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URGENT-U.S. citizen needs help with Polish permanent residence visa app!

pamlarouge 3 | 56  
8 Jul 2008 /  #1
Hello all,

I'm writing in because I'm in a bit of a pickle-I'll be marrying a Polish citizen in the U.S. on August 23rd of this year-we'll be moving to Poland a few weeks after that. I've been promised a job there teaching English at a language school-the job was procured for me through his family's connections, it's a guaranteed position.

However, like I said-pickle. Due to various personal reasons, I haven't been able to get my permanent residence visa application in the mail yet. As I'm sure you all know, the application process requires me to send in my passport, along with various other papers, in order to obtain the visa. I send these, along with my app., to the Polish embassy, who then sends it to Poland. The embassy website assures me that the process will take UP TO four weeks, which means I would receive my visa and passport back before my wedding and honeymoon if this is true. However, we all know the true reality of government paperwork processing, in any country, so I'm concerned that it might take quite a bit longer, or at least long enough to screw me out of my Bahamas honeymoon which, thanks to the U.S. gov't, I now need a passport to go on.

My problem is in two parts: 1) I'm concerned that if I send in my visa app. this week (I'm still waiting on a work-promise certificate) that I won't have my passport (and the visa) back by Aug. 24th, which is the start of my honeymoon in the Bahamas. 2) Part of the reason I haven't sent in my app. is because the instructions are a mite confusing. What documents do I need exactly, for my specific case, a U.S. citizen who will marry a Polish citizen, but cannot provide a marriage certificate now, and who will also be working in Poland (I will be able to provide a work-promise certificate).

Okay, so, my question to any of you knowledgeable U.S. citizens out there who have been through the perm. residence visa long did it take to process your application and receive your perm. residence visa? What problems did you run into? Any surprises? Do I need to show proof of medical insurance if I have a work-promise certificate?? Aren't I covered under Polish public health care if I'm working there legally? If I have a work-promise certificate, do I still need to send in bank statements? How much is the application fee, really-in some places on the embassy website it says processing is free for U.S. citizens, in other places it says it's $114-so which is it?

I'm considering waiting until I get to Poland and doing the paperwork there, however, I'm worried that I might miss the boat on my teaching position if I do that-classes start Sept. 15th and I'll arrive in Poland on Sept. 9th-I don't know if that will be enough time to get my application processed so I'll be legally able to work. Because the visa office of the Polish embassy in Washington is so mired in paperwork that they can't answer the phone (seriously, the non-visa office told me that-I've tried calling at different times during their office hours for weeks to no avail), I'm having some serious issues sorting through this mess myself. GAH! If anyone could provide some clear instructions, that would be great. I've looked at the Embassy website, and I've looked at the instructions for this particular visa, so please do not cite those. I'm just looking for a way to get my visa and keep this job opportunity-help!!! Thanks for any information you might be able to provide!!!!

mafketis 24 | 9,187  
8 Jul 2008 /  #2
I'm confused, I don't think you can't apply for a permanent visa till you've been in Poland for several years (shorter if you're married but still not right away). I think what you want is a typical first time work-permit visa which you have to receive in your country of residence (it can be renewed in Poland). Don't arrive in Poland without it unless you're willing to work off the books for a while.

I really doubt that they send the physical passport to Poland.

IME (long long ago) consulates do visa work on time.

Also, often in Poland there are two rates, the regular rate and a higher expedited rate. Ask if you can pay more to get it done faster, that's not a bribe, really.

Finally, members of Polish bureaucracy are often not really well informed. If I were you, I'd look up the web page for the "Wydział Spraw Cudzoziemców" (foreigner's department) of the Urząd Wojewódzki (local government agency) wherever it is you'll be in Poland. They're the people you'll have to satisfy once you're here. Avoid pages in English which are often out of date and have your fiance look at the Polish regulations and send an email or two (or even call on the phone, if they've dealt with you before generally things will go easier in person.

Good luck.
OP pamlarouge 3 | 56  
8 Jul 2008 /  #3
Thank you so much for your reply!! Fortunately, I was finally able to get in touch with the Embassy's consular division (before I read this post), and they gave me more or less the same answers. Apparently, when I inquired via e-mail regarding which visa I should apply for, and how to get the applications, they misunderstood my situation and sent a permanent residence card application-hence, my confusion. Anyway, I was told that if I submitted my work-promise certificate along with my passport, a work visa app. (which can be found on their website), some photos and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of my visa, that should take care of it. They also said it would be processed in a matter of days, not weeks. I was overjoyed to hear this, really.

As for the latter part of your post-what kinds of issues might I run into once arrive in Poland? We'll be living in Lodz, he and his family have lived there for several generations. I wasn't told to submit any health insurance information so does that mean I'm covered while I'm working there or under my fiance's policy?? I understand that it's public health care, which seems to have a lot of advantages over the American system-so if I'm working, and money is being taken out of my paycheck by the government to contribute to my health care plan...doesn't that mean I'm covered? I have traveler's insurance, and medical insurance here in the U.S., but nothing that would cover regular doctor's visits there. As a matter of fact, I managed to get strep throat when I visited him in Poland in February and, as a last resort to try and kill it, he took me to his doctor, who wrote a prescription for some antibiotics as a favor.

But I digress.

Anyway, my fiance doesn't have regular access to the internet-it's sporadic at best, but the next time he's online, I'll ask him to check out the information you posted. One other thing (addressing you, mafketis, and anyone else out there who may know the answers to these...), when will I need to renew my work visa? At the end of 3 months, should I apply for a long-stay visa??

Anyway, thanks so much for your help-I was freaking out last night as I kept coming up with more and more random information about Polish visas. So relieved that it's worked out...for now at least!
mafketis 24 | 9,187  
9 Jul 2008 /  #4
If you're employed and having health insurance deducted you're covered (such as it is).

For everything else (including visa renewal): In Poland, it's easier to get things done in person. Very soon after your arrival in Poland go to the address below (with all the paperwork you can think of) explain your situation and ask what to do next. Polish bureaucracies are under no obligation to speak any language but Polish so bring your husband or some other reliable person to interpret. (hint: a lot of Polish people believe in being aggressive in bureaucratic offices which IME is very counterproductive, make sure the person who's interpreting for you has a cheery demeanor and will ask questions when they don't fully understand - again many Polish people don't)

Wydział Spraw Obywatelskich i Cudzoziemców
ul. Piotrkowska 103, 90-425 £ódź
Infolinia: 0 801 456-457

again, this is the office you'll have to satisfy once you're here, so get the information directly from them.

see also:

(scroll down to cudzoziemcy for some relevant pages) but be aware:
Poland's entry into the EU and Schengen have made some of the relevant regulations kind of .... useless and they'll probably be changed though it's hard to say when that will happen. But web-based information is liable to stay up after it's no longer valid (and information in languages other than Polish will only be modified at a later date).

Finally: A priceless survival skill for the Anglophone in Poland is the ability to function in uncertain, unresolved situations that can last up to a couple of months. Just keep keeping on and be ready for the unexpected.

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