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International Travel

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Learn About Your Destination

Poland

Poland
Republic of Poland
Exercise normal precautions in Poland.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.                   

Exercise normal precautions in Poland.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Poland.

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:


Must have at least one page

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


 10,000€ (euros or equivalent)

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


 10,000€ (euros or equivalent)

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Warsaw

Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone:
 +48 (22) 504-2000
American Citizens Services: +48 (22) 504-2784
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000
Fax: +(48) (22) 504-2088
Email: ACSWarsaw@state.gov

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Krakow
Ulica Stolarska 9
31-043 Kraków, Poland
Telephone:
 +48 (12) 424-5100
American Citizens Services: +48 (12) 424-5129
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:
 +48 (22) 504-2000
Fax: +(48) (12) 424-5103
Email: KrakowACS@state.gov

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
Email: ConsularAgencyPoznan@state.gov

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens are restricted from entering Poland from Belarus and Russia unless they meet one of the exceptions currently in place. You may find the list of exceptions on the Polish Border Guard website.  

U.S. citizens who do not meet one of the listed exceptions, but who want to return to the United States from Belarus by transiting through Poland, may seek a special permit to enter Poland only at the border crossing point in Brest-Terespol.

Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. 

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.  If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.  
  • You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.
  • For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.

Military/Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Travelers: Active-duty U.S. military personnel may enter Poland under the SOFA with proper Department of Defense (DOD) identification and travel orders. All SOFA family members, civilian employees, and contractors must have valid passports. Active-duty military personnel should obtain a tourist passport before leaving the United States to accommodate off-duty travel. DOD travelers should consult with their unit for clearance before leaving the United States.

If you are transiting Poland en route to other countries, know all entry and exit requirements for your final destination. You may be denied boarding for your connecting flight if you have incorrect documentation or insufficient validity on your passport. If you are denied boarding, you will need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket or an itinerary that does not require re-entry into the Schengen zone in order to return to the United States.  

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, New York, or Houston.

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 nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad.  Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime:  Poland has a low crime rate overall, the highest rates of crime rates occur in major cities.

  • Safeguard your belongings in public areas. Thieves and pickpockets operate at major tourist destinations, railroad stations, and 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 directs you to pull over or signals that something is wrong with your car, continue driving until you reach a safe spot (such as 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. Such establishments have been known to present foreign customers with inflated charges and threaten those who refuse to pay. There have been some incidents of suspected drink spiking associated with these venues.
  • Travel in a group when going out at night to nightclubs, discos, bars, or high-tourism areas, such as the Market Square in Krakow and Old Town in Warsaw.

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable; avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

The Travel Advisory and Security Alerts can be found on the U.S. Mission to Poland’s website.

International Financial Scams:  See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime:  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the local police. Report crimes to the local police by calling 112 (multilingual emergency dispatch centers serving Poland and EU countries), and contact the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw at +48 (22) 504-2000 or the U.S. Consulate in Krakow at +48 (12) 424-5100.  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 on the website of the Ministry of Justice here.
  • 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 should contact local authorities and the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or the U.S. Consulate in Krakow for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is generally regulated. Rules (with regards to best practices and safety inspections) are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country.  Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned, or deported. 

A U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the United States, 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 the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Under Polish law, a person with Polish and U.S. citizenship is deemed to be a Polish citizen; however, dual U.S.-Polish nationals may still ask to see a U.S. consular officer.  See our webpage for further information. 

Special Circumstances: Polish Law prohibits possession of firearms or ammunition without proper permits.

In Poland, it is illegal to possess, carry, transport, import or export arms or ammunition without proper authorization. Polish law broadly defines the meaning of “arms” to include items that may put life or health at risk, which may include parts of firearms or ammunition. Travelers have been arrested who were in possession of military items without proper permits.  Please visit the Government of Poland’s website to find out more about obtaining a permit and our website on traveling with firearms.    

Polish Customs enforces 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, New York, or Houston 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 stop a car and request identification to establish identity, and may ask the driver subsequent questions. 

Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.  Information about conducting business in Poland can be found at the U.S. Embassy’s website.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, including Poland, they may still be illegal according to local laws. Possessing or purchasing them is against the law. You may be subject to heavy fines and even imprisonment. You must also relinquish the items if you bring them back to the United States. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Justice website and the Polish Ministry of Finance Customs Department.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

     ·      Faith-Based Travel Information

     ·      International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports

     ·      Human Rights Report – see country reports

     ·      Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers

     ·      Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad  

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on either consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Poland. Polish law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and the government enforces these provisions. The social acceptance of LGBTQI+ individuals is not as prevalent as in the United States, though polling indicates tolerance is steadily increasing. Some politicians have made derogatory comments about LGBTQI+ persons. Media have not recently reported on physical and verbal attacks against LGBTQI+ persons, but community members have reported concerns about their physical safety. Travelers identifying openly as LGBTQI+ may face harassment. The practice of so-called conversion therapy is legal and offered on a voluntary basis. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report for further details. 

Travelers with Disabilities: Polish law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities, but some discrimination occurs. Polish law states that buildings should be accessible for persons with disabilities, but in practice, many buildings remain inaccessible. Newer public trains, vehicles, and stations may be accessible, but older ones are not. Wheelchair users will find many challenges throughout the country. Service animals are generally allowed in public buildings and on transportation. Pedestrian crossings at intersections in large cities are generally equipped with audible crossing signals. 

Students: See our students abroad page and FBI travel tips

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

Health

COVID-19 Testing:  COVID PCR and antigen tests are available for U.S. citizens in Poland and results are available within 24 hours.

Adequate medical care is available, but the quality of hospitals 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 many younger doctors speak English (nurses and staff may not).  While medication and treatment are generally substantially less costly than in the United States, doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment prior to treatment. Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient. Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals. Medication, while generally available, may not be U.S. brand-name drugs.

For emergency services in Poland, dial 112.  Ambulance services are widely available. 

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

The Embassy does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance overseas. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Ministry of Health Poland to ensure the medication is legal in Poland.

Vaccinations:  The CDC does not recommend and there is no requirement for specific vaccinations for U.S. citizen travelers.

Further health information:

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry.  U.S. citizens traveling to Poland for medical tourism or elective surgery should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations.  Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.

Pharmaceuticals:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for use in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

Water Quality:

  • Food and water standards in Poland are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. For more information please visit CDC Traveler’s Health.

Adventure Travel:

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

Air Quality:

  • Cities in Poland have higher air pollution levels than major U.S. cities. Especially in Krakow, levels are often above U.S. health-based standards in the winter. Air quality is often good to moderate during warmer months. Visit the European Environment Agency’s website for information on air quality in Poland.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road conditions in Poland differ significantly from those in the United States. Poland has the third-highest road fatality rate based on population in the European Union. 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.  Pedestrians account for approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities in Poland. 

  • 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.
  • 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 International Driving Permit (IDP) 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.
  • Use headlights year-round 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 at the time the ticket is issued. Be prepared to pay in cash in local currency.

Public Transportation:  Public transportation in Poland is efficient, inexpensive, and safe. A ticket is required when boarding a bus or tram and if the ticket is not validated upon entry, you may be fined. In cities, taxis are available at major hotels and 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.

Apps-based Ride Sharing:  Internet-based ride services, such as Uber, iTaxi, and Freenow, 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 compliant 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 also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Poland. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: November 13, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

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