Poland has been drawing more and more foreigners to Poland for some time now. Just as Poles are emigrating to Western countries, more and more people from the East are moving to Poland, especially from Belarus and Ukraine. In light of recent events, Poland is even more likely to become a place of residence for expats.

What conditions do foreigners have to meet in order to get a loan? What should be kept in mind?

Documents required from expats

The conditions that an expat must meet in Poland vary depending on whether he has EU citizenship or not. If he has, according to EU directives, he has the same access to bank offers as a Pole.

This does not mean that the decision will definitely be positive. The bank verifies many aspects to be sure that the borrower’s life center is actually in Poland. A big role is played by the type of employment contract. However, there are far fewer formalities here and the whole process goes more efficiently.

A foreigner from outside the European Union must have additional documents and the most important of these is the Residence Card.

Residence Card

In the past, in order to get a loan in Poland, banks required Polish citizenship. Currently, banks take a less radical approach and require a permanent or, in some cases, temporary residence card from non-EU expats. Temporary residence is a less favorable option from the point of view of the banks and, depending on the bank, may be required for different periods ahead. The most common is 12 months but you can also find offers with shorter and longer periods. Some banks only accept permanent residence cards.

For borrowers residing in the European Union, resident status is sufficient.

The applicant should also have:

  • A valid passport,
  • A registered address in Poland,
  • PESEL number

A permit for the acquisition of real estate by an expat

For foreigners from outside the European Economic Area (this area includes the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland, it is necessary in some cases to obtain a permit for the purchase of real estate from the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration. The permit is issued on the basis of the foreigner’s application. Permits are issued if the foreigner demonstrates his ties to Poland by indicating, for example, that he has a spouse with Polish citizenship, a temporary or permanent residence permit, Polish ancestry or is doing business in Poland.

The real estate purchased for living needs should not exceed 0.5 hectares and must not be located in border areas.

Below is a list of situations in which a permit is not needed. These include:

  • Purchase of a so-called independent apartment – this is an apartment consisting of rooms and auxiliary rooms (e.g., kitchen, bathroom) that provides adequate housing;
  • Purchase of a parking space or shares in a garage – refers to a situation where the purchaser of an independent dwelling wants to buy a garage, in order to ensure adequate housing conditions;
  • When the expats have been living in Poland for at least 5 years after receiving a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident’s residence permit;
  • Purchase of a property that will become part of a community of property – occurs when a expat has a wife or husband with Polish citizenship and has lived in Poland for at least two years since obtaining a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident’s residence permit;

Creditworthiness, own contribution

As in the case of Polish citizens, banks will check whether expats have sufficient creditworthiness, good credit history, the required own contribution and have a stable form of employment (preferably an indefinite employment contract).

Banks in Poland have access to registers corresponding to the BIK register. For citizens from Ukraine, these include the Ukrainian Bureau of Credit Histories or the International Bureau of Credit Histories.

As for the own contribution, here too there is no special difference whether a Polish citizen or an expat applies for a loan. Depending on the bank, between 10% and 20% of the value of the property is required. The greater the contribution made by the borrower, the better the terms of the loan.