Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Poland differ significantly from those in the United States. Poland has the third highest road fatality rate based on population in the European Union. Driving, especially after dark, is hazardous. Roads are sometimes narrow, poorly lit, frequently under repair (especially in summer), and are often also used by pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians account for approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities in Poland.
- Polish roadside services, while not equal to those in the United States, are adequate. The Polish Automobile Association (Polski Zwi?zek Motorowy Auto-Tour) has multilingual operators and provides assistance countrywide 24/7. Call (22) 532-8403 or email email@example.com.
- The police emergency number is 997, fire service is 998, ambulance service is 999, and the general emergency number is 112.
Traffic Laws: You must have a U.S. driver’s license and International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to drive in Poland. U.S. citizens cannot obtain IDPs in Poland. If you stay in Poland for more than six months and continue to drive, you must obtain a Polish driver?s license. You can find information on obtaining an International Driving Permit here.
- Seat belt use is mandatory.
- Use headlights year-round at all times.
- Children under 12 must sit in rear seats. Children under 12 and shorter than 4?11? must use a child?s car seat.
- Using hand-held cell phones while driving is prohibited.
- Polish law provides zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Prison sentences for DUI violations or accidents caused by impaired drivers can range from two to twelve years.
- Fines for traffic violations can be substantial. Non-residents are expected to pay the police officer at the time the ticket is issued. Be prepared to pay in cash in local currency.
Public Transportation: Public transportation in Poland is efficient, inexpensive, and safe. A ticket is required when boarding a bus or tram and if the ticket is not validated upon entry, you may be fined. In cities, taxis are available at major hotels, designated taxi stands, and can be ordered in advance by phone.
Avoid taxis without a company name and/or telephone number printed on the light bar. Make sure that the driver displays his or her license inside the vehicle, has a functioning meter, and uses the meter when starting your trip. At airports in Poland, including Warsaw?s Chopin Airport, only use taxis found at designated stands and avoid unregistered taxi stalls.
Apps-based Ride Sharing: Internet-based ride services, such as Uber, iTaxi, and Freenow, are legal in Poland and growing in popularity as a safe ride option. However, some internet-based ride services may not be authorized to drop off or pick up patrons in some downtown tourist areas.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Poland?s Civil Aviation Authority complies with safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Poland should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal and information specific to Poland can be found on The Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency?s website. Weather warnings specific for Poland are available on The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management website.
Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in?Poland.
Adequate medical care is available, but the quality of hospitals and nursing support may not be comparable to U.S. standards in all regions of Poland. Emergency services may be lacking in small towns and rural areas. Physicians are generally well-trained, and many younger doctors speak English (nurses and staff may not). While medication and treatment are generally substantially less-costly than in the United States, doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment prior to treatment. Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient. Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals. Medication, while generally available, may not be U.S. brand-name drugs.
For emergency services in Poland, dial 112. Ambulance services are widely available.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription. Check with the Ministry of Health Poland to ensure the medication is legal in Poland.
Vaccinations: The CDC does not recommend and there is no requirement for specific vaccination for U.S. Citizens travelers.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:
- Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. U.S. citizens traveling to Poland for medical tourism or elective surgery should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Poland.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.
- Food and water standards in Poland are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. For more information please visit CDC Traveler?s Health.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel
- Cities in Poland have higher air pollution levels than major U.S. cities. Especially in Krakow, levels are often above U.S. health-based standards in the winter. Air quality is often good to moderate during the warm season. Visit the European Environment Agency?s website for information on air quality in Poland.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned, or deported. A U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Under Polish law, a person with Polish and U.S. citizenship is deemed to be a Polish citizen, however dual U.S.-Polish nationals may still ask to see a U.S. consular officer. See our webpage for further information.
Special Circumstances: Polish Customs enforce strict regulations concerning the export of items such as works of art. Contact the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., or a Polish consulate in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, or Houston for specific information regarding customs requirements.
- Taking pictures of Polish military buildings or other national security/restricted objects is illegal.
- Penalties are severe for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Poland. Expect long jail sentences and heavy fines if convicted.
- Local police can stop a car, request identification to establish identity and may ask the driver subsequent questions.
Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business. Information about conducting business in Poland can be found at the U.S. Embassy?s website
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, including Poland, they may still be illegal according to local laws. Possessing or purchasing them is against the law. You may be subject to heavy fines and even imprisonment.You also have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Justice website and the Polish Ministry of Finance Customs Department.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following Department of State webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on consensual same-sex sexual relations between adults or on the organization of LGBTI events in Poland. Polish law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Though the government enforces these provisions, the social acceptance of LGBTI individuals is not as prevalent as in the United States. Government officials have made derogatory comments about LGBTI persons, and harassment and violence against the LGBTI community has increased in recent years.
A number of municipalities and regions have adopted non-binding resolutions declaring themselves "free of LGBTI ideology.? Travelers identifying openly as LGBTI within those areas could face additional harassment.
Travelers with Disabilities: Polish law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities, but some discrimination occurs. Polish law states that buildings should be accessible for persons with disabilities, but in practice, many buildings remain inaccessible. Newer public trains, vehicles, and stations may be accessible, but older ones are not. Wheelchair users will find many challenges throughout the country. Service animals are generally allowed in public buildings and transportation. Pedestrian crossings at intersections in large cities are generally equipped with audible crossing signals.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks, but all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
- Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, or during international events.
- Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.?
- Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.?
- Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
Travel Advisory and Security alerts can be found on the U.S. Mission to Poland?s website.
Crime: Poland has a low crime rate overall, with the highest crime rates being in major cities.
- Safeguard your belongings in public areas. Thieves and pick-pockets operate at major tourist destinations, railroad stations, on trains (particularly overnight trains), trams, and buses. Report incidents of theft to the police.
- Do not leave valuables in plain sight inside vehicles.
- If someone directs you to pull over or signals that something is wrong with your car, continue driving until you reach a safe spot (such as a crowded gas station, supermarket, or a police station) to inspect your vehicle.
- Only change money at banks or legitimate exchange kiosks (kantor). ATMs at commercial banks, large hotels, shopping malls, and airports are safest.
- While casinos and gaming establishments are government-regulated, some are affiliated with or have attracted the interest of organized crime.
- Avoid adult entertainment venues. Such establishments have been known to present foreign customers with inflated charges and threaten those who refuse to pay.
- Travel in a group when going out at night to nightclubs, discos, bars, or high-tourism areas, such as the Market Square in Krakow and Old Town in Warsaw.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the local police. Report crimes to the local police by calling 112 (multilingual emergency dispatch centers serving Poland and EU countries), and contact the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw at +48 (22) 504-2000 or the U.S. Consulate in Krakow at +48 (12) 424-5100. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Provide a list of health care providers in Poland
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States. A list of organizations providing assistance programs for victims of crimes in Poland is available at the website of the Ministry of Justice here.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact local authorities and should also contact the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or the U.S. Consulate in Krakow for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules (with regards to best practices and safety inspections) are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/health/insurance-providers.html).
Entry exit Requirementsh
Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, U.S. citizens are not allowed to enter Poland, even for transit purposes, unless they qualify for an exception. Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page?for more information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in?Poland.?Please visit the CDC website for immunization information.
Poland is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens who are allowed to enter may enter Poland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. However, due to COVID-19 the Border Guards will consider individual exemption on a case by case basis upon request from travelers. If someone qualifies for the exemption and allowed to enter Poland they fall under the normal Schengen rules. Visit the Embassy of Poland in Washington website for the most current visa information.
- Passports must have at least three months remaining validity beyond your date of planned departure from Poland. If you travel to and from Poland to other Schengen countries, it is recommended you have at least six months remaining validity on your U.S. passport beyond departure from the Schengen area. Air travelers to Poland may be denied boarding if their passports lack this remaining validity.
- Polish citizens (including U.S.-Polish dual nationals or those with claims to Polish citizenship) must enter and depart Poland using a Polish passport. Dual nationals who entered Poland only with a U.S. passport, especially those who stayed in Poland over 90 days, may be unable to depart Poland until they obtain a Polish passport. Due to possible delays in obtaining a Polish passport while in Poland, Polish citizens may wish to obtain a valid Polish passport from the Polish Embassy or Consulates in the United States before traveling to Poland.
- You need a visa for stays longer than 90 days or to work or study in Poland.
- Non-EU visitors must obtain a stamp in their passport upon initial entry into a Schengen country in order to depart the Schengen area without difficulty.
Military/Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Travelers: While active-duty U.S. military personnel may enter Poland under the SOFA with proper Department of Defense (DOD) identification and travel orders, all SOFA family members, civilian employees, and contractors must have valid passports. Active-duty military personnel should obtain a tourist passport before leaving the United States to accommodate off-duty travel. DOD travelers should consult with their unit for clearance before leaving the United States.
If you are transiting Poland en route to other countries, know all entry and exit requirements for your final destination. You may be denied boarding for your connecting flight if you have incorrect documentation or not enough validity on your U.S. passport beyond the planned stay in your destination country. If you are denied boarding, you will need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket or an itinerary that does not require re-entry into the Schengen zone in order to return to U.S.
Traveling Through Europe: If you plan to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.
- Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay if you plan on transiting a Schengen country. Review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.
- You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.
- For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.
For further information on entry requirements and current visa information, please contact the consular section of the Embassy of Poland, 2224 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, (202) 499-1700, or a Polish consulate in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, or Houston.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Poland.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Poland for information on U.S.?Poland relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000
American Citizen Services: +48 (22) 504-2784
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000
Fax: +(48) (22) 504-2088
U.S. Consulate General Krakow
Ulica Stolarska 9,
31-043 Krak?w, Poland
Telephone: +48 (12) 424-5100
American Citizen Services: +48 (12) 424-5129
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +48 (60) 148-3348
Fax: +(48) (12) 424-5103