Information and services website for entrepreneurs.

What business activity can a foreigner conduct in Poland

You can run a business in Poland even if you do not have Polish citizenship. Read below on the different legal forms you can choose for your business activity and what you will need to register your company.

Who can conduct business in Poland

Business activity in Poland may be conducted by citizens of the Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area who can choose between:

  • starting a one-person business or a commercial company
  • providing cross-border services – without registering their business in Poland
  • establishing a branch or representative office in Poland.

The Member States of the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

The Member States of the European Economic Area – apart from the Member States of the European Union – are: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein.

Also, citizens of the USA and of the Swiss Confederation may establish in Poland a one-person business, a commercial company of any type or a branch or representative office.

International agreements:

enable the citizens of the United States of America and of the Swiss Confederation to start a business in Poland under the same rules as the Polish citizens.

Citizens of countries which are not Member States of the European Union may:

  • set up in Poland a one-person business or a commercial company – if they have a valid title for legal stay in Poland that allows them to do so
  • set up in Poland a limited partnership, a partnership limited by shares, a limited liability company, a simplified joint-stock company or a joint-stock company
  • join a limited partnership, a partnership limited by shares, a limited liability company, a simplified joint-stock company or a joint-stock company, and buy and take up shares in such companies or partnerships
  • establish in Poland a branch office of their foreign business, if the ratified international agreements signed with Poland do not preclude such a possibility.

The list of ratified international agreements can be found on the website of the Internet Treaty Base maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What are the various legal forms of running a business in Poland

In Poland, business activity can be conducted in the form of:

  • one-person business activity (or sole trader, in Polish: jednoosobowa działalność gospodarcza)
  • civil law partnership
  • partnership
  • company.

A one-person business activity is the simplest form of running a business:

  • it can be registered online and the registration is free of charge
  • it does not require any capital to start
  • the entrepreneur is a taxpayer of personal income tax (PIT) and can choose the form of taxation
  • the entrepreneur does not have to be a VAT taxpayer if his or her revenues are below a certain threshold
  • in most cases – for revenues that do not exceed EUR 2 million – simplified accounting or revenues and costs recording is sufficient
  • the entrepreneur is liable for business debts and obligations with all his or her assets
  • it is also the entrepreneur that represents his or her business in any dealings and transactions

Read more about:

Companies and partnerships are more complex forms of running a business. The process of setting up a company or partnership is much more formalised. Shareholders or partners need to sign the articles of association in a specified form. The registration of a company is subject to a fee, and the right to represent the company and the extent of shareholders’ liability depend on the type of company. Most often, the shareholders need to bring in the share capital.

Read about the most important differences between various forms of running a business in Poland.

What are the limitations in the choice of legal form for your business

Some types of activities require a specified legal form for running a business and some legal forms are reserved only to persons with specified competences.

For some types of business, the law does not provide for registration in CEIDG (Central Register and Information on Economic Activity) but instead the entrepreneur must register his or her business in the National Court Register. This is the requirement in the case of business activity related to the cultivation of certain plants and breeding of certain animals, insurance and reinsurance, fire protection, trade unions and sports clubs.

The requirement of having specified competences for certain forms of business concerns a professional partnership, a form reserved for representatives of liberal professions: lawyers, pharmacists, architects, construction engineers, certified auditors, insurance brokers, tax advisors, securities brokers, investment advisors, accountants, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, notaries, nurses, midwives, legal advisors, patent attorneys, property valuers and sworn translators.

In exceptional situations, the law specifies the type of company to register in order to carry out a given activity – in the financial sector, for example, for the banking or insurance business activity.

If you are not sure if the type of business activity you choose is subject to additional requirements, check this in the PKD code search.

When a foreigner can choose freely the legal form for his or her business

You can choose to pursue business activity in Poland in any legal form (i.e. you can set up a one-person business activity or become a partner or a shareholder in any partnership or company) if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • you are a citizen of a Member State of the European Union or of the European Economic Area
  • you are a citizen of the United States of America or the Swiss Confederation
  • you are a citizen of another country and:
  • you have a permanent residence permit
  • you have an EU long-term resident permit
  • you have a temporary residence permit, granted in relation to your reunion with your family staying in Poland legally, or in relation to your university studies
  • you have refugee status
  • you have a subsidiary protection status
  • you have a humanitarian residence permit or a permit for tolerated stay
  • you have a temporary residence permit and you are married to a Polish citizen residing in the territory of Poland
  • you have a temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting business activity, granted in relation to continuation of your business activity based on the registration in CEIDG
  • you have been granted temporary protection in Poland
  • you have a valid Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka)
  • you are a family member, that is:
  • a spouse of an EU citizen
  • an EU citizen's or his or her spouse's direct descendant (child) who is under the age of 21 or dependent on the EU citizen or on his/her spouse
  • an EU citizen's or his or her spouse's direct ascendant (parent) who is dependent on the EU citizen or on his/her spouse
  • a person who has submitted an application for a temporary residence permit or a permanent residence permit – until the decision issued in response to such application becomes final

Read on how to register:

When a foreigner cannot conduct a one-person business activity

A one-person business activity, a professional partnership or a general partnership may not established by persons who:

  • are not citizens of the Member States of the European Union
  • are not citizens of the Member States of the European Economic Area
  • are not citizens of the United States of America or Switzerland
  • do not have a valid title for legal stay allowing them to start business activity under the same rules that apply to Polish citizens.

Such foreigners may:

  • conduct business activity in the form of:
  • a limited partnership
  • a partnership limited by shares
  • a limited liability company
  • a simplified joint-stock company or a joint-stock company
  • join, acquire and take up shares in such companies or partnerships
  • establish in Poland a branch office of their foreign business, if the ratified international agreements signed with Poland do not preclude such a possibility.

The list of ratified international agreements can be found on the website of the Internet Treaty Base maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Please note! If you want to acquire or take up shares in a company that owns real property, you must obtain a special authorisation.

In the application for registration in the National Court Register or for modification of an entry in the Register in relation to the acquisition or taking up of shares or all the rights and obligations, or a change of shareholders or partners of the company, you must include a statement indicating whether:

  • you are a foreigner within the meaning of the Act on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners
  • you are an owner or a holder of the right of perpetual usufruct to real estate located in Poland.

Read on how to establish:

What is needed to register a one-person business activity in CEIDG

You can register a one-person business online or in a traditional manner – at any municipality office (urząd gminy). Registration of a business in CEIDG by a foreigner may take up to 30 days. However, usually the whole process takes about 7 days.

If you want to register a one-person business activity online, you must have a PESEL number.

PESEL is a personal identification number. You can apply for a PESEL number at any municipality office.

When submitting your application for a PESEL number, you must indicate the legal basis for the obligation to be assigned a PESEL number.

Read on how a foreigner can obtain a PESEL number.

Once you have obtained the PESEL number, create a trusted profile. You will need it to create your account at Biznes.gov.pl. You will need this account in order to be able to complete the application online.

More information on how to create an account on Biznes.gov.pl.

A trusted profile is a free tool that allows you to:

  • confirm your identity in online government administration systems
  • sign documents with a trusted signature.

The profile is used only for contacts with public administration, i.e. offices or ministries.

Read more about the trusted profile and the trusted signature.

If you submit an application to register business activity online, you can sign it with a trusted profile or with a qualified signature.

See the list of qualified signatures that can be used on Biznes.gov.pl.

If you do not have a PESEL number, you can register a one-person business activity in a traditional manner – at any municipality office (urząd gminy).

In this case, you must show your passport or other document confirming your identity and citizenship to the municipality office employee.

Please note! If, after registering your business at the municipality office, you obtain a PESEL number and you want to be able to submit your future applications to CEIDG online, you must visit a municipality office again personally to add your PESEL to your entry in CEIDG. Only then will you be able to create an account at Biznes.gov.pl.

Also, regardless of whether you are registering your business online or in a traditional manner, if you are not a citizen of a country belonging to the European Union, the European Economic Area or a citizen of the United States or Switzerland, you must provide a document confirming that your residence permit allows you to set up a one-person business activity.

Check which documents you need to enclose when registering a one-person business activity in Poland.

Legal basis for setting up a one-person business activity

What to enter in the application for registration in CEIDG in response to the question on the foreigner’s status

What documents need to be scanned and attached

permanent residence permit

permanent residence card number

permanent residence card

EU long-term resident permit (permit granted in Poland)

number of the residence card

decision on granting the residence permit

temporary residence permit and being married to a Polish citizen residing in the territory of Poland

number of the temporary residence card

decision to grant the temporary residence permit (on the basis of the marriage)

or

(1) decision on granting the temporary residence permit (of any type – does not have to be based on the marriage) and (2) identity card of the spouse and (3) marriage certificate
or

(1) temporary residence card (of any type – does not have to be based on the marriage) and (2) identity card of the spouse and (3) marriage certificate

refugee status

number of the residence card or of the Geneva travel document

decision on granting the refugee status

subsidiary protection

number of the residence card or of the Geneva travel document

decision on granting subsidiary protection

permit for tolerated stay

number of the permit for tolerated stay

decision on granting a permit for tolerated stay

humanitarian residence permit

number of the residence card

decision on granting the residence permit for humanitarian reasons

temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting business activity, granted in relation to continuation of a business activity

number of the temporary residence card

decision on granting the temporary residence permit

valid Pole's card

number of the Pole's card

valid Pole's card

(1) stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland pursuant to Article 108(1)(2) or Article 206(1)(2) of the Act on foreigners or (2) on the basis of a stamp in the travel document, which confirms the submission of an application for an EU long-term resident permit, if directly before submitting the application they were entitled to set up and conduct business activity pursuant to paragraph 2(1)(c) and (g)

passport number

passport together with the page with the stamp

Poland Business Harbour visa

visa number

passport with the page on which the visa is affixed

temporary residence permit granted in connection with a situation referred to in Article 144 of the Act on foreigners (for the purpose of studying at a university)

number of the temporary residence card

decision on granting the temporary residence permit (based on university studies)

temporary residence permit granted in connection with a situation referred to in Article 159(1) of the Act on foreigners (for the purpose of family reunification)

number of the temporary residence card

decision on granting the temporary residence permit

temporary residence permit granted in connection with a situation referred to in Article 186(1)(3), (4) and (7) of the Act on foreigners (concerning an EU long-term resident permit granted by another Member Stated of the European Union)

number of the temporary residence card

decision on granting the temporary residence permit

temporary residence permit granted in connection with a situation referred to in Article 151(1) of the Act on foreigners (for a researcher – for the purpose of conducting scientific research or development works)

number of the temporary residence card

decision on granting the temporary residence permit

family members of EU citizens

number of the residence card

residence card annotated with the words 'Family member of an EU citizen, Article 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC'

or

permanent residence card annotated with the words 'Family member of an EU citizen, Article 20 of Directive 2004/38/EC'

Please note! In the case of family members of EU citizens, residence cards of a family member of an EU citizen and permanent residence cards of a family member of an EU citizen were issued until 1 August 2021. Those cards remain valid for the period for which they were issued, but no longer than until 3 August 2026. If you have such a card, attach a scan of it when registering your business in CEIDG.

Read on how to register a one-person business activity.

Register your business online at Biznes.gov.pl.

What is needed to register a company in the National Court Register (KRS)

A general partnership, a professional partnership, a limited partnership, a partnership limited by shares, a limited liability company, a simplified joint-stock company, and a joint-stock company must be registered in the National Court Register. The registration is done online:

  • in the S24 system, or
  • through the PRS portal.

To register a company or a partnership you need to create an account in the selected system and to confirm it by means of a trusted profile or a qualified signature.

A trusted profile is a free tool that allows you to:

  • confirm your identity in online government administration systems
  • sign documents with a trusted signature.

The profile is used only for contacts with public administration, i.e. offices or ministries.

Read more about the trusted profile and a trusted signature.

On the Court Registers Portal (Polish - Portal Rejestrów Sądowych) you can also sign with your personal signature (in your e‑identity card).

You will need a PESEL number to create your trusted profile.

Even if you register a company or a partnership without the PESEL number, it is still worth applying for it. There will be situations in your business activities that will require the use of a trusted profile, such as:

  • submitting the financial statements of the company in the Financial Documents Repository in the case of a company with a one-member management board (financial statements may be submitted only by a person authorized to represent the company, whose PESEL number is entered in the National Court Register)
  • reporting the beneficial owner to the CRBR register – such notification should be made within 7 days from the date of registration of the company or a partnership in the National Court Register.

PESEL is a personal identification number. You can apply for a PESEL number at any municipality office.

When submitting your application for a PESEL number, you must indicate the legal basis for the obligation to be assigned a PESEL number. In the case of registration of a company or partnership, this will be Article 19e(2) of the Act of 20 August 1997 on the National Court Register.

Read on how a foreigner can obtain a PESEL number.

Please note! The company may also be registered on your behalf by your attorney-in-fact.

If you want to register a general partnership or a professional partnership and you are not a citizen of the European Union or of the European Economic Area, or a citizen of the United States of America or Switzerland, you must present a document at the time of registration confirming that your title for legal stay in Poland allows you to establish such type of partnership. For example, in the case of a permanent residence permit, this will be a permanent residence card.

Read on how to register:

Cross-border provision of services

When can you provide services across borders

Are you a citizen of one of the Member States of the European Union or of the European Economic Area and want to provide services in Poland? If you plan to do this for a specified period of time and occasionally, you do not need to register your business in Poland.

Under EU law, services are activities normally provided in return for a remuneration, in so far as they are not covered by the provisions on the freedom of movement of goods, capital and persons. These may include in particular:

  • activities of an industrial character;
  • activities of a commercial character;
  • activities of craftsmen;
  • the exercise of the liberal professions.

Cross-border services may take place on the basis of:

  • self-employment – the service provider has a registered business activity in one of the Member States of the EU and provides services in another EU Member State for a remuneration
  • posting of workers – an entrepreneur may post workers based on a contract in order to provide a specific service in another Member State.

In Poland, you can provide cross-border services as long as this activity is temporary.

The EU legislation does not define what a temporary service provision is. According to the Court of Justice of the European Union, it is necessary to examine together:

  • duration
  • frequency
  • regularity
  • continuity of the provision of the services, and
  • the entrepreneur's intention as to the type of business activity planned in the territory of another Member State.

In practice, the assessment of whether the services are provided on a temporary basis requires an case-by-case approach and a thorough analysis of individual cases.

Not every type of services can be provided as cross-border services. The exception are primarily the services that require special licences or qualifications from the services provider. A list of services exempt from the cross-border provision are listed in the Act on the terms on which foreign entrepreneurs and other foreigners may participate in economic trade in the territory of the Republic of Poland. Services that may not be provided as cross-border services include: transport, notarial, pharmaceutical, medical and gambling services.

Please note! If Polish regulations concerning any type of business activity require obtaining a permit, licence or entry in a specific register, those requirements must also be met before starting the activity.

Read when an entrepreneur needs a license, a permit or an entry in the register of regulated activity.

Rights of service providers

Service providers have a number of rights which are guaranteed by the European Union law and cannot be restricted by the Member States. In line with the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union:

  • the service provider may not be required to establish his registered office in the country where the service is to be provided
  • it is forbidden to require that key personnel of the service provider have a permanent residence in the country where the service is provided
  • it is not allowed to require from a service provider to obtain a licence to provide certain services without taking into account the warranty of proper performance of the service already guaranteed in the home country where the service provider is established
  • it is forbidden to force a Polish service provider to pay social security contributions for his employees in the country where the services are provided, if those contributions are already paid in Poland
  • it is forbidden to require from the service provider to have a specified legal form

However, it is possible to apply additional restrictions to the provision of services of special nature such as medical services.

Obligations of service providers

At the request of the service recipient, a service provider from an EU Member State must share the following information:

  • about the business activity directly related to the service offered
  • about the companies and partnerships in which the service provider is involved and which are directly related to the provided services
  • the measures taken to avoid conflicts of interest.

The same information should be provided by a service provider from an EU Member State in documents which describe the services that he or she offers.

Prior to the conclusion of the contract in writing (and if there is no written contract – before starting the provision of a service), the service provider from an EU Member State must present, in an unambiguous manner, the following information to his service recipient:

  • business name, address of the registered office or the place of residence and the principal place of business
  • authority keeping the register and the number in the register in which the service provider from an EU Member State is registered as an entrepreneur, or information on the entry in CEIDG
  • e-mail address or other details which enable a direct contact with the service provider from an EU Member State
  • name of the authority or entity that has issued a licence, permit or certificate or has made an entry in a register, or has issued another document authorising the service provider from an EU Member State to provide services, or
  • address of the single contact point within the meaning of Article 6 of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006), competent for the service provider
  • address of a professional self-regulatory organization to which the service provider from an EU Member State belongs, his or her professional title and the country in which that title has been awarded
  • main characteristics of the service
  • price of the service, if it has been determined
  • model contracts used by the service provider from an EU Member State, and contractual provisions specifying the governing law for the contract, a court or another body competent to settle any disputes
  • tax identification number (NIP) or another identification number that the service provider from an EU Member State has to use for VAT purposes
  • about having compulsory insurance or a financial guarantee together with the details of the insurer or guarantor and on the territorial coverage of the insurance
  • about any quality guarantees for the service provided, other than those required by the law.

Branch of a foreign entrepreneur in Poland

Do you run a business in a Member State of the European Union or of the European Economic Area? If yes, then you can open a branch of your business in Poland. Citizens of other countries may also open branches of their business if their countries have signed with Poland mutual agreements in this regard.

The list of ratified international agreements can be found on the website of the Internet Treaty Base maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Establishing a branch is connected with lower costs than setting up a new company. A branch of a foreign business is also not subject to some of the obligations related to companies, such as having own capital, convening shareholders' meetings and appointing a management board.

Your can start your activity as a branch after obtaining the entry of the branch in the Register of Entrepreneurs of the National Court Register. There must be a person appointed at the branch authorised to represent the foreign entrepreneur.

A branch is an independent organisational unit of a foreign entrepreneur, but does not have legal personality. This means that the foreign entrepreneur is responsible for all rights and obligations arising from the operations of the branch.

Please note! A branch must have the same business scope as the business that a foreign entrepreneur operates abroad.

A foreign entrepreneur should:

  • use as the name of the branch the original name of the foreign entrepreneur’s business, together with the name of its legal form translated into Polish, with an addition of the following words: “oddział w Polsce” (branch in Poland)
  • keep separate accounts for the branch, in the Polish language, in accordance with the accounting regulations
  • report to the minister responsible for the economy any changes in the facts and the legal status (for example, if a liquidation procedure has been initiated in relation to the foreign entrepreneur or the entrepreneur has lost the licence for to conduct business activity).

Please note! The minister may prohibit the branch from operating if it fails to comply with Polish law.

Read how to to register a branch of a foreign business in the National Court Register (KRS).

Representative office of a foreign entrepreneur in Poland

Representative offices are established only for the purpose of promoting and advertising a foreign entrepreneur. A representative office may not conduct any other activity.

According to the case law of the Polish Supreme Administrative Court, advertising may consist in publishing press advertisements, running radio and TV advertising spots, as well as publishing posters, distributing folders and other commercial information to clients.

A representative office may be established for 2 years only, with the possibility of extension for another 2 years. In order to be established, a representative office has to be registered in the register of representative offices of foreign entrepreneurs. The application for an entry in this register must be accompanied by the following attachments:

  • a copy of the entry in the foreign register, together with its translation into Polish, and possibly also a document specifying the address of the registered office and the rules of representation
  • a power of attorney authorising a person to represent the representative office, together with a statement that this person accepts this power of attorney.

Please note! A foreign entrepreneur must hold legal title to the real property indicated in the register of representative offices of foreign entrepreneurs as the seat of their representative office. However, it is not necessary to attach this document to the application for registration.

The competent minister may refuse to enter the representation in the register if the foreign entrepreneur does not meet all the requirements. The minister may also remove the representative office from the register if the office does not comply with Polish law.

The decision to remove the representative office from the register (issued by the minister) replaces the decision prohibiting the operations of the representative office.

Find out how to apply for:

Where should a foreigner pay his or her taxes

Persons whose place of residence for tax purposes is Poland – i.e. having Polish tax residency – must pay their full tax obligation in Poland. This means that they must file their tax declarations and pay tax in Poland on all their income, both earned in Poland and abroad.

A person is considered to be a tax resident of Poland if they:

  • have a centre of personal or economic interests on the territory of Poland (the so-called centre of vital interests) or
  • stay in the territory of Poland for more than 183 days during a tax year.

This means that if you have your registered office or management board in Poland or you stay in Poland for more than 183 days in a year, you are taxable on all your income in Poland – regardless of where it is earned.

Persons whose place of residence for tax purposes is not Poland – the so-called non-residents – have a limited tax obligation.

If you conduct business activity in Poland and in another country, your tax liability is regulated by double taxation treaties. They specify in which cases and where taxes should be paid:

  • if the income is taxable in both countries, the method of avoiding double taxation set out in the treaty applies
  • if there is no double taxation treaty concluded with a given country, the method of avoiding double taxation is regulated by the Polish Act on Personal Income Tax
  • double taxation treaties take precedence over national law.

Double taxation treaties can set different methods depending on the country concluding it. Before you file your tax return, check whether your country has signed a double taxation treaty with Poland.

Please note! In accordance with the general rule on avoiding double taxation: the profits of an enterprise of a Contracting State are taxable only in that State, unless the enterprise carries on business activity in the other Contracting State through a permanent establishment located there (for example, a commercial office). So if you do not have a permanent establishment in another country, you pay taxes on your foreign income in Poland.

See the list of double taxation agreements.

Read more about:

Where should a foreigner pay his or her social security contributions

There is a general rule concerning social security: you can be covered by social security only in one country and you only have to pay social security contributions in one country.

This will be a country where:

  • you have your place of residence – if you perform a substantial part of your professional activities there
  • you have your centre of interest for your professional activities – if you perform a substantial part of your professional activities in another country than the country in which you reside.

In order to determine whether you perform a substantial part of your professional activities in a given country, calculate your turnover, working time, number of services provided or income earned in that country.

Read more about:

Where to look for answers

If you have any questions about registering a one-person business in CEIDG, please contact the following phone numbers: 801 055 088 or 22 765 67 32

If you would like more information on the online registration of a limited liability company or a partnership, please contact s24@gdansk.sa.gov.pl or the following phone number: (71) 748 96 00. After dialling the phone number, you need to press “4” (online access to registry courts).

If you have any questions about social insurance, contact the ZUS Call Centre at 22 560 16 00 (cost of a call according to your agreement with your telecom operator) or

If you have any doubts about taxes to be paid in Poland, contact the National Tax and Customs Information Office (KIS) at the following phone numbers:

  • 22 330 03 30 (for mobile phones)
  • 801 055 055 (for landline phones)
  • +48 22 330 03 30 (from abroad)

We also encourage you to use the Help Centre at Biznes.gov.pl

Related content

The portal is supervised by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. Project partners: Łukasiewicz - Poznań Institute of Technology, Polish Chamber of Commerce. The project is co-financed from the Digital Poland Programme by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund and is a continuation of the project \"Central Register and Information on Economic Activity\" financed from the Innovative Economy Programme and the project \"Simplification and digitization of procedures\" financed from the Human Capital Programme.

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