Legal Matters – A Long-Term EU Card/Permit
Describe the process for application of Long-Term EU Residence Card? When is it a good time to apply for this card? How long does the process take? I have thought long and hard about writing this blog post, as usually my blog is about lifestyle and my personal fashion and a topic like this is not usually what I would write about. But I know this post might help a lot of people who might be having the same questions as I had and have someone share their personal experience.
I have been living now in Krakow for the last 5 years and I am eligible as per Polish Law, to apply for A Long-Term EU Card/Permit. As there are many foreigners living in Poland I think it would be right to share my experience of the application process. Of course, you can read the official website and search the internet on this topic, but sometimes in my own quest to find the answers, it leads to more confusion and more doubts. I usually go to the Malopolskie Urzad Wojewodzki w Krakowie (Foreign Affairs Office) by myself and get clarifications done on the spot. Many of my friends also will be eligible to apply for this permit soon, so I thought I would share what I know in one place.
What are the types of Residence Cards to apply:
As I mentioned before I came to Poland 5 years ago. I was first here on a visa, which I had to apply at the Polish Embassy in New Delhi, India. The work permit was prepared by my employer. The visa on the passport was valid for one year. After that, I had to apply for a temporary stay and work permit and now I decided to apply for A long-term EU permit.
For the Temporary Stay, in the beginning, I had to make a document called Zameldowanie – which proves the address where I live in Poland. Then the second time I had to make it again for my PESEL number and a new card.
- A temporary stay and work permit –
A temporary stay and work permits are granted if the objective of the alien’s (foreigner) stay in Poland are to perform work. The above-mentioned permit is granted if the basis for applying for this permit meets the criteria i.e. the period of stay is longer than 3 months.
- A Temporary Stay Permit –
A temporary stay permit is granted to an alien (foreigner) if they meet the requirements specified based on their declared objective of stay, and the circumstances that are the basis for applying for this permit justify the alien’s stay in Poland for a period longer than 3 months. A temporary stay permit is granted for the period of stay no longer than 3 years.
- A long-term EU permit –
A long-term resident’s EU permit shall be granted to an alien (foreigner) for an indefinite period of time if he/she has been staying in Poland legally and uninterruptedly for minimum 5 years, immediately before filing the application and also meets each of the following conditions:
(a) has a source of steady and regular income sufficient to cover the costs of living for the foreigner himself/herself and their family members dependent on him/her;
(b) has health insurance within the meaning of the Act of 27 August 2004 on health care services which are financed from public funds, or a document certifying that the costs of any treatments in Poland will be covered by the insurer. All these cards are temporary, meaning they do not make the cardholder a Polish Citizen, yet!
The difference between card 2 and 3, is that Card Number 3 does not require a Work Permit to be made by an employer. You can use the Long-Term EU card to work inside the Territory of Poland without depending on an employer to make your permit.
There is another card/permit called the Permanent Residence (pobyt stały), this will be applicable if you have some Polish blood running through your veins, or simply put if you are of Polish Origin. Here is a simple break down of when you can apply for the Long-Term EU or the Permanent Residence permit.
You can apply for first one – Long-Term Residence of EU (pobyt rezydenta długoterminowego UE), once your legal stay in Poland is longer than 5 years* (students permits are counting as a half of period; blue cardholders can spend 3 out of 5 years can any other European Union country). Maximum break at once during these 5 years cannot be longer than 6 months – in total no longer than 10 months/5 years.
The second type of Permanent Residence (pobyt stały) is related to Polish origin and other circumstances. If you are a holder of Pole Card (Karta Polaka) you have Polish origin (it must be proved by official documentation) you are married to a Polish citizen for at least 3 years (2 years must be spent in Poland), or you are a child of holder of permanent residence or permanent EU residency – you are eligible to apply for this type of permanent residence.
My personal experience:
Here is my experience in applying for the Long-Term EU permit and card. I decided to apply for this card and not another Temporary Stay Permit since the former is valid for an unspecified time. The residence card is a document confirming the identity of the alien (foreigner) during their stay in Poland and entitling them, together with the travel document a.ka.a passport, to multiple border crossing without the necessity to obtain a visa. The residence card is valid for 5 years since the day when it is issued and after this period, it is subject to validation and can be renewed.
The documents required for my application of Long-Term EU. All copies to be handed over with application and originals for inspection at the Wydział Spraw Obywatelskich i Cudzoziemców (Department of Nationals’ and Foreigners’ Affairs) Krakow, ul. Przy Rondzie 6 (ground floor, foreigners’ affairs room)
- 1 application form filled in Polish (alphabets/language) and a copy of the same
- Passport and copy of the entire passport (all pages cover to cover)
- Work Permit from employer and a copy
- Work Contract(s) and copies
- Proof of Insurance (RMUA from Employer). You can ask your company HR for this (no need a separate copy, unless you have saved all the papers each year, which I did not)
- Income Tax PIT-37 for last 3 years. (I gave all 5 years)
Tip: If you are missing any of the PIT-37, go to your respective Tax office and ask for copies. They will make a printout. Mine cost me 5zl per page
- Rent agreement and copy. If you have other documents to prove you live in the residence provided by you in your application.
- Proof of payment of the charges. Either online or at the office i.e. 640zl
- Current residence card (Karta Pobytu) and copy
- The most important, all the decisions from day one for all your previous stays in Poland. To support the case that you lived here for 5 years legally!
To make the appointment for submitting your documents, call the following numbers (+48 12 3921830 or +48 12 3921831), one day before for the day you would like to submit your application. Not too early as they will only take next-day appointments. Keep in mind this number works from 9 am to 14 pm. I called all day only to have someone pick up my call around 13:30 on two separate days. It is not a hotline number and the same people who collect applications also answer this phone. So be patient! Of course, there were many people who just showed up there and waited till 14 pm but since they had no prior appointment, they were told to come back after making a reservation by phone.
On this call, you will be given a code and the list of documents to bring (stated above), of course, you can clarify on the phone if you have further doubts about documents. I chose a time slot of 13:30 pm, and on the day of my appointment I arrived at 13:00, made the payment to the cashier and took my receipt. Then I was told that 15 minutes prior to my appointment I must enter my code in the token machine and take a token and wait for my new number to appear on the board. No surprises by the time it was my turn there were other people ahead of me and I ended up being called at 14:30 pm.
All my documents and forms were validated and since everything was ok, I was asked if I would like to have a decision received by SMS or by letter. I chose SMS as the lady said it would be faster. I was also given a document with the list of the complete procedure (same data as in the website in English and Polish). My fingerprints were taken and then a stamp put on my passport for the acknowledgement. I was told if any further documents would be required by the person who would take up my case, then I would be contacted accordingly or I will have to just wait for my decision. And that is it. The procedure is very simple, but due to bureaucracy it takes a lot of time, so be prepared to take a day off to get your work done. I also found out that now due to many applications, the whole process of reaching a decision by the authorities takes anywhere between 4-6 months. So, you must make your travel plans accordingly. If you leave the territory of Poland while you are waiting for your decision, then you will need another visa to get back in and that defeats the whole purpose.
Remember to fill in the application form correctly and my tip would be if you have doubts, let the person validate your form first at the Malopolskie Urzad Wojewodzki w Krakowie (Foreign Affairs Office). You will be able to make a copy of the document then at the cashier’s desk for 1.20zl. It will be better than having mistake’s in the original and the copies. The documents I provided are the standard and for an individual applicant. I do not know the procedure if you are applying for a spouse or a child. All applications and applicants must be present at the time of submitting the application too.
I was just informed that there will be some new rule in place and that an additional document proving that you have level B1 knowledge of Polish language is required. The Polish President signed a document to this effect on 12th of December 2017 and so it means in future you will have to prove that you know the Polish Language as well. I was also informed that till this comes into effect they will not consider it strictly at the Malopolskie Urzad Wojewodzki w Krakowie (Foreign Affairs Office). For those of you who are not yet fluent in the Polish language, I would suggest signing up for classes soon.
As of 12th Feb 2018, a new rule became effective wherein all applicants for Long-Term EU Resident Card must confirm his/her fluency in the Polish language at least in B1 Level with a relevant certificate.
For more information please check the official Website http://www.muw.pl/default.aspx?page=Locations_of_foreigner_service_centres or https://udsc.gov.pl/en/cudzoziemcy/obywatele-panstw-trzecich/
I hope this post provides some insights to apply for the Long-Term EU card/permit in Poland. If you have any further questions, you may as I mentioned, go to the office directly and enquire on a case by case basis.
Thank you for reading and if you find this post useful to share it with your friends.
*Update: As of 11th April 2018, I had received a letter with the final decision and it was a positive one. Just 2 weeks ago I received the residence card and I am over the moon.