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Trouble leaving Poland and returning to US; I should leave Poland every 90 days - I went to Berlin

20 Jun 2014 #1
So I think I got myself into quite a bit of trouble here. I came to Poland last year in late August to study medicine. Prior to moving to Poland, I have heard that there is a bilateral visa waiver agreement between Poland and the United States.

As a result, I didn't feed the need to apply for a student visa as long as I leave Poland every 90 days. I entered the country using my US passport without any student visa. During my 1st school year, I have managed to leave Poland to Berlin three times, with my recent trip being on 5/30. I am planning to leave Poland/ Europe from Warsaw for the summer around mid-July. However, I am starting to get cold feet. The reason being that I only have receipts from two of my trips to Berlin (May and November last year), but not the one in late December of last year. I have called the Polish Immigration office and they said I should be fine.

I have also called the Polish border guards regarding this matter. They told me that my receipts for my recent trip to Berlin is good, but it would be better if I have the receipts for all trips.

My questions is that do you guys think I should just stay in Poland and apply for a temporary residence card? Note that temporary residence card takes them three months to process. If I go with this option, then I'll have to stay in Poland for the whole summer. Or should I just risk it and leave Poland during mid-July?

These are the documents that I will be bringing to the airport: 1.) passport 2.) receipts from two of my Berlin trips 3.) acceptance letter 4.) school certificate of enrollment for 1st year and 2nd year 5.) tuition receipt 6.) bank statement 7.) insurance card 8.) dormitory residence card 9.) flight itinerary regarding my first flight to Poland.

Do you guys think these documents are sufficient enough for the Polish border guard to let me pass without banning me from entering Poland again?

Let me know what you guys think. I am trying to get as many opinions as I can regarding this matter. Thanks.
4 eigner 2 | 831
20 Jun 2014 #2
I have called the Polish Immigration office and they said I should be fine

so don't worry about it then ;-)
20 Jun 2014 #3
you are an idiot...

Those 90 days as tourist are for the whole European Union. If you go to Berlin and back those 90 days are still counting.

It seems you have overstayed longer. That makes you an illegal alien. You will be eventually banned from entering the European Union within the next 5 years. You messed it up
sobieski 107 | 2,128
20 Jun 2014 #4
there is a bilateral visa waiver agreement between Poland and the United States.

Last thing I heard is that Poles still need visa to enter the US.... And as another poster wrote, Berlin is still in the EU. Visa regulations are EU.
MIPK - | 69
20 Jun 2014 #5

2) Who can get a Polish visa for a period longer than 90 days ?
This type of visa is reserved for those who plan to go to Poland for study purposes as well as to work. The person intending to stay in Poland longer than three months should apply for a residence card after arrival in Poland. If you didn't apply for the residence card when you first arrived, and you've been in the schengen zone without a visa for longer than 90 days you are as far as I'm aware illegally in Poland.

rules on schengen zone as advised by US State Dept.

US state Dept advice on Poland;

in short as irlanda put it, you're a bit of an idiot...
20 Jun 2014 #6
Let me know what you guys think.

Apply for a temporary resident's card. I know Americans who have banned from the entire Schengen for a decade for overstaying here in Poland.
hapstad - | 13
20 Jun 2014 #7
The confusion is that you need to leave the Schengen Area (like say UK or Ukraine) and come back in for another 90 days in order to take advantage of this old treaty....not just Poland and not just the EU (Before 2007 or so you could just pop over to Berlin or anywhere out of Poland and get another 90 days but now since Poland is a full EU/Schengen member you would still be in the Schengen area. I discovered this "loophole" by accident myself and was told by the Border Guards and Immigration that while "legal" they prefer you legitimize if you are living in Poland. This treaty was in place before Poland was in the EU/Schengen so I was told it is still valid though a grey area and can close any time.

Otherwise "technically" an American has to have a Karta Pobytu for long term stay (more than 90 days) for study, work, marriage etc. We can't get Schengen visas as I understand it....90 day tourist stamps or Karta Pobytu are the options. By the rules in order to stay and study for a year you should have applied for and received a Karta Pobytu...but it seems people have varying experiences as to what they can get away with.

This agency:

is a legal assistance agency and they helped me verify it as well. The contact page on the website has the address and hours. It's a little hard to find if I recall...sort of under a bridge. But they were very helpful and may be able to assist with the rest of your problem.

Another person who is helpful though can be difficult to get in to see is the main secretary at the immigration office on Dluga 5. You have to take a number and may wait several hours...and need someone to translate if you don't speak Polish as she is an older woman who doesn't speak English. And don't be put off by her at times gruff appearance...treat her kindly and she is a wealth of info.

Regarding just leaving with what you have the thing is like many things in depends on who you get and when you get them. Most people don't seem to be sure at all of the rules and I have always just tried to be super polite and hope for the best.

I have also attached a pdf copy of the above mentioned treaty in Polish and English.

Sorry for the attachment issue. Here is a link with the Treaty:

Damned the edit function timeout...

I wanted to clarify the 90 day thing as I understand it as well. My latest info is one year old so verify with and the Immigration Secretary on Dluga 5 in Warsaw that it's the same. I am surprised Immigration told you you would be fine with proof of travel to Berlin as that isn't out of the Schengen area. Americans get 90 days out of 180 on just a tourist stamp in the entire Schengen. So if you stayed 90 days in Poland and went to Germany you'd be overstaying in Schengen and could be deported if anyone cared to make a thing out of it. Technically you have overstayed in Schengen for nearly 9 months at this point based on what you have told us. The special treaty based issue is for Americans only and regarding Poland only and it requires you exit the Schengen to UK on a cheap flight for example and come back the next day to get another 90 days IN POLAND has to be a direct flight out of Schengen or direct border crossing from Poland (ie Ukraine) as if you encounter Immigration in any Schengen country you are at risk for being no stops in Germany or France on the way to London etc. Technically you can live in Poland this way indefinitely as a tourist but can't legally work etc.

I also can't see how you will have a legal basis to apply for a Karta Pobytu at this point as you have been illegal for 9 months. In order to apply and be approved you have to be legal and have a valid legal reason (registered student, work permit, married to a local etc). Again the rules seems inconsistent and some people get in trouble for following exactly what they are told and others get away with murder for decades.

Best case is nobody cares and you head out fine...worst is a 10 year exclusion from Schengen which means no Europe for the most part for a long time. It's worth the effort to verify everything and even pay a lawyer if you have to in order to sort things. There have been amnesties before and people seem to have quite varied experiences individually. So don't just tuck your head and run for it....get stuff in writing and talk to all those people I mentioned.
OP mid1234
21 Jun 2014 #8
Hey guys, thanks for the response. I have called the US consulate and the Polish immigration office here and they told me that this bilateral visa waiver agreement between US and Poland was done way before Poland joined EU. They told me that despite the current Schengen 90 day law, I am technically legal in Poland, but not in any other Schengen countries. However, I am still worried. I feel like in Poland they say one thing and do another thing. I think it would be better for me if I get something in writing from the Polish officials.
hapstad - | 13
21 Jun 2014 #9
I was told you had to leave Schengen...but like you said you get told different things depending on the person and day. I guess since the treaty I linked (which you call a bilateral visa agreement) is from before Schengen there is no mention of it in the wording, as far as Poland is concerned leaving the territory of Poland is good enough...despite the fact you were in Germany illegally. If you had been caught in Germany you'd chance getting booted for overstaying Schengen so I wouldn't use that method in the future myself...regardless of whether Poland is ok with it as the other Schengen nations will enforce it. You never know when there will be a random check on a train or of cars crossing internal Schengen/EU borders...and flying has a higher risk of being checked. If you plan to go out for another 90 days I'd leave Schengen. Maybe that's being paranoid after what you've been told but I'd not want to risk it.

You've been told by the relevant authorities twice now apparently that you are legal as far as Poland is concerned. Make sure your flight out doesn't stop anywhere in Schengen as well just in shouldn't have to deal with Immigration during a stopover but I'd not chance it in any case. LOT goes direct to the USA and a stopover in London with any airline would work as well. didn't say if you planned to come back soon...if you will I'd just apply for the Karta Pobytu so you have it. It will be valid for a year if you have a legal basis to get it...and you can use it to travel throughout the Schengen area without the 90 day restriction.
OP mid1234
21 Jun 2014 #10
Thanks Hapstand for your help. I will be leaving out of Europe from Warsaw. I really hope everything goes well. Furthermore, I hope I learn not to be this irresponsible again.

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