What is the residence card?
The residence card is a document which, together with your passport, confirms your identity during your stay in Poland. You can receive it after you have got your (temporary) residence permit. Before it expires, you will need to apply for it again.
What’s the difference between a visa and the residence card?
When you have the residence card, you can cross Polish borders many times without the fear that you will not be able to come back for example after a visit at home.. If you only have a visa, this could happen. Also, with the residence card, in most cases, you can travel for a limited amount of time between different countries in the Schengen zone.
How to get the residence card?
If you want to get a residence card, you need to:
1) Prepare a set of documents
- A printed and filled-in application form from the Lower Silesian Governor’s Office (Dolnośląski Urząd Wojewódzki), available both on its website and in the office at Powstańców Warszawy 1.
- Two clear 35x45 mm pictures taken in the last 6 months (following the criteria on the Lower Silesian Governor's Office website)
- A photocopy of a valid travel document (they can ask you to show the original too)
- Proof that you have paid the application fee (stamp duty) – there is a 50% discount for students
- A document from the Department of Foreign Languages which confirms your status as a student
- A document which confirms your current address
- Documents confirming the information that you gave in your application form
2) Go to the Office for Foreigners in the Lower Silesian Governor’s Office (you cannot ask anyone else to do it for you)
- Remember to take all of the needed documents with you
- File the documents with the Office’s representative
- As a part of a standard procedure, the governmental workers will take your fingerprints
3) After the visit to the Governor’s Office be patient. If there are no problems with your documents, it usually takes a month after filing your documents, before you can receive your card. Sometimes it takes longer, for example if the officials ask you to bring more documents or to officially confirm the information from your documents or the application form.
- The Office for Foreigners is open from 8 am to 4 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 8 am to 6 pm on Wednesdays.
- Remember to plan ahead and do not wait until the very last moment! You never know what might happen along the way.
- If at some point the information from the card becomes out of date, if your appearance changes a lot or if you lose or damage your card, you need to get a new one. From the moment when you find yourself in such a situation, you have 3 days to inform the officials at the Lower Silesian Governor’s Office that you have lost your card, and 14 days to apply for a new one. If you wait longer and you are at fault, you will have to pay a higher fee.