Guidance

Living in Poland

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

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.

Stay up to date

You should:

Attend a citizen outreach meeting

The British Embassy regularly holds events across Poland for UK nationals. Attend one of our citizen outreach meetings to keep up to date on working and living in Poland.

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in Poland at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Poland.

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information

In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Poland. We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Poland.

Residency

If you are resident in Poland before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.

If you’re staying in Poland for more than 3 months, you must register your address with the Department of Foreigners at your local Voivodeship office if you haven’t done so yet.

You can also find out how to apply for permanent residency at your local Voivodeship office.

Check the locations of local Voivodeship Offices in Poland and where you should register your stay.

Read the Polish Office for Foreigners guidance on residency and the transition period 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.

If there are changes to residency registration processes, we will update this guidance as soon as information is available.

UK Nationals Support Fund

On 6 March 2020 the FCO announced funding for organisations to provide practical support to UK nationals who may have difficulty completing their residency applications. 

These organisations will help individuals who may find it harder to complete the necessary paperwork to secure their residency rights, including pensioners, disabled people, those living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties, and those who require help with language translation or interpretation.

In Poland, this practical support is being provided by The International Organisation for Migration. If you or someone you know may have difficulty completing the paperwork, you can contact them using the details below to discuss how they may be able to help you.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

Infoline : 224902044 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Email : UKnationalsPL@iom.int

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Poland.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

We will update these pages with details of any changes to the rules as soon as information is available. You should sign up for updates to this guidance.

Driving in Poland

Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

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 can still use your Polish licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.

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

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

If you are living in Poland or move there permanently before 31 December 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Poland as you do now, provided you remain resident.

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

Read the Polish Ministry of Health guidance about the transition period and your healthcare rights in Poland (in Polish).

Read our guidance on who can access healthcare in Poland and how to register.

State healthcare: S1

If you live in Poland and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in Poland, you must not use your EHIC from the UK to access healthcare in Poland.

When you travel from Poland for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:

  • the EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home
  • an EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance
  • for more information you can read our travel advice pages and advice on foreign travel insurance

There will be no changes to your healthcare access before 31 December 2020. You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during this time.

You should also read guidance on:

Working in Poland

Read our guidance on working in an EU country.

You may need to apply for a UK police certificate.

If you are resident in Poland on or before 31 December 2020, your right to work will stay the same, as long as you remain resident in Poland.

Education and professional qualifications

If you are resident in Poland on or before 31 December 2020, your right to study will stay the same, as long as you remain resident in Poland.

Read the Polish government’s information about access to education in Poland for children of UK nationals (in Polish).

Professional qualifications

Get your UK professional qualifications recognised in Poland.

Recognition decisions made on qualifications obtained in the UK or the EU before 31 December 2020 are not affected.

If you have not had your professional qualifications recognised, you will have until 31 December 2020 to submit an application under the current rules.

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

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

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

Pensions

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:

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.

Pensions after 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in Poland by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Poland, you will still be able to count your UK social security contributions towards your Polish pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Benefits

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

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Poland. You can:

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.

Benefits after 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Poland, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Polish contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

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.

Pets

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.

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 and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 12 November 2013
Last updated 8 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  10. 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.

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

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

  13. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

  19. 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.

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

  21. First published.