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.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
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:
- the holder of a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued within 48 hours before you cross the Polish border – both PCR and lateral flow antigen tests are acceptable;
- fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and produce a certificate of vaccination for a vaccine authorised for use in the EU;
- entering Poland in a private car;
- aircraft crew, crew of a ship or crew of another transport type;
- a public transport driver (of a vehicle able to carry 9 people or more) or a lorry driver;
- a diplomat or family member of;
- a student studying in Poland (including a parent/guardian who crosses the border with them);
- a student or researcher carrying out academic activities;
- legally residing in EU/EEA but transiting Poland;
- participating as a competitor or staff in an international sports competition;
- travelling for professional, official or employment reasons.
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 to Poland
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).
Regular entry requirements
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to Poland and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
- to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Polish government’s entry requirements. Check with the Polish Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
- if you stay in Poland with a visa or permit, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit
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:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
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.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
You can use a UK Emergency Travel Document to enter, airside transit and exit from Poland.
UK nationals resident in 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.
Safety and security
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.
Licences and documents
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).
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