Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
Poland as one of the 27 member states of the European Union is a member of the Customs Union.
The EU Customs Union means there are common customs duties on imports from outside the EU, common rules of origin for products from outside the EU, and no customs duties at internal borders between the EU Member States.
Poland as a member of the European Union is also a member of the EU Customs Union. The basic rules of the EU Customs Union include: no customs duties at internal borders between the EU Member States; common customs duties on imports from outside the EU; common rules for origin of products from outside the EU; and common definition of a customs value. Poland has adopted the Common Customs Tariff (CCT) of the EU that applies to goods imported from outside Europe, while transactions carried out between Poland and the European Economic Area (EEA) countries are free of duty. In general, EU external import duties are relatively low, especially for industrial goods (4.2% on average). Applicable customs duty for a specific product imported from a selected country of origin, can be found on the TARIC website. The combined Nomenclature of the European Community (EC) integrates the HS nomenclature and has supplementary eight figure subdivisions and its own legal notes created for community purposes. For goods from outside Europe, customs duties are calculated ad valorem on the CIF value, in accordance with the Common Customs Tariff (CCT) for all the countries of the Union. Customs authorities are primarily responsible for the supervision of the Community’s international trade.
Polish police take a strict approach to public drunkenness. You are not allowed to consume alcohol in public places or you may be fined. If you are found drunk in a public place you may be taken to a drying out clinic where a doctor or nurse will medically assess you. You will not be released until you have sobered up and you may need to stay overnight. You will have to pay for the cost of the stay.
The drink-drive limit in Poland is 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – which is lower than the UK. If you are caught driving a car over the alcohol limit or after taking drugs you can be punished by up to 2 years in prison. You might also be prosecuted for cycling on public roads under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You should only cross the road at signposted crossing points like zebra crossings. If you do not cross the road at a signposted point and you are caught by the police you will be fined.
Many Poles are traditional about social issues, but people in larger towns and cities are generally more open-minded about LGBT issues. There is an active gay scene in Warsaw with a number of gay clubs and bars. Homosexuality is legal and same sex partners may live together but marriage or civil partnership is not allowed for same sex couples. The age of consent is the same for all people (15). See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
The the Integrated Tariff of the European Community (TARIC) database is available to help determine if a license is required for a product. Moreover, the European Commission maintains a trade helpdesk with information on import restrictions of various products.
Many EU member states maintain their own list of goods that are subject to import licensing.
Poland’s “Import List” includes goods for which licenses are required, their code numbers, any applicable restrictions, and the agency that will issue the relevant license. The Import List also indicates whether the license is required under Polish or EU law
Although there are no limits on the amount of alcohol and tobacco one can bring in from EU countries, customs officials are more likely to ask you questions if you have more than:
– 800 cigarettes;
– 400 cigarillos (max. 3g each);
– 200 cigars;
– 1kg smoking tobacco;
– 10 litres of spirits over 22%;
– 20 litres of alcoholic beverages less than 22%;
– 90 litres of wine (though no more than 60 litres of sparkling wine);
– 110 litres of beer.
These quantities can be seized if customs are satisfied that they are of a commercial nature.
Alcohol and alcoholic beverages
Over 17 years olds can bring (in personal luggage) the following quantities:
• 1 litre of alcohol that does not exceed 22% volume of alcohol, or un-denatured ethyl alcohol 80% volume and over
• 2 litres of alcohol that does not exceeds 22% volume of alcohol
• 4 litres of still wine
• 16 litres of beer.
The passengers can combine the first two types of alcohol as long the alcohol volume does not exceed 100%.
Over 17 years old that belong to the following categories:
• persons residing in the frontier zone (region beyond the expanding borders of the European Union including: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro)
• frontier-zone workers,
• the crews of means of transport used between third countries and the Community,
may bring (in your personal luggage) alcohol in the following quantities:
• 0,5 litre of alcohol exceeding 22% volume, or un-denatured ethyl alcohol of 80% volume and over
• a total of 0,5 litre of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22% volume
• 0,5 litre of still wine
• 2 litres of beer.
The passengers can combine the first two types of alcohol as long the alcohol volume does not exceed 100%.
Note that the consideration of what constitutes frontier countries lies entirely with EU and the list outlined above may change.
When travelling by air or sea , over 17 years old can bring tobacco products for personal use only the following:
• 200 cigarettes or
• 100 cigarillos or
• 50 cigars or
• 250 g of smoking tobacco.
Each amount specified in above points will amount to 100% of the total allowance for tobacco products.
When travelling by land, over 17 years old can bring tobacco products for personal use only the following:
• 40 cigarettes or
• 20 cigarillos or
• 10 cigars or
• 50 grams of smoking tobacco.
Each amount specified in all the points will amount to 100% of the total allowance for tobacco products.
• Medication – for personal use only
• Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 430 euro when travelling by air or sea
• Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 300 euro when travelling by land
• Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 150 euro for travellers under 15 years of age.
Non-commercial item are of an occasional nature and consist exclusively of goods for the personal or family use of the traveller, or of goods intended as presents. The nature and quantity of the goods must not be such as to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons.
IAM Note: Excess amounts brought into Poland are not recommended as the cost is greater than the retail price. It is also very difficult to obtain a license to import alcohol or tobacco. There are extremely high taxes, excise and duties that apply to any amount brought into Poland over the limit.
The import of certain commodities into Poland is prohibited, usually as the result of international sanctions. A variety of goods and commodities are subject to import (and export) restrictions to protect the safety and lives of humans, animals and plants, safeguard national security, or to protect artistic, cultural or intellectual property. Examples are restrictions and controls on the import of certain food products, drugs, pharmaceuticals, environmentally hazardous products, seeds, weapons, explosives, and antiques.
As an EU member, Poland adheres to EU-wide business directives and requires local market compliance.
There is an online customs tariff database, called TARIC, which is designed to show various rules applying to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU or, in some cases, when exported from it. To determine if a product is prohibited or subject to restriction, check the TARIC for that product for the following codes:
For information on how to access the TARIC, see the Import Requirements and Documentation Section.
Prohibited: It is not allowed to import arms and ammunition from Russian Fed. and Syria.
Currency Import regulations:
Same regulations as for Export apply (see: Export).
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (Polish Zloty-PLN) and foreign currencies: no restrictions if arriving from or traveling to another EU Member State . If arriving directly from or traveling to a country outside the EU: amounts exceeding EUR 10,000.- or more or the equivalent in another currency (incl. banker’s draft and cheques of any kind) must be declared.
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The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and is the UK government’s understanding of the current rules. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the entry rules. If you’re unclear about any of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
UK nationals, their spouses and children are included in the list of those who are exempt from entry restrictions related to COVID-19, found on the Polish Border Guards website (in Polish).
The Polish Government has introduced a mandatory 10-day self-isolation period for all people arriving in Poland by public transport from 28 December. Details are found on the Polish Border Guards website (in Polish and English). You do not need to self-isolate if you are:
If you are a visitor to Poland, you must hold a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued in the 48 hour period before arrival. These rules apply for entry by private and public transport or on foot.
However, if you enter Poland from the Czech Republic or Slovakia and live or study in Poland, you must self-isolate unless you hold a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued in the 48 hour period before arrival or have a vaccination certificate showing you have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine authorised for use in the EU.
In addition, regardless of when and how you arrived in Poland, you must self-isolate if you develop any coronavirus symptoms or if you are notified that you have come into contact with someone who is infected or potentially infected with coronavirus. You must follow the advice of a medical professional who may instruct you to self-isolate for longer than 10 days.
If you live with someone who has tested positive you must self-isolate for at least 7 days (or longer if you also test positive). If you live with someone who must self-isolate but has not tested positive, you are not required to self-isolate (unless you later develop symptoms).
If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19 you must contact the Ministry of Health 24 hour hotline on 800 190 590 and press 6 for English language advice. A list of hospitals equipped to deal with coronavirus patients can be found on the Polish Government website.
If you are self-isolating you must not walk your dog or go shopping. You must not visit your doctor unless instructed to do so by them and you may leave your place of stay if you are required to travel to a COVID-19 testing centre.
Entry checks remain in place on land borders with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Some countries also have checks in place on exiting Poland and if you travel to another country from Poland you may need to self-isolate in that country. Check country specific FCDO travel advice for any country that you plan to visit for details.
British nationals do not need a visa to enter Poland or any other EU/EFTA country. Poland now allows direct flights into its territory from a wide number of countries. The list of countries from which flights are not permitted could change at short notice and is updated on the Polish Government website (in Polish).
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
Any time you spent in Poland or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
At Polish border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
You can use a UK Emergency Travel Document to enter, airside transit and exit from Poland.
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Poland. If you are resident in Poland, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see the Polish Border Guards guidance (in Polish) and our Living in Poland guide.
If you are a Polish passport holder you will be treated as a Polish national while in Poland, even if you hold a passport from another country. If you are a dual Polish-British national you must enter and exit Poland with a Polish passport or Polish national identity card. Check with the Polish Embassy in London if in doubt.
Most visitors to Poland experience no difficulties. Serious crime against foreigners is rare, but crimes do occur and in some cases attacks have been racially motivated. You should be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft, and that foreigners may appear to be easy targets. Keep valuables and cash out of sight, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots where pickpockets and bag snatchers operate.
There is a higher risk of robbery at main rail stations and on all train services, especially overnight sleeper trains. You are most at risk while boarding and leaving trains.
Unregulated taxi drivers operate at Warsaw airports and elsewhere. They often overcharge. Only use official taxis, which have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi. They will also show a rate card on the window of the vehicle. Taxis with a crest but no company name are not official taxis.
Don’t leave drinks or food unattended and beware of accepting drinks from strangers. There have been a small number of reports of drinks being spiked and visitors having their valuables stolen.
Check your bill carefully when buying drinks in bars and nightclubs. There have been some reports of overcharging and of large amounts of money being charged to debit or credit cards.
Public demonstrations in Poland are common. Large scale protests have been taking place across Poland since late October 2020 following a court ruling on abortion. Marches and gatherings are mostly peaceful and well-policed, but you should take extra care as in any crowded place. Peaceful demonstrations can turn violent. You should monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Walkers and cyclists must wear a reflective item during darkness when outside a built-up area. Anyone hit by a car or a bike when not wearing a reflective item may be held responsible for the accident. You may get a 100PLN (around £20) police fine for not wearing reflective items.
You must validate a public transport ticket at the start of a journey. You will be fined on the spot if you’re travelling with an invalid ticket, usually 266PLN (around £54). You can buy tickets at most newspaper stands and kiosks with a sign reading ‘Bilety’ or ticket machines found in cities.
If you think you may qualify for a cheaper fare (e.g. you are a student or an older person) always double-check the rules as some cheaper fares may only be available to Polish nationals. You’ll be fined if you travel with a cheaper fare ticket that you’re not entitled to.
In 2019 there were 2,904 road deaths in Poland (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 7.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.
You can drive in Poland with your UK photocard driving licence without the need for an international driving permit.
If you’re living in Poland, check the Living in Guide for information on the rules for residents.
You must carry a driving licence, ID, original vehicle-registration papers, ownership documents and insurance papers when you drive. You will need to show these documents if you are stopped by the police or if you cross non-Schengen borders. This includes rental vehicles. If you do not have these papers the police may take your vehicle and charge you for this. If you drive a vehicle in Poland it must meet local technical requirements.
If you drive and have been drinking (even a single unit of alcohol) you can be charged. If you break Polish driving laws you should be prepared to pay an on the spot fine of between 100 and 500 PLN (around £20-100) in cash in Polish currency to the police. If you live in Poland and have a permanent address you may be given a fine that can be paid later.
If you turn right on a traffic light flashing green arrow look out for people on the zebra crossing. They have priority before you.
You must at all times have your headlights on, at least dipped beam.
You must wear a seatbelt in both the front and back seats, even in taxis.
You must not use a mobile phone while driving (unless ‘hands free’).
You may need to pay a road toll on some parts of motorways, expressways and national roads. More information is available on the toll operator website.
Poland ranks high among European Union countries for road fatalities. Poland is a major east-west transit route for heavy vehicles. The road network is being constantly upgraded, and roadworks are frequent, particularly in summer. Even some main roads between major towns and cities can be narrow and poorly surfaced, making driving after dark particularly challenging.
If you are a dual Polish-British national and are arrested or detained in Poland, you will be treated as a Polish national by the Polish authorities. You will have the same rights as any other Polish citizen in these circumstances (including the right to legal representation).