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PESEL for foreigners in Poland

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PESEL for foreigners in Poland

If you are foreigner living in Poland, you can register your residence – in such a situation, you will automatically obtain a PESEL Number [Polish acronym for „Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population”]. If you cannot register your residence, and any agency requires a PESEL Number from you – submit an application. Check how to do this.

Eligibility for obtaining a PESEL Number

  • You will obtain the PESEL Number ex officio – if you register your residence in Poland for a stay of over 30 days.
  • Submit an application with any municipality/township office – if you cannot register your residence, but you need the PESEL Number.

What you have to prepare

If you register your residence:

You can submit the application In person or by a Proxy acting on your behalf. Learn more at the office how to handle the matter through a proxy.
Remember! Provide the actual legal base in the application, which entails the obligation of holding a PESEL Number. If Any agency (for example, ZUS (Social Security Agency) or tax Office requires the PESEL Number – it should also provide you with the legal base of such a requirement.
If there are any deficiencies in the application – you will be informed that they need to be supplemented. The office will not be able to review your application, if the said application fails to meet official requirements.

How much you will pay

This is a free of charge service.

How long you will have to wait

The official will immediately accept your application. If there are grounds for assigning the PESEL no. – you will receive notice of assignment of the PESEL Number.

Where to collect

at the municipality/township office where you applied

Legal base

  • The Population Registration Act of 25 September 2010 (Journal of Laws of  2021 r. Item 510),
  • Regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs of 4 January 2012 regarding the assignment or change of PESEL N Numbers (Journal of Laws of 2015 r. Item 1984)

PESEL (Polish: Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności, Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population) is the national identification number in Poland. It consists of 11 digits that are unique for every registered person. It looks like this:


  • YY – last two digits of a year person was born in
  • MM – month
  • DD – day
  • PPPP – random number, but the last digit indicates person’s gender (odd number is for male, even – for female)
  • K – randomly generated number

Since 2018 every foreigner in Poland is obliged to register his/her address in a proper district office (where he/she lives). Process already includes assignig unique PESEL number to a person, so technically every international student and worker in Poland should have PESEL. Obviously, not every one has, but if you are a foreigner who plans to stay in Poland for longer period of time, you definitely should think about going through the whole procedure.

This is particularly important when you are an employee (that includes members of staff at the UW). Until 2018 employer who hired international worker could use Tax Identification Number (NIP) in order to settle taxes, but now it applies only to persons who are engaged in their own business activity. So having PESEL number is the only way for regular employees to settle things up with Polish tax office.

If you are interested only in gaining PESEL number without registering your address, you can also do that. You only need to fill in the application form (download in Polish) and deliver it to:

  • the office of the district in which you live (if you have registered your address already)
  • to the office in which your employer has his headquarters, or
  • to Śródmieście district office if you are not employed at all/company in which you are employed is located outside of Poland: Śródmieście District Office – Communication Department (Urząd Dzielnicy Śródmieście – Wydział Komunikacji) Leona Kruczkowskiego 2, 00-001 Warszawa

You will also need to bring documents confirming your identity and other data included in the application form. In addition, the application should state the legal basis, from which the obligation to obtain a PESEL number results. Note that if any office (e.g. ZUS or tax office) requires you to have a PESEL number, it should also specify the legal basis for such a requirement.

Author: The Migration Bureau

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