As defined in the provision of Polish law, foreigners are persons who do not have Polish citizenship.
In the territory of the Republic of Poland persons who simultaneously have a Polish passport (citizenship) and the passport of another country or several countries are treated as Polish citizens.
The following persons are eligible for undertaking and realizing formalised study programmes and participating in research and development work according to the same principles as Polish citizens:
- foreigners who have been granted a permit to settle in the territory of the Republic of Poland
- foreigners who have been granted refugee status in the Republic of Poland,
- foreigners enjoying the temporary protection in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
- migrant workers who are citizens of a member state of the European Union, the Swiss Confederation or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – and countries party to the agreement for European Economic Area (EEA), i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as the members of their families, if they reside in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
- foreigners who have been granted a long-term residence authorization of the European Communities,
- foreigners who have been granted a residence authorization for a fixed period in the territory of the Republic of Poland in relation to the circumstance described in art. 53 section 1 items 7, 13 and 14 of the “Law on Foreigners” dated 13 June 2003 (Journal of Laws of 2006 no. 234 item 1694, uniform text, as amended),
- foreigners who have been granted the subsidiary protection in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
- citizens of the member states of the European Union, the member states of EFTA – EEA or the Swiss Confederation and the members of their families, who have the right of permanent residence.
Persons holding a valid Polish Card (Karta Polaka) are eligible for undertaking and realizing formalised study programmes following one of the categories specified below :
- either according to the principles applicable to Polish citizens, which includes the right to apply for all kinds of material aid benefits (scholarships, relevant grants etc.) granted to the students and doctoral students having the Polish citizenship,
- or in the mode and on the conditions other than those applicable to the citizens of the Republic of Poland. It should be noted that as such (for example beneficiaries of the scholarships granted by the Republic of Poland to foreign students), they may not apply for the bursaries assigned by the universities from the state budget subsidy dedicated to the non-repayable material aid for students and doctoral students.
Conditions for formalised study applicable to persons who do not hold full Polish citizenship:
Foreigners who have completed an advanced level of secondary education attested to by a certificate issued in a country other than the Republic of Poland, or who have completed university studies attested to by a diploma issued in a country other than the Republic of Poland may be admitted to formalised study programmes without having to meet the entry requirements applicable to the Polish citizens. If, for a specific area of study, particular skills or competences are required, foreign candidates must demonstrate that they meet these requirements during the application process to be offered a place on the desired study programme.
In order to undertake studies in Poland (first- and second-cycle studies, long-cycle studies or doctoral studies – i.e. the third-cycle studies or postgraduate studies) foreigners have to prove their authorization with an appropriate document, legalized or bearing an “Apostille”, granting the right to undertake the particular level of education in the country in which that document has been issued.
The category of the persons who may undertake education on the conditions different from those applicable to the Polish citizens includes:
- third-country nationals,
- holders of the valid Polish Card who renounce applying for the admission on the principles applicable to the Polish citizens,
- citizens of the member states of EU, EFTA-EEA and Switzerland who have decided to undertake education in Poland according to the conditions regarding the citizens of non-EU countries.