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Do I need a work visa before moving to Poland?


abby123 3 | 1
11 Dec 2013  #1
Hello all! I'm planning to come to Poland (Krakow specifically) in January to teach English. I have a company sponsoring me and we've put in the application for the work permit.

They told me, since we're doing some secondary training about a month before I actually get the permit I don't need a work visa right away and that I can just go to the American Embassy and apply when I have the permit and I should be okay to stay in the country for a month without any sort of paperwork.

Is that legitimate? I'm nervous about booking a one-way ticket to Poland and getting kicked out or something. I won't be actually working until I have the permit, I'm just a little nervous about the whole "you can apply at the American Embassy" bit.

Anyone have any encouraging tidbits for me?
DominicB - | 2,672
11 Dec 2013  #2
I wouldn't get on the plane unless I had already in my hands 1) a REAL contract (not a "garbage contract") guaranteeing me an income of at the very least 4000 PLN NET a month; 2) a copy of the work permit to submit to the Polish embassy in the States; and 3) a temporary residence for one year pasted in my passport. Your senses are right; whoever told you that you could apply at the American embassy in Poland is talking nonsense.

Second, a Berlitz school is very unlikely to pay you enough to live on. They are notoriously stingy, and have a very poor reputation among language teachers. Generally considered a lousy place to work.

All in all, there's no good reason for you to even consider buying a plane ticket at the moment.
OP abby123 3 | 1
11 Dec 2013  #3
Well, I have no teaching experience, no diploma, no other work skills, and my girlfriend is Polish and I'm of a mind to be with her. I doubt anyone else would hire me. I'm going over with a friend, we're both going to work for Berlitz, with our combined income I figure we can **** out a tiny existence and be alright. I'm not looking for diamonds and flashy things, I just want a tiny job and a tiny apartment and my girlfriend.

And I'll make net 1807zl a month for the first three, then I get a raise. Its not much but if my budgeting is on, I'll survive.

I'm not after a luxurious lifestyle. Just enough to get me by.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Dec 2013  #4
Looks a bit fly-by-night to me, old chum! You sound well-intentioned and all, but ahemmmm, it depends on whatcha mean by "get me by"LOL

Living like a pauper may be technically "getting by", but I'd hardly call it living, let alone well:-) And it sure wouldn't get me or my wife by, I'm tellin' ya right now.

I'd get your Polish girlfriend's input on this one, Abby. No better way of knowing the local ways than through another local.
Incidentally, unlike in France, the UK, Germany or Scandinavia, Eastern Europe's as notorious as Italy for her black market bribery. Make a deal or you might as well throw in the towel, bud ^^
DominicB - | 2,672
11 Dec 2013  #5
And I'll make net 1807zl a month for the first three

You will not be able to survive on that in Kraków. Not by a long shot. No matter how frugally you live. Forget about it. That's far less than you could possibly survive on. Never mind about diamonds and flashy things, you won't be able to afford potatoes and cabbage.

Sorry to burst your bubble, kiddo, but your plan is totally unrealistic and will certainly not end well. Definitely. Not a hint of "maybe".

Your situation is totally hopeless. Best advice is to forget about the girlfriend and concentrate on studying to get some salable qualifications. Otherwise, your life is going to suck big time.

One more thing: your girlfriends parents are not going to help you out, and are not going to give you a place to stay unless you can contribute your fair share to the household expenses (expect to pay at least 1000 PLN). If your girlfriend is telling you otherwise, she's full of baloney, or just as delusional as you are.
Maybe 12 | 409
11 Dec 2013  #6
You want helpful.

Why in God's name would you actively seek to live on the poverty line. Are you planning to make a documentary about being foreign, broke and stuck in an Alien country. You could title it, "Oh my God I have just gone and F@cked myself".
Monitor 14 | 1,821
11 Dec 2013  #7
And I'll make net 1807zl a month for the first three

People earning this much in Karków have to share apartment. It's not enough to rent one for yourself. So if your girlfriend earns too and can host you, then you will survive.

I don't need a work visa right away and that I can just go to the American Embassy and apply when I have the permit

Are you sure they wrote that. American Embassy has nothing to do with Polish work permit.
Hubertus 4 | 26
11 Dec 2013  #8
My experience of going through the Warsaw airport (nervously) with no visa or permit of any kind: worker at the desk says "Proszę dokumenty", glances at my passport, stamps it, and waves me off, and I'm safe in Poland. That's it.

If you're an American, you can stay up to three (3) months in Poland (in the whole EU Schingen Area actually) with no visa or anything, just as a tourist. So, what you can do is you can come to Poland with no visa or permit or anything, and then apply for a residence permit (at your local urząd wojewódzki - Polish government province office) once you get here. That's what I did.

The important thing is that you have a valid reason for staying, like work or studying. I'm a student at the University of Wrocław, so that's a legitimate reason in the eyes of the government. I don't know what is necessary for your work to qualify you to stay, though. But if your company says they'll see to it that you get the work permit, then I guess you're good.

Just make sure you start on the process before half of your three month period is up (i.e. 45 days in at the latest), but preferably as soon as you can once you get to Poland, because they really take their time about it at the government office. Otherwise, you may get a call 5 days before your 3 months are up, telling you that you have to take a weekend trip to Ukraine and spend the night there, in order to give them more time to process everything. That almost happened to me, and it did happen to another American friend of mine.

(Actually, I think the official rule is that, after your free 3 months have expired, you have to spend 180 days outside of the Schingen area before you can come back in for another 3 months. But if the Polish government is okay with me just spending the night in Ukraine [actually later they even said Germany or the Czech Republic would be okay], then I won't say anything! It seems strange to me that one government can give you an exception for the whole Schingen area though.)

It all sounds kind of scary, and as an American you do have to go through a lot of annoying documentation compared to EU residents, but also as an American you don't really have to worry about anything going too horribly wrong, I don't think.

As for what everyone's saying about money, I don't know what expenses are like in Kraków exactly, but I do know it's pretty expensive. Poland is generally cheap for an American, but when I was walking through the streets of Kraków looking at restaurant prices, I almost felt like I was in a big American city. They may just be taking advantage of tourists in those restaurants, though.

Is your language school providing a place for you to stay? I know TEFL offers an internship starting in February for teaching English, and I think they provide accommodation and a (albeit small) spending allowance. I'm not sure what their education requirements are but maybe you could check it out:

onlinetefl.com/tefl-poland-guide.html?source=IntroducePolandInternship

Anyhow, I think your situation might be doable, but if I were you I would offer private English lessons on the side to supplement your income. So you should probably start learning Polish, if you haven't already, to make that easier for you. Just be determined. It won't be easy, but you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. ;)
DominicB - | 2,672
11 Dec 2013  #9
People earning this much in Karków have to share apartment. It's not enough to rent one for yourself. So if your girlfriend earns too and can host you, then you will survive.

Not for long. Even assuming that Abby works for Berlitz for six months, the amount she would be able to save up wouldn't cover the cost of the plane ticket to Poland and the cost of the residence permit, and she would have insufficient funds to either survive the summer, when no work is available, or to afford a return ticket. Frankly, she won't be able to save up anything at all, even on a potato and cabbage diet and living in a grimy substandard studio apartment with her girlfriend, and will have to call mom and dad for help, probably before Easter, if not Ash Wednesday.

She should ask herself why she, a hopeless slacker with zero qualifications or skills nor even the slightest clue how the real world works, was able to land this job, in spite of the fact that there are scads of desperate hopeless foreign slackers who would do just about anything for a buck. The reason is that the job is so bad, that even desperate hopeless slackers wouldn't touch it it with a long barge pole. Even the poor sucker who was dumb enough to take the job before her in October quit, which is why this job was available in the first place.

Are you sure they wrote that. American Embassy has nothing to do with Polish work permit.

Which is a good sign that Berlitz is going to pull some silly stunt like offering her work on a "garbage contract", which Abby, in desperation, will have no choice but to accept.

All in all, Abby is far too immature and clueless to even consider moving to work in a foreign country. She's downright delusional. Read her other thread. It would be irresponsible and cruel to give her any advice besides the solid advice I gave her above, which was to work on her studies and forget about going to Poland and about this girlfriend.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
11 Dec 2013  #10
Abby Berlitz is a dodgy chain of franchises which just trades on the famous old name.
I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole, unless i was desperate and already in situ.
I certainly wouldn't trust anything a Berlitz franchise holder told me.
also, if a school is recruiting now, it means whoever joined them in September has left (probably in disgust)
DominicB - | 2,672
11 Dec 2013  #11
I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole, unless i was desperate and already in situ.

Frankly, if I were that desperate, I'd just stick my head in the oven and get it over with already.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
11 Dec 2013  #12
well yes Berlitz is quite **** but there's no need to be quite that dramatic !! :):)
abby honestly in your situation, gain some qualifications first and get something better.
"no teaching experience, no diploma, no other work skills" as you say, then why are Berlitz offering you work?
Harry
11 Dec 2013  #13
I should be okay to stay in the country for a month without any sort of paperwork.

That is true. But you will need to apply for your residency permit within an absolute maximum of 45 days of arriving (you're best off getting it in 30 or 31 days after you arrive).

I can just go to the American Embassy and apply

That's complete and utter bollocks. The American embassy have nothing to do with the process of becoming a legal resident of Poland. The fact that they have told you that is very worrying: either they have no clue what they are doing or they simply are not going to bother getting you legal in Poland.

And I'll make net 1807zl a month for the first three, then I get a raise.

Your life is going to suck. A two-room (i.e. one bedroom and one living room) flat in Krakow in a neighbourhood within about 30 minutes of the city centre is going to be 1600zl plus bills (200zl per month), so you're looking at 900zl each if you share. Add on 50zl each for internet, 50zl for your cellphone and 100zl for your tram & bus pass and you're up to 1100zl before you've bought any food or other consumables. Add on 20zl per day for food (which is going to mean a lot potatoes and cabbage but very little named meat) and you're at 1700zl. I don't know many women who spend just 100zl per month on sanitary/cosmetic products (soap, shower gel, shampoo, hair care products, tampons, toilet paper, make up, lipstick, perfume), but you're going to have to. I hope you weren't planning to ever go out, travel, take a taxi buy any clothes or shoes, get sick or have money for a plane ticket home when you want to leave Poland.

you have to take a weekend trip to Ukraine and spend the night there, in order to give them more time to process everything.

That's rubbish. Going outside Poland does not give you another 90 days inside the Schengen zone. And more to the point, if you got your application for a visa in on time, your existing visa is automatically extended until the foreigners office have finished processing your application.
Hubertus 4 | 26
11 Dec 2013  #14
That's rubbish. Going outside Poland does not give you another 90 days inside the Schengen zone.

That's nice, but this is what my Polish government inspector told me. The technical regulations are a bit different from how the system actually works.. Not unusual in Poland.

And, he didn't necessarily say I would have had another 90 days, just that I needed to do that to "give them more time."
DominicB - | 2,672
11 Dec 2013  #15
And, he didn't necessarily say I would have had another 90 days, just that I needed to do that to "give them more time."

If you submitted your application with all necessary documents 45 days before your visa expired, then the wojewoda will issue an extension on the spot if they need more time to process it.

If you submitted your application late, then it might not be accepted, and you might not be granted an extension.

They don't need you to leave the Schengen zone to "give them more time". That would be pointless. Whoever told you that had no idea what they were talking about.
Harry
11 Dec 2013  #16
That's nice, but this is what my Polish government inspector told me.

He was 100% wrong.
As the website of the Office for Foreigners says:

If you reside in the territory of Poland, the application for residence permit for a specified period of time should be submitted to Voivode appropriate for your place of stay at least 45 days before the end of residence period on ground of visa or the period, for which previous residence permit for a specified period has been issued. In case Voivode is unable to issue a decision by this deadline, you will obtain a visa for a period until the proceedings of first instance are complete.

If application has been filed less than 45 days before the lapse of visa stay period or period for which previous residence permit for a specified time was issued and proceedings are not completed before expiry of your residence permit, you are requested to leave the territory of Poland and await decision abroad. In case you do not leave the territory of Poland, Voivode will refuse the issue of a residence permit for specified period of time.

udsc.gov.pl/MAIN,PAGE,264.html

The technical regulations are a bit different from how the system actually works.

No, the law is the law. The problems come from office employees not bothering to stay up to date on the regulations which cover their jobs. The 'advice' that that guy gave is a perfect example: 100% wrong. You didn't need to leave Poland and then come back if your application was made on time and if it wasn't, you would have needed to leave Poland and stay out.
Tamarisk
11 Dec 2013  #17
Apologies for hijacking the thread, but I figured this was a good a place as any to ask.

British citizen who lost job in USA. My parents had retired to Poland in 2008 (mother Polish and father English) and built a house and I decided to come over to see if I could make a go of it. Was all set to teach English as a "Native Speaker" and had the interview for Celta course in Krakow, but was put off by the arrogance of the person who interviewed me. Didn't want to waste $1,500+ on something that wasn't going to guarantee a job. Then I had some contact with Polish youth and really decided I didn't want to teach them since they are pretty crazy, but I am willing to give it a second chance.

Is it viable nowadays to get a job teaching English here? I am in Zywiec which has a few schools, but no idea if they are worth it or not. Bielsko Biala half an hour away on the train has upwards of ten schools, so that might be a little better prospect.

Right now I am leaning towards just trying to get a remote tech support / customer service job from America and live off that. I still have my banking in America, so I could get paid through that, pay US taxes and use credit card to live in Poland. Technically the Polish government wouldn't even know I was employed through the US.

I do have my residency permit since I am a British citizen, so I'm all legal to stay here.

Thanks.
DominicB - | 2,672
12 Dec 2013  #18
Tamarisk: A useful answer is going to depend on your age, your education and qualifications, your previous work experience, and your plans for life, none of which you touched upon in your post.

Also, it would help to know your status with regards to the States. And how well you know Polish.
Maybe 12 | 409
12 Dec 2013  #19
@Tam. You will find work much easier in the English schools in smaller towns, native speakers in the major cities aren't rare, whilst in the smaller towns they are, simple. Secondly don't worry about a TEFL qualification, it isn't worth the paper it is written on, none of them. What you can do is teach English using the direct method, this is idiot proof and you don't actually have to know what you are talking about (actually the best method for native speakers, since few are truly English teachers).
Harry
12 Dec 2013  #20
had the interview for Celta course in Krakow, but was put off by the arrogance of the person who interviewed me.

Sounds like a typical CELTA trainer.

Didn't want to waste $1,500+ on something that wasn't going to guarantee a job.

It pretty much does guarantee you a job.

Secondly don't worry about a TEFL qualification, it isn't worth the paper it is written on, none of them.

The half decent schools in Poland very simply will not even interview somebody who doesn't have a proper TEFL qualification (i.e. a CELTA or a Trinity Cert TESOL) or is an otherwise certified teacher. The better schools (i.e. the ones inspected by the Min of Ed or PASE) cannot hire somebody who doesn't have a proper TEFL qualification.

What you can do is teach English using the direct method, this is idiot proof and you don't actually have to know what you are talking about

That's the method with the worst pay and basically no job satisfaction.
Tamarisk
12 Dec 2013  #21
Tamarisk:Didn't want to waste $1,500+ on something that wasn't going to guarantee a job.
It pretty much does guarantee you a job.

Is this true even if you have zero teaching experience? I worked for 13 years (same company) doing technical support / customer service for a company in California.
Harry
12 Dec 2013  #22
Is this true even if you have zero teaching experience?

Yes. Although for the better jobs (i.e. the better schools in the more attractive cities) you do need a year or two of experience.
jon357 63 | 14,122
12 Dec 2013  #23
There are certainly people doing it without a CELTA or equivalent, however if a Director of Studies gets 2 CVs on his or her desk (and believe me there will be more than 2), they will almost always choose the one with a teaching qualification of some sort.
Harry
12 Dec 2013  #24
if a Director of Studies gets 2 CVs on his or her desk (and believe me there will be more than 2), they will almost always choose the one with a teaching qualification of some sort

More than a couple of places I know of an assistant goes through the CVs before the DoS takes time to look at them and throws out all the ones from applicants who don't have a recognised teaching qualification.
Maybe 12 | 409
12 Dec 2013  #25
Director of Studies

In the small towns the language schools are usually of the Polska B variety. The Director of Studies is usually the owners wife, who doesn't speak English. Most likely is that the Owner/Principal/Main Teacher has qualified from a private English school, will have never lived outside Poland and will be so sick of teaching the local morons that he will purely regard them as $ signs and nothing else. When a Native speaker arrives and says i want 35 to 40 zl an hour and minimum 20 hours a week, the owner will **** himself with joy. Before you even have the job you his crappy website will advertise native speaker. Once you have the job, you will work mainly Wednesday to Saturday. All will be hunky dory, except.....when the holidays arrive you will have NO work and Polish schools seem to have holidays all the time, secondly the contract you will be given will be a con, you will have minimum ZUS paid and the majority of the cash you receive will actually be off the books.

As for teaching , you will end up standing in a cold room ( to save money on heating) with an eclectic variety of students from the very bright to the terminally retarded. Unfortunately the Principal will insist you concentrate on helping the retards who don't care more atttention, because they will be the children of the local wealthy hobnobs.

To all the Expat posters, I challenging to call me....
Harry
12 Dec 2013  #26
The Director of Studies is usually the owners wife, who doesn't speak English.

In 18 years in Poland (and more than a decade of that working in EFL), I never once met a DoS who didn't speak English (I did meet a surprising number of teachers at IATEFL conferences who appeared to not speak a word of English but they were all from state schools).

you will have minimum ZUS paid

Almost certainly not. Schools employ foreigners on umowa o dzielo basis and, as a foreigner employed on that basis, there is no obligation to pay ZUS.

when the holidays arrive you will have NO work

A damn good reason for taking some business English classes.
jon357 63 | 14,122
12 Dec 2013  #27
I never once met a DoS who didn't speak English

Likewise. Even in very small towns the person dealing with the teaching could speak some sort of English. The only times I've come across someone who hasn't was when I used to farm out lessons from a very big contract I had to small-town schools for the clients non-Warsaw employees. @Maybe is quite near the mark on some of those companies however they were in towns so small they were almost villages.
Maybe 12 | 409
12 Dec 2013  #28
I challenging to call me....

DOH! (ugh i hate myself).

perhaps I was exaggerating a little when I said the DoS wouldn't speak English. However, in the land of Polska B, the mickey mouse EFL language schools rule supreme. I appreciate in the larger cities and among the correct cliques the standard of EFL teaching is world class, however, this sadly is only a small, small percentage. You get what you pay for....... and outside of the large cities....well it is cowboy land......
itty
10 Feb 2014  #29
To all the Expat posters, I challenging to call me....

Many true points
my school only has heating until 7pm lessons go on till 10
also was in the monopol yesterday all the fridges were off and the beer was warm when i asked why the answer was "Its Sunday" LMFAO anything to save a few pln


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