Can a foreigner become an entrepreneur in Poland?

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The lack of Polish citizenship is not a barrier for a foreigner in the matter of running his own business in the territory of the Republic of Poland. It also does not mean that every foreigner can become an entrepreneur in our country. So what conditions must be met in order to run a legal business?

Not every foreigner can become an entrepreneur in Poland

In Poland, an entrepreneur may become a foreigner who belongs to the group:

  • citizens of the European Union,

  • members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA),

  • members of the European Economic Area (EEA),

  • citizens of countries other than those mentioned above, subject to certain requirements.

When can a foreigner run his own business?

In art. 13 of the Act of 2 July 2004 on the freedom of economic activity, the conditions that must be met by a foreigner in order to be able to run his own business in the territory of the Republic of Poland were specified.

A foreigner from the EU, EFTA and EEA

Foreigners who are:

  • citizens of the European Union,

  • EFTA members,

  • EEA members,

  • from countries not party to the EEA Agreement that can exercise the freedom of establishment

they can set up and run a business in Poland on the same terms as Polish citizens.

If an EU citizen is registered in another EU country, he or she can:

  • take advantage of the temporary cross-border provision of services - if you want to provide services in Poland only for some time;

  • set up a branch of your enterprise or a separate company in the National Court Register - if you want to provide services in Poland on a continuous basis.

A foreigner from outside the above-mentioned countries

Citizens from outside the European Union, whose home countries do not belong to EFTA and EEA, can register their business activity in Poland in CEIDG or KRS. They must additionally obtain appropriate documents allowing for legal stay in Poland.

These documents include:

  • permanent residence permit,

  • long-term resident's European Union residence permit,

  • temporary residence permit granted in connection with the following circumstances:

    • full-time studies (Article 144 of the Act on foreigners),

    • for the purpose of family reunification (Article 159 of the Act on Foreigners), with exceptions,

    • has a long-term resident's EU residence permit (Article 186 (3) - temporary residence permit),

    • is a family member pursuant to Art. 186 paragraph 4, has a temporary residence permit,

  • temporary residence permit granted to a family member residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland for the purpose of family reunification pursuant to art. 159 sec. 3 and 4;

  • refugee status,

  • subsidiary protection,

  • permit to stay for humanitarian reasons or permit for tolerated stay,

  • a temporary residence permit and a marriage contract concluded with a Polish citizen residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland,

  • temporary residence permit for the purpose of performing economic activity, granted due to the continuation of already conducted economic activity on the basis of an entry in the CEIDG,

as well as foreigners who:

  • benefit from temporary protection in the Republic of Poland,

  • have a valid Pole's Card,

  • are family members (pursuant to art. 2 point 4 of the Act of 14 July 2006 on entry into the territory of the Republic of Poland), joining the citizens of the states referred to in sec. 1 or staying with them.

Foreigners to whom none of the above applies may conduct business activity in Poland only in the form of a company:

  • with limited liability,

  • limited partnership,

  • joint-stock,

  • limited joint-stock partnership.

Additionally, they do not need to have the right to stay in Poland.

A foreigner has the right to register a business on the same terms as a native Polish citizen. It is important that he meets the conditions set out in Art. 13 of the Freedom of Economic Activity Act.

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Where and how can a foreigner register a company in Poland?

The company can be established by making an entry in the Central Register of Information on Economic Activity or the National Court Register.

In order to make an entry in CEIDG, you must complete the CEIDG-1 form. The registration process and rules of procedure are the same as in the case of a Polish citizen. The condition is to have a temporary or permanent residence permit.

Entrepreneurs setting up a limited partnership or limited liability partnership make entries in the National Court Register.

From June 2017, the application for entry in CEIDG should include a declaration whether the applicant is a foreigner. If so, a statement should be attached as to whether he is the owner or perpetual usufructuary of real estate located in Poland

To sum up, business in Poland does not have to be run solely by a Polish citizen. Foreigners also have the right to register their activity.