Guidance

Living in Poland

Official information for UK nationals living in or moving to Poland, including guidance on residency, passports and healthcare.

What you should do

You should:

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Polish Government and your local authority. You can also read our Poland travel advice for our latest guidance.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Poland see our coronavirus travel advice.

Stay up to date

You should:

The Withdrawal Agreement

If you were legally resident in Poland before 1 January 2021, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

You should check that you are correctly registered and should get a new residence document to evidence your rights.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

If you were legally resident in Poland before 1 January 2021, you should obtain a new residence document from your local Voivodeship Office. This document will evidence your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

You should check the locations of local Voivodeship Offices in Poland.

Read the information and infographic about the process for obtaining the new residency documents on the Polish government’s guidance for UK nationals.

You should also read the Polish Government’s residency guidance for UK nationals and their frequently asked questions.

If the authorities think you may be a Polish national, for example if you have Polish parents, grandparents or great grandparents, they might research your family history. Your application may take longer than usual to process.

Additional support

If you need additional support to complete your residency application, read the guidance on the UK Nationals Support Fund.

Moving to Poland

Check the entry requirements for Poland and read the Polish government’s guidance on moving to Poland, including how to get a visa.

Passports and travel

You should carry your residence document, as well as your valid passport when you travel. If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry your certificate of application.

If you have not yet applied for a residence document, you should carry evidence that you are resident in Poland. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.

Read the Polish Border Guards guidance on what documents you should carry when travelling back to Poland to prove you are a resident (in Polish).

If you cannot show that you are resident in Poland, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in Poland.

Passports

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You can apply for or renew your British passport from Poland.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Renew your passport before booking your travel if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. You may also need to show a return or onward ticket.

Entry requirements

You will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism.

To stay longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, to work or study, or for business travel, you must meet the entry requirements set out by the country you are travelling to. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit.

Periods of time authorised by a visa or permit will not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Travel to the UK and Ireland has not changed.

Driving in Poland

UK licences are only valid in Poland for the first 6 months of residence. After 6 months, you must exchange your driving licence for a Polish licence. You do not need to retake a driving or theory test to exchange your licence.

For information on driving in Poland, read the information on:

When driving, you should always have your:

  • driving licence
  • ID
  • car registration papers
  • insurance papers

Driving in the UK with a Polish licence

You can use your Polish licence in the UK for short visits, or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test. We will update these pages if there are any changes to the rules, as soon as information is available.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Poland

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

You should read the European Union’s guidance on car registration and taxes in Poland. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.

Healthcare

You must be registered for healthcare as a resident in Poland, and if necessary, with healthcare insurance.

You should:

State healthcare: S1

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Poland and you:

  • are receiving a UK State Pension
  • are receiving some other ‘exportable benefits’
  • are a frontier worker who lives in Poland and commutes to work in the UK
  • have been sent to Poland temporarily by your UK employer

Read our guidance on using an S1 form in Poland to ensure you are correctly registered for healthcare.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

If you are resident in Poland, you must not use your UK-issued EHIC or GHIC for healthcare in Poland, unless you are a student or a detached (posted) worker. Current EHICs will remain valid until the expiry date on the card.

If you are living in Poland you may be eligible for a new UK-issued EHIC or GHIC if you’re:

  • a UK student in Poland
  • a UK State Pensioner with a registered S1
  • a frontier worker with a registered S1

The card you receive will depend on when you moved to Poland.

Apply now for a new UK EHIC or GHIC.

An EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance.

For more information read our guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe and advice on foreign travel insurance.

You should also read guidance on:

Working in Poland

If you were legally resident in Poland before 1 January 2021, you have the right to work, as long as you remain legally resident.

Read the Department for International Trade’s guidance on working or providing services in Poland and sign up for their updates.

Read the Polish government’s guidance on working in Poland, which includes information on self-employed workers, frontier workers and posted workers.

You may need to apply for a UK police certificate.

If you are planning to come to Poland to work, you may need a work permit. Read the Polish government’s guidance on moving to Poland.

Frontier workers

If you live in Poland and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country, before 1 January 2021 you may need a permit to prove that you are a frontier worker. We will update this guidance when more information is available.

If you commute to work in Poland while living in another EU country or the UK, you must apply for a Frontier Workers permit from 1 January 2021. You will have time to do that until 31 December 2021.

Read the information for frontier workers on the Polish government’s guidance for UK nationals.

Education and professional qualifications

You will be eligible for broadly the same support as Polish nationals, as long as you were legally resident in Poland before 1 January 2021. You must apply for a residence permit in Poland.

Moving to Poland to study 

If you are planning to study in Poland, make sure you meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Poland to check what fees you may have to pay.  

For more information read studying in the European Union. 

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Poland. When doing this, you will be subject to the third country regulations.

Read the Department for International Trade’s guidance on how to get your qualification recognised in Poland and sign up for their updates.

Get your UK professional qualifications recognised in Poland.

Read the Polish government website about professional qualifications (in Polish) and the guidance about professional qualifications issued by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

If your qualification was officially recognised by the relevant regulator in Poland before 1 January 2021, make sure you understand the terms of your recognition decision by checking with that regulator.

Money and tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Poland to ensure you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. You should direct individual taxpayer questions about double taxation to the relevant tax authority.

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Poland have not changed.

You should read the guidance on:

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Poland.

Find English-speaking lawyers in Poland.

National Insurance

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Poland.

Banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA is a matter of local law and regulation. Your bank or finance provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider or seek independent financial advice.

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services changes for more information on cross-border banking.

Pensions

Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Poland.

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire in Poland, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on pension and retirement changes after 31 December 2020 for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don´t.

Benefits

Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Poland.

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

If you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks, many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit can’t be paid.

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Polish benefits

You may be eligible to claim some Polish social security benefits. To find out if you are entitled to Polish benefits and how to claim, read the EU’s guidance on claiming benefits in Poland.

Voting

You cannot vote in local municipal elections in Poland or European Parliament elections.

The UK is working with the Polish government to explore whether any solution can be found for UK nationals to vote in future local elections. We will update this guidance when more information is available.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Poland, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in Poland you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Poland.

You may also need English-speaking lawyers in Poland.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

You may need to get a permit from the Minister responsible for home affairs to buy property. Read the Polish government’s guidance on purchasing property as a third country national (in Polish).

Pets

If you have a pet passport issued by Poland or another EU member state, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain and elsewhere in the EU.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. You should speak to your vet before you travel to get the necessary pet travel documents and ensure you’re compliant with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Read guidance on:

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.

Emergencies

As well as the European emergency number 112, Poland also has:

  • 997 – police
  • 998 – fire brigade
  • 999 – ambulance

See Poland – emergency numbers.

If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy Warsaw.

Returning to the UK

Tell the Polish and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

If you get healthcare in Poland through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Polish authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 12 November 2013
Last updated 19 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Additional support section updated with link to guidance on UK Nationals Support Fund, healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in Poland section updated with link to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on working or providing services, education section updated with link to DIT guidance on recognition of professional qualifications

  2. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines

  3. Passport and travel section updated with a new link on proof of residency when travelling back to Poland.

  4. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, pet travel and moving to Poland

  5. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling

  6. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  7. Visas and Residency section updated with information on the new residency system and a link to new Polish government guidance.

  8. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  9. Visas and residency section updated to include information about how to access the UK Nationals Support Fund for those who may find it harder to complete their residency applications.

  10. A new link to the Polish Office for Foreigners' FAQs on residency rights and an updated link to Polish government guidance on healthcare.

  11. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  12. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  13. Brexit update: List of outreach events for UK nationals in Poland updated.

  14. Brexit Update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  15. Brexit: We have added new information on residency, recognition of professional qualification, pensions and benefits.

  16. EU Exit update: We have added new information in the "Passports and travel after the UK leaves the EU section"

  17. We've updated information on voting in the European Parliament elections.

  18. EU Exit update: New information added in passports and travel after the UK leaves the EU, pensions after the UK leaves the EU and returning to the UK.

  19. EU Exit update: updated information on healthcare, visas and residency, driving licences and voting.

  20. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  21. The Polish Office for Foreigners has published a brochure on Polish residency provisions for UK nationals living in Poland after the UK leaves the EU. We have added a link to the brochure.

  22. We have added information on upcoming community outreach events.

  23. The Polish Office for Foreigners has published an update for UK Nationals in Poland - we have added it to the guide.

  24. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip

  25. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare

  26. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving.

  27. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in Pets section.

  28. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  29. First published.