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Acquiring real estate in Poland is a rather complex process, especially when the buyer is a foreigner. Although the law allows for such a possibility, special permission must sometimes be obtained.

According to the law on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners, individuals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, who wish to purchase property in Poland, must obtain permission issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Poland. This applies to all potential property ownership acquisitions regardless of the legal title.

The regulations also stipulate that a foreigner purchasing real estate in Poland must meet a series of conditions specified in the law.

Who is considered a foreigner according to the law?

According to the regulations, a foreigner is defined as any natural person without Polish citizenship, as well as legal entities (especially commercial law companies, which typically acquire real estate in Poland). This includes both legal persons and commercial entities with their headquarters abroad or in Poland but controlled by foreigners.

When is permission required for a foreigner to purchase real estate?

According to the law of March 24, 1920, on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners:

The acquisition of real estate by a foreigner requires permission:

The permission is issued by an administrative decision by the Minister of Internal Affairs, provided that the Minister of National Defense does not object, and in the case of agricultural land, provided that the minister responsible for rural development does not object.

To obtain permission to acquire real estate, statutory conditions must be met. Additionally, such consent is not issued ex officio but only upon the foreigner’s application. When a foreigner acquires real estate without obtaining the minister’s approval, such an act is considered invalid and has no legal consequences.

Permission can be obtained by:

  • individuals without Polish citizenship,
  • entrepreneurs with their company headquarters abroad,
  • commercial companies without legal personality with headquarters in Poland.

Furthermore, it is important to note that:

  • Permission is also required to acquire shares or stocks in a commercial law company that owns real estate in Poland, provided that such a transaction would subject the company to control by a foreigner.
  • Permission is necessary when a foreigner wants to buy a plot of land in Poland with a house or apartment in the border zone, regardless of their legal status in Poland.

In what situations may you not obtain a permit?

You will not obtain a permit if the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Agriculture, or the Minister of National Defense deems that issuing a license for the purchase of real estate will pose a threat to the security of the state, public order, national defense, or a threat to public health.

Who is exempt from obtaining a permit?

There are certain exceptions to the obligation to obtain a permit. The following individuals are allowed to freely purchase real estate:

  • Foreigners residing in Poland for a minimum of 5 years from the grant of a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit.
  • Individuals who are citizens or entrepreneurs from countries belonging to the European Economic Area or Switzerland (excluding the acquisition of agricultural and forest properties).
  • Foreigners who are spouses of Polish citizens and have been residing in Poland for a minimum of 2 years from the grant of a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit (in this case, the properties will be part of the statutory marital property).
  • Individuals planning to purchase an apartment in a multi-family building or a garage (it is sufficient to have a visa, residence permit, permanent residence, or a long-term EU resident permit).

In summary, only a foreigner from a country not belonging to the European Economic Area must obtain special permission from the Minister of Internal Affairs to purchase real estate (non-agricultural and non-forest) in Poland.

What does the application for acquiring real estate by a foreigner contain?

The Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration grants permission based on the submitted application. One must prove their connection to Poland in the application, which can be demonstrated through:

  • Polish origin.
  • Spouse being a Polish citizen.
  • Temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit, or long-term EU resident permit.
  • Membership in the management of a controlled commercial company.
  • Conducting business or agricultural activities in Poland in accordance with Polish law.

The completed form, proof of identity, and required attachments must be submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.

Real Estate Purchase by a Foreigner: Step by Step

The process of purchasing real estate in Poland is outlined as follows:

  1. Property Selection.
  2. Conclusion of a preliminary sales agreement.
  3. Obtaining permission for purchase from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Poland (if required).
  4. Conclusion of the sales agreement and its registration.
  5. Insurance of the acquired property.

The application for property acquisition must be submitted along with the necessary documents. The required attachments primarily include:

  • Extract from the National Court Register (KRS) or a foreign register confirming entry into the business register (if applicable).
  • Extract from the land and mortgage register, land register excerpt.
  • Site plan extract.
  • Documents justifying changes in property markings.
  • Extract from the local spatial development plan.
  • Decision on development conditions.
  • Proof of payment of the tax fee.
  • Documents confirming the source of funds for the property purchase.
  • Declaration from the seller expressing the intention to sell the property to a foreigner.
  • Certificate of not being in arrears with social security contributions (ZUS) and tax obligations to the State Treasury (if applicable).

It is essential to note that approval for property acquisition by a foreigner may require the submission of additional documents and information upon the request of the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Procedure for Obtaining Permission to Acquire Real Estate

  1. Filing an application for a permit along with the required documents, including proof of identity, extracts from the national and foreign entrepreneurs’ registry, or a decision on building conditions.
  2. Verification of the application at the Ministry. Checking the application for formal aspects: whether each document in a foreign language has a sworn translation, whether the application contains necessary information and required attachments. It happens that the minister requests additional data or evidence.
  3. Reviewing the application. Ministers have fourteen days to review and issue their opinions. If no objection is issued after this period, they will proceed with the application review.
  4. Receiving the decision regarding the issuance of a permit to purchase real estate. The permit will be issued in the form of an administrative decision. The document may include additional conditions that must be met to acquire the property. This document is valid for two years from the date of issuance.
  5. Obtaining a certificate of the finality of the decision. Such a document may be required by a notary before concluding a real estate sales agreement with a foreigner.

Accelerating the Real Estate Purchase with a Promise (Promesa):

If a company or individual needs permission to purchase real estate, they can expedite the acquisition by obtaining a “promesa” in advance. This is a commitment to grant approval (which does not exempt from the obligation to obtain it). The application for a promesa can be submitted before acquiring the property, incurring an additional cost as a tax fee.

Legal assistance in purchasing real estate by a foreigner involves the participation of lawyers and specialists in the entire acquisition process.

It primarily includes analyzing the legal status of the chosen property, identifying the appropriate procedural steps necessary for the purchase, and participating in negotiations with the seller. The law firm also obtains the necessary permits for property acquisition on behalf of the client, prepares applications, helps gather required documents, and mediates in communications with the notary.

Additionally, the firm handles proceedings for obtaining a promesa. In case of a refusal of the permission application, representation in the appeal process is provided.