Cracow is not only a popular vacation spot, but becomes a more permanent home to live. Should you, like thousands of visitors before you, fall in love with the city enough to want to stay for an extended period, there are a few things to consider:
Legalizing your Stay
UE and EEA citizens do not need a visa to stay in Cracow. After no longer than 91 days of stay they need to visit the local Voivodship Office and register. The applicant must prove that he/she is subject to public health care insurance, and has enough money to cover the cost of staying in Poland.
Non EU and EEA citizens must apply for a long term visa at their local Polish consulate. The certificate of enrollment is required. The visa is valid for no longer than 12 months and must be reevaluated in a local Voivodship Office. The visa allows staying in Poland and for the first three months also in other Schengen Agreement member countries. It’s also possible to apply for a residence permit. In order to acquire the permit, international students must have a valid health insurance policy and enough money to cover the costs of stay and return to the country of origin.
Learn the Language
Do not forget that learning Polish is a necessity. Sure, you may be able to get around well enough for a short time on just a few words, but for a long term stay you will have to be willing to put in the effort to adapt to a sometimes difficult and overwhelming language barrier. You will also have to adapt to an exchange rate that is no longer in your favor. Your salary will be much lower than you’re used to, and necessities such as clothing will seem much more expensive in comparison.
Difficult to find a job
For non-EU citizens, it is also much more difficult than it once was to find a job in the city. The days when any native English speaker was eagerly seized up are gone. With Poland’s ascension into the EU, jobs are much more competitive, even the once-common jobs teaching of English. Although you may be able to find hourly jobs at some language schools, beware that many are not reliable and may attempt to hire you illegally. Your best bet is to find a job through an international company working in Poland.