Who may start up a business in Poland ?

Conditions of commencement of business activity in Poland are regulated mostly by the Act of 2 July 2004 on freedom of business activity.

According to this act foreigner is defined as:

  • natural person without Polish citizenship;
  • legal person with its registered office located abroad;
  • organizational entity without legal personality, whom the Law grants legal capacity (LCE), with its registered office located abroad;

According to Art. 13.1. the following groups of foreigners may start up entrepreneurial activity on the same conditions as Polish persons:

  1. foreigners from European Union member states,
  2. foreigners from European Free Trade
    Association member states – parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area,
  3. foreigners from states non-parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, which may take advantage of entrepreneurial freedoms on the basis of agreements executed by these states with European Union and its member states (e.g. Switzerland),
  4. citizens of other states than referred to in section 1 and 2, who have obtained:
    • permanent residence permit;
    • long-term resident of European Communities status granted in Poland;
    • temporary residence permit for university students;
    • temporary residence permit for foreigners reuniting with family members in Poland;
    • temporary residence permit for foreigners who were granted inother EU member state than Poland long-term resident of European Communities status (their family members are as well entitled to start up business in Poland);
    • temporary residence permit for family members of individuals referred to in items a), b), g), h);
    • refugee status;
    • subsidiary protection;
    • consent for stay issued on account of humanitarian reasons or consent for tolerated stay;
    • temporary residence permit and are married to Polish citizen domiciled in Poland;
    • temporary residence permit for conduct of business activity granted on account of continuation of this activity as sole entrepreneur on the basis of entry to business registry (pol: CEIDG);
  5. foreigners granted temporary protection in Poland;
  6. foreigners possessing valid Polish Card;
  7. foreigners, who are family members (within the meaning of art 2 point 4 of Act of 14 July 2006 on arrival to Poland, stay therein and departure from its territory of  EU citizens and their family members) of citizens referred to in section 1, 2, 3.

These forms of conducting business activity are as follows:

  • sole proprietorship;
  • registered partnership;
  • professional partnership;
  • limited partnership;
  • limited joint-stock partnership;
  • limited liability company;
  • joint-stock company;
  • cooperative;
  • branch of foreign entrepreneur;
  • representative office of a foreign entrepreneur.

Other foreigners than those cited above are entitled to commence business activity as:

  • a partner of limited partnership;
  • a partner of limited joint-stock partnership;
  • a shareholder of limited liability company;
  • a shareholder of joint-stock company.
  • Moreover foreign entrepreneurs, under strict circumstances, may set in Poland:
  • branch of foreign entrepreneur;
  • representative office of a foreign entrepreneur. 

According to art. 14 of the act on freedom of business activity, entrepreneur (natural person) may start up on the day on which an application to business registry (CEIDG) is submitted. Commercial companies may operate after an entry to National Court Register (KRS) has been made. Nevertheless, capital companies may start up before the entry to National Court Register is made. During this time they operate as capital companies in formation.

Possibility to operate in specific area may be subjected to respective decisions (e.g. licenses, permits) of public authorities. It applies for example to fuel and alcohol trade or road and railway transport. Sometimes economical operation in specific area requires registration in special registers (i.e. designated for money exchange offices).

The material provided above is for general information purposes only and cannot be regarded as legal advice. Should you require legal assistance, please contact a lawyer.

TomaTomasz Nowaksz Nowak

attorney-at-law