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The legalization of a foreigner's stay due to marriage with a Polish citizen

In the face of progressive globalization, polish citizens increasingly pair each other with people derived from other, often distant parts of the world. What happens, when in the relationship of man and woman, the transboundary problem appears and one of them has to strive for possibility of legal residence in Poland – the country of their partner? 

The procedure of legalization of stay by a foreigner who wants to reside with Polish citizen living in Poland – stands as a realization of natural human’s right to settle a family and to remain so, despite of the nationalities and restrictions resulting from presence of the national borders. Referring to such matters is art. 18 of the Polish constitution which says that family and marriage, as relationship of man and woman are under strict protection and care of the Republic of Poland. It is also a fulfilment of international law, specifically a Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The regulations, among other things point towards a right to respect for private and family life. It also refers to indissolubility of family life, calling any public authorities interference against exercising that right – unacceptable. 

Polish legislation gives a foreigner who stays in a marriage recognized by Polish law, opportunities to legalize residence in Poland from temporary solutions up to obtaining citizenship of a spouse and becoming equal member of the Polish nation.  

Registration of the residence of EU citizen 

A foreigner being citizen of European Union has right to stay in Poland for a period of time exceeding 3 months in situation when that foreigner is also a spouse of a Polish citizen. However, in that case there is an obligation to register the foreigner’s stay. Such registration is a declaratory act and it ends with issuing a certificate of registration of EU citizen’s residence. Nevertheless, it should be remembered, that regulations demand, that performing such an act by submitting appropriate application has to take place without a delay. 

After 5 years of uninterrupted residence on the territory of the Republic of Poland, a citizen of EU acquires a right to permanent residence. 

Temporary residence permit for a spouse of a Polish citizen 

It is a basic form of permit for foreigners being a third-country nationals (countries which are not  members of European Union). It is being issued like most of temporary residence permits – for a period of time from 3 months to 3 years. However, the practice shows that first permits of this kind are being issued usually for one year and serve as some kind of test for relationship stability. After that period it is obviously possible to apply for another permit. 

The application for temporary residence permit due to a marriage with citizen of RP, should be first of all provided with identity card of a spouse being a Polish citizen, act of marriage in a correct form and every other document which proves circumstances pointed out in the application. Obtaining a temporary residence on the grounds of a marriage with Polish citizen is allowing foreigner to work without any restrictions and without an obligation to obtain a work permit. 

Permanent residence permit for a spouse of a Polish citizen 

It is another option, however it opens only after obtaining temporary residence permit. The condition is to be in a marriage with Polish citizen for at least 3 years, from which last two of them has to be uninterruptedly spent on the territory of Republic of Poland, due to a temporary residence permit based on marriage or due to obtaining refugee status, supplementary protection or residence permit because of humanitarian reasons. Because of the rank and far-reaching privileges that go along with permanent residency, the application form should contain careful and precise justification. 

Acquiring of citizenship on the basis of a marriage with Polish citizen 

It’s one way of acquiring a citizenship by a foreigner through recognising him by a Polish Government as its own citizen. The person who can apply for it is a foreigner who resides in Poland uninterruptedly since at least two years on the basis of a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit and stays since at least 3 years in marriage with Polish citizen. However, a foreigner applying for granting citizenship in that mode, has to be able to prove a satisfactory knowledge of a Polish language, at least on B1 level. 

Where to apply and what is the cost? 

The foreigner applying for granting a permit or recognising as a Polish citizen, submits an application in person, to a Voivode competent for the place of stay. A person who is residing abroad can do it through a consul. The stamp duty in the case of application for granting a temporary residence permit amounts to 340 zł, permanent residence permit – 640 and recognising as Polish citizen – 219 zł. An application for registration of the residence of EU citizen is free of any charge.  

How long does the procedure take? 

The procedure which has been described above, in theory should not exceed two months. The exception is proceeding including granting a permanent residence permit, for which the legislator specified a 3 months term. In reality, such cases take several or even a dozen months, depending on the efficiency of authorities and cooperation with the applicant or the person who represents him. 

It is worth to be aware that in the procedure of granting a permit, the authority which carries the proceedings is obliged to establish if the marriage was registered only to skip the regulations. That’s why it is a commonly accepted practice to summon a foreigner for a questioning together with a partner in order to give a statement about the circumstances of getting to know each other and the general intention of a marriage.