For Foreigners

How to get a PESEL number

If you’re a foreigner who recently made their way to Poland, you may have heard of something called a PESEL number and wonder whether you really need one. The answer is yes, and I’ll explain why in this post.

A PESEL number is the Polish version of a social security number, so it’s the number which identifies you and allows you to do various important things. It’s legally required for anyone planning to stay in Poland longer than 30 days.

You’ll need a PESEL if you’d like to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Open a company
  • Pay taxes
  • Go to the doctor via NFZ (Polish health service)
  • Get a residence permit
  • Apply for loans
  • Get a driver’s license
  • Generally, anything that involves an institution

How to get a PESEL number

These days, Urząd Miasta (city hall) has streamlined the process for getting a PESEL and everyone who registers their stay (zameldowanie) also gets a PESEL number. If you’re an expat trying to get a residence permit (karta pobytu), you’ll have to do this anyway. Simply go to city hall and ask where to “zameldować”, and they’ll send you in the right direction. Be sure to take your rental contract with you.

The application process is free and you will wait up to 30 days for the number to be sent to your home. As for completing the process, you may want to take someone who speaks Polish with you to the office, as it’s not a given that the civil servant (urzędnik) will speak English. But you never know, maybe you’ll get lucky 🙂

Overall, it’s a very simple procedure and having a PESEL number will make your life in Poland much easier. For an even more in-depth guide, I recommend Poland Unraveled’s Expat’s Guide to PESEL Number and for other legal advice.

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  • Reply Mojamen Miah 19 February 2021 at 17:54

    Hi I’m trying to apply for a Pesel number, but the polish friends have made, are more interested in everything else apart from helping me to get a Pesel Num.🤦‍♂️
    I purchased an apartment last year , because of the COVID I was not able in time to apply, as uk nationals out off Europe. I also have a bank account, here in Kraków. But no Pesel number yet. ! Just lots off zeros and they are using my passport number as Pesel.
    Ur advice and help is greatly needed🙏.
    I’m trying to register my apartment, but I think the so called friends off mine ! Not telling me everything.

    • Reply James Daniels 17 April 2021 at 08:12

      Hi Mojamen, Did you get everything sorted. You need to apply to stay in Poland if you have not done so already. you have until the end of the year to do so.

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