Personal ID

All adult citizens of Poland who live on the territory of Poland are obligated to carry a personal ID. Refusing to fulfil this obligation is a petty offence punishable by imprisonment or fining (article 5 item 2 and article 79 of the act on personal IDs).

All the other Polish citizens (minors and Polish citizens living abroad) are only entitled to, but not obligated to carry this document.

The personal ID is a document that:

  • establishes the person’s identity, and
  • confirms his or her Polish citizenship on the territory of:
  • Poland,
  • other EU member states,
  • non-EU countries of the European Economic Area,
  • the countries that are not parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area whose citizens enjoy the freedom of traffic under the agreements concluded by these countries with the European Community and its member states, as well as under unilateral decisions of other countries that consider this document satisfactory to cross their borders.
  • Furthermore, the personal ID entitles its holder to cross the borders of the above-mentioned countries.

The act on personal IDs came into force on 1 March 2015. It introduced the new personal ID template and changed the set of information included on the ID. Furthermore, the personal IDs issued after 1 March 2015 have limited validity and expire either 5 (in the case of IDs issued to children younger than 5 years) or 10 years (in the case of IDs issued to everyone else) from the date of issuing.

Personal IDs contain the following information:

Information about the holder:

  • surname,
  • name(s),
  • family name,
  • parents’ names,
  • date and place of birth,
  • sex,
  • photograph of the face,
  • PESEL number,
  • citizenship.

Information about the document:

  • series and number of the personal ID,
  • date of issuing,
  • expiry date,
  • name of the authority issuing the personal ID.

The personal IDs that had been issued in accordance with the earlier regulations remain valid and there is no need to have them replaced. However, one should apply for being issued a new ID in the following cases:

  • the ID has expired,
  • the data on the ID have changed,
  • the face of the ID’s holder has changed,
  • the ID has been lost,
  • the ID has been damaged, which makes it difficult or impossible to identify its holder.

Applying for personal ID

Personal IDs are issued free of charge upon request that must be filed personally, with the exception of:

  • underage person with more than 30 days to his or her 18th birthday on whose behalf the application is submitted by one of the parents or the legal guardian. If fewer than 30 days remain until the person’s 18th birthday, the underage person may submit the application personally
  • Incapacitated persons, on whose behalf the application is submitted by one of the parents, the legal guardian or the curator.

Personal IDs are issued by the commune authorities, but the application can be submitted with any commune authority in Poland, irrespective of the place of current residence or the place of registered residence of the applicant.

The application must meet the formal requirements listed in the act on personal IDs and in the Resolution of the Minister of the Interior concerning the personal ID template, as well as the manner and mode of proceeding in the cases of issuing personal IDs, lost IDs, damaged IDs, as well as voiding and returning IDs.

The most important formal requirements include the following:

  • the application must be submitted on the official form;
  • the application can be submitted:

In writing (as a paper document)

or as electronic document

  • by personally submitting the filled out and personally signed form at a commune authority’s office. The applicant must attach his or her current photograph that meets the requirements defined in the above-mentioned Resolution;
  • if the application is filed by statutory representatives of underage or incapacitated persons, they need to attend the procedure of submitting the application. This does not apply to persons who are younger than 5 years.
  • by sending the filled out form to a commune authority; the form must be signed by a secure electronic signature verified by a valid qualified certificate and by a signature authenticated with a trusted ePUAP profile (electronic platform for public administration services);
  • the applicant must also attach a photograph file that must meet the requirements of the above-mentioned Resolution. The applicant’s identity is verified during the pick-up of the personal ID by inspecting his or her current personal ID or valid passport, and in the case of persons who obtained Polish citizenship – by inspecting the travel document held or another identity document.

Upon demand of the authority, in case of discrepancies between the data included in the application and the data in the Personal ID Registry, the applicant will be obligated to provide: an abridged transcript of the Polish birth certificate, in the case of getting marries - an abridged transcript of the Polish marriage certificate, a court ruling, a document certifying Polish citizenship.

If it is impossible to submit the application due to illness, disability or another obstacle that cannot be overcome, the applicant should notify the commune authority about this fact and authority will make it possible for the application to be filed at the person’s place of residence, unless other circumstances do not allow the application to be accepted.

If a person has to have headwear in accordance with his or her religion, the headwear can be present in the photograph as long as the face is not obscured. In such a case the application must be supplemented with a certificate of belonging to a religious community registered in the Republic of Poland.

The applicant receives a confirmation of submitting the application for personal ID containing the estimated date on which the personal ID will be ready for pick-up, respectively: on paper or electronically.

The personal ID is issued within 30 days from the date of submitting the application. In particularly justified cases this deadline can be extended, and the applicant should be informed about such extension.

The ID must be picked up personally at the commune authority office in which the application was submitted, except for the following cases:

  • IDs issued to persons without legal capacity are picked up by their parents or legal guardians;
  • IDs issued to persons with limited legal capacity are picked up by the person applying for the personal ID, a parent or their curator.
  • in the case of accepting the application for personal ID at the applicant’s place of residence, the personal ID can be picked up by the applicant\'s representative holding a special power of attorney authorising him or her to make the pick-up.

When picking up the personal ID the foreigner who obtained Polish citizenship must return the document confirming the legality of his or her stay on the territory of Poland.

Holding the personal ID will be helpful during the passport issuing procedure or when being entered into the registry of votiers.


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Project “New law - my new rights” is co-financed by European Fund for Integration
of Third Country Nationals and Polands state budget

 Copyright © by Foundation for Development Beyond Borders, 2015