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The long-term EU resident permit in Poland

Besides temporary and permanent residence permits, the long-term EU resident permit is one of primary ways to legalize the residency in Poland. Just like permanent permit it is issued with no defined  period of validity, which means that it gives the opportunity to stay and work in Poland (without the necessity to obtain any additional permit) for an unlimited period of time. However, it doesn’t mean that the permit cannot be revoked in some particular situations. 

The long-term EU resident permit in Poland

The third-country national, when acquires the long-term EU resident permit in Poland, can count on many privileges from above-mentioned possibility to work to easier legalization of stay by the relatives in case of their will to reunite with the foreigner, family member residing in Poland. That special kind of permit also gives the opportunity to legalize foreigners’ stay in other EU country in simplified procedure. The general principles of other EU-country residents are specified by a Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 although each country of EU has its own ability to form internal regulations concerning that matter, also in more liberal and more favourable to a foreigner.  

Conditions for obtaining the long-term EU resident permit in Poland

The long-term EU resident permit can be granted to a foreigner who has been staying in Poland legally and uninterruptedly for at least 5 years preceding the submission of the application and fulfils all of the following conditions: - has maintained a stable and regular source of income for the 3 years of stay in Poland immediately preceding the submission of the application (in the case of Blue Card holders a 2-year period of stable income is required), - has health insurance, - has knowledge of Polish language (e.g proven by a certificate) – concerns foreigners who reached 16 years of age. 

What should be kept in mind is that the required five-year residence period is not always identical with actual time spent on the territory of Poland. For example, in case of staying in Poland for studies it is only half time being counted. Meanwhile the time spent on the territory of the Republic of Poland in order to take courses is not considered at all. 

Most doubts are related to “uninterrupted stay” term. The five-year can be considered as uninterrupted only when during that time none of interruptions (leaving Poland) did not exceed 6 months and all interruptions did not exceed a total of 10 months in a period of considered 5 years. The exception is a stay on the territory of another EU Member State by a foreigner who has a temporary residence permit issued for the purpose of employment of high-skilled workers (so-called blue card). In that case each of such interruptions cannot exceed 12 months and all of them 18 months overall. 

Nevertheless, the legislator anticipated situations, the occurrence of which would justify a need of leaving but at the same time would not rule out the possibility of applying for granting the long-term resident status. As circumstances which can justify appearance of breaks in residence (and sort of exclude the stipulation of persistence) are considered departures, caused by: - the performance of professional duties or work outside Poland pursuant to an agreement concluded with an employer who has its seat in Poland or accompanying such foreigner by a spouse or a minor child, - extraordinary personal circumstances requiring the presence of the foreigner outside Poland, if the absence from Poland lasted longer than 6 months, - leaving Poland in order to participate in training or classes foreseen in the curriculum of a Polish academic institution. 

Procedure in front of the Voivode Office

An application for the long-term EU resident permit should be submitted to a Voivode competent for the place of stay of a foreigner. In case of a need for additional explanation, the foreigner can be summoned by an office or asked to submit some more documents necessary for closing the case. 

Issuing a decision as a general rule should occur not later than after three months after applying. However in current situation all the procedure in provincial office takes up to dozen months. In case of positive outcome the procedure ends with issuing a residence card which has to be replaced every 5 years.