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WORK PERMIT (Zezwolenie na pracę)
What is a work permit?

A work permit is a document that authorities a foreigner to work legally in Poland. The permit indicates the company that entrusts the execution of work to the foreigner and the position or the type of work which the foreigner is to perform. The work is therefore regarded as legal only if the foreigner performs the work identified in the permit.


  • The permit is valid for the period for which it was issued. The term of validity of the permit is indicated on the document.
  • A work permit is required both for taking up employment on the basis of an employment contract as well as civil law contracts.
  • The permit is issued by the Voivode competent for the seat/place of residence of the employer.

WORK PERMIT IN POLAND

Who requires a work permit in Poland?

A foreigner who is not a nation of an EU Member State is entitled to perform work in the Republic of Poland on the basis of a work permit if he legally resides in Poland on the basis of:

  • A Schengen visa or another residence document issued by another Schengen Area member state
  • A temporary residence permit
Who may work in Poland without a work permit?

A foreigner entitled to work in Poland without a work permit is a person who:

  • Has refugee status granted in the Republic of Poland;
  • Has received subsidiary protection in the Republic of Poland;
  • Possesses a permanent residence permit issued by the Republic of Poland;
  • Holds an EU long-term resident permit issued in the Republic of Poland or in special cases issued in another EU country;
  • Has been granted tolerated stay in the Republic of Poland;
  • Has benefits from temporary protection in Poland;
  • Has benefits from humanitarian protection in Poland;
  • Is a national of a European Union Member State or of a member state of the EEA or a family member of such national;
  • Is a victim of human trafficking;
  • Has a temporary residence permit or any other legal document that allows for residence in Poland acquired in conjunction with a marriage to a Polish citizen or a foreigner holding refugee status, a person benefiting from supplementary protection, possessing a permanent residence permit or a long term EU-resident permit, permit for tolerated stay or temporary protection granted to him in Poland;
  • Whose family situation (death or divorce with a spouse who was an EU citizen) has retained the right to stay in Poland on the basis of a residence permit;
  • Who has submitted an application in a timely manner for extension of a temporary residence permit, if he was entitled to take up employment without a work permit immediately before the submission of the application;
  • Has a valid Pole’s Card;
  • Is providing training or taking part in vocational training and internships, or participates in a scheme carried out within the framework of European Union programmes or another international aid scheme;
  • Is a foreign language teacher;
  • Who performs artistic or scientific activity for up to 30 days a year;
  • Is a student of full-time tertiary studies in Poland studying on the basis of a visa;
  • Is a student of full-time studies in Poland studying on the basis of a residence permit issued for the purpose of continuing tertiary education in Poland for the full year;
  • Is a graduate of Polish secondary schools, or has completed full-time studies (tertiary education), or full-time doctoral studies at Polish universities and scientific and research institutions;
  • Is entitled on the basis of the Association Agreement between the European Economic Community and Turkey;
  • Belongs to other groups (foreign language teachers who are delegated to work in cultural institutions, members of the armed forces, permanent correspondents of mass media, athletes, clergymen.
Types of work permits basing on the kind of work performed:
  • Type A. Foreigner carries out work in the Republic of Poland under an employment contract or a civil law contract with an employer whose seat/residence is on the territory of the Republic of Poland.
  • Type B. Foreigner performs of the function of board member of a company if he resides in the Republic of Poland for a total period exceeding 6 months within a period of 12 subsequent months.
  • Type C. Foreigner performs work for a foreign employer and is delegated to the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year to a branch or plant belonging to the foreign employer.
  • Type D. Foreigner performs work for a foreign employer that does not have a branch, plant or other organized form of business activity in the Republic of Poland and is delegated to the Republic of Poland in order to engage in export, i.e. a temporary and occasional service.
  • Type E. It is the rarest type and applies to all situations which do not fall under the provisions for types A-D work permits listed above.
How to apply for a work permit?

A permit is issued by the Voivode competent for the seat/place of residence of the employer.

The employer applies for a work permit for a foreigner.

Documents attached to the application should be submitted in the original or officially certified for compliance with the originals (with the exception of the identity card and passport). Documents in a foreign language should be translated into Polish by a notarial translator.

Validity periods of work permits

A work permit is issued for a fixed period of time, however, for not longer than 3 years. In the case of foreigners who perform work as members of boards of companies employing more than 25 people at the time of application for a permit, the Voivode may issue a permit for a period not longer than 5 years.

Although the law indicates for what period of time a work permit may be granted, the Voivode may shorten the period for which work permits in the voivodship are issued. The validity of the permit to work may, therefore, vary between voivodships.

In Mazovian Voivodeship, type A permits are usually issued for a period of 12 months, and extensions are given for a period not longer than 2 years.

When can work permit be revoked?

In the following situations the Voivode may revoke work permit:

  • The circumstances or evidence on whose basis the permit was granted have changed and the Voivode was not informed thereof;
  • the reason for the work permit to be granted no longer exists (e.g. the employment contract with the foreigner has been terminated, the employer has gone bankrupt);
  • The Voivode has been notified that the foreigner did not take up work within 3 months of the beginning of the validity of the work permit, or the work was completed earlier than 3 months before the expiration of the work permit without consulting the employer;
  • The employer has not fulfilled the obligations incumbent on him related to applying for a work permit for a foreigner and employment;
  • In the absence of permission/consent from another institution required for the foreigner to be able to perform work in a given profession or position;
  • The Voivode has been informed that the foreigner is listed in the register of foreigners whose stay on the territory of Poland is undesirable.

Note: the law provides for penalties for employers not fulfilling the obligations incumbent on them stemming from the procedures related to the employment of foreigners (between 3,000 and 5,000 PLN)!

When can a work permit be refused by the Voivode?

The Voivode shall refuse to issue a work permit if the employer:

  • Submitted false information or used a false document in the application, attested to a falsehood or concealed the truth therein;
  • Has not met the requirements provided for by law for the permit to be issued;
  • A final court verdict has found him guilty of contravention related to illegal foreigner employment or it is a repeat offence;
  • Has committed a crime against the rights of persons performing remunerated work;
  • Has committed crime against the credibility of documents;
  • Has committed a crime of human trafficking;
  • The employer has not fulfilled the obligations incumbent on him related to applying for a work permit for a foreigner and foreigner employment.

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