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Poland
Official Name:

Republic of Poland

Last Updated: March 20, 2017
Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Warsaw

Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland

  • Telephone +48 (22) 504-2000
  • American Citizen Services +48 (22) 504-2784
  • Emergency After-Hours Telephone +(48) (22) 504-2000
  • Fax +(48) (22) 504-2122
  • Email ACSWarsaw@state.gov
  • U.S. Embassy Warsaw

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months remaining validity strongly recommended; at least three months remaining validity beyond planned departure from the Schengen area is required.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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None

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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Amounts over 10,000 Euros or equivalent must be declared at customs.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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Amounts over 10,000 Euros or equivalent must be declared at customs.

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U.S. Embassy Warsaw

Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland

Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000

American Citizen Services: +48 (22) 504-2784

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000

Fax: +(48) (22) 504-2088

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Krakow
Ulica Stolarska 9,
31-043 Kraków, Poland

Telephone: +48 (12) 424-5129

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +48 (60) 148-3348

Fax: +(48) (12) 424-5103

U.S. Consular Agent - Poznan
Ulica Paderewskiego 8,
61-770 Poznan

Telephone: +(48) (61) 851-8516

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(48) (22) 504-2000

Fax: +(48) (61) 851-8966

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Poland for information on U.S.–Poland relations.

Poland is a party to the Schengen AgreementU.S. citizens may enter Poland for tourist or business purposes for up to 90 days visa-free. Be prepared to demonstrate the possession of sufficient funds and a return airline ticket to immigration officers.  For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

  • Passports must have at least three months remaining validity beyond your date of planned departure from the Schengen area.  At least six months of remaining validity is recommended.  Air travelers to Poland may be denied boarding if their passports lack this remaining validity. 
  • Polish citizens (including U.S.-Polish dual nationals or those with claims to Polish citizenship) must enter and depart Poland using a Polish passport.
  • You need a visa for stays longer than 90 days or to work or study in Poland. 
  • Non-EU visitors must obtain a stamp in their passport upon initial entry into a Schengen country in order to depart the Schengen area without difficulty. 

For further information on entry requirements and current visa information, please contact the consular section of the Embassy of Poland, 2224 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, (202) 499-1700, or a Polish consulate in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Poland.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and Customs Information on our websites.

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks, but all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.

We urge U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations. Public demonstrations on a variety of political and economic issues are common in Poland. U.S. Citizens should monitor local media coverage, review their personal security practices, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Even peaceful demonstrations can escalate into violence with little or no notice. Security messages about demonstrations can be found on the U.S. Mission to Poland’s website.

Crime: Poland has a low crime rate overall, with major cities showing the highest rates of crime domestically.

  • Safeguard your belongings in public areas. Thieves and pick-pockets operate at major tourist destinations, railroad stations, on trains (particularly overnight trains), trams, and buses. Report incidents of theft to the police.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain sight inside vehicles.
  • If someone indicates you should pull over or signals that something is wrong with your car continue driving until you reach a safe spot (a crowded gas station, supermarket, or a police station) to inspect your vehicle.
  • Only change money at banks or legitimate exchange kiosks (kantor). ATMs at commercial banks, large hotels, shopping malls, and airports are safest.
  • While casinos and gaming establishments are government-regulated, some are affiliated with, or have attracted the interest of organized crime.
  • Avoid adult entertainment venues. In the past such establishments have presented foreign customers with inflated bills and threatened those who refuse to pay.
  • Use licensed taxis displaying the company name and telephone number on the light bar. Make sure that the driver displays his or her license inside the vehicle, has a functioning meter, and uses the meter when starting your trip.
  • Internet-based ride services, such as Uber and iTaxi, are currently legal in Poland and growing in popularity as a safe ride option. However, some internet-based ride services may not be authorized to drop off or pick up patrons in some downtown tourist areas.
  • Travel in a group, especially after dark, to nightclubs, discos, bars, or high-tourism areas, such as the Market Square in Krakow and Old Town in Warsaw.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by calling 112 (multilingual emergency dispatch centers serving Poland and EU countries), and contact the U.S. Embassy at +48 (22) 504-2000. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

In cases of destitution only, we can:

  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Adequate medical care is available, but the quality of hospital facilities and nursing support may not be comparable to U.S. standards in all regions of Poland. Emergency services may be lacking in small towns and rural areas. Physicians are generally well-trained, and younger doctors speak English (nurses and staff may not). While medication and treatment is generally substantially less-costly than in the United States, doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment prior to treatment. Medication, while generally available, may not be U.S. brand-name drugs.

  • We do not pay medical bills, and Medicare is not valid overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments prior to service. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Poland, and its MFA to ensure the medication is legal in Poland. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. A U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the U. S. s, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately - particularly if you are a dual U.S.-Polish national. While a person holding Polish and U.S. citizenship is deemed by Poland to be a Polish citizen, you still may ask to see a U.S. consular officer. See our webpage for further information.

Special Circumstances: Polish Customs enforce strict regulations concerning the export of items such as works of art. Contact the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., or a Polish consulate in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.

  • Taking pictures of Polish military buildings or other national security/restricted objects is illegal.
  • Penalties are severe for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Poland. Expect long jail sentences and heavy fines if convicted.
  • Do not drive a vehicle after you consume alcoholic beverages. There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence. Penalties are severe, including significant jail time.
  • Local police can request identification at any time to establish your identity and submit you to further questioning.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following Department of State webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Poland. Polish law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Though the government generally enforces these provisions, the social acceptance of LGBTI individuals is not as prevalent as in the United States.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Polish law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of other state services. In Warsaw and other major cities, public buildings and transportation generally are accessible. Outside of major metropolitan areas, accessible public transportation is usually less prevalent.

Students: See our students abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Poland differ significantly from those in the United States. Road fatalities are high in Poland, placing it among one of the more dangerous places to drive in Europe. Driving, especially after dark, is hazardous. Roads are sometimes narrow, poorly lit, frequently under repair (especially in summer), and are often also used by pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Polish roadside services, while not equal to those in the United States, are rapidly improving. The Polish Automobile Association (Polski Związek Motorowy Auto-Tour) has multilingual operators and provides assistance countrywide 24/7. Call (22) 532-8403 or email autotour@pzm.pl.
  • Flooding has closed bridges and significantly disrupted road travel in the past.
  • The police emergency number is 997, fire service is 998, ambulance service is 999, and the general emergency number is 112.

Traffic Laws: You must have a U.S. driver's license AND an International Driving Permit (IDP) (obtained prior to departure from the United States) in order to drive in Poland. U.S. citizens cannot obtain IDPs in Poland. If you stay in Poland for more than six months and continue to drive, you must obtain a Polish driver’s license. You can find information on obtaining an International Driving Permit here.

  • Seat belt use is mandatory.
  • You must use headlights year-round and at all times.
  • Children under 12 must sit in rear seats. Children under 12 and shorter than 4’11” must use a child’s car seat.
  • Using hand-held cell phones while driving is prohibited.
  • Polish law provides zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Prison sentences for DUI violations or accidents caused by impaired drivers can range from two to twelve years.
  • Fines for traffic violations can be substantial. Non-residents are expected to pay the police officer issuing the ticket immediately. Be prepared to pay in cash in local currency.

Public Transportation: Public transportation in Poland is generally efficient, inexpensive, and safe. A ticket is usually required when boarding a bus or tram. If the ticket is not validated upon entry, you may be fined. In cities, taxis are available at major hotels, designated taxi stands, and can be ordered in advance by phone. Avoid taxis without a company name and/or telephone number printed on the light bar. At airports in Poland, including Warsaw’s Chopin Airport, only use taxis found at designated stands and avoid unregistered taxi stalls.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Also, visit Poland’s National Tourist Office and Poland’s General Roads and Highways Authority responsible for road safety information.

Aviation Safety Oversight:The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Poland’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Poland’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Poland should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal and information specific to Poland can be found on The Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website. Weather warnings specific for Poland are available in English, and German on The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management website.

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