A foreigner may cross the border and stay on the territory of Poland if he/she has a travel document with a valid visa or another document (for instance, a permit or a pass) entitling him/her to enter and stay on this territory.
The exemption from the visa requirement applies to citizens of the European Union and to citizens of certain third countries in case of a stay up to 90 days. The up-to-date list is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A foreigner may request a visa in consulates and consular sections of the embassies of Poland. If there is no Polish consulate in the foreigner’s country, he/she should go to the nearest consular post in another country. Additionally, a visa may be requested on the basis of an invitation issued, among others, by a Polish citizen or a foreigner who has been staying on the territory of Poland for at least 5 years, or holds a permit to settle or a residence card for a long-term resident of the European Communities. Further information concerning invitations can be found on the website of the Office for Foreigners.
Types of Visas
- Uniform C-type visa (the Schengen visa) ‒ entitles the holder to one or more entries provided that neither the duration of a single stay nor the total duration of successive stays on the territories of the Schengen countries exceeds 3 months within a 6-month period, counting from the date of the first entry into this territory.
- National D-type visa ‒ entitles the holder to entry into and continuous residence on the territory of Poland or multiple consecutive stays lasting jointly longer than 3 months and not exceeding jointly a year within the period of visa validity. A foreigner holding a national D-type visa has the right to pass once through the territories of other Schengen states in order to enter the country that issued the visa. The National D-type visa does not entitle the holder to transit through other Schengen states on the way back to his/her country of origin.
A foreigner may apply for a visa if he/she holds a valid travel document, the validity of which exceeds by at least 3 months the date when he/she is obliged to leave the territory of Poland or, in case of the unified visa, the Schengen zone on the basis of the issued visa.
The acceptance and consideration of an application for a visa by a consul is subject to a consular fee (60 EUR for both uniform and national visas). The fee should be paid before the submission of the application. The fee is not refunded in case of refusal to issue a visa.
The following materials should be enclosed with an application for a visa:
- Photographs of people referred to in the application.
- Documents confirming the purpose of entry (an invitation, a proof of admission into university etc.).
- A proof of insurance, in which the insurer agrees to cover the costs of treatment on the territory of the Schengen countries of at least 3000 EUR during the intended stay on this territory – in case of applications for a uniform stay visa.
- A proof of health insurance as required by regulations for publicly financed healthcare or a proof of coverage by the insurer of the costs of treatment on the territory of Poland during the intended stay on this territory – in case of applications for a national visa.
- A proof of payment of the consular fee.
A visa may be extended only if the following conditions are fulfilled:
- The extension supports the foreigner’s important professional or personal interest, or humanitarian considerations.
- The events that elicited the need to apply for visa extension occurred independently of the foreigner’s will and could not be foreseen at the time when the visa was issued.
- Circumstances of the case do not indicate that the purpose of the stay will be different from declared.
- There are no circumstances that would justify a refusal to issue a visa.
The duration of a stay on the territory of Poland on the basis of an extended visa may not exceed the maximum period of stay for a given visa type (3 months for the uniform visa and 1 year for the national visa). The authority responsible for extending a visa is the voivode competent with respect to the foreigner’s place of residence. An application for visa extension should be filed with the voivode, using an appropriate application form (available on the website of the Mazowieckie Voivodship Office: Schengen visa extension form, national visa extension form). The application should be submitted at least 7 days before the lapse of the period of stay specified in the uniform C-type stay visa the foreigner holds or at least 14 days before the end of the period of stay specified in the national D-type visa the foreigner holds. A foreigner who applies for visa extension is obliged to justify his/her application, enclose documents confirming the circumstances given in the application and photographs of people referred to in the application. The foreigner is also obliged to pay an application fee of 60 EUR for the extension of a uniform visa and of 460 PLN for the extension of a national visa.
If the application for visa extension is not submitted within the specified time limit, and the proceedings for visa prolongation is not completed before the lapse of the period of legal stay on the basis of the visa held, the foreigner will be obliged to leave Poland and await the issuing of a decision abroad.
Attention: A decision on refusal to extend the visa issued by a consul is final. Stay on the territory of Poland after the expiry of the visa, and in case its prolongation has been refused is considered illegal.