Acquisition of real estate in Poland by foreigners
As a rule, the acquisition of real estate in Poland by a foreigner requires a permit from the minister responsible for internal affairs. The provisions of the Act on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners of March 24, 1920, however, provide for a number of exceptions to this rule, enabling, inter alia, free acquisition of residential premises or acquisition of any real estate by citizens or entrepreneurs from the countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
Acquisition of real estate by a foreigner from a Polish spouse
On the other hand, the acquisition of a of land with a house or agricultural land by a foreigner from outside the EEA or Switzerland (e.g. a citizen of Great Britain, Ukraine or Israel) from his spouse is still subject to certain restrictions. First of all, he or she cannot purchase real estate located in the border zone or agricultural land with an area of more than 10,000 sq. m. without a permit.
With regard to other areas of Poland, entering into marriage with a Polish citizen may only in certain situations facilitate the process of acquiring real estate without a permit by a foreigner.
Firstly, a foreigner - spouse of a Polish citizen may purchase real estate without a permit if he or she has resided in the Republic of Poland for at least 2 years from the date of obtaining a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident's European Union residence permit. Importantly, the property purchased must be transferred to the joint property of the spouses.
Secondly, it is also possible to acquire real estate without a permit by a foreigner who, on the day of purchase, is entitled to statutory inheritance within the meaning of Polish law from the transferor of the real estate, and the transferor of the real estate is its owner or perpetual usufructuary for at least 5 years. Pursuant to the provisions of Polish inheritance law, the spouse belongs to the circle of statutory heirs, therefore a foreigner may purchase real estate from his or her spouse who is a Polish citizen, as long as a minimum of 5 years has elapsed since its acquisition by that spouse.
It should be noted that the above regulations cannot be applied to the acquisition of real estate by a foreigner as part of the division of joint property after divorce with a Polish citizen. Theoretically, in such a situation, the only possibility of purchasing real estate by a divorced foreigner is to obtain a permit from the Minister or to have a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident's European Union residence permit for at least 5 years.
Supreme Court to help foreigners
In the resolution of March 24, 2022, issued in the case with reference number III CZP 48/22, the Supreme Court ruled that pursuant to Art. 6 sec. 1 of the Act of March 24, 1920 on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners (consolidated text: Journal of Laws of 2017, item 2278), the sanction of nullity does not apply to the acquisition of real estate on the basis of a final court decision on the division of joint property after the cessation of joint property between spouses.
In other words, the Supreme Court ruled that a foreigner may purchase real estate upon the judicial division of joint property between spouses without the need to obtain a permit from the Minister. It should be emphasized that the resolution relates directly to the division of property ordered by the court. It does not, however, apply to the division of joint property by way of an agreement between the former spouses concluded in the form of a notarial deed. The conclusion of such an agreement resulting in the acquisition of real estate for the personal property of a foreigner still requires a permit from the minister competent for internal affairs, unless the permit is not required due to the person of the foreigner or the type of real estate.