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  • VISAS

  • THE SCHENGEN AREA

     

    On 21st December 2007 Poland, together with 8 other new EU Member States, joined the Schengen area - a territory with no checks at internal borders formed by 24 States[1].

    These States apply uniform rules concerning entry and short stays in their territories.

     

    To enter the Schengen territory third-country nationals must be in possession of a valid travel document and a visa if it is required. They also have to meet the following conditions:

     

    • A. They justify the purpose and conditions of the intended stay and prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence, both for the period of the intended stay and for the return to their country of origin or transit to a third State into which they are certain to be admitted, or are in a position to acquire such means lawfully;
    • B. No alert has been issued for them for the purposes of refusing entry;
    • C. They are not considered to be a threat to public policy, national security or the international relations of any of the Schengen States.

    After undergoing the single check at the external border it is possible to move freely within the Schengen territory.

     

    Schengen States issue the following types of uniform visas which entitle the holder to enter and stay in the Schengen territory:

     

    • airport transit visa (A) - valid only for airport transit, does not entitle the holder to leave the transit zone of the airport;
    • transit visa (B) - valid for transit through the Schengen territory for a period not exceeding 5 days;
    • short-stay visa (C) - valid for stays of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days.

    Apart from uniform visas, Schengen States issue national long-stay visas (D) and residence permits which are valid only for the territory of the issuing State.

     

    Long-stay national visas entitle their holders to a maximum 5-day visa free transit through the Schengen territory.

     

    Holders of residence permits issued by one of the Schengen States are allowed to travel within the Schengen area during a maximum 3-month period.


     

    Visas and residence permits issued by Poland after 21st December 2007

     

    On 21st December 2007 Poland started issuing uniform visas (A, B, C) valid for the entire Schengen territory and will continue issuing long-stay D visas and residence permits, valid only for Poland.

     

    Holders of Polish D visas (issued before 21st December 2007 as well as after that date) are entitled to a maximum 5-day visa free transit through the territory of other Schengen States.

     

    Holders of Polish residence permits are allowed to enter the Schengen territory and stay there for a period not exceeding 90 days.

     

    Polish short-stay visas issued before 21st December 2007 are not converted into Schengen visas automatically. They remain valid for the period indicated in a visa, but their holders are entitled to enter and stay only in Poland and to transit through Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.

     

    Third-country nationals will be allowed to enter and stay in Poland, if they are in a possession of one of the following titles:

     

    • uniform short-stay Schengen visa (C),
    • Polish long-stay national visa (D),
    • C or D visa issued by Poland before 21st December 2007, provided it is still valid,
    • Polish residence permit,
    • residence permit issued by another Schengen State.

    The following titles are valid only for the purpose of transit:

     

    • uniform airport transit Schengen visa (A) - only for airport transit,
    • uniform transit Schengen visa (B),
    • A or B visa issued by Poland before 21st December 2007, provided it is still valid,
    • D visa issued by another Schengen State,
    • C visa issued before 21st December 2007 by one of the Member States that joined the EU in 2004, provided it is still valid,
    • residence permit issued by Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

    Please note that Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa to enter Schengen area for non-work related stays of up to 90 days in any 6-month period counting from the date of the first entry.

     

    Schengen visas for period longer than 90 days are not available.

     

    The possibility to enter Schengen states visa-free does not grant the right to work there.


     

    Airport Transit Visa (Schengen Visa Category A)

     

    Visa Category A entitles the holder to enter the transit area of an international airport, remain in that area and depart within the period not exceeding 2 days. Airport visa may be issued to an alien, who demonstrates that his/her stay in the transit zone of an international airport is necessary to complete planned travel by air.

     

    Please check with your travel agent whether you are required to change terminals, as the Airport Visa does not allow you to leave the transit area, not even to change terminals in order to reach your connecting flight.

     

    If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed HERE you must apply for an Airport Visa even if you just change planes in Poland without leaving the transit area of the airport.

     

     

    Transit Visa (Schengen Visa Category B)

     

    If transit is the only purpose of entering Schengen area, i.e. the passing through Poland is the shortest or most convenient route from one non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country, Transit Visa can be issued (for single, double or multiple entries depending on your travel arrangements).

    Transit Visa entitles the holder to travel through the Schengen states in order to reach your final destination by plane, car, train, bus or any other means of transportation, within a period of up to 5 days, counting from the day of each entry. Applicants must have the right to enter the country of destination or a country bordering Schengen area.

     

    Should the final destination be one of the Schengen states, your Tourist/Visitor/Business Short-Stay Visa must already include the time required for transiting through any other member states - no additional Transit Visa will be issued.

     

    Tourist/Visitor/Business Short-Term Visa (Schengen Visa Category C)

     

    Visa Category C entitles the holder to enter Schengen states for tourism, visiting friends or relatives, business, participation in sporting or cultural events and stay for up to 90 days. This visa may be issued for single, double or multiple entries depending on your travel arrangements. Your stay on this visa cannot exceed 90 days in any 6-month period in the entire Schengen area, counting from the day of the first entry.

    This visa is not a work permit.

     

    New Zealand passport holders are allowed to enter Schengen area, including Poland, without a visa and stay for up to 90 days within the period of 6 months. Please make sure that your passport is valid at least 3 months longer than your intended stay in the Schengen area.

     

    Schengen visas for a period longer than 90 days are not available.

     

    Long-Term Visa (National Visa Category D)

     

    If you plan to stay in Poland longer than 90 days for carrying out business, cultural or scientific activity, for education, training, teaching or to undertake employment and you are neither an EU nor EFTA citizen, you need a national Polish Long-Stay Visa (Category D).

    This visa is valid for Poland only (it is not a Schengen visa); however it entitles the holder to transit through other Schengen states in order to get to Poland.

    It entitles to stay in Poland for the number of days indicated (up to 365 days) and it may be issued for single, double or multiple entries, with validity for up to 5 years. It is not a work permit.


    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     

    The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have tightened the Schengen Borders Code regulations on external border crossings. Effective 7 April 2017, all persons crossing an external border will undergo thorough checks.

     

    The change of Schengen Borders Code regulations imposes an obligation on all EU Member States to carry out thorough checks of every person who enters or leaves the Schengen area. The Schengen Borders Code was amended in response to the terrorist threat that continues to exist in Europe.

     

    Until now, persons who enjoyed the right to free movement pursuant to EU law, i.e. Polish citizens, among others, underwent the so-called minimum check. Starting Friday, 7 April 2017, everyone who crosses an external border at any of the border crossings, both road, sea and airport crossing points, will be subject to thorough checks. The tightened regulations mean that, in addition to identity and citizenship checks run on the person crossing a Schengen border as well as verification of the authenticity and validity of a travel document authorising its holder to cross the border, every traveller will be checked in domestic and European databases to see that he or she is not considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or international relations of any of the EU Member States.

     

    The tightened regulations will affect the duration of border checks at border crossing points in Poland (in the case of borders with non-Schengen countries) and can make them last longer. In order to reduce the negative consequences of the new regulations, the situation will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the Polish Border Guard and adequate measures will be taken depending on the intensity of border traffic and the travellers’ waiting time for border checks.

     


    [1] 22 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden + Norway and Iceland

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