One of the most important things to do if you plan to stay in Poland, for longer than 30 days, is to obtain a PESEL number.
It’s much easier to get a PESEL number these days than it was some years ago, especially now that the Polish government have opted to streamline the process, you’ll just need to visit a Urząd Dzielnicy (town hall).
Now, when you register your residence in Poland, a PESEL number is automatically generated for you, and there’s just a few simple steps left to obtaining your PESEL number.
What is a PESEL number?
You can liken it to something like a national insurance number in the UK or a social security number in the US.
It’s a number specific to you, so store it somewhere safe and ensure you have it to hand, should you need it sometime in the future.
What can I do with a PESEL number?
A PESEL number allows you to:
- Open a bank account and obtain credit facilities.
- Open a company in Poland.
- Learn to drive in Poland.
- Pay your taxes.
- Apply for a mobile phone contract.
- Apply for a residence permit.
- Visit the doctors or hospital.
What else can I do with a PESEL number?
Anytime you deal with a Polish government office, for a variety of reasons, you will need your PESEL number.
Your personal data, that is important for a government office, is attached to your PESEL number.
Your PESEL number will also include your date of birth.
What if my landlord doesn’t allow me to register at my residence?
If you’re having trouble registering at your current residence, which happens sometimes in Poland, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a PESEL number.
You can still get a PESEL number but you’re going to have to submit an application directly with your municipality or township office (urząd dzielnicy).
To do this, you will have to visit your local office in person, ensure you have your ID with you and anything else you think might be important for your application.
Where can I download the application form to obtain my PESEL number?
The form will look like this and will include 4 pages in total.
If you don’t understand Polish, here’s a little guide on the first section to help you get started.
- Wypelniaj Wielkimi Literami = Complete in capital letters / block capitals.
- Pole Wyboru Zaznaczaj = Select the checkbox.
- Wypelniaj Kolorem Czarnym Lub Niebieskim = Use a black or Blue pen only.
Imie = Name (First name)
Nazwisko = Name (Surname / Second name)
Ulica = Street.
Number Domu = House / Building number
Numer Lokalu = Apartment number
Kod pocztowy = Postcode
Miejscowosc = Town
These translations will get you through the first part, if you don’t know any Polish, I recommend either using a translator, hiring a professional Polish translator or asking a Polish friend to assist you in completing the application.
What happens if I enter incorrect information in my application?
No need to panic.
If you make a mistake or enter the wrong information in your PESEL application, you will be informed through the post, sometimes they will call you to ask for clarification.
There’s a rumour that people who work in government offices aren’t helpful, I found it to be the complete opposite, I received so much help and assistance and they were so polite throughout the whole process.
Do they speak English at the town hall?
The employees at the town hall (urząd dzielnicy) are under no obligation to communicate in any other language than Polish, which is understandable.
If you can’t communicate in Polish, it’s important to take a Polish friend, colleague or translator with you to help you navigate the whole process.
How long will I have to wait for me PESEL number?
You will have to wait up to 30 days if you chose to receive your PESEL by post.
You can speed up the process if you request to collect it from the office in which you submitted your application, for example, I collected my PESEL number after 2 weeks.
How much will a PESEL number cost?
You don’t need to pay for your PESEL number.
Why is it called a PESEL number?
PESEL is short for Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population.
For more information, you can visit the Polish government website at Gov.pl.