The rule is that after 5 years of a lawful, continuous residence on the Polish territory, the EU citizen acquires the right of a permanent residence. This also applies to foreign nationals – family members of EU citizens who acquire the right of a permanent residence with the EU citizen on the Polish territory after five years of a continuous residence.
Under the Polish law, the residence is considered to be continuous if the breaks did not exceed a total of 6 months within one year.
The residence on the Polish territory is not discontinued when the foreigner leaves this territory for a period longer than 6 months, due to:
- compulsory military service;
- important personal situation, in particular such as: pregnancy, childbirth, illness, studies, training, secondments, which requires a residence outside the Polish territory, provided that this period is not longer than 12 consecutive months.
However, the Polish law allows situations where the EU citizen may acquire the right of a permanent residence in Poland before the end of that five-year period of continuous residence. This applies mainly to the employees or the self-employed (entrepreneurs) who have ceased performing work or other gainful activities due to the following reasons:
- reaching the retirement age in Poland (60 years for women, 65 for men), if before this date for the period of 12 months they had been engaged in work or other gainful activity on the Polish territory and they stayed there continuously for a period longer than 3 years;
- permanent incapacity to work, if they stayed in Poland continuously for more than 2 consecutive years;
- commencement of work or gainful occupation on the territory of another EU Member State, if they previously held a job or were engaged in gainful activity in Poland for at least 3 years and they are still residing in Poland and come back here at least once a week.
A document confirming the right of a permanent residence shall be issued – upon his request – to the EU citizen who acquired the right of a permanent residence.
On the other hand, the EU-national, a family member of the EU citizen, who acquired the right of a permanent residence, shall be granted, upon his request, a permanent resident card for the family member of the EU citizen.