Registration and conducting business activity by foreigners in Poland

Foreigners and economic activity in Poland

If you do not have Polish citizenship and you want to do business in Poland, you also have the right to take up and pursue economic activity. You can also establish a branch or a representative office of your company in Poland or offer or provide services temporarily.  

If you meet any of the following conditions, you are bound by the same conditions and rules as Polish nationals:

  • you are a citizen of a Member State of the European Union or of the European Economic Area,
  • you are a citizen of another country and hold, among other things
    • permanent residence permit,
    • a residence permit for a long-term resident of the European Union,
    • temporary residence permit granted in connection with, inter alia, family reunion legally residing in Poland, studying,
    • refugee status,
    • subsidiary protection,
    • a permit for residence for humanitarian reasons or a permit for tolerated stay,
    • a temporary residence permit and are married to a Polish citizen residing on the territory of the Republic of Poland,
    • a temporary residence permit for the purpose of conducting business activity, granted in connection with the continuation of business activity already conducted on the basis of an entry in the Central Register and Information on Business Activity,
    • temporary protection in Poland,
    • a valid Polish Card.

However, if you do not meet any of these conditions,  in order to run a business in Poland you must set up:

  • a registered partnership,
  • limited joint-stock partnership,
  • limited liability company,
  • joint stock company.

You can also join such companies, acquire and subscribe for shares.

Application for entry in the CEIDG

A foreigner, similarly to a Polish citizen, by making an entry (traditionally or on-line, via an electronic form) in the Central Register and Information on Business Activity becomes an entrepreneur.

Users who want to apply for an entry on-line, and who do not have a NIP or PESEL number in their electronic signature, are obliged to confirm their account on the CEIDG website with the local authority.

If the entrepreneur does not have a PESEL number, he shall present a passport or other document confirming his identity and citizenship to an authorised employee of the commune office.

Registration in KRS (National Court Register)

A foreigner has the possibility to register a limited liability company and a registered partnership with the use of a model contract on-line through the portal of the Ministry of Justice, as well as by traditional means. The system is available to Polish citizens and foreigners after logging in. Only a registered person can log on to the eMS.

Registration of limited joint-stock partnerships and joint-stock companies is possible only by traditional means.

Note! Since June 2017, in the application for entry into the National Court Register or change of the entry covering the acquisition or subscription for shares or all rights and obligations, and in the case of submission to the register files of documents containing information on changes in the partners of partnership, the applicant shall include a statement whether he/she is a foreigner within the meaning of the Act on Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners. In the case of holding the status of a foreigner, the applicant shall also include in the application for entry into the National Court Register a statement whether he/she is the owner or perpetual usufructuary of real estate located in Poland.

Cross-border service activity

Do you have the citizenship of one of the EU Member States and would like to temporarily provide services in Poland? You can take advantage of the so-called cross-border service provision. It is temporary and occasional. There is no need to set up a company in Poland. Every service provider, including entrepreneurs from the EU, may temporarily provide services on a cross-border basis in another EU country, e.g. in Poland.

Cross-border services may be provided by: 

  • a natural person from another Member State not engaged in an economic activity,
  • an entrepreneur from another Member State who carries out economic activity in accordance with the provisions in force in that State.

Remember! If Polish regulations require a permit, concession or entry in a specific register for a given type of activity, such requirements must also be fulfilled. 

Find out how you can temporarily provide cross-border services and  the rules for Checking qualifications for cross-border services.

Read also Temporary Exercise of Unregulated Activity in Poland.

Not all types of services can be provided within the framework of cross-border provision of services.

Branch of the foreign entrepreneur

Do you run a company in an EU country? If so, you can open a branch in Poland. You can do business in the same way as you do abroad.

These rules also apply to non-EU citizens if they have mutual agreements with Poland.

Remember to:

  • appoint a person authorised to represent the foreign entrepreneur in the branch,
  • enter the branch in the National Court Register,
  • attach an excerpt from the foreign register together with a translation into Polish,
  • attach the memorandum, agreement or statute together with a translation into Polish,

It is necessary to use the name of the branch abroad, with the Polish translation of the legal form, and the phrase "branch in Poland" to designate the branch. Keep separate accounts in Polish, report all changes within 14 days.

Note! The Minister may issue a prohibition on conducting business activity if the branch does not comply with Polish law. 

Representative office of foreign entrepreneurs

You can open a representative office of your company in Poland in the area of advertising and promotion.

Remember:

  • to enter the representative office in the register of representative offices kept by the Minister of Enterprise and Technology,
  • representative office can only be set up for 2 years, with possibility of prolonging it for another 2 years,
  • to prepare the application in Polish,
  • to attach an excerpt from the foreign register together with a translation into Polish, and possibly another document specifying the registered office and the persons authorised to represent the company,
  • authorisation for the person to represent the representative office, together with a declaration of acceptance.

It is necessary to have a legal title to the real estate, which is indicated in the register as the seat of the representative office (it does not have to be attached to the application).

The Minister may refuse entry in the register if not all the requirements are met. The representative office may also be removed from the register if the provisions of Polish law are not respected.

Detailed information on the representative office can be found in the guide I open a representative office of a foreign company in Poland.

Key information in short:

  • a foreign entrepreneur's representative office may be entered in the register only for a definite period of time - 2 years together with the right to continue business activity for the next 2 years, 
  • the application for the establishment of a foreign entrepreneur's branch does not need to include information on the person authorised to represent the foreign entrepreneur in the branch; the notarized specimen of the authorised person's signature does not need to be submitted,
  • the foreign entrepreneur does not have to submit a document confirming the right to use the premises for the purposes of the headquarters of the representative office, but such a document must be in possession,
  • the decision to remove from the register of representatives ( issued by the minister) replaces the decision to prohibit from conducting activity within the representative office, 
  • conducting liquidation proceedings of a branch limited to a situation where the liquidation is a result of a decision issued by the competent minister on the prohibition to conduct business activity by a foreign entrepreneur within the branch.

Legal basis

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