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Working and living in Poland from 1 January 2021: what has changed for UK nationals?

Written by
Raczkowski largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
From 1 January 2021, new rules apply to UK nationals working and living in Poland. This Q and A gives guidance for employers and employees.


1.1 Has any guidance been issued on how UK nationals can obtain settled residence status and permission to work from 1 January 2021 and what proof of residence is needed for current residents to maintain their status?

An amendment to the Act on the entry, residence and exit from the Republic of Poland of nationals of the Member States of the European Union and their family members and certain other acts has been introduced. The amendment concerns beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), as well as UK citizens who were posted to Poland before 1 January 2021 and continue their stay after this date.

UK citizens and their family members with a valid right to stay in Poland before 1 January 2021, who continue to live in the country after the date are considered beneficiaries of the WA. They will be entitled to continue their stay and work in Poland.

UK national employees in Poland are considered to have a valid right to stay as are their family members accompanying or joining them regardless of whether they completed EU registration or obtained EU permanent residency in Poland.

Consequently all employees who are UK nationals (and family members accompanying or joining them) working in Poland before 1 January 2021  will maintain their right to work and stay in Poland after the end of the transition period.

Certificates of registration of EU citizen’s residence and residence cards of family members of EU citizens obtained by UK citizens by the end of the transition period will remain valid for the period for which they are issued, but not beyond 31 December 2021.

UK citizens and their family members who benefit from the WA will had to apply for new certificates of registration and residence cards before 31 December 2021. The documents include an annotation stating they were issued in connection with the WA.

Residence that started before the end of the transition period could be evidenced by documents confirming right to stay according to EU law before 1 January 2021, e.g. employment contract, or an EU citizen’s certificate of registration.

The other category of UK citizens who benefit from the WA are frontier workers: individuals who are employed or self-employed in Poland but do not have a place of residence in the country. To maintain the right to work in Poland after the end of transition period, frontier workers needed to register their residence before 31 December 2021. They will receive a certificate of registration as a frontier worker.

UK citizens who worked in Poland until 31 December 2020 as posted workers maintain their status too. They are entitled to obtain a special temporary residence permit for five years. The application for the permit must be submitted by 31 December 2021 at the latest. Until that date, their stay in Poland would be considered legal. After five years of legal and continuous residence, posted workers from the UK would be entitled to apply for a permanent residence permit.

UK citizens and their family members arriving in Poland after Brexit will be treated as third-country nationals:

  • A work permit is required (unless an exemption applies).
  • UK nationals will benefit from the Schengen visa-free allowance (90 days maximum stay in a 180-day rolling period). To extend their stay in Poland, a visa or residence permit will be required.



2.1 Do UK employees need a business visa from 1 January 2021?


UK citizens are exempted from the requirement for a Schengen visa, based on the amendment to the EU regulation listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement adopted by the European Parliament and Council in April. UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

The Schengen exemption applies from 1 January 2021.

2.2 What documents are needed on arrival for business travel from 1 January 2021?

Valid passport, proof of duration and purpose of stay and possession of sufficient financial means for the entire period of stay in Poland as well as for departure, as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay.

2.3 Do UK nationals need additional permission to work for business travel from 1 January 2021?

No, unless business travel is connected with a paid activity. In this case, a work permit would be required.


3.1 Do UK nationals need permission to work and stay in Poland from 1 January 2021? 


However, there are exemptions from the obligation to obtain a work permit (e.g. UK nationals falling under the WA).

3.2 If permission to work is needed after 1 January 2021, do any quotas apply to the employment of third-country nationals? 


However, the government may introduce quotas at any time. They may refer to particular regions, profession, types of contracts or the types of business activities of the employing entities.

3.3 If permission to work is needed from 1 January 2021, what categories of permission are commonly granted?         

Work permit type A: local hire;

Work permit type B: management board members, general partners in a limited partnership or a limited joint-stock partnership and commercial proxies residing in Poland for over six months within 12 months;

Work permit type C: intra-corporate transferees posted for over 30 days in a calendar year;

Work permit type D: employees posted to provide export services (employees who are temporarily posted to Poland to perform services or activities under a contract concluded between the foreign employer and a company operating in Poland for whom the services are intended);

Work permit type E: employees posted ‘for other purposes’ for over 30 days in six months.

3.4 If permission to work or stay is needed from 1 January 2021, how long does the procedure take?    

Processing time varies depending on the region and type of work permit:

approximately five to sixteen weeks.

3.5 If permission to work and stay is needed from 1 January 2021, what Government fees are payable?

Work permit: PLN 50 – 200;

Residence Permit and Blue Card: PLN 440;

Polish National Visa: EUR 80.


4.1 What formalities apply to UK frontier workers working in Poland but living in another country from 1 January 2021?

Frontier workers will either benefit from the WA or fall under the work permit obligation.


5.1 From what date are third-country nationals entitled to apply for permanent residence?        

Usually, after four to six years of residence depending on what type of residence permit, they have.


6.1 What steps could UK nationals take currently to secure their residence and work status?      

Please see the options outlined above.


Michał Kacprzyk
Senior Lawyer - Poland