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Moving to Poland

Your guide to expat life in Poland. A cultural gem in the heart of Europe

Want to move to Poland?

A strategic location for trade, Poland’s relatively low cost of living, breathtaking scenery and rich history come together to make this central European nation an attractive prospect for expats. Poland has also seen an increase in work opportunities for enterprising foreigners, and new arrivals usually find work in industries such as IT, finance, human relations, manufacturing and English-language teaching.

Poland may lack the diversity found elsewhere but expat populations are growing in major urban centres such as Warsaw and Krakow, contributing to an increasingly cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Polish isn’t the easiest language to learn, but knowing some basic phrases will make expat life easier. Despite the cold winters, the Poles are warm and welcoming towards new arrivals, which will certainly help you settle in.

Basic info about Poland

  • Population: Around 38 million

  • Capital city: Warsaw (also the largest city)

  • Political system: Parliamentary republic

  • Main languages: Polish

  • Main religion: Catholicism

  • Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)

  • Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Two-pin, rounded plugs are standard

  • Currency: Polish Zloty (PLN)

  • International dialling code: +48

  • Internet domain: .pl

  • Emergency numbers: 112 (general), 997 (police), 998 (fire), 999 (ambulance)

  • Road traffic: Drives on the right

Weather in Poland

Weather in Poland is dominated by bitterly cold winters from November to March, when temperatures can fall to as low as -6 °C (-21 °F) in mountainous regions of the country.

The length of the season varies according to the winds, but snow can sometimes fall even as late as April. Summers in Poland are moderate, and extreme heat is rare, with the heaviest rains falling during the summer months.

Key phrases in Polish

  • Hello Cześć
  • Good evening Dobry wieczór
  • Goodbye Do widzenia (formal) / Pa (informal)
  • How are you? Jak się masz?
  • Thank you Dziękuję (formal) / Dzięki (informal)
  • Yes Tak
  • No Nie
  • Do you speak English? Czy mówi pan/pani po angielsku?
  • Can you help me? Czy może mi pan/pani pomóc?
  • Sorry Przepraszam

Shipping to Poland

Shipping goods to Poland is easy and cost effective. However, the major ports of Gdansk and Gdynia are poorly connected to Poland’s major cities, which can delay the process. Transporting your belongings by air is more expensive, but considerably faster than shipping items by sea.

Import duties

As long as it has been used in your home country, most items can be imported duty free. A reputable removals company will advise you on the documents you need and help speed things up.

Banned items

Unlicensed drugs, offensive weapons and counterfeit currency and goods are banned from import into Poland.

Pets

Pets can be brought into Poland, provided they are microchipped in line with ISO standards, vaccinated against rabies and have had blood tests.

Top tips for Poland

See what people responding to our Expat Explorer Survey think about living in Poland.

Bring warm clothes for the Winter. Summers are very pleasant. Make sure that you get an expert company to calculate your tax return if you get paid from outside of the country, since taxes are quite complicated and tax offices very bureaucratic.

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by expatarrivals.com, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in September 2021. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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