Poland - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Poland. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
The rate of violent crime in Poland is generally low. Petty crime (pickpocketing, purse snatching) occur, particularly in larger cities. Organized groups of thieves operate at major tourist destinations, on public transportation, at train stations, near hotels and in busy markets. Thieves also target the bus and tram route to and from Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport.
Exercise caution on trains, particularly at night. Store personal belongings in a safe place, do not leave the compartment unattended and ensure the door is secured from the inside. Most pickpocketing on trains occurs during boarding. Commonly, a group of well-dressed young men will jostle and rob a passenger as they supposedly attempt to get around the victim in a narrow aisle of the train.
Youth gangs can be a threat, particularly in urban areas. There have been reports of individuals being harassed for reasons of race, sexual orientation or foreign looking appearance.
Poland has been improving its highway system, but travel by road can be hazardous outside of major centres. Most roads are poorly maintained, narrow and badly lit, and traffic is congested. Some drivers have little regard for traffic regulations and do not follow safe driving practices.
The country's role as a major east-west route for transport trucks also poses risks. Horse-drawn and slow-moving agricultural vehicles are common in rural areas. Avoid driving long distances at night.
Use only officially marked taxis. Make sure that the taxi meter is in use, as all registered taxis are required to have an operating meter. The taxi should display the rate per kilometre on the back passenger window, visible from outside the vehicle. Be wary of taxi drivers who approach you at the airport or whose vehicles do not display telephone numbers and a company name; these drivers usually charge exorbitant rates.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
General safety measures
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
You must report the loss or theft of your passport to the local police. A police report is required for the issuance of a new passport or the replacement of a Polish visa.
Mobile phone users can dial 112 for emergency assistance and roadside assistance. Dial 997 to reach police, 999 to reach ambulance and 998 to reach fire fighters.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Polish authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of their expected departure from the Schengen area. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return ticket, proof of sufficient funds for your stay and proof of travel/ medical insurance.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized. Dual citizens should possess both Polish and Canadian passports. Dual citizens are obliged by Polish law to enter and leave Poland with a Polish passport, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Work visa: Required
Student visa: Required
* The 90 days begin upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area.
To stay longer than 90 days, Canadians must apply either for a Polish visa in Canada before arriving in Poland or for a temporary residence permit while in Poland and must have a valid reason for extending their stay, such as education or employment. For information, please consult the Polish Office for Foreigners.
The following 26 countries comprise the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen area has common rules regarding visas and controls at external borders:
You do not need visas for short-term visits of up to 90 days within a six-month period. Your stays are cumulative, and include visits to any country within the Schengen area. Some countries require that you register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
After 90 days of stay in the Schengen area, you must leave for another 90 days before you can re-enter.
If you overstay the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported. To visit for longer than 90 days, you must obtain a long-stay national visa.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Poland.
Satisfactory medical care is available in Poland. However, emergency services may be deficient in small towns and rural areas. Medical services require immediate payment. Keep your medical invoices to obtain reimbursement through Canadian insurers.
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
Canada and Poland are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Poland to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Polish authorities. However, dual citizens may not receive the agreement of the Polish authorities, as Poland does not allow its citizens to serve their sentences abroad.
As Poland does not allow its citizens to serve their sentences abroad, dual nationals may not receive the agreement of the Polish authorities to be transferred to a prison in Canada.
The official and commonly spoken language in Poland is Polish. Services in English can generally be found at hotels, restaurants and shops in major tourist locations. French is not commonly spoken in Poland. You may experience difficulties in obtaining services in English or French outside major tourist destinations. This is also true of many governmental services, including medical care, police services and public transportation.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.02 percent. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and jail sentences.
The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device. Headlights must be on at all times.
Before leaving Poland, confirm whether you may leave the country with any works of art or antiquities that you purchased. There are export restrictions on items created before 1960.
The currency of Poland is the zloty (PLN).
Credit cards and debit cards are accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in all major cities and towns. Traveller’s cheques are less common and often not accepted.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to Customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Showers and thunderstorms are frequent during the summer, sometimes resulting in flooding. Monitor regional weather forecasts and follow the advice of local authorities.
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