How to Apply for a Poland Schengen Visa for UK Residents
Poland is a Schengen country that has survived centuries of conflict to emerge as a proud, independent country, ready to assume her new role in modern history. With its medieval architecture, troubled WWII history, and many villages that seem to be stuck in time, Poland is the perfect destination for history buffs and architecture lovers. Poland’s cities are humming with the energy of art and culture and are a great starting point to discover everything the country has to offer.
Whether exploring the nation’s vibrant cities, the lakes and forests of her picturesque countryside or some of the other tourist attractions in Poland, visitors are sure to bring away rich memories.
Entry Restrictions in Response to Coronavirus
In early 2020, Poland joined its Schengen country neighbours in closing its borders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has since re-opened its borders to allow travel, but with restrictions that depend on your country of origin.
Poland, like other Schengen countries, updates its restrictions regularly depending on the current situation so it’s best to check with the restrictions close to your travel date to know the updated measures and requirements before you travel. You should check on the latest news regarding restrictions, quarantine or whether a test will be required either from reliable news sources, the Polish government website, or the UK government website one to two weeks before your trip.
- ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorization System
- EU Settlement Scheme for Non-EU/EEA Family Members
- Brexit Reminder: Things that will change in 2021
Who needs a visa to travel to Poland from the UK?
Any UK citizen who holds either a full UK passport or a BOTC, BOC, BPP or BS passport can travel to Poland visa-free. However, the rules on travel have now changed due to Brexit.
Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021.
- You will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period.
- Therefore, if you’re travelling to Poland, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your date of travel would count against the 90-day limit.
- If you are travelling visa-free to Poland and to other countries in the Schengen area, make sure your whole visit is within the limit.
- To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by Poland. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You should check with the Embassy of Poland what type of visa, if any, you will need.
- Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit.
The European Commission has not yet set out how the limit of 90 days in any 180-day period for visa-free travel will be implemented for those who are already travelling in the EU or Schengen Area on 31 December 2020.
If you are travelling to Poland before 31 December 2020 and will stay until 1 January 2021 or later, you should check with the Embassy of Poland for information on how the 90-day visa-free limit will apply to you. This also applies if your stay includes travel to other Schengen area countries.
At border control for the Poland, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.
Many non-EU nationals who reside in the UK are still required to get a Schengen visa to travel to Poland.
Citizens of the following countries residing in the UK and planning to visit Poland are required to get a Poland visa to be able to enter Poland.
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Cote D’Ivoire
- Dem. Rep. Of Congo
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- North Korea
- Northern Mariana’s
- Papua New Guinea
- Palestinian Authority
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
The main requirement is that you must have a UK residence permit valid for at least another three more months beyond the date you plan to leave Poland/ the Schengen Area.
Before starting a visa application, or getting a flight to Poland, make sure to check whether you need a visa to Poland or not.
If you have a three-month UK visa you can extend it for three more months in order to be eligible to apply for a Poland Schengen visa from within the UK. You must apply for an extension before your visa expires and while you’re still in the UK.
Note: You can stay in the UK until the decision about the extension is taken, but only if you have applied within the visa period.
You should apply for a Poland visa at the appropriate Poland Embassy/Consulate or Poland visa application centre in the UK if:
- Poland is the only Schengen country you plan on visiting
- Poland is your main destination (the country you will be staying the longest in)
- Poland is the first Schengen country you are visiting (when spending an equal amount of days in Poland and another Schengen country)
In case you plan on staying in Poland for more than 90 days you must apply for a residency permit, not a Poland Schengen visa.
Please, note that if you are not a resident in the United Kingdom you should apply at the Poland Embassy/Consulate/VAC in your home country of residence.
Steps to Applying for a Polish Schengen Visa from the UK
Step 1: Know your visa type and validity
There are 2 types of visa that you can apply for and the one you need will depend on the duration of your trip and your reason for travelling to Poland:
- Short-stay (Schengen) Visa – valid for up to 90 days (in a 180-day period) for the purposes of tourism, business, visiting family/friends, conference, EEA/EU national family member
- Residence and work permits (Long stays) – you should apply for this kind of visa if you want to live in Poland for more than 90 days for employment, family reunification, study, research etc.
Step 2: Identify where to make the application and book an appointment
When to apply for a Schengen Visa to Poland?
The earliest you can file your Schengen visa application is at most six months before your intended trip. Whereas, the latest you can apply for your visa is two weeks prior to your trip to Poland.
However, you are highly recommended to apply for a tourist visa at least three months before your travel date in order to avoid any processing delays.
Step 3: Complete your application form
The Schengen Visa application form contains questions about you including:
- Name and surname
- Date and place of birth
- Sex and marital status
- National Identity number
- Passport number
- Home address and email
- Purpose of trip
- Question regarding previous trips to Schengen, if any
- Intended date of arrival in Schengen area you are visiting, and the intended period of stay
- Cost of traveling and remaining in Schengen area you are visiting, who will cover them, etc.
If you intend to travel for business purposes, i.e. visiting a business/company for meetings, recruitments, training or any other work-related activities, then you need to indicate Business the purpose of your travels.
Make sure your answers are correct and that they comply with the information in the rest of the documents. Complete the form, print it twice, and sign both copies at the end.
Find out more about how to complete a Schengen visa application form in this blog post.
Step 4: Prepare your documents
The following list of documents are required in order to obtain a visa to Poland in the UK:
- A valid passport or Travel document. Please make sure:
- Your passport has been issued within the previous 10 years,
- Your passport has 2 full blank pages, one for the visa stamp and an additional spare page,
- Your passport will be valid for at least three (3) months after the date you exit the Schengen Area.
- A valid UK residence permit or another form of Identity Card.
- The UK residency permit must be endorsed in the actual passport (or on a new biometric ID card)
- The UK residence permit must be valid for at least another three more months beyond the date you plan to leave Poland.
- One Poland Schengen Visa application form filled out completely and signed by the applicant.
- One recently taken passport format photo with a blank background and where all your facial features are clear, which must be glued to the application form. Applications with stapled photographs will be rejected.
- A cover letter explaining the purpose of the visit to Poland
- Biometric data (Applies only if you haven’t provided biometric data within the last 59 months):
- A copy of the passport bio page where the photo is included.
Note: Children under the age of 12 are exempted from providing fingerprints.
This requirement only applies if you haven’t provided biometric data within the last 59 months:
- Proof of travel arrangements:
- Round trip flight/travel reservations or other proof of intended transport
- complete itinerary of your visit to Poland (if several Schengen States will be visited or if the trip covers several Schengen States and non-Schengen countries)
- Travel Insurance stating that you are covered in case of a medical emergency and repatriation not just in Poland but in the whole Schengen zone (minimum coverage of € 30,000).
- Holders of diplomatic passports and family members of EU/EEA citizens are exempted from providing proof of travel medical insurance
- Proof of accommodation in Poland:
- Evidence of a hotel booking or rental agreement, or
- Invitation from your Poland host (family member, friend) with a copy of their passport
- Proof of financial subsistence. You need to show to the Polish embassy in the UK that you have enough money to maintain yourself during your stay in Poland (according to the information provided by the European Commission, a foreign national who wants to enter the territory of Poland, while applying for a Poland Visa it needs to attest owning 48€/day for the period of stay in Poland). This could be a:
- Original recent Bank Statement (covering the last three calendar months. The last transaction must be no more than 1 month old)
- Traveller’s Cheques
Note: Cash is not considered proof of financial subsistence.
- Certificate of criminal record of the home country– showing that candidate has no open crime case involvement
- Proof of paid Poland visa fee.
Note: Photocopies of the original documents should also be submitted and documents should not be more than one month old.
The documents listed above are documents required in all cases, regardless of the purpose of your visit in Poland.
Depending on your employment status, here is a list of additional documents that are required for your visa application:
- Employment contract
- Current bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Leave permission from the employer
- Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary
For the self-employed:
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
For foreign students in the UK:
- Proof of enrollment
- No-objection certificate from school or university
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
If unemployed and married to an EU citizen:
- A recent (less than three months old) Confirmation of Employment letter from their spouse’s employer stating the position held within the company as well as the starting date,
- Spouse’s valid passport
- An officially translated marriage certificate. The translation must be in English or Poland and must be certified as a true copy by the Embassy of the country where the marriage took place or by the Legalization Bureau of the Foreign Office in UK
Requirements for children under the age of 18
Parents or an adult guardian are required to accompany their under-age children at the application centre at the Embassy of Poland in London.
Also, minors who are granted a Poland visa are not allowed to travel to Poland by themselves. They should be accompanied by an adult during their stay in Poland.
Apart from the general documentation required, accompanying should be other additional documents depending on the purpose of your Poland Visa application.
Required documents for visa application for underage children
- Birth certificate
- Poland Schengen Visa application form should be signed by both parents.
- Family court order, in cases where only one parent has full custody over the child.
- Certified copies of ID / passport of both parents
- A notarized parental authorization to travel to Poland, signed by both parents / guardians, if the minor will be travelling alone with another person.
List of additional documents required for the most frequent purposes of Poland Visa Application:
Poland Tourist/Visitor Visa:
- Invitation letter from your family or friends in Poland with the address and phone number – if applicable
- Bank statement of the last 6 months
- Passport copies
Poland Visa for Business Purposes:
- Invitation letter from the Poland company you will be visiting and their detailed address accompanied with the dates of your visit
- A certificate from your employer stating/allowing your business travel
- If there were previous trade relations between the two companies, proof of such events must be provided
- Business bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Memorandum and Article of Association in original certified copy (registered with joint-stock companies), Trade License (first issued and present renewal), Proprietorship/Partnership documents
- Regarding the applicant’s expenses during their stay in the Schengen zone, either the employer or the partner company must state coverage of expenses on the letter or invitation.
Poland Visa for Medical Purposes:
- A local medical report
- A medical attestation from the hospital or doctor in Poland, confirming the date of your appointment as well as your medical situation
- Payment receipt of medical fees
Poland Visa for Cultural, Sports, Film Crew or Religious Purposes:
- Invitation letter from the above-mentioned authorities with details upon the nature of events or activities – purpose of visit, expense coverage
- Names of the applicants (crew members)
- Duration of stay
- Travel itinerary
Poland Visa for Members of Official Delegations:
- The official invitation copy
- Identity of applicant
- Purpose of journey (negotiations, meetings, event by intergovernmental organizations, consultations)
- Duration of stay
- Place of accommodation
Poland Visa for Study, Training, Research, or other type of Internship Purposes:
- An enrollment certificate allowing attendance of courses
- Certificate of completion or courses attended
- Financial sustenance
Poland Airport Transit Visa:
- Visa or other types of entry permit in the transit country
- Copy of your valid visa for your final destination
All documents provided should be legalized and be in either English or Polish.
Step 5: Attend your appointment
The visa interview is a meeting between you and the consular officer/interviewer. During this interview, the consular officer will ask you several questions about you and your intended trip. You will also be submitting the required documents throughout the meeting, to the interviewer.
The visa interview might just be the hardest part of the Schengen visa application. The interviewer will scrutinise your documents as well as the consistency of your answers. The decision on whether or not you will be granted a visa will rely very heavily on this interaction.
You need to convince the interviewer that you are a genuine tourist, who will follow the territory’s rules during your visit, and have no questionable ulterior motives while staying in the Schengen Area. The questions asked in the interview will be personal and probing, and you should be able to provide detailed answers that satisfy the interviewer.
Sample Interview Questions
To confidently answer the visa interviewer, you need to plan ahead and prepare your answers for the possible Schengen visa interview questions that will be asked.
While there is no exhaustive list of questions the Consular officer may ask, the following are some of the most common questions asked during a Schengen interview.
- What is the purpose of your trip?
- Why do you want to visit this country?
- For how long will you be travelling to this country/Schengen region?
- What Schengen countries are you planning to visit?
- When will you be travelling?
- Where will you stay?
- How will you travel from one place to another?
- Are you married?
- How long have you been married?
- What does your husband/wife do?
- Do you have any children? How old are they? What do they do?
- Do you have any friends or family that live in Europe? If yes, when did you meet them last?
- Where do you work?
- What does your company do?
- What is your profession?
- What is your role in the company?
- How many years of total experience do you have?
- For how long have you been employed with your current employer?
- For how long were you employed with your previous employer?
- Can you show me your company profile?
- How many people work at your company?
- Who will pay for your trip?
- What is your annual income?
- Do you pay income tax?
- How much will your trip cost?
- Can I see your tax returns?
- Where do you stay?
- What is your highest level of education?
Don’t jeopardize your Schengen visa interview at the last minute. Use this comprehensive and thorough visa interview guide to crack the visa interview!
Visa Fees for UK Residents
The fee must be paid upon submitting the Poland visa application. After you complete this payment, you will receive a receipt, which shows that payment has been made, which must be offered amongst other documents of the application dossier. You will have to pay a Poland visa fee in order for your application to be processed.
Since Poland is a Schengen state, visa fees are the same as any other Schengen visa. These are the costs of a Poland Schengen Visa when applying from UK:
|Schengen Visa Category (by age)||Fee in UK Pound||Fee in Euro|
|Adult||73 £||80 €|
|Child between 6-12 years of age||36.5 £||40 €|
|Child younger than 6 years of age||Free||Free|
Step 6: Receive your visa
What is the Visa Application Processing Time in UK?
You can apply for a Poland Schengen visa six months before your planned trip. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, the processing time may take at least 15 days from the day of application. In some cases when required documents are missing from the application, this process may take longer.
Therefore, to avoid unwanted complications, the Poland Consulate General in London advises that you provide all required documents and submit your application at least 20 workdays (4 weeks) before the day you leave for Poland.
Visa Application Decision
There are two outcomes for your Poland Schengen visa application:
- Approved – Once your visa is approved, it will be stamped in your passport. Make sure to carefully check the visa sticker to make sure everything is correct and exactly how you need it.
- Rejected – if your visa has been rejected, it would have been for a specific reason and you have the right to appeal.
What are Common Poland Schengen Visa Rejection Reasons?
Common rejection reasons include:
- Marriage certificate missing – if you are applying for a visa for family reasons, you may have to prove family ties. This is why you must provide a marriage certificate
- You applied for the wrong visa – it is your responsibility to apply for the correct visa depending on how long you are going to Poland for and your reason for travelling there
- It is not clear that you plan to return to the UK – it must be clear that you intend to return to the UK before the visa expires. If the visa staff have doubts about this, your visa will be rejected
- The purpose of your trip cannot be established – the reason why you are planning to go to Poland must be made clear. You can do this by providing specific documents like a full itinerary, work contract or invitation letter, etc.
What if My Poland Schengen Visa is Rejected?
If you receive a negative answer in your Poland Schengen visa application, this does not mean you cannot ever travel to Poland. You have two options:
- File an appeal for Poland Schengen visa rejection if you believe that the decision to deny you a visa is unjust. You should have a strong basis for your complaint. You can appeal this decision by writing an appeal letter for a Poland Schengen visa rejection.
- Reapply by correcting the mistakes you did in your previous application. Or improve your situation to comply with the eligibility criteria for a Poland Schengen Visa.
Poland Schengen Visa Extension
The duration you are allowed to stay in Poland is stated in your Schengen visa sticker. It is important not to overstay during your trip to Poland or the rest of the Schengen Zone or you risk facing penalties like a fine, deportation, being banned from travelling back to the Schengen Zone, and having difficulties in your future Schengen applications.
Although, there are also cases when people do not get any penalties for overstaying. For example, a child or a person that cannot travel without a caretaker because of an illness or disability or an unforeseen event that prevents you from leaving the country, like COVID-19.
Short-stay Schengen visa extensions are permitted by the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EC) No. 810/2009 of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Journal of Laws of the EU of 2009 L243/1). However, you will have a very low chance to get one, if you do not have a strong reason as the basis of your application.
According to the Schengen visa policy, acceptable reasons to extend a Schengen short-stay visa are only the following:
You can base your visa extension application on this reason, only if you have a single-entry short-stay visa. However, this is your best case to extend your visa. You can apply for this visa extension if you have entered Schengen after your visa became valid. I.e. if your visa became valid on August 1, but you entered Schengen on August 15, you can apply for a two-week visa extension, and you are very likely to get it.
The Schengen visa policy has made it possible to extend a short-stay Schengen visa to prevent or overcome hardship for third-country nationals. You will be granted a short-stay visa extension based on humanitarian reasons if you need to stay in one of the member states to continue receiving medical treatment, to take part in the funeral after the sudden death of a family member, to give support to a person close to you who is going through some kind of hardship, etc.
If something unexpected has occurred all of the sudden in your home country before your visa expiration, as a conflict or war, or even violent protests across the country, extreme weather conditions, no flight connections because of consecutive earthquakes or other reasons, then you have a good chance to get a Schengen short-stay visa extension. You will be granted an extension of a few weeks, or until the situation in your home country changes. If the situation does not change, you will have to apply once again for a short-stay visa renewal, to remain in Schengen.
Important Personal Reasons
Risky, but you should still give it a try if you have no other chance. If you have some unfinished business in one of the Schengen Member States, an unplanned wedding (of yours of your relative), etc., then you may apply for the extension. The immigration authorities will then decide whether you should be granted a visa extension or not.
What is the Schengen Visa Extension Application Process?
If you wish to extend your visa and stay longer in the Schengen Zone, then start getting ready for your application which differs from a regular Schengen visa application. The very first thing you have to do is decide under which reason you wish to apply for a Schengen visa renewal. After figuring that out, then you can proceed to the other steps.
When to Apply for a Short-Stay Visa Extension?
It is very important to apply on time, which is before the expiration of your visa. If you apply after your visa expires, even just a day later, then you will be deported for overstaying your visa, despite your reasons. Therefore, take care to apply at least a week before your current Schengen short-stay visa expires.
Where to Apply to Extend a Schengen Visa?
It depends on the Member State you are currently residing in. The main thing you have to know when it comes to the application country is that you will have to remain in that particular country until you get your visa extension if you do. That is why you are strongly advised to apply at the immigration authorities (or their equal) in the country where you need to remain, and not another.
What are the Schengen Visa Extension Requirements?
After you figure out the reasons which will be the basis of your application, where and when to apply, move to the other step, which is gathering the required documents. Unlike when collecting the Schengen visa required documents, for a visa extension, you need to submit quite fewer documents.
The list of documents you need when applying for a Schengen visa extension are as following:
- Passport, which must have the current visa under which you entered the Schengen
- Application form, for a short-stay Schengen visa extension
- One photo, which fulfills all the criteria and visa photo requirements.
- Proof of Income, which shows you can financially maintain yourself during the period you have applied to get a visa extension for
- Travel Health Insurance – that covers the whole Schengen Area as well as the whole period which you have applied to extend your visa for
- Documents, which prove your situation, and the need to get a visa extension
After you collect these documents, schedule an interview appointment online at the immigration authorities (or their equal). In some of the member states, you may not have to schedule an interview, however, try to check out if this applies to the country you are currently residing, or not.
If you need to schedule an interview, do it, and on the day of the interview show there on time with all of the required documents. The interview is crucial to get a visa extension, in the countries that apply it, since during it the interviewer will decide if you need to extend your visa and the reasons you have presented are true, or you are just trying to remain a little longer in the country.
What is the Processing Time for Visa Extension?
Usually, your visa extension application can take a few days, up to a month to be processed by the relevant authorities. During this time, you are permitted to remain in the country where you submitted your application even after your visa expires, but not to travel to the other Schengen countries.
If you are granted a visa you will be able to remain, while if you do not you will have one or two days to leave.
What is the Schengen Short-Stay Visa Extension Fee?
A Schengen visa extension fee is different from a normal Schengen visa fee, which you apply for before your trip towards the Schengen Area. Depending on the reasons for your application to extend your short-stay Schengen visa as well as if it is the first or second extension you are applying for, you may or may not have to pay a fee.
First Visa Extension Fee
If this is the first time you are applying for a Schengen short-stay visa extension, then you will not have to pay any fee if your application is based on the following reasons:
- humanitarian reasons
- majeure reasons
Whereas, you will have to pay a fee of 30 euros, if you have based your application in one of the following reasons:
- important personal reasons
- due to late entry
Second Visa Extension Fee
If you have already extended your visa once, but you need to extend it once again, for whatever reasons, then you will have to pay a fee. The cost of the second Schengen visa extension fee depends on the age of the applicant as follows:
- Minors need to pay a fee of 30 euros
- Adults have to pay a fee of 60 euros
Do not forget, that just as when applying for a regular Schengen visa, if your application is rejected, you will not get your money back.
Poland Schengen Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Poland Schengen visa easy to get?
Yes, it is easy to apply for a Poland Schengen visa. As of 2019, the country only has a visa rejection rate of 3%. You can apply for the visa online or use immigration services like IAM to make the process even simpler for you and have a higher chance of your application being accepted.
Can I work in Poland with a Schengen visa?
No, you will need to apply for a work permit in addition to your Schengen visa if you intend to work in Poland.
Can I enter other Schengen countries with a Poland Schengen visa?
How can I get Poland Schengen visa fast?
You can get a premium Schengen visa to get your Poland Schengen visa within 24 to 48 hours, which includes personalised advice from an expert immigration adviser.
How much bank balance is required for a Poland Schengen visa?
For stays of up to three days, you will need to have €67.76 in your bank account. For trips exceeding three days, the daily amount you will need is €22.60, which lowers to €4.52 per day if you can prove that you have pre-booked accommodations.
Can I use Euros in Poland?
No, although Poland is part of the European Union, the country has an independent monetary policy and uses its own currency called the Złoty (zł).
So, are you ready to make your Schengen visa application for Poland? Comment below.
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