Regulatory - Business Regulation in Poland

Updated: 02.07.2024

Regulatory in Poland: concession, permit, or entry in the register? A guide for the entrepreneur

Are you planning to start a business in Poland? Or have you already established one, but are wondering what are the regulatory conditions you need to meet in order to legally run your local business? In this article, you will find general information on regulatory requirements and principles regarding business concessions, licenses, permits and other forms of business restriction in Poland.

Based on the principle Freedom of Business – doing business in Poland does not require additional licenses and permits unless specific requirements are established by law. In practice, some sectors of the economy, due to their peculiarities, require compliance with specific conditions set by law. 

What are Regulatory Restrictions for Running Business in Poland?

Regulatory restrictions limit entrepreneur’s freedom to establish and conduct a certain type of business activities. These restrictions are established to protect key values for functioning of each country, such as public security, public interest, public morality, crime prevention, consumer protection or the prevention of monopolistic practices, etc.

Any entrepreneur who wants to run a regulated business must obtain the right to do so and meet certain conditions stipulated by relevant regulation.

Poland distinguishes three legal forms of business restriction:

  • Concessions,
  • Permits (or Licenses),
  • Entries in the register of regulated activities.

3 types of rationing in Poland

How to start a regulated business in Poland?

Before applying for a concession, license, permit, or entry in the register of regulated activities, every entrepreneur should have a properly registered business. Often it is required or recommended to register new business in Poland in:

  • National Court Register (KRS), in the case of companies (such as LLCs) and partnerships, or
  • Central Registration and Information on Economic Activity (CEIDG), in the case of sole traders.

Is compliance with the conditions of regulated activities subject to verification?

The assessment of the entrepreneur’s compliance with the conditions is carried out by a specific authority, such as the president of a public office or the competent minister. These authorities verify the compliance of the entrepreneur’s activities with the issued decision and the conditions set forth in the permit or concession.

The relevant authorities may also conduct inspections of business activities and, if the conditions are not met, deprive the entrepreneur of the right to continue conducting regulated activities.

How much does the business license cost?

It is important for the entrepreneur to remember that applying for the required permits involves business license fees, the amount of which depends on the type, services, resources of regulated activity and department of permit applications.

What is a Concession, and Who Needs it?

A concession is the most rigorous regulatory legal restriction in Poland. Obtaining concession for running a business in Poland usually requires significant preparations and effort. Obtaining a concession usually takes some time and resources.

In English language concessions are usually referred to as licenses, despite the fact that in Poland, licenses are different and less restrictive forms of business restriction.

Below you may explore most common concessions.

Concession Type Issuing Authority
Mining Concession:

Minister competent for the environment, or the starost or the marshal of the voivodeship
Explosives and Military Concessions: manufacture and marketing of explosives, weapons and ammunition, and products and technology for military or police use Minister of Interior and Administration
Energy Concessions Head of the Energy Regulatory Office (URE)
Persons and Property Protection Concession Minister of Interior and Administration
Radio and TV Concession: distribution of radio and television programs, excluding programs distributed exclusively through a data communications system, which are not distributed by terrestrial, satellite or cable networks Head of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT)
Gambling Concessions: running a gambling casino Minister competent for finance matters
Air Transportation Concessions Head of the Civil Aviation Authority (ULC)

How to Obtain Concession in Poland? Step by Step Guide

A concession is an administrative decision that allows you to conduct a certain business activity. To obtain or amend a business concession, it is necessary to submit an application to the competent authority.

Note that any changes to the data covered by the application to the licensing authority must be reported within 14 days.

Step 1 – Submit an business concession application

Content of the concession application depends on the type of business activity, however according to general conditions it shall always contain at least the following data:

  1. Entrepreneur’s company,
  2. Registered office and address of the company or residence and address of the entrepreneur,
  3. Address of the main place of business,
  4. Number in the register of entrepreneurs or in the records and tax identification number (NIP),
  5. Determination of the type and scope of the business activity for which the concession shall be granted,
  6. Information and documents specified in separate regulations governing business activities requiring a business concession.

What should an application for granting or amending a concession contain?

Make sure you meet all the legal requirements specified in the regulations. Once you have prepared and filled in the application, submit it to the competent authority and await a decision.

Step 2 – Verification by an competent authority

The next step is for the competent authority to verify that you meet the conditions required to conduct a specific business activity. As part of this process, the authority may:

  • Request on the entrepreneur to complete the missing documentation within the prescribed period, under pain of leaving the application unprocessed,
  • Verify the information indicated in the application to see if you meet certain conditions,
  • Verify that the entrepreneur provides a guarantee of proper performance of the licensed activity.

Verification by the concession authority is intended to ensure that all legal requirements are met, and the entrepreneur is prepared to conduct business in accordance with the regulations.

Step 3 – Issuance of the concession

The authority may take one of the following decisions in response to your application:

  • Grant concessions,
  • Refuse to grant a concession,
  • Limit the scope of the concession in relation to the application submitted,
  • Refuse to change the concession.

Decisions of the Authority in response to an application for a concession

The authority may refuse to grant a concession or limit its scope if:

  • You do not meet all the requirements,
  • There was a concern about a threat to the defense or security of the state and citizens,
  • The concession was granted to another entrepreneur as a result of a trial or tender,
  • A decision has been issued declaring the inadmissibility of exercising rights from the shares of an entrepreneur, and it is in the public interest.

Can the authority conduct an inspection after granting a concession?

Remember that the issuance of a decision to grant a business concession does not end the inspection and verification process. After you have been granted a license, the authority may continue to monitor whether you are conducting your activities in accordance with the provisions and conditions issued.

How is such an inspection carried out?

The authorized body for the purpose of inspection may:

  • Enter the Real Estate, facility, premises, or parts thereof, where the licensed business activity is carried out, during the days and hours when such activity should or is carried out,
  • Demand access to data related to the subject of the inspection,
  • Demand oral or written explanations,
  • Demand production of documents or other information carriers related to the licensed activity.

After finding deficiencies, the authority may summon the entrepreneur to correct them within a specified period.

If you do not meet these requirements, the authority may:

  • Restrict the concession temporarily,
  • Withhold the concession,
  • Or even revoke the concession.

It is very important to keep in mind that if your concession is revoked, you will not be able to apply again earlier than 3 years from the date of the revocation.

It is very important to keep in mind that if your concession is revoked, you will not be able to apply again earlier than 3 years from the date of the revocation.

What is a concession promise?

Once you know that it will be necessary to obtain a concession to carry out a certain activity, you can apply for a promise to issue a concession, or promissory decision, before the concession is issued.

What do you need to know about the concession promise?

  • The promise of a concession is not equivalent to obtaining the right to operate with respect to the licensed activity.
  • It is a document that facilitates the company to obtain financing for the planned investment.
  • The promise can therefore be applied for during the construction phase of the project.
  • It establishes a validity period of not less than 6 months.
  • During this period, the authority may not refuse to grant a business concession unless the following circumstances arise:
    • The data previously included in the promissory decision application has changed,
    • Not all the conditions specified in the promise were met,
    • The conditions for carrying out licensed business activities have not been met,
    • The refusal is justified by circumstances of danger to the defense and security of the state or citizens.

The promise of a concession is therefore an important document for entrepreneurs planning investments, as it provides certainty for future concessions, provided that all specified requirements are met.

What is the Process for Obtaining a Business License in Poland?

Your activity may require licenses and permits only if it is specified explicitly in the local legislation. Licenses in Poland are, in general, less restrictive and easier to obtain than concessions. Business licenses and permits are after verification by the competent authority if the entrepreneur meets the technical and organizational capacity to carry out a certain business activity.

In practice in Poland – permits and licenses are one broader category. In theory the difference is that licenses primarily apply to companies whose running requires special education or qualifications to perform specific professions, e.g. property appraiser, lawyer, architect, tax advisor.

In practice, a license has the same effect as a permit – it means consent to undertake and conduct business activities, and at the same time confirms the possession of specific rights.

The authority is obliged to issue a license permit if you actually meet the conditions for carrying out a certain activity.

The license or permit is issued in the form of an administrative decision, which means that the authority will issue it through an administrative procedure. The authority is obliged to issue a license permit if you actually meet the conditions for carrying out a certain activity.

Below you will find a table with example activities for which permit is required:

Type of License Licensing Authority
Sale of Alcohol Permit: business activities related to the sale of alcohol wójt (head of a rural gmina), city mayor or president (for retail sale) and the marshal of the voivodeship or the minister competent for the economy (for wholesale)
Pharma Licenses: business activities related to pharmaceutical products Voivodeship Pharmaceutical Inspector
Excise License: excise business activities Head of the tax office
Waste License: waste business activities Marshal of the voivodeship, poviat starost (head of the poviat) or the regional head of environmental protection

Entry in the Register of Regulated Activities – the simplest form of business regulation in Poland

Obtaining an entry in the register of regulated activities is the simplest form of business regulation in Poland. To obtain an entry, an entrepreneur must:

  • Meet certain conditions for conducting such activities,
  • Apply for registration in the register of regulated activities,
  • Submit a statement of compliance with the conditions required to carry out this activity (as an attachment to the application).

It is important to keep all documents that prove that you meet the conditions for performing regulated activities. They may come in handy in the event of an inspection.

Registers of regulated activities are kept in public form. This means that anyone can view them through the specific body that maintains them.

The registry discloses the company’s data, NIP number and, at the request of the authority, other data as well, in accordance with data protection regulations.

Below you will find a table with examples of business types requiring entry to the register of regulated activities:

Business object Authority keeping the register
Alcohol Production: production and bottling of alcoholic products (wine products, spirits, as well as purification, denaturation, dehydration of ethyl alcohol) National Center for Agricultural Support
Storage of personnel and payroll records of employers with a temporary retention period Marshal of the voivodeship
Confectioning and marketing of plant protection products Voivodeship Inspector of Plant Health and Seed Inspection
Detective services Minister responsible for internal affairs
Running an individual or group medical practice District Medical Council
Conducting individual or group practice of nurses, midwives Main Council of Nurses
Driver training activities Poviat starost (head of the poviat) competent for the place of business
Organizing travel events Marshal of the voivodeship
Telecommunications activities Head of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE)

When do I get an entry in the register of regulated activities?

If all conditions have been met by the entrepreneur, the authority keeping the relevant register will issue an ex officio certificate of entry within 7 days of receipt of the application.

If all conditions have been met by the entrepreneur, the authority keeping the relevant register will issue an ex officio certificate of entry within 7 days of receipt of the application.

Remember! If you cease to conduct regulated activities, it will be necessary to apply for removal of the entrepreneur from the register.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you completely give up your business, the moment you are deregistered from CEIDG or crossed out from the KRS, you will also be automatically discharged from the register of regulated activities. You do not need to submit a separate application then.

When can an authority refuse registrations?

The local authority will refuse entry in the register of regulated activities in the case of:

  • Issuance of a final judgment prohibiting the entrepreneur from carrying out the business activity covered by the entry,
  • The entrepreneur was removed from the register of regulated activities due to the issuance of a decision prohibiting him from carrying out the activity in the 3 years preceding the application,
  • In cases specified in specific regulations.

Your questions - our answers. Get in touch with our law firm!

Your questions – our answers. Get in touch with our law firm!

If you have questions about business license, permit or registration in the register of regulated activities, contact our law firm.

Our experts will help you understand the legal requirements and guide you through the process so you can legally run your business without any problems. We have experience with many industries, small businesses, and big corporations that can determine your success!

Expert team leader DKP Legal
check full info of team member: Prof. Eryk Kosiński
Expert team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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check full info of team member: Prof. Eryk Kosiński