Every foreigner who lives several years in Poland and plans to stay for longer asks the question - when may permanent residence permit be obtained? And here it is worth pointing out a very widespread mistake - a permanent residence permit or EU long-term residence permit? The choice of an inappropriate basis in the application may result in a negative decision by the governor for failure to comply with the requirements.
What is the difference? These two permits are very similar, give the same right to stay and work and are the last residence permit before obtaining Polish citizenship, but may be applied for in different cases. The primary criterion for determining an appropriate basis is the presence of Polish origin or Poles in the family. If there are such obstacles, the most likely permanent residence permit is for you.
Permanent residence permits may be obtained by foreigners with Polish roots, spouses or children of Poles, or foreigners residing on the basis of refugee status, tolerated stay or victims of trafficking in human beings. In addition, children of foreigners who were born during the valid permanent residence permit or EU long-term residence permit of at least one of their parents may be granted a permanent residence permit.
All other categories of foreigners, with the exception of those residing on the ground of studying and carrying out scientific research, may obtain an EU long-term residence permit if they have lived in Poland uninterrupted and legally for at least 5 years and have a stable and regular source of income. Here it should be noted that an uninterrupted stay has its calculation details and you should carefully analyse all trips from Poland, as well as the types of visas and permits for temporary stay.
Stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland is considered to be uninterrupted if none of its interruptions exceeded 6 months and a total of 10 month over a period of 5 years, or none of its interruptions exceeded 12 months and a total of 18 months for EU Blue Card holders. Of course, there are exceptions that need to be documented - absence in the country due to important family circumstances, posting, treatment and some others. In addition to the uninterrupted stay, attention should also be paid to the basis of the stay of the last 5 years. For example, a stay based on refugee status or studies in Poland counts for half of periods, meaning that from 4 years of study to 5 years only 2 years are counted. Some basis to stay are not counted at all, for example, a study in a Polish basis, stay on the basis of posting , during the obligation to return to the country of origin, stay on the basis of a Schengen visa issued for humanitarian reasons, in the framework of small border traffic, and some other grounds.
A minor difference between a permanent residence and EU long-term residence permit is the validity of the residence card - 10 and 5 years, respectively, despite the fact that the permit in both cases is issued for an indefinite period.
In conclusion, it is important to stress once again the difference in the requirements for the applicant: in the case of permanent residence, these are Polish roots, marriage to a Polish citizen or humanitarian reasons, and in the case of EU long-term residence permit, all other grounds of the foreigner's residence, together with the requirement of legal and uninterrupted stay for a period of 5 years.