How to: A Foreigners’ Guide to Buying a Property in Poland

Big cities in Poland are becoming real expat hubs for people from all over Europe and the rest of the world. Those people don’t only build a career, but also invest in their private lives here in Poland, with a family and a nice home. But if you want to own a property by yourself, being foreign does create some challenges. In this article we’ll give you more information on which conditions you need to meet and which administrative steps you need to take to purchase a house of your own here in Poland.

First the good news : Many people don’t need a permit

Poland became a member of the European Union in 2004, but only 12 years later, on 1 May 2016, citizens of most European countries living on Polish territory were allowed to acquire land and property without a permit (more specifically, members of the European Economic Area, the Swiss Confederation, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

Non-EU citizens (e.g. from the US or Ukraine) still need a permit from the Minister of Internal Affairs, when they want to buy property in Poland. To this rule, however, there are a few exceptions. A non-EU citizen doesn’t need such a permit, when:

  • The property is a so-called ‘stand-alone residential premise’: a residence that consists of rooms, ancillary rooms (kitchen, bathroom), or a basement or attic and only occupies a part of a building. In the majority of cases, this is what we call a flat or apartment.
  • You want to buy premises, serving as a garage space;
  • A person has had a long-term residence permit in Poland for at least 5 years, starting from the date of issuance of his/her permit.
  • This person is the spouse of a Polish citizen and has had a EU long-term residence permit in Poland for at least 2 years, starting from the date of issuance of his/her permit. In this case the property also has to be a part of the community property of the couple.

These exceptions are not valid, though, when the property is located in a border zone or when it is an agricultural land covering a surface of more than 1 hectare.

When you are not in one the above cases, you need to apply for a permit issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs in order to purchase real estate in Poland. How? We’ll tell you next.

How do I apply for a permit to buy a property?

What is special about this application is that there are no ready-made forms to be filled out. This means that each application is different, you are advised to add as many documents in the application as possible, which can support your claim that you are eligible to obtain a permit.

Let’s start with the obligatory aspects:

  • The applicant has to pay an administrative costs of PLN 1570.
  • The applicant has to include a declaration from the person who is selling the property, confirming that he/she is willing to sell it to the applicant.
  • The applicant has to include a copy of a document that confirms his/her identity. This document has to mention: citizenship, place of birth, place of residence, and if this person is running a business (in this case excerpts of the relevant register or records (e.g. KRS) should be included too).
  • The applicant has to include the following documents to specify the property:
    • A copy of the registration of the property in the land and mortgage register.
    • An excerpt from the land register.
    • An excerpt from the cadastral map.
    • An excerpt from a valid spatial development plan (or its study).
    • (When the property is the result of a consolidation or divison) A list of the land changes or a decision approving the division or consolidation of the property.

Moreover, the applicant has to prove that he/she has ties with Poland. Common examples of these ties are having a Polish spouse or being someone with Polish roots, but whose family emigrated in the past. Another way of proving your ties to the country is to give a proof of your willingness to connect your future to Poland and turn it into the so-called centre of life. You can do this by proving to be a shareholder or board member of a foreign company with activities in Poland. This company also has to take part in the country’s economic life and support it through investments, offering employment, paying taxes and social security. These are just a few examples of how you can indicate your connection to Poland. Make sure to think this through very well and add as many relevant documents to the application as possible.

You should keep in mind that every document of the application in a language other than Polish, should be translated into Polish by a sworn translator.

You submitted your application. What happens next?

Once you have submitted your application, you have to wait until the Ministry of Internal Affairs has reviewed it. This review period lasts between 2 weeks and 2 months (for special cases only). When it has decided that you meet all the requirements, you will receive the permit, which is valid for 2 years from the date is issue. You can buy your property without any worries!

It is also possible, however, that your application is being refused by the Ministry. Potential reasons can be:

  • That you don’t meet the requirements of the regulations.
  • That your application didn’t get a positive opinion from the Ministry of National Defense. In this case, the Polish state suspects that the purchase of the property would imply a threat for state security or public order.
  • That your application didn’t get a positive opinion from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In this case there are issues in terms of public space and the purchase of the property would imply potential violations to those regulations.

When your application is being refused, you have the opportunity to apply for a refund of the administrative fee of PLN 1570. You can do this  by sending a letter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The letter should clearly explain your situation and the fact that your application and the explicit request to get the administrative fee reimbursed.

We know this might seem a quite complicated process, but thanks to this comprehensive overview, you can create your very own application step by step. We hope this article will help you get through the administrative maze for buying a property and that you can enjoy your new home very soon. Good luck!