasn’t been submitted, we will help you get one as soon as possible. 

How do you get a work visa for Poland?

To get a Poland work visa, an employee has to submit the following documentation:

  • A valid passport — it shouldn’t expire within the next six months.

  • A visa application form, must be completed via the e-Konsulat system. It must be printed and signed.

  • Portrait photos in color. The dimensions are the same as in the Schengen visa.

  • Flight itinerary

  • Travel health insurance covers at least €30,000. After arriving in Poland, the employee will have to apply for long-term health insurance either through the Polish National Health Fund or via a private insurer.

  • Proof of accommodation 

  • Original version and a copy of the work permit, which must be provided by the employer

  • Letter of employment, signed by the employer. It has to include the job position, salary, and other employment details.

  • Work employment certificate or a CV. Any documents, which boost employee credibility and show they’re fit for the job, should be attached to the application.

  • Police clearance certificate, to show lack of criminal background. 

After receiving the work permit, or a declaration, the employee should apply to the Polish consulate in the country where they reside to get their work visa.

On average, it takes up to 12 days to process the application for a Poland work visa. However, sometimes it might take as long as six weeks. That’s why it’s highly recommended to apply for a work visa at least 2 months before arriving.  

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Poland?

An employer can sponsor a visa not only for those looking to enter Poland based on a Poland work visa, but also for those who are currently legally based in the country.

In the case of the former, the hiring party should provide a letter or other type of formal declaration, that states their readiness to employ the foreigner. These statements are then submitted to and filed by the regional labor office. Upon such a document, the person should then schedule a meeting at their nearest Polish consulate and apply for the visa. Upon the employee's arrival in the country, the employer is required by law to keep copies of documents that certify the legality of the foreigner’s employment. These should be presented to relevant authorities, should these visit the employer’s headquarters.

Meanwhile, if you wish to employ a foreigner who currently resides in Poland based on a national visa, then you must check if their residence permit grants them access to the labor market. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to apply for a relevant Poland work visa type or work permit.

While this is a complex and time-consuming process, the good news is you can partner up with an expert like Remote, who will handle the paperwork for you as part of our Relocation service. Our Mobility team will help ensure that you’re compliant while recruiting, hiring, and moving employees to Poland.

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Poland?

Currently, Poland doesn’t offer a special visa for digital nomads. Those who aren’t EU citizens must be employed by a Polish company to be able to settle in the country. 

Digital nomads can apply for the following visas as an alternative to a digital nomad visa offered by other countries: 

What is Poland’s Freelance visa?

This type of visa is valid for up to two years, and it can be renewed if necessary. To qualify, digital nomads must have Polish brands as customers. Having international ones only will not suffice. There are three types of freelance contracts, which can be used while working remotely in Poland.

  • Umowa zlecenie — it’s the most popular employment contract, which governs the relationship between the employer and the contractor/employee. It offers more favorable taxation, and it’s easier to terminate if needed.

  • B2B contract — this type of arrangement requires the contractor to set up a company and issue invoices to the contracting party. They’re responsible for paying their own taxes and aren’t subject to any benefits. 

  • Umowa o dzieło — freelancers get paid for a specific task instead of the hours they’ve put in to complete it.

What is Poland’s Type C Visa

Also called a Schengen visa. It allows foreigners to live in Poland or any other country, that is part of the Schengen area for up to three months within 180 days. It’s a short-stay visa, and digital nomads aren’t required to pay any taxes to the Polish government.

What is Poland’s Type D Visa

It’s a long-term residence permit. Foreigners have the right to stay in Poland for over three months, either continuously or for several successive times. However, their total stay on the same visa can’t exceed one year. After this time, they need to have it renewed.

We know that relocation can be stressful for employees and employers alike. Apart from understanding visa requirements and handling paperwork, you'll also have to make sure you stay compliant with local labor rules while you hire and pay employees abroad.

Working with Remote can make global hiring a simple and stress-free process. Remote can help you minimize legal risks while handling HR processes such as onboard, payroll, and benefits. Remote can also help you:

To make sure your relocation goes as smoothly as possible, take a look at our relocation guide. You can also contact our Mobility gurus for guidance on how to relocate employees to Poland right away!

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