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Poland

Poland
Republic of Poland
Last Updated: March 15, 2018
Exercise normal precautions in Poland.

Exercise normal precautions in Poland. 

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Poland:

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Embassy Messages
Alerts
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:


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

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


None

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


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

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


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

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Embassies and Consulates

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

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Destination Description

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

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Poland is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Poland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes with out a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months for the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

  • U.S. Passports must have at least three months remaining validity beyond your date of planned departure from the Poland.  If you travel to and from Poland to other Schengen countries you should have at least six months remaining validity on you U.S. passport beyond departure from the Schengen area. 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.

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Safety and Security

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. Travel Advisory and Security alerts 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.
  • 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:

U.S citizens of sexual assault should contact first the U.S. Embassy. 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. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

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

We can:

  • Provide a list of health care providers in Poland
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • A list of organizations providing assistance programs for victims of crimes in Poland is available at the website of the Ministy of Justice: Assistance to Victims of Crime
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

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

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

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., 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.
  • 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.

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Health

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. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply 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.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs 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:

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Travel and Transportation

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 adequate 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. 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. At airports in Poland, including Warsaw’s Chopin Airport, only use taxis found at designated stands and avoid unregistered taxi stalls.

Internet-based ride services, such as Uber and iTaxi, are 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.

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 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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

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

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General Information

Poland and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 1992.

For information concerning travel to Poland, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Poland.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Poland.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444

Website

Email: askci@state.gov

 

The Polish Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice, Division of International Law.  The Ministry of Justice, Division of International Law discharges the obligations of a central authority under the Hague Abduction Convention by reviewing Hague applications for completeness and then forwarding them to the appropriate court for assistance in locating the child and adjudication of Hague cases.

The Polish Central Authority can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
Division of International Law
Aleje Ujazdowskie 11
P.O. Box 35
00-950 WARSAW
Poland
Telephone: +48 (22) 239 0870
Fax: +48 (22) 897 0539
Website: www.ms.gov.pl

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Poland, a parent or legal guardian should review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing a Hague application, which is available on the Department of State website.

The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Polish Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Polish prior to court proceedings commencing.  Documents that will be entered into evidence during the Hague proceeding (such as previous court orders) require certified translations from a certified sworn translator in Poland.  Certified translations are not necessary for documents that will not be submitted as evidence (such as the Hague application), and any competent person or organization may translate these documents.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Polish central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  The Polish courts do not automatically provide free or reduced fee legal representation for applicant parents; however parents can complete an application to apply for financial assistance based on their income.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Poland.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Poland.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

The Polish system does not require parents to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court. However, parents can hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the Polish Central Authority as soon as possible after the Polish Central Authority receives the Hague Abduction Convention application. The Polish Central Authority can provide referrals to assist parents to find a private attorney or the parents may represent themselves. The Polish Central Authority’s role is not to assign attorneys to cases, but to prepare documents needed to submit the case to the court. 

The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. The Polish Central Authority does not provide mediation services directly; however the Polish Central Authority does provide referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Mediation in Poland is voluntary and can occur at any stage of the Hague process.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Poland is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Poland.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Poland, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, prospective adoptive parents need to meet Poland’s requirements to adopt a child from Poland:

  • Residency: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.
  • Age Requirements: Under Polish law, there are no formal, legal restrictions on the age of prospective adoptive parents. In practice, however, prospective adoptive parents may be up to 40 years older than the child.
  • Marriage Requirements: Both married and single prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child in Poland. Poland does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions; therefore same-sex couples are unable to adopt a child in Poland.
  • Income:  Poland does not have any specific income requirements for intercountry adoptions.
  • Other Requirements: Although Roman Catholicism is Poland's official religion, non-Catholic prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child in Poland. However, one of the three adoption centers in Poland deals only with Catholic families.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Poland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Poland must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Poland have determined that placement of the child within Poland has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Poland’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.

At the present time, Polish law requires both adoptive parents to have met the child prior to adoption. 

Only adoption centers authorized by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy can evaluate a Polish child’s eligibility for intercountry adoption. At present, only the Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center (former Public Adoptive-Guardian Center - Publiczny Osrodek Adopcyjno-Opiekunczy) has such authorization. The Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center maintains a database of all children residing in children homes or foster families in Poland who are available for international adoption because their parents have died, have relinquished all rights to them, or their right were involuntarily terminated.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment: A single mother may relinquish her parental rights in the family court no earlier than six weeks after giving birth. The court will make the final decision about the termination of parental rights.
  • Abandonment: The majority of Polish children eligible for intercountry adoption have been separated from their biological parents, by the court’s decision to terminate their parental rights and to place the children in the foster care.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Polish law allows for children younger than age 18 to be adopted. Children older than 13 must give their consent for adoption. (Note: Under U.S. immigration laws, children adopted through the Convention process must be under the age of 16 at the time a petition is filed on their behalf, unless they are the older sibling under age 18 of a child also adopted by the same prospective adoptive parents.)
  • Sibling Adoptions: It is usually more difficult to find a suitable family domestically to adopt siblings; therefore, these children are often eligible for intercountry adoption. Sibling groups, which can range from two to six children, are generally not separated. An adopting parent would be immediately notified and have priority to adopt if a sibling of a child already adopted becomes eligible for adoptions.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Young and healthy children are most often placed with Polish families. Children with medical conditions or special needs are more likely to be placed for intercountry adoption, even if they are very young.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Prospective parents adopting children in Poland are not granted temporary care under Polish law. Children remain in state care or foster care until the adoption is finalized. While there is no standard or mandatory waiting period between matching and the bonding period, parents typically wait about six months until the first hearing before a judge. Afterward, the mandatory bonding period lasts between two and four weeks and the standard appeals period following the judge's approval of the adoption is three weeks. In addition, the civil documents necessary for the child to travel may take between two and three weeks.
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How to Adopt

Poland’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
Department of Family Policy
11 Nowogrodzka Street
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: +48 (22) 529-0666 or 0665
Fax: +48 (22) 429-0661
Email: Aleksandra.kowalczyk@mpips.gov.pl
Internet: pips.gov.pl/en/intercountry-adoption/information

THE PROCESS

Because Poland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Poland must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Poland
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt the Child in Poland
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
  2. The recommended first step in adopting a child from Poland is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

    Agencies that want to operate in Poland must receive an authorization to do so from the Polish Central Authority (Ministry of Labor and Social Policy).

    There are three adoption centers in Poland that are authorized to qualify foreign prospective parents for adoption in Poland and match them with children available for intercountry adoption. These centers, all located in Warsaw, are: the Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center (formerly known as the Public Adoptive-Guardian Center), the National Adoptive-Guardian Center of the Children’s Friends Society, and the Catholic Adoptive-Guardian Center. The Hague-accredited U.S. adoption service providers may submit dossiers to these centers only.

    Polish adoption law does not explicitly forbid directed or private adoptions.  However, Polish law only allows intercountry adoption of orphans listed by the Public Adoptive-Guardian Center. This Center will only list orphans for intercountry adoption for whom no adopting Polish family can be found. In practice, it is extremely difficult to arrange a directed adoption between a birth parent and prospective adoptive parent without violating Polish law.

    Before considering “direct” or “private” adoptions in any country, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues, Department of State.

  3. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Once the U.S. Government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Poland. Poland's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Polish law.

  4. Be Matched with a Child in Poland:

    If both the United States and Poland determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the Polish adoption authorities have determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the adoption center that you have chosen to work with in Poland will provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Poland. The adoption center in Poland will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not.  Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the chosen adoption center in Poland. Learn more about this critical decision.

  5. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

    After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Poland. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

    WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Poland’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Poland where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Poland’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

    Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Poland before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

    Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  6. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Poland

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Poland, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Poland. 

    The process of finalizing the adoption in Poland includes the following:

    • Role of Adoption Agencies: The Central Authority (the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy) reviews the child’s and prospective adoptive parent's documents and, after receiving the Article 5 Letter from the U.S. Embassy, makes the final determination to adopt. The Central Authority issues the formal permission to continue the adoption process and the prospective adoptive parents take their adoption case to court.
    • Role of the Court: Prospective adoptive parents file a formal request to adopt the child with the Polish family court in the region where the child resides. A copy of the state adoption law (and Polish translation) where the prospective adoptive parents reside must also be included with the filing. Polish law requires all prospective adoptive parents to be present during the final two adoption hearings, though the judge has the discretion to waive the requirement of the first of these two final hearings. At the first hearing, the judge will grant permission for the prospective adoptive parents to visit with the child daily for a two- to four-week period. The bonding period is mandatory and evaluated by a local adoption center psychologist. At the final hearing, the judge decides whether to grant the adoption and full custody. It is followed by a 21-day appeal period which may be shortened to 14 days at the judge's discretion. The court issues both the final adoption decree and the Article 23 Hague Certificate.
    • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract signed at the beginning of the adoption process, the agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

      Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Poland include:

      • Complete form of the birth certificate - 35 PLN per copy
      • Short form of the birth certificate - 20 PLN per copy
      • Polish temporary passport - 30 PLN
      • Visa and passport photos – about 100 PLN
      • Immigrant visa fee - 230 USD
      • Medical exam - 250 PLN
      • Translations of Polish documents into English - 30-40 PLN per page
      • Court interpretation services – 150-200 PLN per hour
      • Formal psychological evaluation of the bonding process – 2,000 – 2,500 PLN

    In some areas of Poland, adoptive parents may also be financially responsible for the housing costs of the child in the orphanage, from the time n adoption is finalized through the child’s removal from the orphanage. It is customary, but not required, for adoptive parents to make donations in the amount of 500-1,000 PLN to the adoption center that assisted in the adoption processing. 

    • Documents Required:
      • Adoption application;
      • Birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
      • Marriage certificate(s) and proof of termination of any previous marriage(s), if applicable;
      • Criminal records clearance check;
      • Confirmation of financial status;
      • Proof of citizenship;
      • Certificate attesting to good physical and mental health of the prospective adoptive parents – medical records;
      • Approved home study prepared by licensed agency with a recommendation of a U.S. Hague accredited adoption service provider; and
      • Approved I-800A petition

      Note: Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Poland are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority
  7. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is completed, there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      If you have finalized the adoption in Poland, you will firstneed to apply for a new birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

      With the final court decree, you may apply to the civil registry for a complete birth certificate ("zupełny act urodzenia") with the child’s new name and listing the adoptive parents as parents. This document is typically ready within one to two days. Applications should be made at the office where the child's birth was originally registered.

    • Polish Passport 
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Poland.

      After receiving the new birth certificate, the parents must apply for a child’s new identification number, or "PESEL". Once it has been assigned, both parents may apply for a Polish passport from either the local passport office where the child was adopted or the main passport office in Warsaw. The PESEL number, birth certificate, parents' passports, passport application and fee will be required.  Within seven days of application, adopted children are generally issued a temporary Polish passport with a one-year validity for travel.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.  After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

American citizens traveling to Poland do not need to obtain a visa.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Poland, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

POST-ADOPTION/POST-PLACEMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

One year after a finalized adoption, a written report must be submitted to the Polish adoption center that processed the case. Your adoption agency will assist you with preparing and submitting this report to Polish authorities in accordance with the terms it has established with the Polish Central Authority. Typically, such reports are prepared by a licensed social worker to describe the child's well-being, including relevant medical, emotional, residential, and educational information as well as current photos of the child.  We strongly urge you to comply with Poland’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Poland
IV Unit/Adoptions
12 Piekna Street
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: +48 (22) 625-1401 or +28 (22) 504-2106
Fax: +48 (22) 504-2088
Email: adoptwrw@state.gov
Internet: https://pl.usembassy.gov/


Poland’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy
Department of Family Policy
11 Nowogrodzka Street
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: +48 (22) 529-0666 or 0678
Fax: +48 (22) 429-0661
Email: Aleksandra.kowalczyk@mpips.gov.pl
Internet: mpips.gov.pl/en/intercountry-adoption/information/

Poland’s Authorized Adoption Centers
Mazovian Provincial Adoption Center
ul. Nowy Zjazd 1
00-301 Warszawa
Tel/fax: +48 (22) 621-1075
Email: woa.warszawa@mcps.com.pl
Internet: adopcjawarszawa.pl/p-international-adoptions.html

National Adoption Center of the Children's Friends Society 
(Towarzystwo Przyjaciol Dzieci – TPD)
Ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 6
00-325 Warszawa
Tel: +48 (22) 425-4677 or 4688
Fax: +48 (22) 827-7813
Email: adopcja@tpdzg.org.pl
Internet: osrodekadopcyjny.pl/about_en.html

Catholic Adoption Center (Katolicki Osrodek Adopcyjno-Opiekunczy)
Ul. Ratuszowa 5
03-461 Warszawa
Fax: (48)(22) 818-5430
Email: katolickiosrodek@interia.pl
Internet: adopcja.org

Embassy of Poland Consular Section
2224 Wyoming Av. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-3992
Tel: (202) 499-1930
Email: washington.consular@msz.gov.pl
Internet: waszyngton.msz.gov.pl/en/waszyngton_us_a_en_consular_information_2/

Poland also has consulates in:  Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Hague@uscis.DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 6 Months
C-3 None Multiple 6 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 10 None Multiple 60 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

General Documents

Civil documents, except as noted below, are available in Poland. Most of the documents are available only to the individual concerned or to his duly empowered agent. Except for police records which may be obtained only by the individual concerned in person, a local legal representative may obtain the document on behalf of the individual concerned on the latter's written power of attorney.

The processing time required for Polish civil documents may take up to the maximum law-mandated 10 days.  

 

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available

Fees: 33 PLN (Polish złotys) for the full-form birth certificate, 22 PLN for abridged birth certificate.

Document Name:

  • Odpis zupełny aktu urodzenia (full-form birth certificate)
  • Odpis skrócony aktu urodzenia (abridged birth certificate)

Issuing Authority: Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Poland or a Polish consular officer located at a Polish Embassy or Consulate outside Poland

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: NEW version: grey, red and pink colored A4 format two-sided numerically controlled document with a red stripe and Polish seal on the left.

OLD version: green colored A5 format two-sided with the a Polish seal on the top center  

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Kierownik Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Head of the Civil Registry Office) or Zastępca (z-ca) Kierownika Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Deputy Head of the Civil Registry Office)  

Registration Criteria: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 2064 of December 19, 2016

Procedure for Obtaining:

  • Applicants residing in Poland: to obtain a certificate, download and submit a paper request accompanied by the applicable fee to any Civil Registry office (Wniosek o wydanie odpisu zupełnego aktu urodzenia).
  • Applicants residing outside Poland should apply directly to the Civil Registry Office and request that the response be sent to their foreign address within the EU only or the relevant Polish diplomatic mission outside the EU.

Certified Copies: Certified copies are not available, but multiple originals are available

Alternate Documents:  an electronic birth certificate, a multilanguage abridged birth certificate  

Exceptions: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 1741 of December 8, 2014

Comments: Polish legislation provides for the issuance of either a paper document (full, abridged or multilanguage) or an electronic version through the “ePUAP” platform. Only the paper copy of the full-form birth certificate is acceptable by the U.S. Embassy for immigration purposes, both old and new version.  An excerpt from the original records (wyciąg) is no longer considered a legal document in Poland.

 

Death/Burial Certificates

Available

Fees: 33 PLN for the full-form death certificate, 22 PLN for abridged death certificate

Document Name: Odpis skrócony aktu zgonu (abridged death cerfiticate), Odpis zupełny aktu zgonu (full-form death certificate).

Issuing Authority: Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Poland or a Polish consular officer located at a Polish Embassy or Consulate outside Poland

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: NEW version: grey, red and pink colored A4 format two-sided numerically controlled document with a red stripe and Polish seal on the left

OLD version: light violet colored A5 format two-sided with a Polish seal on the top center.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Kierownik Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Head of the Civil Registry Office) or Zastępca (z-ca) Kierownika Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Deputy Head of the Civil Registry Office)

Registration Criteria: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 2064 of December 19, 2016

Procedure for Obtaining:

  • Applicants residing in Poland: to obtain a certificate, download and submit a paper request accompanied by the applicable fee to any of the Civil Registry offices (Wniosek o wydanie odpisu skróconego (abridged)/zupełnego (full form) aktu zgonu)
  • Applicants residing outside Poland should apply directly to the Civil Registry Office and request that the response be sent to their foreign address within the EU only or the relevant Polish diplomatic mission outside the EU

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available, but multiple originals are available

Alternate Documents:  an electronic death certificate, a multilanguage abridged death certificate

Exceptions: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 1741 of December 8, 2014

Comments: Polish legislation provides for the issuance of either a paper document (full, abridged or multilanguage) or an electronic version through the “ePUAP” platform. The U.S. Embassy accepts only paper (full-form or abridged) death certificates for immigration purposes. An excerpt from the original records (wyciąg) is no longer considered a legal document in Poland.

 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available

Fees: 33 PLN for the full-form marriage certificate, 22 PLN for abridged marriage certificate

Document Name: Odpis zupełny aktu małżeństwa (full-form marriage certificate), Odpis skrócony aktu małżeństwa (abridged marriage certificate).

Issuing Authority: Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Poland or a Polish consular officer located at a Polish Embassy or Consulate outside Poland

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: NEW version: grey, red and pink colored A4 format two-sided numerically controlled document with a red stripe and Polish seal on the left

OLD version: yellow colored A5 format two-sided with a Polish seal on the top center

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Kierownik Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Head of the Civil Registry Office) or Zastępca (z-ca) Kierownika Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Deputy Head of the Civil Registry Office)

Registration Criteria: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 2064  of December 19, 2016;  

Procedure for Obtaining:

  • Applicants residing in Poland: to obtain a certificate, download and submit a paper request accompanied by the applicable fee to any of the Civil Registry offices (Wniosek o wydanie odpisu skróconego (abridged)/zupełnego (full-form) aktu małżeństwa).
  • Applicants residing outside Poland should apply directly to the Civil Registry Office and request that the response be sent to their foreign address within the EU or the relevant Polish diplomatic mission outside the EU.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available, but multiple originals are available   

Alternate Documents: an electronic marriage certificate, a multilanguage abridged marriage certificate    

Exceptions: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 1741 of December 8, 2014

Comments: Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Poland. Polish legislation provides for the issuance of either a paper document (full, abridged or multilanguage) or an electronic version through the “ePUAP” platform. The Embassy accepts only paper full-form (not abridged) marriage certificates for immigration purposes. An excerpt from the original records (wyciąg) is no longer considered a legal document in Poland.

 

Divorce Certificates

Available

Fees: 6 PLN per page, payable in court stamps.

Document Name: Wyrok rozwodowy (Divorce decree)

Issuing Authority: A copy of a divorce decree for all cases adjudicated after 1999 may be obtained from the District Court (Sąd Okręgowy) where the decree was rendered. Before 1999, divorce cases were handled by Regional Courts (Sądy Rejonowe).

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 computer generated decision with a stamp of the issuing court and a signature of a judge

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: the District Court (Sąd Okręgowy) that originally issued the divorce decree

Registration Criteria: There are no registration criteria

Procedure for Obtaining:  A copy of the decree may be obtained by written request to the issuing court. Applicants in Poland should apply directly to the court, pay the fee to the court's bank account via bank transfer (bank account number generally is provided on the court's website), and submit a delivery address in Poland.  Applicants residing outside Poland (Polish and non-Polish citizens): The court will not send any document to an address outside the European Union (EU). In case of residence outside the EU, applicants may appoint a legal representative in Poland for the decree delivery. Alternatively, Polish applicants may also request the decree through the Polish diplomatic mission abroad, and non-Polish applicants through the relevant diplomatic mission in Poland, if this service is available. (Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow do not provide this service for U.S. citizens.)

Certified Copies Available: multiple certified copies are available

Alternate Documents: a marriage certificate with the annotation on the dissolution of previous marriage is not sufficient for immigrant visa purposes

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Adoption Certificates

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable

Comments: Based on the adoption process in Poland, a family court issues a decree which constitutes the basis for making obligatory changes in the proper civil office register where the child’s birth was originally recorded. The adoption process in Poland is not a public one, which means that no details pertaining to the child or the biological parents may be revealed until the child reaches the age of 18.

 

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Identity Card

Identity Card

Available

Comments: Applications for a Polish identity card by Polish citizens may be submitted for free directly at any municipal office or through the internet using a confidential platform (eGO), but the document must be picked up personally at the office once ready. It usually takes 30 days to obtain the Polish National ID card (Dowód osobisty). An application to issue an Identity Card must be submitted along with one color picture and previous ID card or a passport for identification purposes. Non-Polish citizens who are legal residents of Poland also may apply for identity cards.  Information on how to do so can be found at migrant.info

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available

Fees: 30 PLN for information issued on paper; 20 PLN –  for information issued as a digitally signed electronic document via the National Criminal Register’s information and communication technology system (ICT system) e-KRK

Document Name:

  1. Zapytanie o udzielenie informacji o osobie (Request for information about a person) (paper format)
  2. Informacja o osobie z Krajowego Rejestru Karnego (electronic format).  The document is often referred to colloquially as a “good conduct certificate” (zapytanie o karalność).

Issuing Authority: Information Office of National Criminal Register of Ministry of Justice (Biuro Informacyjne Krajowego Rejestru Karnego)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:

  1. Paper issuance:   A4 format with a signature of authorized person and an official stamp of the Information Office of National Criminal Register.
  2. Electronic issuance:  digitally signed .xml file.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: When information is issued by the Information Office of National Criminal Register head office, it may be signed by Referendary (Referendarz), Specialist (Specjalista), or Senior Specialist (Starszy Specjalista).  When issued in one of National Criminal Register Information Points located in courts, an authorized court employee signs the document.  

Registration Criteria: If the Applicant is in Poland:

Applications should be made directly at any branch office of the National Criminal Register (Krajowy Rejestr Karny) in person or electronically using the certified “e-KRK” platform (electronic documents are not acceptable by U.S. embassies and consulates). To obtain a paper certificate, applicants should complete the Request Form to obtain a police certificate from the Polish Ministry of Justice. Please also read the Police Certificate Cover Letter for additional information. It usually takes up to a week for the Ministry of Justice to process good conduct certificate requests received by mail, although an applicant who appears personally at any branch office of the National Criminal Register nationwide may seek expedited issuance.

Procedure for Obtaining:   Obtaining a paper certificate requires:

  1. Completion of the application form (Zapytanie o udzielenie informacji o osobie).
  2. Payment of the fee by bank transfer into Ministry of Justice’s bank account, in cash at a Ministry of Justice or court box office, or in the form of court fee stamps.
  3. Delivering in person or by post a completed application form with proof of payment to National Criminal Register or one of Information Points located in courts.

Only properly filled out, signed (by a person concerned or authorized person) and paid requests for an information from the National Criminal Register can be processed.  The Ministry of Justice is unable to process requests sent via e-mail. More information on the paper version of the certificate is available at bip.ms.gov.

Obtaining information as an electronic document requires:

  1. Creating an individual user account in a e-KRK system.
  2. Filling out interactive application form.
  3. Signing with a qualified electronic signature or a signature confirmed by an ePUAP Trusted Profile (Profil Zaufany).
  4. Paying the fee (amount of 20 PLN).

More information on the electronic version of the certificate is available at ekrk.ms

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available

Alternate Documents: based on Article 32 of the Act of 29 August 1997 on the protection of personal data (Journal of Laws of 2016, item 922), every person has the right to control the processing of data that is related to him/her contained in data files. Accordingly, any person has the right to request information from the National Criminal Register that lists data on that person. Such information is provided free of charge and does not constitute a “certificate” within the meaning of the Code of Administrative Procedure of 14 June 1960 (Journal of Laws of 2017, item 1257).

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Applications from outside Poland may be sent directly to the National Criminal Register in Warsaw at the following address, together with proof of payment, and the report will be sent to the addressee’s foreign address:

            Information Office

            National Crime Register

            100 Czerniakowska Street

            Warsaw 00-454

            Poland

Please note that, if a U.S. embassy or consulate has requested a police certificate, and the information in your Polish good conduct certificate indicates the existence of an infraction, the Embassy or consulate will also require court document to determine the sentence imposed in the case.

 

Court Records

Available

Fees: 6 PLN per page, payable in court stamps

Document Name: Wyrok (Decree)

Issuing Authority: a District Court (Sąd Okręgowy) or a Regional Court (Sąd Rejonowy)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 format document issued by the court bearing oval seal of the court and a name and signature of a judge

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judge

Registration Criteria: There are no registration criteria

Procedure for Obtaining: A copy of the decree may be obtained by written request to the issuing court. Applicants in Poland should apply directly to the court, pay the fee to the court's bank account via bank transfer (bank account number generally is provided on the court's website), and submit a delivery address in Poland.  Applicants residing outside Poland (Polish and non-Polish citizens): The court will not send any document to an address outside the European Union (EU). In case of residence outside the EU, applicants may appoint a legal representative in Poland for the decree delivery. Alternatively, Polish applicants may also request the decree through the Polish diplomatic mission abroad, and non-Polish applicants through the relevant diplomatic mission in Poland, if this service is available. (Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow do not provide this service for U.S. citizens.)

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

 

Prison Records

Comments:  Prison records in Poland are included with police records from the National Crime Register and are available only at the applicant's request.  Accordingly, for prison records, one should apply for Zapytanie o udzielenie informacji o osobie (Request for information about a person) from the National Criminal Register of the Ministry of Justice, in the manner described above for “Police Records.”  Prison records are generally available directly from the court of adjudication.] Certificates attesting to prison sentences, or the absence of prison records, are obtainable on application to the Ministry of Justice National Criminal Register at bip.ms

Military Records

Military Records

Unavailable

 

 

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Available

Comments    Applications for a passport (paszport) or other travel document (e.g., for refugees) must be made in person at any Passport office in Poland or any Polish embassy or consulate abroad accompanied by one color passport picture, confirmation of payment, a current passport or a Polish identification card. The process also includes taking biometric fingerprints by a passport or a consular official. In cases of marriages concluded abroad you also need to present your original marriage certificate proving the name change.  For more information on fees and procedures, please see mswia.gov

Other Records

Other Records

  • None

 

Visa Issuing Posts

Visa Issuing Posts

Warsaw, Poland (Embassy)

Street Address:
American Embassy Warsaw
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
Warsaw 00-540
Poland

Mailing Address:
U.S. Embassy-Warsaw
Department of State
Washington, DC 20510-5010

Consular Section:
Piękna 12
Warsaw 00-540
Poland

All times listed herein is local time in Poland (Central European Time).

Telephone: + 48 22 504 2000 Switchboard/After-hours emergencies for U.S. citizens

U.S. Citizen Services: +48 22 504 2784 (8:30 am – 5 pm).  Email: acswarsaw@state.gov

Consular telephone recorded information system is available for public inquiries 24 hours a day at +48 22 625 1401. Recordings in English and Polish provide information about the entire range of consular services.

General Visa Information +48 22 307 1361 or, in the United States at (703) 988 7101 between 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

Public inquiries:

E-mail: publicwaw@state.gov

Telephone: For case-specific queries regarding immigrant visa cases, operators are available between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm at +48 22 625 1042. Fax: + 48 22 504 2088 - Consular Correspondence Unit

Website: pl.usembassy

Krakow, Poland (Consulate General)

Street Address:
American Consulate General Krakow
Stolarska 9
31-043 Krakow
Poland

Mailing Address:

American Consulate General Krakow

Department of State
Washington, DC 20510-5140

Telephone: +48 12 424 5100 Switchboard/After-hours emergencies for U.S. citizens

U.S. Citizen Services: +48 12 424 5129 (8:30 am – 5 pm). Email: krakowacs@state.gov

Website: pl.usembassy

Public inquiries (visas): KrakowNIV@state.gov

Visa Services

Visa Services

All immigrant, diversity and K (fiancé) visa services for all nationals of Poland and Belarus are provided by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. Citizens and residents of Poland may apply for nonimmigrant visas at either the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or the U.S. Consulate General in Kraków.

Exception: Applications for C1/D, A, G, and NATO nonimmigrant visas are processed exclusively at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.

 

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 499-1930 (202) 499-1700 (202) 328-2152 (202) 328-6271

Chicago, IL (312) 337-8166 (312) 337-7841

Los Angeles, CA (310) 442-8500 (310) 442-8515

New York, NY (646) 237-2100 (212) 686-1541 (646) 237-2105 (212) 686-3219

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Warsaw
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone
+48 (22) 504-2000
Emergency
+48 (22) 504-2000
Fax
+(48) (22) 504-2088
Poland Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Travel Advisory Levels
1 Exercise normal precautions, 2 Exercise increased caution, 3 Reconsider travel, 4 Do not travel

Poland
Republic of Poland
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:


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

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


None

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


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

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


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

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Embassies and Consulates

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

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Destination Description

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

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Poland is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Poland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes with out a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months for the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

  • U.S. Passports must have at least three months remaining validity beyond your date of planned departure from the Poland.  If you travel to and from Poland to other Schengen countries you should have at least six months remaining validity on you U.S. passport beyond departure from the Schengen area. 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.

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Safety and Security

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. Travel Advisory and Security alerts 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.
  • 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:

U.S citizens of sexual assault should contact first the U.S. Embassy. 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. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

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

We can:

  • Provide a list of health care providers in Poland
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • A list of organizations providing assistance programs for victims of crimes in Poland is available at the website of the Ministy of Justice: Assistance to Victims of Crime
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

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

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

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., 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.
  • 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.

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Health

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. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply 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.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs 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:

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Travel and Transportation

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 adequate 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. 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. At airports in Poland, including Warsaw’s Chopin Airport, only use taxis found at designated stands and avoid unregistered taxi stalls.

Internet-based ride services, such as Uber and iTaxi, are 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.

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 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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

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

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General Information

Poland and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 1992.

For information concerning travel to Poland, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Poland.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Poland.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444

Website

Email: askci@state.gov

 

The Polish Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice, Division of International Law.  The Ministry of Justice, Division of International Law discharges the obligations of a central authority under the Hague Abduction Convention by reviewing Hague applications for completeness and then forwarding them to the appropriate court for assistance in locating the child and adjudication of Hague cases.

The Polish Central Authority can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
Division of International Law
Aleje Ujazdowskie 11
P.O. Box 35
00-950 WARSAW
Poland
Telephone: +48 (22) 239 0870
Fax: +48 (22) 897 0539
Website: www.ms.gov.pl

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Poland, a parent or legal guardian should review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing a Hague application, which is available on the Department of State website.

The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Polish Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Polish prior to court proceedings commencing.  Documents that will be entered into evidence during the Hague proceeding (such as previous court orders) require certified translations from a certified sworn translator in Poland.  Certified translations are not necessary for documents that will not be submitted as evidence (such as the Hague application), and any competent person or organization may translate these documents.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Polish central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  The Polish courts do not automatically provide free or reduced fee legal representation for applicant parents; however parents can complete an application to apply for financial assistance based on their income.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Poland.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Poland.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

The Polish system does not require parents to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court. However, parents can hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the Polish Central Authority as soon as possible after the Polish Central Authority receives the Hague Abduction Convention application. The Polish Central Authority can provide referrals to assist parents to find a private attorney or the parents may represent themselves. The Polish Central Authority’s role is not to assign attorneys to cases, but to prepare documents needed to submit the case to the court. 

The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. The Polish Central Authority does not provide mediation services directly; however the Polish Central Authority does provide referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Mediation in Poland is voluntary and can occur at any stage of the Hague process.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Poland is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Poland.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Poland, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, prospective adoptive parents need to meet Poland’s requirements to adopt a child from Poland:

  • Residency: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.
  • Age Requirements: Under Polish law, there are no formal, legal restrictions on the age of prospective adoptive parents. In practice, however, prospective adoptive parents may be up to 40 years older than the child.
  • Marriage Requirements: Both married and single prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child in Poland. Poland does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions; therefore same-sex couples are unable to adopt a child in Poland.
  • Income:  Poland does not have any specific income requirements for intercountry adoptions.
  • Other Requirements: Although Roman Catholicism is Poland's official religion, non-Catholic prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child in Poland. However, one of the three adoption centers in Poland deals only with Catholic families.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Poland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Poland must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Poland have determined that placement of the child within Poland has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Poland’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.

At the present time, Polish law requires both adoptive parents to have met the child prior to adoption. 

Only adoption centers authorized by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy can evaluate a Polish child’s eligibility for intercountry adoption. At present, only the Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center (former Public Adoptive-Guardian Center - Publiczny Osrodek Adopcyjno-Opiekunczy) has such authorization. The Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center maintains a database of all children residing in children homes or foster families in Poland who are available for international adoption because their parents have died, have relinquished all rights to them, or their right were involuntarily terminated.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment: A single mother may relinquish her parental rights in the family court no earlier than six weeks after giving birth. The court will make the final decision about the termination of parental rights.
  • Abandonment: The majority of Polish children eligible for intercountry adoption have been separated from their biological parents, by the court’s decision to terminate their parental rights and to place the children in the foster care.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Polish law allows for children younger than age 18 to be adopted. Children older than 13 must give their consent for adoption. (Note: Under U.S. immigration laws, children adopted through the Convention process must be under the age of 16 at the time a petition is filed on their behalf, unless they are the older sibling under age 18 of a child also adopted by the same prospective adoptive parents.)
  • Sibling Adoptions: It is usually more difficult to find a suitable family domestically to adopt siblings; therefore, these children are often eligible for intercountry adoption. Sibling groups, which can range from two to six children, are generally not separated. An adopting parent would be immediately notified and have priority to adopt if a sibling of a child already adopted becomes eligible for adoptions.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Young and healthy children are most often placed with Polish families. Children with medical conditions or special needs are more likely to be placed for intercountry adoption, even if they are very young.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Prospective parents adopting children in Poland are not granted temporary care under Polish law. Children remain in state care or foster care until the adoption is finalized. While there is no standard or mandatory waiting period between matching and the bonding period, parents typically wait about six months until the first hearing before a judge. Afterward, the mandatory bonding period lasts between two and four weeks and the standard appeals period following the judge's approval of the adoption is three weeks. In addition, the civil documents necessary for the child to travel may take between two and three weeks.
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How to Adopt

Poland’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
Department of Family Policy
11 Nowogrodzka Street
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: +48 (22) 529-0666 or 0665
Fax: +48 (22) 429-0661
Email: Aleksandra.kowalczyk@mpips.gov.pl
Internet: pips.gov.pl/en/intercountry-adoption/information

THE PROCESS

Because Poland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Poland must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Poland
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt the Child in Poland
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
  2. The recommended first step in adopting a child from Poland is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

    Agencies that want to operate in Poland must receive an authorization to do so from the Polish Central Authority (Ministry of Labor and Social Policy).

    There are three adoption centers in Poland that are authorized to qualify foreign prospective parents for adoption in Poland and match them with children available for intercountry adoption. These centers, all located in Warsaw, are: the Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center (formerly known as the Public Adoptive-Guardian Center), the National Adoptive-Guardian Center of the Children’s Friends Society, and the Catholic Adoptive-Guardian Center. The Hague-accredited U.S. adoption service providers may submit dossiers to these centers only.

    Polish adoption law does not explicitly forbid directed or private adoptions.  However, Polish law only allows intercountry adoption of orphans listed by the Public Adoptive-Guardian Center. This Center will only list orphans for intercountry adoption for whom no adopting Polish family can be found. In practice, it is extremely difficult to arrange a directed adoption between a birth parent and prospective adoptive parent without violating Polish law.

    Before considering “direct” or “private” adoptions in any country, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues, Department of State.

  3. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Once the U.S. Government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Poland. Poland's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Polish law.

  4. Be Matched with a Child in Poland:

    If both the United States and Poland determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the Polish adoption authorities have determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the adoption center that you have chosen to work with in Poland will provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Poland. The adoption center in Poland will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not.  Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the chosen adoption center in Poland. Learn more about this critical decision.

  5. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

    After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Poland. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

    WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Poland’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Poland where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Poland’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

    Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Poland before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

    Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  6. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Poland

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Poland, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Poland. 

    The process of finalizing the adoption in Poland includes the following:

    • Role of Adoption Agencies: The Central Authority (the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy) reviews the child’s and prospective adoptive parent's documents and, after receiving the Article 5 Letter from the U.S. Embassy, makes the final determination to adopt. The Central Authority issues the formal permission to continue the adoption process and the prospective adoptive parents take their adoption case to court.
    • Role of the Court: Prospective adoptive parents file a formal request to adopt the child with the Polish family court in the region where the child resides. A copy of the state adoption law (and Polish translation) where the prospective adoptive parents reside must also be included with the filing. Polish law requires all prospective adoptive parents to be present during the final two adoption hearings, though the judge has the discretion to waive the requirement of the first of these two final hearings. At the first hearing, the judge will grant permission for the prospective adoptive parents to visit with the child daily for a two- to four-week period. The bonding period is mandatory and evaluated by a local adoption center psychologist. At the final hearing, the judge decides whether to grant the adoption and full custody. It is followed by a 21-day appeal period which may be shortened to 14 days at the judge's discretion. The court issues both the final adoption decree and the Article 23 Hague Certificate.
    • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract signed at the beginning of the adoption process, the agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

      Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Poland include:

      • Complete form of the birth certificate - 35 PLN per copy
      • Short form of the birth certificate - 20 PLN per copy
      • Polish temporary passport - 30 PLN
      • Visa and passport photos – about 100 PLN
      • Immigrant visa fee - 230 USD
      • Medical exam - 250 PLN
      • Translations of Polish documents into English - 30-40 PLN per page
      • Court interpretation services – 150-200 PLN per hour
      • Formal psychological evaluation of the bonding process – 2,000 – 2,500 PLN

    In some areas of Poland, adoptive parents may also be financially responsible for the housing costs of the child in the orphanage, from the time n adoption is finalized through the child’s removal from the orphanage. It is customary, but not required, for adoptive parents to make donations in the amount of 500-1,000 PLN to the adoption center that assisted in the adoption processing. 

    • Documents Required:
      • Adoption application;
      • Birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
      • Marriage certificate(s) and proof of termination of any previous marriage(s), if applicable;
      • Criminal records clearance check;
      • Confirmation of financial status;
      • Proof of citizenship;
      • Certificate attesting to good physical and mental health of the prospective adoptive parents – medical records;
      • Approved home study prepared by licensed agency with a recommendation of a U.S. Hague accredited adoption service provider; and
      • Approved I-800A petition

      Note: Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Poland are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority
  7. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is completed, there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      If you have finalized the adoption in Poland, you will firstneed to apply for a new birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

      With the final court decree, you may apply to the civil registry for a complete birth certificate ("zupełny act urodzenia") with the child’s new name and listing the adoptive parents as parents. This document is typically ready within one to two days. Applications should be made at the office where the child's birth was originally registered.

    • Polish Passport 
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Poland.

      After receiving the new birth certificate, the parents must apply for a child’s new identification number, or "PESEL". Once it has been assigned, both parents may apply for a Polish passport from either the local passport office where the child was adopted or the main passport office in Warsaw. The PESEL number, birth certificate, parents' passports, passport application and fee will be required.  Within seven days of application, adopted children are generally issued a temporary Polish passport with a one-year validity for travel.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.  After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

American citizens traveling to Poland do not need to obtain a visa.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Poland, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

POST-ADOPTION/POST-PLACEMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

One year after a finalized adoption, a written report must be submitted to the Polish adoption center that processed the case. Your adoption agency will assist you with preparing and submitting this report to Polish authorities in accordance with the terms it has established with the Polish Central Authority. Typically, such reports are prepared by a licensed social worker to describe the child's well-being, including relevant medical, emotional, residential, and educational information as well as current photos of the child.  We strongly urge you to comply with Poland’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Poland
IV Unit/Adoptions
12 Piekna Street
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: +48 (22) 625-1401 or +28 (22) 504-2106
Fax: +48 (22) 504-2088
Email: adoptwrw@state.gov
Internet: https://pl.usembassy.gov/


Poland’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy
Department of Family Policy
11 Nowogrodzka Street
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: +48 (22) 529-0666 or 0678
Fax: +48 (22) 429-0661
Email: Aleksandra.kowalczyk@mpips.gov.pl
Internet: mpips.gov.pl/en/intercountry-adoption/information/

Poland’s Authorized Adoption Centers
Mazovian Provincial Adoption Center
ul. Nowy Zjazd 1
00-301 Warszawa
Tel/fax: +48 (22) 621-1075
Email: woa.warszawa@mcps.com.pl
Internet: adopcjawarszawa.pl/p-international-adoptions.html

National Adoption Center of the Children's Friends Society 
(Towarzystwo Przyjaciol Dzieci – TPD)
Ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 6
00-325 Warszawa
Tel: +48 (22) 425-4677 or 4688
Fax: +48 (22) 827-7813
Email: adopcja@tpdzg.org.pl
Internet: osrodekadopcyjny.pl/about_en.html

Catholic Adoption Center (Katolicki Osrodek Adopcyjno-Opiekunczy)
Ul. Ratuszowa 5
03-461 Warszawa
Fax: (48)(22) 818-5430
Email: katolickiosrodek@interia.pl
Internet: adopcja.org

Embassy of Poland Consular Section
2224 Wyoming Av. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-3992
Tel: (202) 499-1930
Email: washington.consular@msz.gov.pl
Internet: waszyngton.msz.gov.pl/en/waszyngton_us_a_en_consular_information_2/

Poland also has consulates in:  Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Hague@uscis.DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 6 Months
C-3 None Multiple 6 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 10 None Multiple 60 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

General Documents

Civil documents, except as noted below, are available in Poland. Most of the documents are available only to the individual concerned or to his duly empowered agent. Except for police records which may be obtained only by the individual concerned in person, a local legal representative may obtain the document on behalf of the individual concerned on the latter's written power of attorney.

The processing time required for Polish civil documents may take up to the maximum law-mandated 10 days.  

 

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available

Fees: 33 PLN (Polish złotys) for the full-form birth certificate, 22 PLN for abridged birth certificate.

Document Name:

  • Odpis zupełny aktu urodzenia (full-form birth certificate)
  • Odpis skrócony aktu urodzenia (abridged birth certificate)

Issuing Authority: Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Poland or a Polish consular officer located at a Polish Embassy or Consulate outside Poland

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: NEW version: grey, red and pink colored A4 format two-sided numerically controlled document with a red stripe and Polish seal on the left.

OLD version: green colored A5 format two-sided with the a Polish seal on the top center  

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Kierownik Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Head of the Civil Registry Office) or Zastępca (z-ca) Kierownika Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Deputy Head of the Civil Registry Office)  

Registration Criteria: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 2064 of December 19, 2016

Procedure for Obtaining:

  • Applicants residing in Poland: to obtain a certificate, download and submit a paper request accompanied by the applicable fee to any Civil Registry office (Wniosek o wydanie odpisu zupełnego aktu urodzenia).
  • Applicants residing outside Poland should apply directly to the Civil Registry Office and request that the response be sent to their foreign address within the EU only or the relevant Polish diplomatic mission outside the EU.

Certified Copies: Certified copies are not available, but multiple originals are available

Alternate Documents:  an electronic birth certificate, a multilanguage abridged birth certificate  

Exceptions: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 1741 of December 8, 2014

Comments: Polish legislation provides for the issuance of either a paper document (full, abridged or multilanguage) or an electronic version through the “ePUAP” platform. Only the paper copy of the full-form birth certificate is acceptable by the U.S. Embassy for immigration purposes, both old and new version.  An excerpt from the original records (wyciąg) is no longer considered a legal document in Poland.

 

Death/Burial Certificates

Available

Fees: 33 PLN for the full-form death certificate, 22 PLN for abridged death certificate

Document Name: Odpis skrócony aktu zgonu (abridged death cerfiticate), Odpis zupełny aktu zgonu (full-form death certificate).

Issuing Authority: Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Poland or a Polish consular officer located at a Polish Embassy or Consulate outside Poland

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: NEW version: grey, red and pink colored A4 format two-sided numerically controlled document with a red stripe and Polish seal on the left

OLD version: light violet colored A5 format two-sided with a Polish seal on the top center.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Kierownik Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Head of the Civil Registry Office) or Zastępca (z-ca) Kierownika Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Deputy Head of the Civil Registry Office)

Registration Criteria: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 2064 of December 19, 2016

Procedure for Obtaining:

  • Applicants residing in Poland: to obtain a certificate, download and submit a paper request accompanied by the applicable fee to any of the Civil Registry offices (Wniosek o wydanie odpisu skróconego (abridged)/zupełnego (full form) aktu zgonu)
  • Applicants residing outside Poland should apply directly to the Civil Registry Office and request that the response be sent to their foreign address within the EU only or the relevant Polish diplomatic mission outside the EU

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available, but multiple originals are available

Alternate Documents:  an electronic death certificate, a multilanguage abridged death certificate

Exceptions: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 1741 of December 8, 2014

Comments: Polish legislation provides for the issuance of either a paper document (full, abridged or multilanguage) or an electronic version through the “ePUAP” platform. The U.S. Embassy accepts only paper (full-form or abridged) death certificates for immigration purposes. An excerpt from the original records (wyciąg) is no longer considered a legal document in Poland.

 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available

Fees: 33 PLN for the full-form marriage certificate, 22 PLN for abridged marriage certificate

Document Name: Odpis zupełny aktu małżeństwa (full-form marriage certificate), Odpis skrócony aktu małżeństwa (abridged marriage certificate).

Issuing Authority: Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Poland or a Polish consular officer located at a Polish Embassy or Consulate outside Poland

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: NEW version: grey, red and pink colored A4 format two-sided numerically controlled document with a red stripe and Polish seal on the left

OLD version: yellow colored A5 format two-sided with a Polish seal on the top center

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Kierownik Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Head of the Civil Registry Office) or Zastępca (z-ca) Kierownika Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego (Deputy Head of the Civil Registry Office)

Registration Criteria: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 2064  of December 19, 2016;  

Procedure for Obtaining:

  • Applicants residing in Poland: to obtain a certificate, download and submit a paper request accompanied by the applicable fee to any of the Civil Registry offices (Wniosek o wydanie odpisu skróconego (abridged)/zupełnego (full-form) aktu małżeństwa).
  • Applicants residing outside Poland should apply directly to the Civil Registry Office and request that the response be sent to their foreign address within the EU or the relevant Polish diplomatic mission outside the EU.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available, but multiple originals are available   

Alternate Documents: an electronic marriage certificate, a multilanguage abridged marriage certificate    

Exceptions: as prescribed by the Polish Journal of Law No. 1741 of December 8, 2014

Comments: Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Poland. Polish legislation provides for the issuance of either a paper document (full, abridged or multilanguage) or an electronic version through the “ePUAP” platform. The Embassy accepts only paper full-form (not abridged) marriage certificates for immigration purposes. An excerpt from the original records (wyciąg) is no longer considered a legal document in Poland.

 

Divorce Certificates

Available

Fees: 6 PLN per page, payable in court stamps.

Document Name: Wyrok rozwodowy (Divorce decree)

Issuing Authority: A copy of a divorce decree for all cases adjudicated after 1999 may be obtained from the District Court (Sąd Okręgowy) where the decree was rendered. Before 1999, divorce cases were handled by Regional Courts (Sądy Rejonowe).

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 computer generated decision with a stamp of the issuing court and a signature of a judge

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: the District Court (Sąd Okręgowy) that originally issued the divorce decree

Registration Criteria: There are no registration criteria

Procedure for Obtaining:  A copy of the decree may be obtained by written request to the issuing court. Applicants in Poland should apply directly to the court, pay the fee to the court's bank account via bank transfer (bank account number generally is provided on the court's website), and submit a delivery address in Poland.  Applicants residing outside Poland (Polish and non-Polish citizens): The court will not send any document to an address outside the European Union (EU). In case of residence outside the EU, applicants may appoint a legal representative in Poland for the decree delivery. Alternatively, Polish applicants may also request the decree through the Polish diplomatic mission abroad, and non-Polish applicants through the relevant diplomatic mission in Poland, if this service is available. (Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow do not provide this service for U.S. citizens.)

Certified Copies Available: multiple certified copies are available

Alternate Documents: a marriage certificate with the annotation on the dissolution of previous marriage is not sufficient for immigrant visa purposes

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Adoption Certificates

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable

Comments: Based on the adoption process in Poland, a family court issues a decree which constitutes the basis for making obligatory changes in the proper civil office register where the child’s birth was originally recorded. The adoption process in Poland is not a public one, which means that no details pertaining to the child or the biological parents may be revealed until the child reaches the age of 18.

 

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Identity Card

Identity Card

Available

Comments: Applications for a Polish identity card by Polish citizens may be submitted for free directly at any municipal office or through the internet using a confidential platform (eGO), but the document must be picked up personally at the office once ready. It usually takes 30 days to obtain the Polish National ID card (Dowód osobisty). An application to issue an Identity Card must be submitted along with one color picture and previous ID card or a passport for identification purposes. Non-Polish citizens who are legal residents of Poland also may apply for identity cards.  Information on how to do so can be found at migrant.info

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available

Fees: 30 PLN for information issued on paper; 20 PLN –  for information issued as a digitally signed electronic document via the National Criminal Register’s information and communication technology system (ICT system) e-KRK

Document Name:

  1. Zapytanie o udzielenie informacji o osobie (Request for information about a person) (paper format)
  2. Informacja o osobie z Krajowego Rejestru Karnego (electronic format).  The document is often referred to colloquially as a “good conduct certificate” (zapytanie o karalność).

Issuing Authority: Information Office of National Criminal Register of Ministry of Justice (Biuro Informacyjne Krajowego Rejestru Karnego)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:

  1. Paper issuance:   A4 format with a signature of authorized person and an official stamp of the Information Office of National Criminal Register.
  2. Electronic issuance:  digitally signed .xml file.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: When information is issued by the Information Office of National Criminal Register head office, it may be signed by Referendary (Referendarz), Specialist (Specjalista), or Senior Specialist (Starszy Specjalista).  When issued in one of National Criminal Register Information Points located in courts, an authorized court employee signs the document.  

Registration Criteria: If the Applicant is in Poland:

Applications should be made directly at any branch office of the National Criminal Register (Krajowy Rejestr Karny) in person or electronically using the certified “e-KRK” platform (electronic documents are not acceptable by U.S. embassies and consulates). To obtain a paper certificate, applicants should complete the Request Form to obtain a police certificate from the Polish Ministry of Justice. Please also read the Police Certificate Cover Letter for additional information. It usually takes up to a week for the Ministry of Justice to process good conduct certificate requests received by mail, although an applicant who appears personally at any branch office of the National Criminal Register nationwide may seek expedited issuance.

Procedure for Obtaining:   Obtaining a paper certificate requires:

  1. Completion of the application form (Zapytanie o udzielenie informacji o osobie).
  2. Payment of the fee by bank transfer into Ministry of Justice’s bank account, in cash at a Ministry of Justice or court box office, or in the form of court fee stamps.
  3. Delivering in person or by post a completed application form with proof of payment to National Criminal Register or one of Information Points located in courts.

Only properly filled out, signed (by a person concerned or authorized person) and paid requests for an information from the National Criminal Register can be processed.  The Ministry of Justice is unable to process requests sent via e-mail. More information on the paper version of the certificate is available at bip.ms.gov.

Obtaining information as an electronic document requires:

  1. Creating an individual user account in a e-KRK system.
  2. Filling out interactive application form.
  3. Signing with a qualified electronic signature or a signature confirmed by an ePUAP Trusted Profile (Profil Zaufany).
  4. Paying the fee (amount of 20 PLN).

More information on the electronic version of the certificate is available at ekrk.ms

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available

Alternate Documents: based on Article 32 of the Act of 29 August 1997 on the protection of personal data (Journal of Laws of 2016, item 922), every person has the right to control the processing of data that is related to him/her contained in data files. Accordingly, any person has the right to request information from the National Criminal Register that lists data on that person. Such information is provided free of charge and does not constitute a “certificate” within the meaning of the Code of Administrative Procedure of 14 June 1960 (Journal of Laws of 2017, item 1257).

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Applications from outside Poland may be sent directly to the National Criminal Register in Warsaw at the following address, together with proof of payment, and the report will be sent to the addressee’s foreign address:

            Information Office

            National Crime Register

            100 Czerniakowska Street

            Warsaw 00-454

            Poland

Please note that, if a U.S. embassy or consulate has requested a police certificate, and the information in your Polish good conduct certificate indicates the existence of an infraction, the Embassy or consulate will also require court document to determine the sentence imposed in the case.

 

Court Records

Available

Fees: 6 PLN per page, payable in court stamps

Document Name: Wyrok (Decree)

Issuing Authority: a District Court (Sąd Okręgowy) or a Regional Court (Sąd Rejonowy)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 format document issued by the court bearing oval seal of the court and a name and signature of a judge

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judge

Registration Criteria: There are no registration criteria

Procedure for Obtaining: A copy of the decree may be obtained by written request to the issuing court. Applicants in Poland should apply directly to the court, pay the fee to the court's bank account via bank transfer (bank account number generally is provided on the court's website), and submit a delivery address in Poland.  Applicants residing outside Poland (Polish and non-Polish citizens): The court will not send any document to an address outside the European Union (EU). In case of residence outside the EU, applicants may appoint a legal representative in Poland for the decree delivery. Alternatively, Polish applicants may also request the decree through the Polish diplomatic mission abroad, and non-Polish applicants through the relevant diplomatic mission in Poland, if this service is available. (Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow do not provide this service for U.S. citizens.)

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

 

Prison Records

Comments:  Prison records in Poland are included with police records from the National Crime Register and are available only at the applicant's request.  Accordingly, for prison records, one should apply for Zapytanie o udzielenie informacji o osobie (Request for information about a person) from the National Criminal Register of the Ministry of Justice, in the manner described above for “Police Records.”  Prison records are generally available directly from the court of adjudication.] Certificates attesting to prison sentences, or the absence of prison records, are obtainable on application to the Ministry of Justice National Criminal Register at bip.ms

Military Records

Military Records

Unavailable

 

 

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Available

Comments    Applications for a passport (paszport) or other travel document (e.g., for refugees) must be made in person at any Passport office in Poland or any Polish embassy or consulate abroad accompanied by one color passport picture, confirmation of payment, a current passport or a Polish identification card. The process also includes taking biometric fingerprints by a passport or a consular official. In cases of marriages concluded abroad you also need to present your original marriage certificate proving the name change.  For more information on fees and procedures, please see mswia.gov

Other Records

Other Records

  • None

 

Visa Issuing Posts

Visa Issuing Posts

Warsaw, Poland (Embassy)

Street Address:
American Embassy Warsaw
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
Warsaw 00-540
Poland

Mailing Address:
U.S. Embassy-Warsaw
Department of State
Washington, DC 20510-5010

Consular Section:
Piękna 12
Warsaw 00-540
Poland

All times listed herein is local time in Poland (Central European Time).

Telephone: + 48 22 504 2000 Switchboard/After-hours emergencies for U.S. citizens

U.S. Citizen Services: +48 22 504 2784 (8:30 am – 5 pm).  Email: acswarsaw@state.gov

Consular telephone recorded information system is available for public inquiries 24 hours a day at +48 22 625 1401. Recordings in English and Polish provide information about the entire range of consular services.

General Visa Information +48 22 307 1361 or, in the United States at (703) 988 7101 between 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

Public inquiries:

E-mail: publicwaw@state.gov

Telephone: For case-specific queries regarding immigrant visa cases, operators are available between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm at +48 22 625 1042. Fax: + 48 22 504 2088 - Consular Correspondence Unit

Website: pl.usembassy

Krakow, Poland (Consulate General)

Street Address:
American Consulate General Krakow
Stolarska 9
31-043 Krakow
Poland

Mailing Address:

American Consulate General Krakow

Department of State
Washington, DC 20510-5140

Telephone: +48 12 424 5100 Switchboard/After-hours emergencies for U.S. citizens

U.S. Citizen Services: +48 12 424 5129 (8:30 am – 5 pm). Email: krakowacs@state.gov

Website: pl.usembassy

Public inquiries (visas): KrakowNIV@state.gov

Visa Services

Visa Services

All immigrant, diversity and K (fiancé) visa services for all nationals of Poland and Belarus are provided by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. Citizens and residents of Poland may apply for nonimmigrant visas at either the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or the U.S. Consulate General in Kraków.

Exception: Applications for C1/D, A, G, and NATO nonimmigrant visas are processed exclusively at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.

 

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 499-1930 (202) 499-1700 (202) 328-2152 (202) 328-6271

Chicago, IL (312) 337-8166 (312) 337-7841

Los Angeles, CA (310) 442-8500 (310) 442-8515

New York, NY (646) 237-2100 (212) 686-1541 (646) 237-2105 (212) 686-3219

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Warsaw
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone
+48 (22) 504-2000
Emergency
+48 (22) 504-2000
Fax
+(48) (22) 504-2088
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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.