Things to know
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Poland's Historic Gem
Krakow, located in the southern region of Poland, is renowned for its rich historical heritage and vibrant cultural life. It's one of the oldest cities in Poland and serves as a major center for education, arts, and culture.
Krakow's economy is diverse and robust, with sectors ranging from IT, tourism, finance to manufacturing and service industries. The city's history is deeply intertwined with its resilient spirit, symbolized by its well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter.
The modern evolution of Krakow began in the Middle Ages with its status as the capital of Poland until 1596. Its strategic location, rich cultural heritage, and status as a major academic hub made it a vital center for commerce and industry. Despite the challenges of World War II, Krakow remained largely unscathed and continued to grow.
Today, Krakow is a significant economic powerhouse, contributing significantly to Poland's GDP. It's a crucial center for industries like information technology, automotive, logistics, and finance, in addition to its traditional sectors.
Krakow is also a city of green spaces and cultural landmarks. It boasts numerous parks and squares, including the Planty Park, a green belt encircling the Old Town. The city's green lung, the Blonia Park, is a vast meadow located in the city center.
Among the must-visit places in Krakow are the historic Wawel Castle, the modern MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, and the impressive Cloth Hall, a symbol of the city's medieval trade history. The city's vibrant music and arts scene is showcased in events like the annual Krakow Film Festival, one of the oldest film events in Europe.
At the heart of the city, you'll find the charming Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its colorful facades, quaint streets, and unique atmosphere making it a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike.
Krakow is a city that seamlessly blends its historical past with a dynamic and forward-looking present, making it a fascinating destination to live, work, and explore.
Cultural Hub of Southern Poland
Krakow, a city steeped in history and culture, is located in the southern region of Poland. It is home to a number of universities, theaters, the esteemed Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, several libraries, and the National Museum, making it a lively cultural center.
The city is a feast for the eyes with its diverse architectural styles, expansive parks, and picturesque squares. The iconic Wawel Castle and the historic Main Market Square, one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe, are among the city's most renowned landmarks.
Krakow offers a wide array of experiences, catering to those seeking an active vacation, a romantic retreat, or a relaxed journey. The city's attractions are sure to captivate and entertain you.
If it's your first visit to Krakow, the city's Old Town is a must-see with its unique blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The city's rich historical heritage beautifully contrasts with its modern developments, creating a unique urban landscape.
One of the city's modern highlights is the Unity Centre, a complex of sleek skyscrapers that symbolize Krakow's dynamic growth. This architectural marvel, with its striking design, pays tribute to the city's historical roots while pointing towards its future.
After exploring the city, it's time to delve into Krakow's culinary scene. Be sure to try the local specialty, "pierogi", a cherished national dish. These delicious dumplings can be found in many local restaurants, offering an authentic taste of Polish cuisine.
As for the cultural calendar, Krakow hosts a variety of exciting events throughout the year. These include the Krakow Film Festival, one of the leading film events in Central Europe, the Sacrum Profanum, an international festival of contemporary music, and the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, the biggest charity event in Poland. Each of these events contributes to the rich cultural tapestry of Krakow, making it a city that truly celebrates arts and culture.
Comparing Krakow: A Snapshot
The average cost of living in Krakow stands at €1,050, positioning it among the top 30% of the most expensive cities worldwide. It ranks 2790th out of 9294 cities on a recent global list, and it holds the first position out of 79 cities in Poland.
The median after-tax salary in Krakow is approximately €1,030, which is adequate to cover living expenses for a month. Krakow is ranked 708th (TOP 8%) in the list of best places to live globally and is considered the best city to live in Poland.
Krakow, with an estimated population of around 1.8 million (showing a 0.10% increase from 2021), is the largest city in Poland.
Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the City Centre will likely set you back around €750 per month, while opting to live outside the centre could be a more economical choice, costing around €550.
For apartments with more than one bedroom, the rent is expected to be approximately double the above prices.
Monthly utilities for an 85m2 apartment, including Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, and Garbage collections, are likely to be around €220-€230.
Internet costs are approximately €15-20 per month for a service up to 60 Mbps.
On average, a single person can expect to spend around €100-€130 a month on groceries, which is considered quite affordable compared to other cities worldwide. This will cover all your supermarket needs such as fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and drinking water.
City transport in Krakow is well-developed, modern, and inexpensive.
A monthly ticket for all regular connections costs approximately PLN 110 (Approx. €24), with petrol prices being considerably lower than in some regions, at around €1.10 per litre.
Using taxis in Krakow is also quite affordable! So much so, that there is no need for Uber here. However, if you want to save some money, you can also learn to use the "urban bike" scheme. Using it up to 15 minutes is free of charge, which is enough to get you to many places.
Cost of Living
According to the income tax law in Poland, an individual who qualifies as a tax resident in Poland is obligated to pay Polish income tax on their worldwide income. This situation is known as having unlimited tax liability. However, if an individual is not a tax resident in Poland, they are considered to have limited Polish tax liability, which means they are only liable for Polish income tax on income that is sourced from Poland.
An individual is classified as a resident of Poland if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
The individual has stronger personal or economic connections with Poland (centre of vital interests in Poland), OR
The individual stays in Poland for more than 183 days in a fiscal year.
Only one of these criteria needs to be fulfilled for an individual to be recognized as a tax resident of Poland. The official currency of Poland is the Polish zloty (PLN).
Eligibility to Work in Krakow
Non-EU citizens can immigrate to Poland for work through five different types of work permits, each with a fixed duration. EU/EEA citizens or those from Switzerland don't need a visa to enter Poland. They can cross the border with a valid travel document such as an ID card or a passport. If their stay is less than three months, they don't need to register their stay as foreigners, but they must do so if their stay exceeds three months.
Students from non-EU/EEA member countries should apply for an educational visa through the Polish consulate or embassy in their home country.
Step 1 – EU/EEA citizens: register your stay in Poland
EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens planning to study and stay in Krakow for a period exceeding 3 months must register their stay within the first three months of their stay in Poland.
Where to register?
Lesser Poland Province Governor’s Office in Krakow Department for Foreigners ul. Basztowa 22 Krakow tel.: 12 6164559
Documents required to register the stay:
Application for registering the residence completed in Polish (1 original + 3 photocopies),
Student status statement (issued by the Dean’s office at your faculty),
Proof of medical insurance (e.g. European Health Insurance Card – EHIC or other),
Proof of sufficient financial funds to live in Poland (it may be a certification from the university of origin about the Erasmus grant or a bank statement),
Photocopy of a valid travel document (e.g. an ID card or a passport) + original document to show for verification).
Fees: free of charge
All documents submitted in foreign languages should be translated into Polish by a sworn translator. You may access the list of Polish sworn translators at: https://ms.gov.pl/en/translators/
After the registration, the EU/EEA citizens will be given a certificate of registration of residence.
Step 2 – EU/EEA citizens: register your residence
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens are required to register their new place of residence in Krakow within 30 days.
Where to register? Residents’ Service Centre ul. Wielicka 28a (1st floor, desks No 15, 16, 17) Krakow
Registration Form (it should be completed and signed by the student and then by the dormitory manager. If a room or a flat is rented instead, the rental agreement is required as well),
Valid ID card or passport,
Registration of residence of a European Union citizen from the Department for Foreigners (see Step 1).
The five different types of visas, requirements, steps, and benefits to obtain a Poland work permit are elaborated below.
Types of work permit in Poland
If you are a non-EU citizen and wish to work in Krakow, you will need a work permit to enter the country. The validity of a work permit is for three years. The work permit is valid for only one job, and you can use it to perform only those tasks mentioned in your application form. If you are changing careers, you must apply for a new work permit.
Poland offers five work visa types; these include:
Type A – If you find employment based on an employment contract or civil law contract with an employer with an office registered in Poland. This is the most common workpermit.
Type B – This work permit is valid if you are a board member residing in Poland for a total period exceeding six months within 12 subsequent months.
Type C – You can apply for this work permit if you are sent to Poland by a foreign employer for more than 30 days in a calendar year to work for the foreign employer’s subsidiary or branch office.
Type D – You are eligible for this visa if a foreign employer temporarily sends you to work in export services. The foreign employer must not have a branch or subsidiary in Poland.
Type E – You can apply for this visa if you take up work-related tasks that do not fall into the above four categories.
Requirements to acquire Poland work permit
The employer must provide the necessary documents to acquire a work permit on behalf of a foreign employee. These documents include:
A completed application form
Proof of the paid application fees
Current records of the employer’s economic activity
Proof of applicants health insurance
A deed for the company
Copies with relevant travel information on the applicant’s passport pages
A copy of a statement regarding profits or losses sustained by the employer
Confirmation and evidence of the legal status of the employer from the National Court Register
A copy of a contract following the service being provided in Poland
Steps to apply for Poland work permit
The employer has to apply for a work permit on your behalf. Let‘s assume that you have found an employer willing to hire you and that your stay is legalized (either on a visa you have obtained or on a residence permit).
Your potential employer must fill out a work permit application containing the name of the company you are recruiting and your future job description within this company to get a work permit.
If you have succeeded in getting a job offer in Poland, then your employer has to apply for a work permit on your behalf.
Here are a few necessary steps to apply for the work permit:
Step-1: Conducting a Labor Market Test
An employer must conduct a labor market examination before applying for a foreign work visa. This test aims to see if any Polish citizens or other EU citizens are qualified to fill the role. These people take precedence over foreign nationals.
If no qualified job seekers are available, the employer can apply for a work visa on your behalf.
Step-2: The Application Process
The employer must include documents confirming that the following conditions are met with the application:
Conditions of employment meet all applicable employment regulations, including articles of the Labour Code.
According to the Voivodeship Office, remuneration should not be 30% lower than the average monthly wage.
Work permits are issued by a local “voivode” (government land head) and are given for the duration of stay needed to perform the work stated in the declaration of your employer. You need to sign an employment contract with the employer that applied for your permit to make the work permit valid.
Step-3: Issuing the Work Permit
Employees should be informed that their work permits are only valid for employment with the company that applied for them. If they decide to change jobs, their new employer will have to file for further permission.
Your employer is legally obliged to:
Give you the employment contract in writing
Provide you with a translation of the employment contract in your preferred language
Check the validity and make a copy of your residence permit or visa
Notify social security and health insurance institutions within seven days after the employment contract is signed, which gives you access to free healthcare, sickness leave, and other social benefits.
Benefits of a work permit
Once you get the work permit for Poland, you can:
Legally work in Poland
Legalize your stay in the country
Do the work defined in the work permit
Sign a work contract with your employer
The processing of the visa should take about 10 to 12 days. Once you have entered Poland on a work permit, you can legally work here.