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Staying beyond 3 months as Sp. z o.o founder and manager


Moonlighting 30 | 232  
24 Nov 2009 /  #1
Hello,

Yet another question about immigration. I'm planning to move to Krakow in December or January to start living there and register a Sp. z o.o. of IT services. I'll transfer money from my country to Poland in order to fund the company, and will pay myself a salary as administrator (involving ZUS etc...). I will completely stop living in my native country and cease all professional activity there.

I would like to know when and how to apply for the resident permit over the 3-month stay I'm allowed to do as an E.U. citizen.

Should I better apply for resident's permit in my country, by the Polish Embassy before starting anything in Poland, or can/must I come to Poland first, register the company, start working, and use this 3-month period to introduce a permit request ?

Other question: which documents precisely do they require for the residence permit?

I already have an accountant in Poland who could advise me about the company registration procedure and documents, but he doesn't have all the informations to advise me on the immigration aspect.

Thank you
jonni 16 | 2,485  
24 Nov 2009 /  #2
Moonlighting

Hi. It would be useful to know which country you're from.
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
24 Nov 2009 /  #3
check his profile. his from Belgium

I'm planning to move to Krakow in December or January to start living there

nice. good luck moon.
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
24 Nov 2009 /  #5
youre welcome. when youre in Krakow send a pm. me and seanbm usually have a few pints once or twice a week. would be nice to meet up with you.
OP Moonlighting 30 | 232  
24 Nov 2009 /  #6
I think it's last December that SeanBM (or Seanus) posted something on PF to propose members who are in Krakow to meet for a drink. I wanted to reply because I was going to be in Krakow at that time but eventually never had time, as I spent the holiday with my girlfriend and we had plenty of activities scheduled full-time.

Now it's different. We broke up. I have another female friend (just friends) but no other acquaintances so I'll be quite lonely at the beginning. I'll be happy to meet with new people for a drink, and male ones for a change.

Do zobaczenia ;-)
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
24 Nov 2009 /  #7
female friend (just friends)

yea yeah. give it some time ;)

I'll be happy to meet with new people for a drink, and male ones for a change.

cool. see you in krakow than.
Harry  
24 Nov 2009 /  #8
Yet another question about immigration. I'm planning to move to Krakow in December or January to start living there and register a Sp. z o.o. of IT services. I'll transfer money from my country to Poland in order to fund the company, and will pay myself a salary as administrator (involving ZUS etc...).

Why not start off as a one person company? Much easier to set up and you'll end up with more cash in your pocket too.

I would like to know when and how to apply for the resident permit over the 3-month stay I'm allowed to do as an E.U. citizen.

The local foreigners office will be the place but I have no idea where that is in Krakow.
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
24 Nov 2009 /  #9
Ulica Sebastiana 5, upstairs, 1st floor.
olivier44 1 | 4  
24 Nov 2009 /  #10
Setting up a company. moonlighting great respect man. Want to do too but the vibe, experience and money are a bit missing. Let's hope one day I'll get a brilliant businessidea and meet the right people:-)

Of course we can always have a pint together. Im also from Belgium living in Krakow I know a couple of dutch and french speakers here, depending on which part of Belgium you are.

May I ask why you still want to settle in Krakow after breaking up with your girl? Did you fell in love with the city, which I can perfectly understand btw:-)

Cheers

Olivier
jonni 16 | 2,485  
24 Nov 2009 /  #11
from Belgium

If you're from Belgium, and a Belgian citizen, then you don't need a residence permit. There's a thing called a 'Citizenship Card' (Karta Obywatelstwa) that you can have, if you like, but no-one can force you to get one. I never have. Your Belgian passport entitles you to be in Poland, as if you were a citizen here.

If you want to set up a limited company, there are certain tax advantages to not having such a card, though they may change soon. As Harry says, registering as self-employed may be a good way to start, and is easy to do. A downside is that you'd be automatically liable for social security payments (a board member of a limited company receives director's fees on which there's no social security bill), not to mention the whole heap of beaurocracy involved. An upside is the aforementioned tax advantage, especially if you're regularly outside Poland.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
25 Nov 2009 /  #12
Jonni, I like you and I like your posts - but I'm sorry, you're way off the mark here.

If you're from Belgium, and a Belgian citizen, then you don't need a residence permit.

Yes you do. Legally, you're required to register where you're staying within 4 days with the Urząd Miasta of the locality in which you're residing. Communist era law indeed - but still very much in legal force.

There's a thing called a 'Citizenship Card' (Karta Obywatelstwa) that you can have, if you like, but no-one can force you to get one.

Actually - while there may be no punishment for not having one, you are still technically illegal without one. It wouldn't take much for someone to decide in Warsaw that EU citizens that haven't registered should be chased up - and indeed, EU law only provides you with a 'right' to three months temporary residency in a country. There's also the point that an EU citizen without the residence permit will effectively be a second class citizen here.

If you want to set up a limited company, there are certain tax advantages to not having such a card, though they may change soon.

Isn't this pretty clear cut tax evasion if you're resident in Poland under the EU 185 day rule, yet you don't declare to the Polish taxman that you're actually resident here?

Other question: which documents precisely do they require for the residence permit

It's very much up to the whim of the individual office. My company - Lindenia can provide you with the details of what ensures a successful application, but this is simply based on experience of knowing what exactly they're looking for (and ignoring what they actually tell you, as this changes on a daily basis!). But with this, we also provide a comprehensive guide that ensures no suprises with the offices.

Should I better apply for resident's permit in my country, by the Polish Embassy before starting anything in Poland, or can/must I come to Poland first, register the company, start working, and use this 3-month period to introduce a permit request ?

You can't do anything outside of Poland - you have to come here and set the ball rolling. But be warned - it can be a hideously complex affair, even for EU citizens!

edit - there is a point that many EU citizens live here without ever bothering to obtain legal residency. There's no punishment for doing so and no-one really cares - but this could change at the blink of an eye in Poland, particularly if they decide to start issuing proper residence cards again. It's also much, much easier to get things done here if you play by their rules - but you do not formally need it. There's no saying however that the rules won't change in the future.
jonni 16 | 2,485  
25 Nov 2009 /  #13
I like your posts too, but you're mistaken on a few points here.

you're required to register where you're staying within 4 days

That's a 'zameldowanie', registered address, not residence permit. Two entirely different things.

And legislation to remove the zameldowanie is pending, and lack of one is no longer enforced. Three weeks ago I had to get the police to evict a tenant and they didn't bat an eyelid about me not having one.

It wouldn't take much for someone to decide in Warsaw that EU citizens that haven't registered should be chased up

But they haven't. And they can't deport to another part of the EU unless you're a terrorist, or your presence is prejudicial to the wellbeing of the country. Unless you want to vote or get a mortgage, they aren't an essential. I have a moblile phone subscription, and leasing contracts without one.

If you're registered as self-employed (so easy in Poland nowadays) or have a limited company, that counts as a legal entity and anyone with their own business who pays for their car or phone privately shouldn't be allowed out after 9pm anyway.

Isn't this pretty clear cut tax evasion if you're resident in Poland under the EU 185 day rule, yet you don't declare to the Polish taxman that you're actually resident here?

No. If you're a member of the management board of a limited company, and you're frequently out of Poland, and not a Polish citizen, it is quite legal and correct to pay tax on your director's fees (so they should be your main source of drawings) at only 19% on a monthly basis, without taking account the 'próg' or any other taxable income. You still have to pay any dopłata at the end of the year, but what you do with the moohlah in the meantime is up to you.

But be warned - it can be a hideously complex affair, even for EU citizens!

If someone really wants the Karta Obywatelstwa it takes a few days. To register as self-employed took me four visits to offices, two days in all (mind you, I already had a NIP - that would be a small delay, but you can use the 'provisional' NIP quite correctly if need be). To register a limited company took a phone call to a lawyer and one visit to his office to have the Akt Notarialny (printed off the internet) witnessed.

Though somebody completely new to PL might (instead of trailing round govt. offices and being bled dry by lawyers setting a company up) do very well to use your service lindenia.net. Looking at the site, it seems a good idea, especially for non-EU nationals.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
25 Nov 2009 /  #14
That's a 'zameldowanie', registered address, not residence permit. Two entirely different things.

De jure, certainly - but the zameldowanie is a de facto temporary residence permit too in terms how it functions for foreigners. I know it's not related to immigration, but to all extents, it does function as a 3 month residence permit. There is possibly an interesting legal argument in there - in that Poland (by having the law requiring registration within 4 days) could be breaking EU law in terms of freedom of movement. That may actually be the reason why they don't enforce it for EU citizens - but who knows?

And legislation to remove the zameldowanie is pending, and lack of one is no longer enforced. Three weeks ago I had to get the police to evict a tenant and they didn't bat an eyelid about me not having one.

Do you know what the latest is with the zameldowanie? The last I saw, the government had put it on the backburner because of a lack of consensus with what to replace it with.

But I wouldn't be surprised if a new government decided to enforce it again - possibly under the guise of 'FOREIGNERS TAKING OVER POLAND'. This is the only reason why I recommend people do it - what's happening now is no indication of what could happen tomorrow. It's not inconceivable that they might link the zameldowanie to much more - especially if they can't get rid of it.

But they haven't. And they can't deport to another part of the EU unless you're a terrorist, or your presence is prejudicial to the wellbeing of the country. Unless you want to vote or get a mortgage, they aren't an essential. I have a moblile phone subscription, and leasing contracts without one.

Are the contracts through a company (or self employment?) I was told by all the big mobile operators that they want the 5 year permit from anyone taking a contract privately. Most 'na raty' offers demand the 5 year permit too, and the banks as a whole are starting to see it as a requirement for any sort of lending.

The can't deport thing is a bit of a red herring - as far as I gather, they can actually deport you after 3 months if you don't have a valid reason to be in another EU country. But of course, they can't stop your return! I seem to recall this happening in France - Romanians were getting thrown out (well, 'encouraged to leave') - and they got straight back on the plane and went back. Stupid, stupid system.

But just because they're not doing something now doesn't mean that they won't do it in the future. Given the crazy new Gambling law that flies in the face of logic - anything could happen where residence permits are concerned. The shoddy implementation of the EU residence permit should tell you everything! ;)

No. If you're a member of the management board of a limited company, and you're frequently out of Poland, and not a Polish citizen, it is quite legal and correct to pay tax on your director's fees (so they should be your main source of drawings) at only 19% on a monthly basis, without taking account the 'próg' or any other taxable income. You still have to pay any dopłata at the end of the year, but what you do with the moohlah in the meantime is up to you.

Aha - I get you - I thought you were saying that you don't have to pay tax at all!

If someone really wants the Karta Obywatelstwa it takes a few days.

Plus the waiting :/ But the problem is often that if someone has anything but clear cut circumstances, they seem to particularly enjoy asking for obscure pieces of nonsense - my favourite was getting told that they can't just accept contracts with how many days worked - they also wanted a handwritten letter from me confirming how many hours I worked a week.

To register as self-employed took me four visits to offices, two days in all (mind you, I already had a NIP - that would be a small delay, but you can use the 'provisional' NIP quite correctly if need be). To register a limited company took a phone call to a lawyer and one visit to his office to have the Akt Notarialny (printed off the internet) witnessed.

Yep - I think a lot of the hype about the difficulty of these things is greatly exaggerated online. If you know what you're doing and can actually read, it shouldn't be a problem at all - when I registered as self employed, I just had three trips to make - twice to the Urząd Miasta and once to the Urząd Skarbowy.

Though somebody completely new to PL might (instead of trailing round govt. offices and being bled dry by lawyers setting a company up) do very well to use your service lindenia.net. Looking at the site, it seems a good idea, especially for non-EU nationals.

Even for EU nationals - we can probably (it does depend on time, if someone has complicated circumstances, we need to make sure that everything is right!) get them sorted out documents wise for less than 50PLN. I've heard of people paying over 100EUR for the same thing - which is nonsense, because most of the hassle just involves obtuse answers from the offices and having to guess what they actually want in the face of ridiculously badly written governmental websites. It certainly shouldn't in the vast majority of cases take more than an hour to sort out - and that includes checking documents for them.

The thing I'm trying to do is provide services at Polish rates, not at expat rates - I called a few of these 'foreigners services' in Warsaw and was getting quotes like 100PLN/hr (at a minimum of 1 hour) for translation at the Foreigners Office there for an English-speaking EU citizen - I had to struggle not to laugh down the phone! That kind of price is crazy - and just shows how much people can spend here if they're not careful. Obviously you might have to pay that for a high level professional interpreter - but for someone to turn up to the Foreigners Office? An English filology student would be more than enough for an EU citizen there!
jonni 16 | 2,485  
25 Nov 2009 /  #15
De jure, certainly - but the zameldowanie is a de facto temporary residence permit too

No it isn't - it refers to real estate (owned or rented) only.

But I wouldn't be surprised if a new government decided to enforce it again - possibly under the guise of 'FOREIGNERS TAKING OVER POLAND'.

There isn't a new government, the present government isn't expected to collapse any day soon, and any future government is unlikely to start persecuting EU citizens, given the number of Poles residing elsewhere in the EU.

It's not inconceivable that they might link the zameldowanie to much more

Not inconceivable, but then again, nobody's suggested any such legislation.

Of course it's not inconceivable that we could be hit by a meteorite.

Are the contracts through a company (or self employment?)

Through a company of course. I'm hardly likely to pay for my own mobile, or car leasing.

Though last month I signed up for a new internet connection privately, just using my passport.

my favourite was getting told that they can't just accept contracts with how many days worked - they also wanted a handwritten letter from me confirming how many hours I worked a week

Wow! Where on earth do you live? I used to do the paperwork for any of my employees (all British citizens) who wanted one and asked for help with it, and was never asked for employment details. Not since EU entry in 2004, anyway.

for translation at the Foreigners Office there for an English-speaking EU citizen -

I just used to help them with the form, get them to drop it off,and wait for the letter to say it had arrived.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
25 Nov 2009 /  #16
No it isn't - it refers to real estate (owned or rented) only.

I know - but when you think about it, the fact that you're supposed to register in the country means that the piece of paper is like a statement that you're allowed to stay. I know the execution is dreadfully sloppy these days - but in so far as it stands for foreigners staying less than 3 months, it might as well be seen as a residence permit.

There isn't a new government, the present government isn't expected to collapse any day soon, and any future government is unlikely to start persecuting EU citizens, given the number of Poles residing elsewhere in the EU.

You never know though, there was murmurings not that long ago that PSL were very unhappy with PO and only Tusk's handling of Operation Blackjack stopped there from being a crisis in government. If Tusk does indeed go for President and wins, there's no guarantee that PO will keep being a decent electoral force.

I also wouldn't be so sure that there wouldn't be double standards applied -come on, some of the stuff that PiS did is unbelievably stupid, harrasing EU citizens could easily happen :)

Though last month I signed up for a new internet connection privately, just using my passport.

I think slowly, steadily, they're starting to learn of the existence of the 5 year permit - but it definitely isn't in public conciousness yet.

Wow! Where on earth do you live? I used to do the paperwork for any of my employees (all British citizens) who wanted one and asked for help with it, and was never asked for employment details. Not since EU entry in 2004, anyway.

Poznan - they're somewhat enforcing the legislation that you have to have a valid reason to be in Poland, and that simply 'I want to be here and I don't need to work' isn't a good enough reason for them. Even if you have bucketloads of cash, they still want to see evidence of economic activity here - which can include KRS documents and the like. It's all in the relevant laws - and from the sounds of things, they're sticking to the laws even when the laws are clearly a bit nonsense.

I just used to help them with the form, get them to drop it off,and wait for the letter to say it had arrived.

Aha - they're taking it way more seriously here and you can't get away with that. The problem here is that they won't even give you a clear list of requirements!

Where are you based? I'll bear it in mind if anyone contacts me from there - knowing that they don't need to bother with an interpreter is useful and saves them money!
jonni 16 | 2,485  
25 Nov 2009 /  #17
that the piece of paper is like a statement that you're allowed to stay

No it isn't - it refers only to occupation of a flat or house. Nothing else, and I suspect a large proportion of the foreign residents here don't have one.

You never know though

Indeed, you never know. But in the unlikely event of the government collapsing, the situation would be so chaotic that rounding up and persecuting EU citizens would be far from their list of priorities.

slowly, steadily, they're starting to learn of the existence of the 5 year permit

Quite possibly. I was just asked for some ID. I showed them my passport. They didn't even record the number. That was through UPC.

Poznan - they're somewhat enforcing the legislation that you have to have a valid reason to be in Poland

Here in Warsaw, I've not seen them ask for such things since EU entry. There is no requirement to carry out economic activity or have personal assets.

The problem here is that they won't even give you a clear list of requirements!

Not least because the baba in the office probably hasn't been given clear guidelines from her bosses whose job is mostly about non-EU citizens. The position in Warsaw seems to be that they can't ordinarily refuse you if you're from the EU, so they issue the card with out fuss.

A far cry from the way it was ten years ago!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
25 Nov 2009 /  #18
and I suspect a large proportion of the foreign residents here don't have one.

I don't think you're wrong there - which is why the whole system desperately needs reformed! I'm not against the principle of registering people to an address - just the concept of there somehow being rights attached to it is absolutely nonsense.

Quite possibly. I was just asked for some ID. I showed them my passport. They didn't even record the number. That was through UPC.

Crazy! You'd expect them to note something - but obviously not. It just shows that you can't rely on anything because you never know what they'll be expecting.

Here in Warsaw, I've not seen them ask for such things since EU entry. There is no requirement to carry out economic activity or have personal assets.

udsc.gov.pl

This is pretty much a carbon copy of what they say in Poznan - this clause in particular -

The Union citizens shall have the right to stay in the Republic of Poland for the period longer than 3 months, if:

(1) he/she is an employee or a self-employed person in the territory of the Republic of Poland (in this case the right to stay extends over the family member staying in the Republic of Poland with the Union citizen);

This is what they're using here to justify the economic activity part. They definitely will not accept applications from anyone who is just 'here' without a reason economically - unless you're retired.

And -

and is in possession of enough funds to provide for himself/herself and his/her family members in the territory of the Republic of Poland without the need to make use of social insurance benefits (in this case the right to stay extends over the family member staying in the Republic of Poland with the Union citizen);

Is what's being used to assess your financial situation. This is why there's a need for our services in Poznan at least - they will not give you any information as to what's acceptable and what's not acceptable, which is, as you say, probably the result of no clear instructions being given.

Maybe in Warsaw, they just don't have the time to judge EU members and grant the permits without delay because it's quicker?
jonni 16 | 2,485  
25 Nov 2009 /  #19
they just don't have the time to judge EU members and grant the permits without delay because it's quicker?

That's possible. I also suspect the Polish government guidelines contravene one, if not two of the EUs Four Freedoms (Freedom of Residence, Freedom of Labour, Freedom of Capital, Freedom of Goods and Services), and they don't want a legal challenge.

Warsaw is the place where most European Lawyers (not to mention immigration services) are based, and enforcing that could prove costly for them.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
25 Nov 2009 /  #20
That's possible. I also suspect the Polish government guidelines contravene one, if not two of the EUs Four Freedoms (Freedom of Residence, Freedom of Labour, Freedom of Capital, Freedom of Goods and Services), and they don't want a legal challenge.

I'm looking into it now - look at this for instance - citizensinformation.ie/categories/moving-country/moving-to-ireland/rights-of-residence-in-ireland/residence_rights_EU_national

You can stay in Ireland for up to 3 months without restriction. If you plan to stay more than 3 months, you must either:

* Be engaged in economic activity (employed or self employed) or
* Have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that you do not become a burden on the social services of Ireland or
* Be enrolled as a student or vocational trainee or
* Be a family member of a Union citizen in one of the previous categories.

I'm no lawyer - but it seems that it's a pretty universal situation that you're only entitled to 3 months for tourism, even as an EU citizen.

Estonia's rules are here - smartestonia.ee/index.php?page=186 - and they again say the same thing.

It does indeed seem as if Poland is in line with Europe with this.
jonni 16 | 2,485  
25 Nov 2009 /  #21
delphiandomine

Ireland and Estonia! Wow!

Of course, once you cross the border for a holiday, a visit home, a business trip, then you've got another three months, so it goes on ad infinitum. Rather like the old visa runs.

And many (if not most) expats in Poland take holidays, visit home, etc.

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