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Poland travel advice

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Poland - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Poland.

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Safety and security

Impacts of the armed conflict in Ukraine

In February 2022, Russia began a military invasion of Ukraine.

There has been a significant increase in the number of displaced persons entering Poland from Ukraine. There are important delays at border crossings. Transportation and other essential services may be strained due to the high demand.

Projectiles from the armed conflict in Ukraine have landed in areas near the Ukrainian border, causing casualties. Be aware of your surroundings.

If you are near the border with Ukraine or are transiting through border areas:

  • expect highly congested routes, checkpoints and transportation delays
  • expect limited accommodations options
  • contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your onward travel

Crime

The rate of violent crime, for example, mugging and carjacking, in Poland is generally low. However, petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, mostly 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 Chopin Airport. Most pickpocketing on trains occurs during boarding and disembarking. 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.

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.

Youth gangs can be a threat, particularly in urban areas.

Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

On the train:

  • exercise caution, particularly at night
  • store personal belongings in a safe place
  • don’t leave the compartment unattended
  • ensure the door is locked from the inside

On the road:

  • be especially vigilant when stopped at traffic lights, as thieves travelling on scooters or on foot can snatch bags be from passenger seats
  • Keep your windows closed car doors locked at all times
  • Keep your bags and handbags out of reach

Harassment

Individuals have sometimes been harassed for reasons of race, sexual orientation or foreign-looking appearance.

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs, particularly at bars and nightclubs.  Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

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 these items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Exercise caution at bars, night clubs and adult entertainment venues that lure clients with promises of discounts. Customers have been served spiked drinks and then overcharged on their credit cards while under the influence of intoxicants at such establishments.

  • Carry a limited amount of cash
  • Verify the price list before ordering and the bill before paying
  • Report all crimes to the local police before leaving the country because you cannot file a police report after leaving Poland

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur frequently. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

Large demonstrations have been taking place across Poland since the announcement by the Constitutional Court in October 2020 of a verdict which severely restricts the right to abortion. These demonstrations may continue.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Expect a heightened security presence
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. There is a potential for other violent incidents.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Soccer matches

Confrontations, which at times become violent, may occur between opposing fans at soccer matches. Exercise caution if attending a soccer match or if staying in the vicinity of sporting venues.

Mountain Activities

The South of Poland contains two high mountain ranges, the Carpathians and Sudetes. Mountain activities, such as hiking, climbing, and skiing, can be dangerous if unprepared. Weather conditions can change rapidly and can be severe, even in the summer. Lightning strikes are particularly common in the Tatra region of the Carpathians, as well as a risk of sudden storms and avalanches.

If you intend to go hiking, mountaineering, or skiing:

  • never do so alone
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes, particularly in early or late winter
  • never approach or attempt to feed wildlife

Useful Links

Road safety

Poland continues to improve its highway system, but travel by road can be hazardous outside of major centres. Many secondary roads are are poorly maintained and traffic is congested. Drivers do not respect traffic laws.

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 travelling after dark in remote areas.

Public transportation

  • Use only officially marked taxis
  • Make sure that the taxi meter is in use; 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

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Polish authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Schengen area

Poland is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.

If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.

Useful links

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

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-day period begins upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country within any 180-day period.

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.

Extending your stay in Poland - Office for Foreigners

Entry from Belarus or Russia

If you intend to travel to Poland from Belarus or Russia, you must apply for a humanitarian reasons permit. 

For more information, contact the Polish Border Guards:

Useful link

Dual citizenship

Canadians who also hold Polish citizenship must enter and exit Poland using their Polish passport.

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return ticket or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds for your stay.

Mandatory registration

Foreigners must register their stay in Poland within 48 hours of arrival if the stay is to exceed 14 days. Registration will normally be arranged by your hotel. If you are not staying in a hotel, registration must be organized by your host, landlord or holder of the property deed of the residence.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Tick-borne encephalitis

Risk

Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country. 

It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.

Recommendation

Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.

A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.

Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.

Medical services and facilities

Satisfactory medical care is available in Poland. However, emergency services may be deficient in small towns and rural areas. Medical services require immediate payment. 

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons

Canada and Poland are signatories to the 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. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.

Poland does not recognize dual citizenship and does not allow its citizens to serve sentences abroad. Dual nationals may, therefore, not receive the agreement of the Polish authorities to be transferred to a prison in Canada.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences.

It is illegal to consume alcohol in public places. If you are found intoxicated in a public area, you may be detained and could be taken to a sobering-up centre, where you may need to spend the night. You will be responsible for paying the cost of the stay.

Useful links

Photography

Photography of military installations and some public buildings and monuments may result in a penalty. These installations generally have adequate signage. If in doubt, you should seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Poland.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Poland, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Poland.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Poland, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Polish court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Poland to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Identification

You must carry photo identification, such as,  a passport or a driver’s licence, as local authorities can ask for you to prove your identity. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.

Driving

You must carry an international driving permit. It must be obtained prior to arrival in Poland.

The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device.

The use of seatbelts is mandatory for the driver and any passenger in the car. Children below 150 cm may not ride in the front seat without a child car seat.

Headlights must be on at all times.

Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.02 percent. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and jail sentences.

Foreigners may be required to pay traffic violation fines on the spot.

Cycling

Riding a bike under the influence of alcohol is illegal and subject to detention and fines.

In rural areas, cyclists and pedestrians must wear reflective clothing (or vest) when on the road between dusk and dawn. A cyclist or pedestrian involved in an accident and not wearing a reflective item could be held liable.

Public transportation

Tickets must be validated at the start of any trip. You could be fined on the spot if you fail to show a validated ticket to an official upon request.

Money

The currency of Poland is the zloty (PLN).

If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:

  • banknotes and coins
  • bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
  • bonds, shares
  • gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
  • gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
  • any other convertible asset

This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.

EU cash controls - European Commission

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Natural disasters and climate

Heavy rains and thunderstorms are frequent during the summer, sometimes resulting in flooding. Monitor regional weather forecasts and follow the instructions of local authorities.

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

Warsaw - Embassy of Canada
Street Addressul. Jana Matejki 1/5, 00-481, Warsaw, PolandTelephone48 (22) 584-3100Fax48 (22) 584-3192Emailwsaw-cs@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-PolandTwitter@CanadaPolandConsular district

Belarus

For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Warsaw and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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