Immigration law

Invitation to the foreigner and its role in the process of obtaining a visa

Citizens of non-Schengen countries wishing to enter the territory of Poland, in a situation where they are not entitled to enter under the visa-free regime, or on the basis of specified documents (such as a residence card), are required to obtain a visa.

One of the conditions for obtaining a visa is to prove that the foreigner has sufficient financial resources to cover the costs of the planned stay in the territory of Poland and for the return trip to the country of origin or transit. It is also possible to meet this requirement by issuing an invitation to the foreigner.

General information

An invitation is a document in which the inviting person confirms that he or she has sufficient funds to cover the costs associated with the foreigner’s (invited person’s) planned stay in the territory of Poland, including the costs of accommodation and food, as well as the costs of the return journey to the country of origin or residence, or the costs of transit to a third country that will grant an entry permit.

Who can issue an invitation?

An invitation may be issued by

  1. a citizen of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, in certain cases also a citizen of the United Kingdom,
  2. a foreigner who, immediately prior to the issuance of the invitation, resided legally and continuously for at least 5 years on the territory of Poland or who holds a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for a long-term EU resident,
  3. a legal person or an organizational unit without legal personality provided that it has its seat in Poland, e.g. a foundation, association, church order, etc.

Process of issuing an invitation

A person seeking to obtain an invitation for a foreigner, i.e. the inviter, submits an application to the provincial governor with jurisdiction over the place of residence, in which he or she specifies, among other things:

  • data identifying the inviter and the invited person,
  • the purpose of the foreigner’s stay,
  • the foreigner’s place of accommodation, or whether the inviter provides the foreigner with accommodation in his/her own dwelling,
  • financial and earning capacity of the inviter,
  • commitment to cover the costs associated with the foreigner’s stay.

The application shall be accompanied by documents confirming the ability to cover the costs of the foreigner’s stay, as well as confirming the legal title to the dwelling (if the inviter provides accommodation in his own dwelling).

The provincial governor examines the application, and in the case of a positive decision, issues an invitation and enters it in the register of invitations.

How long does the procedure for issuing an invitation and entering it in the invitation register take?

The entry of the invitation into the register is made by the provincial governor. The decision on entry should be issued immediately after an investigation within 30 days, in complicated cases up to 2 months.

The decision of the provincial governor is subject to appeal, which must be filed within 14 days from the date of delivery of the decision.

Is the invitation effective from the moment it is issued?

No – the invitation takes effect only after it is entered in the invitation registry. Only the entry of the invitation in the registry entitles you to use the invitation and use it in the process of obtaining a visa.

How long is an invitation valid?

The invitation is valid for the period indicated in the invitation, but no longer than 1 year.

Does an invitation replace a visa?

No – a foreigner holding an invitation still needs to obtain a visa in order to enter Poland. The issuance of an invitation and entry in the invitation register only relieves the foreigner of the obligation to demonstrate that he or she has sufficient funds for stay, return trip, transit, etc., but this obligation shifts to the issuer of the invitation. The invitation may be an attachment to a visa application – only obtaining a visa entitles the foreigner to enter Poland.

Is the inviter liable for the invited foreigner?

When an invitation is issued, the inviter is obliged to cover the costs of the foreigner’s stay, return trip and transit. If this obligation is not fulfilled, those who have incurred this cost may seek reimbursement from the inviter.

If you need assistance with the visa process or other migration aspects, contact the migration department of our law firm, who will answer questions related to your case.

Author team leader DKP Legal Mateusz Świtalski
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