Visas and passports
Visa extensions can be obtained from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Foreign Visitors Department, 11 Floor, 47a/49 Wspolna Ulica, Warsaw. Children included on their parents’ passports are not charged any fees for visas. Transit visas are valid for 48 hours. If you want a transit visa, you will need a visa for your destination country. Passport and visa regulations can change quite quickly so it’s wise to check with the Polish consular mission in your country of domicile before setting off. American visitors can stay in Poland for six months without a visa. Passport holders from most European countries, the USA and the Commonwealth can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Visitors from Bulgaria, Estonia, Macedonia, Mongolia and Romania can remain for up to 30 days without a visa, while visitors from Hong Kong are allowed two weeks. Visas remain valid for six months from the date of issue.
Visitors to Poland are obliged to register their stay within 48 hours after crossing the border. Registration is performed by the hotel or camp site reception desk.
There is no quarantine in Poland. Tourists are allowed to bring in cats and dogs that have been inoculated against rabies at least three weeks before entering the country. Official proof of vaccination must be available upon request.
The following articles may be imported duty-free:
Alcohol: 2 litres of wine, 5 litres of beer, 1 litre of spirits (for people aged 18 and above). Tobacco products: up to 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco (for people aged 18 and above). Food: up to 200g of coffee, up to 1 kg of chocolate products and presents to the value of $100. Two cameras and one video camera can be imported duty-free. Expensive articles such as photographic, film or hi-tech equipment, jewellery and furs should be declared on entry. The importation of weapons is not permitted. Dogs and cats may be imported, but they must have been immunised against rabies at least three weeks before arrival at the border. The official vaccination certificate (not older than 12 months) must be produced. Many hotels accept dogs, but will make a surcharge. Works of art purchased in Poland, such as antiques and books printed before 9 May 1945, can only be exported as long as an authorisation from the relevant Curator of Art Works or the National Museum in Warsaw is produced. Polish customs regulations are subject to frequent alterations. Before buying anything of value, it makes sense to check that the customs authorities will issue an export license and whether any special documentation will be required. Information: Warsaw Okecie Airport Customs Office, tel: 8469873. Warsaw Customs Headquarters, Ul. Swietokrzyska 12, tel: 6943194.The Polish authorities do not require any special inoculations, but protection against tetanus, polio and diphtheria (the latest booster should have been carried out within the past 10 years) is recommended. If you are planning to spend a lot of time in country areas, particularly those close to the Russian, Lithuanian or Belarus border, then it is wise to see your doctor about the symptoms and treatment of Lime Disease before leaving home. It is also advisable to take out a private health insurance policy.
Since the economic reforms of 1990, zloty can be changed in privately run bureaux de change (kantor). Some travel agents and the larger hotels will change money too. Visitors will find the best exchange rates in Poland. Eurocheques (maximum amount per cheque = 500 new zloty) are not accepted in all change offices, so it may be necessary to go to a bank. Most hotels, car hire firms, good-quality restaurants and luxury goods shops will accept payment with credit cards. Check at a bank or travel agent in your home country for the latest exchange rate. It will roughly reflect the currency’s actual value.
American Express, Visa, Eurocard, MasterCard, Diners’ Club and ice credit cards are accepted in all major hotels, restaurants, cafes, well-established shops, art galleries and car rental agencies. Cash against visa cards can be obtained in banks only. Travellers’ cheques are accepted all over Poland. Loss or theft of credit cards can be reported to PolCard in Warsaw, tel: 274513, 273040 and 274513. American Express cardholder, tel: 6353061/264460.
January 1st – New Year’s Day. May 1st – Labor Day, May 3rd – Constitution Day. August 15th – Feast of the Assumption. November 1st – All Saint’s Day, November 11th – National Independence Day. December 25th – Christmas Day, December 26th – St Stephen’s Day. Movable Dates Easter Monday, Corpus Christi.
Theft is not unusual in places frequented by tourists. It is better to keep any valuables and jewellery in the hotel safe. If you are travelling by car, it is essential to park it for longer periods or overnight on a secure car park even the smaller towns have them. If you are the victim of a theft, report it immediately to the reception desk at your hotel or to the police. The emergency police number is 997. If you lose all your money or your passport, you will have to seek advice from the nearest consulate or embassy.
It is usual to leave about 10 percent of a bill as a tip in a restaurant, hairdressers and for taxi drivers.
Ambulance, tel: 999, Fire Department, tel: 998, Police, tel:997
Most international brands of camera films are available throughout Poland, if perhaps at rather inflated prices. Developing and repairs are, however, quite cheap. Some shops in the larger cities will process films overnight. Those buildings and locations that the authorities regard as strategically important, such as stations, bridges, port installations, police and military buildings, may not be photographed. If you wish to take photographs of people, it is courteous to ask for permission first.
Australia: 3/5 Estonska Ulica, O3 903 Warsaw. Tel: 6176081/5, fax: 617756. Austria: 34 Gagarina Ulica, 00-748 Warsaw. Tel: 410081/4, fax: 410085. Belgium: 34 Senatorska Ulica, 00950 Warsaw. Tel: 270233/5, fax: 6355711. Canada: 1/5 Matejki Ulica, 00-481 Warsaw. Tel: 29805, fax: 296457. Denmark: 19 Rakowiecka Ulica, 02517 Warsaw. Tel: 482600, fax: 487580.
Consulates & Visa Sections
France:1 Piekna Ulica, 00-477 Warsaw. Tel: 6288402/9, fax: 6252031. Germany: 30 Dabrowiecka Ulica, 03-932 Warsaw. Tel: 6173011, fax: 294803. Great Britain: AL Rox 1, 00-556 Warsaw. Tel: 6281001/5, fax: 6252031. Italy: 6 Dabrowskiego PI., 00-055 Warsaw. Tel: 263471/3, fax: 278507. Japan: 7 Grazyny Ulica, 00-548 Warsaw. Tel: 498781, fax: 481412. Norway: 2a Fryderyka Chopina Ulica, 00-559 Warsaw. Tel: 214231/3, fax: 6280938. Russia: 49 Belwederska Ulica, 00761 Warsaw. Tel: 6213453, fax: 6253016. Switzerland: Al. Ujazdowskie 27, 00-540 Warsaw. Tel: 280481, 280482. Spain: lb/flat 10/12/14 Staroscieska Ulica, 02-516 Warsaw. Tel: 499926, fax: 491297. Sweden: 3 Bagatela Ulica, 00-585 Warsaw. Tel: 493351/3, fax: 4952243. USA: 29/31 Al. Ujazdowskie, 00540 Warsaw. Tel: 6283041, fax: 6289326.