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Polish citizenship guide


Permanent residence

EU citizens and members of their family (also those not holding the EU citizenship) gain the right of permanent residence in a Member State after five years of legal and continuous residence in this state. The continuity of residence is not disturbed by temporary absence not exceeding the total period of six months in a year. In some exceptional circumstances such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, studies etc. the period of absence may be prolonged to a maximum twelve consecutive months. The validity of the right of permanent residence does not expire (is indefinite). It can only be lost as a result of absence in the accepting state for more than two consecutive years.

The right of permanent residence can also be acquired before the five-year period of residence in the case of:

  • employees and self-employees if they reached retirement age (in accordance with the legislature of the state they worked in and where they apply for the right of permanent residence) or took the opportunity of early retirement, providing they have worked in the state for the past twelve months at least and lived there continuously for a minimum three years; should a given state not accept the retirement rights of some self-employees, the retirement requirement is met when they have reached sixty years of age,
  • employees and self-employees if they have lived in the accepting state for at least two years and stopped working as a result of complete inability to work. If the inability resulted from vocational illness or accident on the job, as a result of which the person became entitled to a benefit (for example a pension) financed at least partly by an appropriate institution in an accepting state, no requirement as to the period of residence in the Member State applies,
  • employees and self-employees who have worked and lived continuously for three years in the accepting state, and work in or run an enterprise in another Member State, but all the time keep their a place of residence in the accepting state and return to it at least once a week.