Moving to Poland from the US

US to Poland – Why I moved

About seven years ago I moved from the US to Poland. Many people could not believe it. I moved from Boston’s Beacon Hill to Kraków, Poland.  Do not get me wrong, I am a patriot. I love America but that does not mean I have to limit my life experiences.

Since pictures speak louder than words, I took these photos today just walking around my house.  They are nothing special but gives you a real idea what life is like in Poland and why I would want to move from the US.

moving to Poland
Poland is so beautiful it is not hard to move from the US to Poland

My grandparents came from Poland many years ago. I have always had an interest in Poland and Polish history from afar. After taking several trips to Poland I decided to study the Polish language in Kraków for a few months. But why did I move? I meet the girl who was to be my future wife. It was my destiny.

We would not have stayed if I did not love Polska.

Polish workers
Hard working Polish workers making Poland greater everyday

Why I moved to Poland and stayed

  • The USA is about 200% to 300% more expensive than Poland for the same exact things.
  • People are very humble and sincere, churches everywhere and people take family and church seriously.
  • It is the center of Europe and from Poland you can go anywhere in a short distance. I often go to Lviv, Vienna , Africa, Greece or the Northern countries with ease.
  • A new experience.
  • Poland has great food, if you love Polish cooking and fresh home cooked meals, you will love Poland. Fresh food in Poland tastes nothing like these large farm grown produce in the United States.
  • Interesting history and culture and art.
  • Countless other reasons I moved from the US to Poland.

Poland gets better everyday

About five years ago people use to say Polish people complain a lot. I do not think that is the case much anymore. Poles are pretty optimistic and every year the economy is getting better and better. Life is pretty good in Poland.  Life is real in Poland, not some something that comes in a package and is heated in a microwave.  People enjoy their lives with 8 weeks of family vacations a year.

Poland shopping
You will feel no deprivation of consumer goods as Poland has huge shopping malls like or as nice than the USA

The people here have a strong sense of family and values.  I think in innocence and values it was like America in the early 1960s.  I hope it does not change too much.

market square Krakow Poland
Window shopping is always fun on the largest open square in all of Europe.

What about consumer goods when moving to Poland?

You can get anything you want in Poland and usually at a better price and quality. Many things are still made in Poland and most thins come with a two year EU warranty.

Polish trams
Modern Polish trams move people in Poland around their ancient cities.

Basically you have a USA lifestyle that is more interesting, mentally stimulating, 1/2 to 1/3 the price more peaceful, no guns and few violent crimes, free education to the University level and health care. Polish weather is better than the UK or Ireland or many northern countries but not as hot as Spain or Italy. But that is what vacation is for and I enjoy the four seasons in Poland. It is like living in New England.
Poland has mountains and the sea as well as lakes and ancient forests all very beautiful.

Polish country home
I am thinking of moving from the center of Kraków to a wooden house in the Polish countryside.

I have my apartment set up like I did when I lived in the USA. It is large and furnished with Ikea, high-speed Internet.  No standard of living difference.
I have no idea why the expensive USA is still the ideal to live in when the world now is global.

Gothic building Krakow Poland
Gothic buildings are everywhere in Poland.

If you need advice on moving to Poland from the USA or Canada or from where ever you live, leave a comment. If you need to know about work in Poland or a visa or citizenship I will answer the best I can.

Polish church my street
A Polish church on my street

If you need travel advice, or any ideas about moving to Poland again just write a comment and I will answer the best I can.




592 responses to “Moving to Poland from the US”

  1. Ebrahim

    Hello Mark,

    Me and my friend are hopefully moving to Poland probably Krakow. We are from Kuwait, life here is very different for us because we don’t think like the society here and want to move on leaving our families. One way for life right? Do what you want.

    1. My friend has a bachelor degree but I just have a grade 9 high school. Haven’t finished school because of serious family problems before and had to leave and work. Will this affect me for a job? Probably not the best.

    2. I will have backup cash with me while I move there of course, together with my friend we have around 80,000 dollars with us. We dont want to come for a vacation or mess around, basically start something,work and settle for good.

    3. Reckon they’ll give us a resident visa?

    4. I have a Kuwaiti driving license, does it work there? If not is it hard to get one?

    5. We’re hopefully looking to marry Polish women.


    1. Mark Biernat

      On what basis would the Polish government give you a visa? If you do not have an EU citizenship or Polish blood why would they give you a visa?

      1. Magda

        Hello. I have few questions that maybe you can answer…I have a US citizenship however I did come to US 24 years ago. My US citizenship is not dual.

        My fiancé and I are contemplating me moving for little bit – few years to Poland. I would know what to do in US to get him settled here but I need to have more clarifications as to what I need to do in Poland.

        Taxes – assuming that I will or not work in Poland, I would file taxes as normal – right? Did you go through this as well?
        Do I just set up a family address as a mailing address for all US communication or what did you do?
        Did you move your car to Poland? If yes – what was the process.
        If I get married in Poland do I need a visa or citizenship?, I don’t want to loose US citizenship status.
        What paperwork do I need to work in Poland?
        How did you manage us and polish bank accounts ?

        Thank you in advance.

        1. Mark Biernat

          You have to file US taxes but income will be excluded up to like 92k a year USD. However, you have to file. You can use a US or Polish mailing address they do not care, but you need to file and follow the physical test rule of where you actually are for how long. No stress, its easy, you can do it with TurboTax, I always did.

          Duel citizenships and visas are allowed and not an issue. I had a car but sold it in Poland too much hastle as transportation is good. Bank accounts I had Mbank in Poland and my credit union in the USA. You can use a cash or ATM or bankomat on both accounts not an issue. I use my visa card a lot to get points. I recent got 1k back on all I spent.

          1. William Guinan

            I visited Poland about 5 years ago and fell in love with people and the culture, my parents are both from Europe Germany and Ireland both passed. I’m retiring and will have a pension of 50k year, for my wife and I. My question is how well could I live in Poland and how does the health care work if I was not a citizen. Thank you

          2. Mark Biernat

            You can live a great life there. The question is do you have a visa to enter the EU? If not you have to get a European Citizenship based on your parents, which should be easy. After that, you can live anywhere in the EU including Poland.

          3. Daniel Rudewicz

            Hey, I’m thinking the same thing, and just 2 days ago I briefly learned about dual citizenship, but I am very poor in the U.S.A., but I am capable of doing many jobs. I move furniture, I can organize peoples living spaces, layout, as well as paperwork organization for a smooth running home life. Yeah, I’m always scared to start a business, I’ve been mentally and emotionally abused most of my life, maybe due to my mental illness, but I want to fend for myself now, I want to work, I want to be successful, I want to be self sufficient. I am part Polish, and my real name is Daniel with a Polish surname, and friend me, I would love to privately converse about you with this, my nickname is Space, I’m an ex professional musician, but my life is heading towards a different type of career. I want to move to move to Poland, I’m a patriot of U.S., but I long to go back from where my great great grandfather came from. I love Polish Culture, and I plan on purchasing all Polish products from now on, except, if they don’t make it, and its necessary.

          4. Mark Biernat

            Daniel, I am sorry you have gone through the struggles in life you have. I do not have the answers about that as I do not know the nature of your illness. I would recommend considering yoga to help heal and release some of the emotional pain. Further, if your issues are from your turbulent past then this can heal with time.

            I love Polish culture too. If you want to live there, you would need to go though a visa process like in every country. I would recommend checking the requirements at the Polish consulate website. The documents can be found online. For income you could always teach English.

        2. Magda

          Hello. I would use facts that my family is in Poland and I left xx years ago. It would be a family type of a move plus my fiance. I do have a BA and MBA so that should also be of a value.

          Thank you for your comments. There is so much overwhelming information that I began to focus only on him coming to US as I can manage the process here.

  2. Ebrahim

    Hey Mark,

    Something like a self employed visa if we didn’t find a job.

    1. Hjrr

      @Ebrahim Only if you start a Polish company would this possibly work. You have to read the Polish immigration laws, they have been translated to English. You still have to apply for legal residency and the process can take months. But that is only if you can travel to Poland visa free, if you require a VISA just to get her, than that has to be done at the Polish Embassy in your country.

  3. Deborah Davidson

    My husband & I do not like what is going on in the USA. People say Poland is the best place to move. What is the government like, taxes housing? Can you get by with only speaking English. How do you get in? Visa, work visa, citizenship, etc.

    Very concerned about economic collapse in USA & morals going down the tubes.

    We are both Christians. Thank you.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Morality in the USA has pockets of decadence and pockets of morality. I meet a family who lives in rural Alabama and home schools their family. They live an idealistic life. Take the Amish, they are American. On the other hand many people in the USA swap partners and think nothing about it. So much in the USA is about money and lifestyle.
      Poland ten years ago was a Christian model country. It is changing but nothing like the USA. People are very civil and basically abide by the ideals of a Christian life, even if they complain a lot.
      As Poland is an EU country costs are normalizing with the world. A Fiat in Poland cost 2k less than a Fiat in the USA. A computer slightly more, gas, double the USA. Taxes are 19% flat and 22% VAT. It is all about the same today. What is different is I think medical care is very cheap in Poland, as is public transport and education. You can live a good life on 1500 dollars a month, having all you want. People do not care if you are poor or rich in Poland as much, less stratification and less materialism. I would recommend a trip there if you can. All you need is English, you can teach. The visa thing is the problem. To settle in Poland you need a visa, which can be obtained if you read my site.

      1. Carol Ann

        My husband and I are considering relocating to Poland. We are seniors. Will the cold weather be too much for us? I am of Polish heritage. I grew up with a deep love and respect for all things Polish. The best people I have ever known were my parents and grandparents on both sides. We long for a quality of life that is now missing in America. Somehow, America has lost its vitality, its ethics and therefore its soul.

        You mentioned in your articles about the essence of Poland being an indescribable “something special”. The soul of Christianity is shining through especially because the Poles are a long suffering people. The Spirit of Poland is amazing. My parents exemplified the best in humanity. As Mom always told me, “Pray hard, work hard and play hard”. A rock solid integrity always has been my parents’ hallmark. If the “regular Poles” are anything like my parents, it’s the best country in the world.

        My Busia on my Mother’s side longed to return to Poland but the wars intervened. She and Dziadzia were living in the Mid-West. She always spoke about the magnificent beauty of Poland and her great desire to return there.

        1. Mark Biernat

          There are a lot of seniors in Poland. A whole country full. If you mobility is restricted there is a great public transportation, but it is not a country yet for people with real disabilities without family support, as the winters make like pretty cold, and to get around in the ice, without help might be hard. It is like Toronto, Canada or Chicago weather wise. Most people are in mild weather when they retire so that is a choice you will have to determine. I like cold weather. Some of my friends retire to Maine or Cape Cod, so it depends on you and your physical condition. Certainly medical care is cheaper and there are good English speaking hospitals.

          The good side is yes Poland has soul. People are religious and traditions and holidays and life has a different quality than in the USA. You can find pockets of this in the USA. You can move to a small town and find life like Henry David Thoreau and live deliberately. You could also do this in Poland.

          Since Poland joined the EU you have Amazon and all the good consumer goods we have in the USA, so you would not feel deprived unless that was your intent. It is just a matter of the would you like life there?

          But to answer your question, yes, life feels real and different. Will it stay that way I think so for a while at least.

        2. Denise

          My grandparents also came to the United States and could not return to Poland when the war came. I am retired now and want to stay in Poland. I just don’t know where to start.

    2. Hjrr

      Poland is a great place to live, work and raise a family. You could check with a Polish consulate or embassy if you live near, but my experience has been they can not do anything unless you already have a job offer or have been admitted to a university. In this case they can issue a 1 year work or student visa. Otherwise, as US citizens you can travel to Poland visa free for 90 days. During this time you should register at the nearest Office For Foreigners. This process can take several months so you need to have $ to carry you during this period.

      Once approved, you should have “Karta Pobytu” (temp. Residency card) which should allow you to work. Residency is usually only granted to people who come to Poland to work or study, so if you are retired it might take more effort. Than you can look for work like any other citizen. Since you only speak English (for now) you are best to live in major cities to find work, unless you want to teach English (as a native speaker) in this case you could move almost anywhere. There are a lot of jobs in Poland that require English usually call center, tech support, sales support and engineering related. A lot of US and UK companies have a presence here but mainly in Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw. IBM, Cisco, Akamai just to name a few.

      If you have Polish roots, you can apply directly to the Polish President to have Polish citizenship granted, but actually you can apply for any reason. The fee is 600-pln (about $200) you can even do this from the USA. After living in Poland legally for 5 years you can apply for citizenship, or if married to a Polish citizen 3-years. Applicant forms should be found with a google search or from the embassy website.

      A 3rd path, which I do not recommend (but it can work) is to apply as a refugee/political asylum, most likely you will not get it, but you may still be granted residency. This path takes longer and you have to go to the refugee office which is not a pleasant task.
      My suggestion, come visit, apply for residency and see how it goes, you can always move back or visit the USA.
      I sometime call Poland the 51st state, because as a Christian American you feel safe and at peace here. Practically anything you would want is here; Or you can make it from scratch.
      I hope this helps.
      HJRR (you can see my “Poland” videos on YouTube, just search on 4-initials)

      1. Marie S

        I have strong Polish roots, on my father’s side, both sets of great grand parents immigrated to US from Poland, grand-parents were born and raised in US, and when they gave birth to my father he was technically “full-blooded” Pole. I am seriously considering a move there, the only thing I am concerned about is the air quality, I am a doctor, specialty training in psychiatry, also worked heavily with US military, and had two patients from Poland who told me there is a need for psychiatrists in Poland. I wanted to ask you more specifically about applying directly to the president for citizenship. After you go that route then do you have to live in Poland and wait five years to become a citizen? It was unclear from your post.

      2. Marie S

        I gave the wrong email in the prior post, sorry,

        You had said “If you have Polish roots, you can apply directly to the Polish President to have Polish citizenship granted, but actually you can apply for any reason. The fee is 600-pln (about $200) you can even do this from the USA. After living in Poland legally for 5 years you can apply for citizenship, or if married to a Polish citizen 3-years. Applicant forms should be found with a google search or from the embassy website.”

        I have strong Polish roots, on my father’s side, both sets of great grand parents immigrated to US from Poland, grand-parents were born and raised in US, and when they gave birth to my father he was technically “full-blooded” Pole. I am seriously considering a move there, the only thing I am concerned about is the air quality, I am a doctor, specialty training in psychiatry, also worked heavily with US military, and had two patients from Poland who told me there is a need for psychiatrists in Poland. I wanted to ask you more specifically about applying directly to the president for citizenship. After you go that route then do you have to live in Poland and wait five years to become a citizen? It was unclear from your post.

        1. HJRR

          There are no requirement for “application”.
          If you are granted citizenship you are granted citizenship. Do what you want, live where you want.
          You mentioned that your father was Polish at birth (full blooded). So make that part of your application.
          The forms are quite detailed with a lot of questions and well as documents you need to provide.
          In my opinion for $200 and some homework to gather all the required documents, and have everything translated to Polish it is worth the effort.
          Unfortunately, for catholic Polish people who’s parents emigrated to the USA, there does not seem to be any organized effort to help you get your Polish citizenship back. Google polish law firms (99% are in warsaw) that deal with polish citizenship…. They all seem to be marketing to lost Jews, who want to come back to Poland. I contacted several of them, willing to pay them for assistance, and they all refused claiming “they would lose money” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? $2000 to fill out some forms for me and your going to lose money as a Polish lawyer?!
          Bez senszo…. Learn that phrase, you will use it a lot in Polnad “makes no sense”.
          If you are “Polish American” and coming to Poland anyway, you can easily register yourself in the country and be legal for work in 3-6 months. But the citizenship route before you come, and if you have time, is well worth the effort. Just do it!

          1. Marie S

            Thanks, how did you know I was Catholic and not Jewish?

            I am “half-blooded” Polish by birth, and a lot of what I do makes no sense. I am sure I will know that phrase in no time. I know a lot about Polish history, their way of life, how they think, (I delved deep into why my psyche in the way most mental health professionals do in training, the only thing I could see the reason for half of the things I did was embedded deeply in my Polish ancestry.) Don’t even get me started on WWII. Poland lost 1/3 of it’s population. One third. Grant it, many were Jewish, many were not. Why did the world not declare a Polish Holocaust? Estimates are between 5-7 millions Poles died. Where is the justice?

            Thanks again.

          2. Mark Biernat

            There was a Ukrainian holocaust too which was 7 million Ukrainians by Stalin. Jews in Poland are Poles, that is the way I see it. 500 years of living there I see no reason not to consider Jews and Poles as one. Religion or race however you define it Poland like all freedom loving countries consider a person as a person. I can recommend and you will find your real roots. I was really surprised my my findings but also delighted. They also give you insight into genetic patters of your psyche.

        2. HJRR

          Seriously, having lived in several cities Krakow, Warsaw, Lublin and well as spent time and lived in their suburbs, air quality in the cities is gonna be worse then the suburbs or the country side. But I never considered it a problem, it is not like China’s pollution problems.
          If you have lived in any major American city ; New York, Chicago, LA, San Fran, etc, than you have experienced air pollution as bad as Poland’s.
          What can I tell you, except unless you have COPD or some other serious breathing problem, you will have no problems in normal Polish life.
          If you are a Dr. And should make an above average income and if you are bringing your saving with you, you can live comfortably outside the cities pollution hot spots.
          I do not see this as a problem with anyone who can decide where they choose to live.
          Quality of life and clean food along with some fresh air and a beautiful Polish girlfriend will cancel out any air pollution you imagine.
          Hope this helps.

          1. Marie S

            Thanks! However your reply was a little biased on the remarks. I am a middle age Polish Princess, married to a fine Highland King (he has Scottish roots). He is the one doing all the research…I would already be at the embassy screaming to let me in..he is training with the co-founder or first student of founder, not sure, of Systema, a Russian martial art that is very big in Europe. It would be a dual move to suit us both. We are just getting a little tired of the US, lack of opportunity, what they are doing with healthcare, and all the regulations! Thanks again!

    3. nowaytoday

      Poland modeled its government and architecture along with the US when Reagan was president. Poland is what the US used to be before Obama became President. Poland is a capitalistic society.

      1. Peter Lyles Przekop

        My Catholic grandparents emigrated to the US separately to bacopa a marriage arranged by their parents in 1899. They left their Catholic families and Jewish friends behind. I have been considering retirement in Poland but the pre-Obama, economic catastrophe created by far right here who would make Reagan turn over in his grave and conservative posts by other Americans here makes me apprehensive. America is diverse and my grandparent’s children, though Catholic, were independence or liberal in their politics. All my uncles fought in the American military in World War II.
        The recent revelations relating to forcing change in your judicial branch seems more in line with fascist and neo-Nazi political trends in other European countries countries today I have visited.
        My reason for considering Poland to live out the remainder of my life is due to the rise of the extremist manipulation of the my fellow Christians who would have our laws in the US follow their beliefs as Sharia law exists in Iran! My family has followed the brave action of the Polish people leading eastern Europe towards democracy with a judiciary protecting minorities and respecting the views of minority groups and freedom of speech and beliefs.
        The media here is now controlled directly or indirectly by 6 men who want assault rifles to continue to remain on sale at discount stores, though they have made misguided, poorly informed citizens, through the far right, believe that the aim of legislation to require background checks is to eliminate All gun sales. If Poland is devolving into an anti-semitic,fascist religious state like Iran, in the guise of Christian only law then most Americans of Polish decent would find that repugnant.
        I want to escape the right wing militia groups for physical my safety as I age and a reasonable cost of living. Poland is at the top of my list but comments I see here don’t seem to reflect the positive image I have grown to believe is Poland’s future. I don’t want to live between the two largest military powers, one run by Donald Trump and the religious right and the other by Vladimir Putin.
        Please give me some insight into where I have hoped to make my last home.

        1. J

          Maybe you stay away from Poland and move to France instead, some other left wing paradise.

          1. Marie Sprague

            I concur. I am registered independent in the US and do not party affiliate. That being said the Librals and current administration has made a mess of the economy which makes moving to Poland attractive if one had a marketable skill set. I am a female doctor and have done well for myself but will have to work well into my 80s to pay off student loans, house and credit card debt it took to get me where I am. However Socialism is not the answer as you can see how well it’s working in Europe, South America, China, and the old Soviet Union. What made the US great is free markets and we are losing that there and there appears to be more of a free market in Poland from what I have heard. I know as a physician I am drowning in government regulation that is wasteful and useless and damaging to patients. Most, if not all physicians who don’t work for Big Brother agree. How is government regulation in Poland? Are most business swamped in it like we are in the US or can someone make a living there in a free market?

          2. Mark Biernat

            Perhaps it is because I do not know all the regulations in Poland I do not feel them as much. I think that in Poland besides the VAT the regulations can be less. They have a 19% flat tax. I think there are more people as entrepreneurs making money there in a smaller way. America has more capital so the scale is larger. Property tax is basically non-exist.Insurance is relatively cheap as there are not frivolous lawsuits. That being said it is still not as rich so you can make more in a relative way but not an absolute way. You have to think of a niche for yourself as a doctor and build from there in the US or Poland.
            The US is turning a bit socialistic left wing for my tastes but you can still make money if you are creative.

          3. Scott Overmyer

            I was adopted and assumed that I was either English or perhaps German. As it turns out, through DNA testing ( as well), I am apparently of direct Polish descent, perhaps even a closer generation than my wife, who is also of Polish descent. I may even qualify for Polish citizenship, depending on whether or not I can document my complete tree.

            You never know what you might find out. 🙂

  4. jeffery orzech

    what is the currency of U.S.A. to Poland dollars? Excluding airline costs how much US dollars will I need to sustain myself for two weeks, living a moderate lifestyle??

    1. Mark Biernat

      Exchange rate is on about 3:1.
      Your main expenses will be:
      – hotel or hostel (cheaper) about 1200 in Krakow for a room with a bathroom,
      – food – depends if you eat out and where about 50 zl a day which gives you around 700 for 2 weeks and 2000 polish zl total .

      You have to also look at bus/train fair if you are planning to travel within Poland, shopping etc. will cost more.
      1000 dollars is a reasonable amount if you being frugal but will make the trip comfortable.

  5. Hans Brandt

    Hi Mark,
    My wife and I are German-American Missionaries living back in East Germany since 2009. We are thinking of moving to my Wifes Grandmothers former home City of Stettin. What do you think? and how Anti-German are the Poles still? We are NOT anti-Polish but we just want to feel welcome if we come! What can you say about that?


    Hans and Esther Brandt
    Neubrandenburg / Germany

    1. Mirek Bieniak

      First of all:after WWII City was renamed Szczecin.I have been to that place numeral times long time ago.People are as friendly as they can be all over Poland.I think that even streets signs are bilingual (Polish+German)these days.You can also check Gdansk(formerly Danzig).Enjoy as it is worth it.

    2. Mark Biernat

      There is a good amount of polish people living in Germany and you won’t be the first German family living in Poland.
      Polish people like to explore and in many families there is some relative living abroad. Especially now when Polish people move to other countries and travel a lot it’s easier for a foreigner to live in Poland.
      Polish people are no different from any others – you will have people who like you for your background and you will have ones who see you through historic filter.
      Polish people however are religious and although young generation tends to grow apart from it they see faith as a value. Even for the people who like to be “trendy” and think spiritually and religion are passe, they still have the base of living in a religious country and have respect for that.
      I don’t think anybody will dislike you for being German if anything it would be the fact that you are not Polish – few past decades did reflect in isolation but also made Poland very unified.
      As long as you are a decent human being (which obliviously as a Missionaries you are) you will be as good and welcomes as in any other European country.

    3. Hjrr

      Hans and Esther,

      If you are German-American , I would simply focus that you are American in the beginning rather than that you are German. But seriously, if you present yourselfs and decent people you should have no problems. However, if you are Morman missionaries I can only say good Luck converting anyone in Poland. As far as I know from speaking to past Morman missionaries in poland, no one converted from Roman Catholic which is the dominant faith in Poland.
      Good luck and welcome to Poland.

  6. Mark

    Hello Mark,

    I am interested in moving to Poland. I was born in Poland and left when i was two. Im 34 now. I have a valid us passport and expired polish one. How hard would it be for me to relocate to Poland? And what about work? I am currently an automotive technician. I specialize in the Volvo car brand.



    1. Hjrr

      I believe you should have little problem finding work either with an established Volvo dealership which their are many, or with any decent auto repair shop. The only question is how much you might expect to make which should be above average in Poland, but nothing like what you made in the USA.
      If you come to Krakow, let me know, because my 1996 V40 needs some minor work. I could give you some suggestions for dealers to apply to if you want.
      Good luck and welcome home!

  7. Aaron

    My wife and by birth our daughters are Polish citizens however I am not. I am a Project Manager and Quality Engineer working in the Healthcare and IT industries and have grown very tired of the decline in values and economic conditions in the USA and am looking for alternatives to help secure a happy family life and financially stable future for our daughters.

    Due the the fact that 3/4 of our family are Polish citizens I figured Poland would be the best place to start, besides its location within the EU also makes it an ideal starting point to look for a new country to call home.

    With little information about moving to another country I am relying on my training and am looking for foundations to help me start my search and decide if this might be the right move for us. With that said I would like to start with how to acquire answers to the following information as well as up to date relevant economic, social and cultural data.

    -What is the best way to determine the current job market in my particular field?
    -What is the current economic conditions in Poland as compared to the USA/EU?
    -What are the top and fastest growing industrial sectors within Poland?
    -What is state of Poland’s medical device, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries if any?
    -What is the current job market for positions in my area of expertise?
    -Where are the best locations to raise a family?
    -Has Poland suffered adversely as a result of the global economic meltdown of 2007 – 2009 and to some degree today?
    -What are the barriers to an American who speaks no Polish and understands a little to working in the country?

    I know this is a great deal of information to absorb and is only the tip of the iceberg but not knowing anything other than being a US citizen I have to start someplace. I have asked my wife to inquire with her friends and family back in Poland but as you have indicated these types of questions dont seem to be of paramount concern to Poles as they are to Americans but nonetheless questions that I have to have answers for before making a decision. Its my families welfare and happiness after all.

    Any advice and guidance you can provide would be of great interest and most appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. Hjrr

      Aaron, if your wife is a polish citizen and you are married more than 3 years you can apply for citizenship at a Polish embassy or consulate in the USA. I WOULD DO THIS IMMEDIATLY. Look into it now.
      Poland was the only EU country to not suffer a recession in the 2007-2009 economic collapse.
      Generally the economic conditions are good here. The malls are always packed!
      Medical, IT and tech industries are doing well as far as I can see. A lot of the medical industry is in the public domain, but there are large private medical groups as well. Every business needs IT of one kind or another!
      Being a native english speaker will be helpful if you look at larger Multi-National companies that are operating in Poland and in CEE generally. Smaller companies might require Polish language skills, but you can learn the language if you put in the time.
      Most likely you will make less money (in USD) but the overall cost of living and lifestyle requires less $ here to maintain or even improve your overall quality of life.
      Poland was recently used as an example of a “poor” country doing the right thing in the public schools and producing excellent results…. Beating the USA in math and science scores.
      Liquidate all your possessions, max out your American credit cards, wire your money to Poland and start over!
      Why not? It’s your going away “bail out”, take it while you can.

  8. Andrea

    How well do you think someone should learn the language before they move to Poland?

    1. Hjrr

      You can learn Polish at least speaking and reading and basic writing if you apply yourself.
      Best is total immersion , like if you marry a Polish woman who does not speak english well.
      Rosetta Stone is good for learning basic words. MICHEL Thomas method is good for learning to communicate but the rest is up to you.
      If you are here and need to do something you can pick up the words you need for that task, gradually you will build up a fluency. In Poland there are many polish language school for foreigners too.
      Bottom line, think about how a baby learns a language, step by step… Think like a baby and you will learn Polish too.
      It helps if you know other languages, because I find many foreign or foreign sounding words here and it helps with the memory pegs in my mind.
      I had basic language skills after a few months of immersion, I am still not fluent, but I can communicate anything to anyone here in Polish now after 7 years. Polish people will try to understand you and are happy and proud that you make the effort to learn their language, considered the 3 rd or 4th hardest to learn… But do not let that stop you from learning. If I can do it anyone can!

  9. Breanne

    Hi Mark. My name is Breanne and my best friends name is Kelsey. We are both from polish decent and are very interested in relocating to somewhere in Poland. Her aunt is moving there in the spring and has invited us along to test the waters and see if it fits us. We are both 23 and 26 years old, and enjoy being able to be young and free. We both have no children, and no commitments or distractions, we both would like to fill submerge ourselves in the culture and community. A little about us, we are both intellectuals, we enjoy reading, writing, and the arts. We are also very lively and love to dance and be a part of the nightlife. Neither one of us have husbands or any serious boyfriends, and have always fallen in love with the idea of meeting the men of our dreams in Polska. If there is any insight you could give to hone in on a location that fits our fun requirements as well as a potential romantic happy love story, please indulge. We are thinking of coming for the summer and seeing how things take off. Any insight on where we should live, what we could do for work, anything at all would be helpful. Thanks so much!

    1. Mirek

      I am glad about your decision in order to relocate.Thing is:I fled that country 26 ago,so can not give you right advice.The largest part of my family is still there.I case you want more some advice visit Funky Tank`s fan webpage.for more details.I hope it is gonna work for you.Mirek

  10. Jim

    What’s the golf scene like.
    I’m a golf professional. Been teaching here in the states for 40 yrs. Performed over 67,000 lessons from coast to coast.
    My mom was Polish-My dad was Polish- My dads father was Polish, My Dads mother was Polish, My moms mother was Polish, My moms father was Polish……
    I’m Polish. My parents always told me to move there….live a good life. They are both deceased. (buried my mom just a few months ago)

    I’m considering a move…. within a year or two. I’m 59 going on 38.
    thanks in advance…..jpw

    1. Mark Biernat

      Golf in Poland is just starting to pick up popularity with people. There are some nice golf clubs around all the major cities. But America and the UK is really the land of golf.

  11. Rose

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you for your openness in helping people relocate to Poland! I am currently living on a 90 day visa in Krakow, and have never felt more at home than I do here. Unfortunately my 90 days will finish Sunday. I want to make this a permanent relocation, however I first must finish university in the US (I have one and a half years left). Do you recommend that I attempt to transfer to a university in Krakow, or finish in the states then return to work in Poland? My polish language skills are at the beginner level, however I am learning more and more each day. I do not believe I would be able to attend university classes in Polish successfully at my current level. In a perfect world I would return to Poland this January and never leave. How do you believe I should go about moving here permanently?

    Warmest regards,


    1. Rose

      I have Polish ancestry, however they moved in the interwar period , when Poland was still partitioned. Because of this I believe that I am not eligible to become a citizen as considered by the Polish government.

      1. Mark Biernat

        If you have Polish blood and can prove it you can get at least a Greencard. Boarders just do not matter, blood does.

    2. Mark Biernat

      If you have European roots look into getting a citizenship or visa via that.
      Until that time get a work visa. Look for a job on or apply at schools and they will give you a work visa. You can always get s student visa.
      But if there is a will there is a way. Poland is a wonderful place to relocate.

  12. Barbara Lewis

    My husband and I are pondering retiring to Poland, as we have an opportunity to purchase my family home. Our situation is a little complicated, because I am a Danish citizen and he is American. I have Polish roots though, as I relocated to Denmark in 1978.
    I know that as an EU citizen I can buy property and move there with no problem at all, as I do not need a residence permit being Danish, but things are a lot more foggy about applying for residence for my US husband.
    We have something like 4500$ a month to live for and enough savings to buy and furnish said house.

  13. Marie S

    Thank you for the wonderful post. I half Polish by blood and and my great grand parents immigrated from Poland. I am a board certified adult psychiatrist and Am growing quite frustrated with the current state of affairs for doctors in America ( I was born in States). I have done some research that Poland is short of psychiatrist (we are doctors with residency training in mental health) and I don’t speak the language but I had a Polish patient who told me there are clinics that are run in English. I plan on learning Polish if and when I move and was wondering if what my patient told me is true and do they need psychiatrists and how I would go about moving there. Thanks so much for any advice.

    1. Mark Biernat

      I know many foreigner doctors who leaned Polish but there is a large need for English. In Krakow there is St. Rafael’s hospital which is a modern state of the art English language hospital. You can get the Embassy to refer you to expats, lots of opportunity in Europe.
      psychiatrists are not big in Poland but it is interesting with the young. There is an infinite need and the work would be rewarding as the set of problems Poles have are different from say in America. I could write books on this.
      If you have Polish roots, and a doctor, you will have no problem what so ever.
      I would start with this site:,PAGE,264.html – its in English and has extensive visa information.
      I would write and inquire via e-mail to a couple of English language hospitals like
      St. Raphael Hospital, Cracow – Scanmed.
      I hope this helps and let me know if you have questions.

    2. Marie S

      My husband and I have done extensive research into relocating to Poland and the only down side we can determine are the reports by the EAA (the Euopean equilavent to the American EPA) that Poland has one of the most poluted air spaces of all the European countries and this is heavily cited all over the web. Is there any credibility to this claim? They state Poland’s location downward from the Baltic Sea makes it suspible. Any insight you could provide would be much appreciated!!

      1. Mark Biernat

        Krakow is a pit in terms of air quality but if you get out to other cities and the countryside it is not that bad, even very fresh. I always had a lot of plants indoors and an air filter. However, I love Krakow just avoid long term exposure to city. I think it is on par with Chinese cities and the government of Krakow does not want to restrict anything. If if was up to me I would ban all cars, coal burning and trash burning from the city center and start reforestation. I know it sounds radical but it is the only way.
        The rest of Poland is not that bad. I think Warsaw is fine and the seaside and mountains and Eastern Poland is great.

  14. Marisya


    my name is Marisya de Jongh and I’m studying commercial economics at the Hogeschool Rotterdam. In a few months I hope to graduate, but first I need to write my thesis.

    For my thesis I need respondents to fill in a short list of questions. The questions are about the Polish car market. The Dutch company I am doing the research for wants to export or begin a local business with American car parts in Poland. It isn’t necessary to have a lot of knowledge of the American car parts market.

    Can you maybe help me? I have a list of questions, I think it will only take
    15-20 minutes to fill in.

    Thank you in advance,

    Marisya de Jongh

    1. Mark Biernat

      You can write me on my contact page and maybe that would be easier.

  15. dorota

    My name is Dorota and I live in the US. I was born and Poland and have talked for years about moving back to Poland. My husband is American but loves Europe and would love to move to Poland as well. My children 10 and 7 visited Poland last year and are on board for moving as well. So I think that I could find a job teaching English (I am fluent in Polish As well). My question is that I don’t know how I can possibly afford to send my kids to the American school. My research shows it is very expensive based on the income I would get. I don’t think sending the kids to a Polish school would be an option because they don’t speak Polish and it would be too stressful for them. I think I may be the only income for a while as my husband tries to find a job. I am not sure if you or anyone you know has any experience with this but any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you/Dziekuje

    1. Mark Biernat

      People that speak no Polish go to school in Poland because there are course of studies that are all in English. Also your children are young enough to learn Polish with work. I learned Polish as an adult and so did a lot of my friends. There are many Polish schools for kids in every city in the USA. My daughter goes to a school on the weekends but the reality is it is more about at home study. We get Polish TV via the Internet but also DVDs and YouTube.
      American school are crazy in terms of prices, that is why so many students are in debt and worse, join the military. Better is to send your children to Poland and teach then Polish the best (does not have to be perfect) you can.

    2. HJRR

      Czesc Dorotka,

      The Polish schools public schools are really good. Worst case, your kids will start in 1 grade lower. But I think they (the school) will asset your kids to quickly learn Polish for school. Your children will be totally immersed in the Polish language that after a few weeks they will catch on. I am not opposed to the so called “international elementary schools” which are private & apparently for profit but they are crazy expensive, as you say based on a normal polish salary. It does not make sense to me and all my kids are going to public Polish schools.
      Regarding your husband, even if he speaks only English (for now) there are a lot of American or International companies in Poland and if you read the job-description (which is in English) is always says “requirement fluent in English”.
      So I believe once he gets his Polish residency card he should start applying for jobs at these kind of companies.

      As I do not know your husband’s job skills, I can not advise you further, except to say there are a lot of possibilities in Poland especially in the major cities; Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Katowice, Lublin in that order. Absolute worst case your husband can teach English or work in a store stocking shelves… where there is a will there is a way!

      Good luck, Best regards and welcome (back) to Poland,

  16. Tim

    Hello, I just stumbled across this page and I am interested in what music is like in Poland. The US is dominated by Country and Pop music. I am a progressive rock composer and there is no place for me here. Also the healthcare sucks and I have some medical needs. Occupationally I am a music teacher, I’ve been teaching for over 12 years. I have been contemplating living in Europe for a long time, and its just a pipe dream now. What are the steps an American must take to living in Poland, and are there any cities that are particularly good for rock music?

    Thank you

    1. Mark Biernat

      Polish people love rock music, Krakow, Warsaw any major city. Anywhere there are students like Krakow, I recommend this city as there are 100,000 students and a lot of rock lovers. Medical care is cheap in Poland what is your illness? Your only issue would be a visa. Maybe teach at an English school to get the minimum number hours to have them give you a work visa.

  17. Kemosabe M

    Can you please tell me what is salary ranges for IT Engineer or System Administrator?

    1. Mark Biernat

      Ball park it depends on what you do it is all over the map, but you can make lets say $4,000 a month after tax.

    2. HJRR

      I assume you are talking about Poland, a recent pay survey I saw put it around 6-8,000 PLN, that is Polish Zloties. And that is with at least a BS degree, but most people here have Master Degrees, just FYI.
      IT managers might make a bit more, pre-sales engineers could make more if they meet their sales numbers.
      Really depends on the company, the industry and how much experience you have.
      Of course if you don’t speak Polish you will be at a disadvantage for a job at most Polish banks or Polish only businesses, where everyone speaks Polish. But if you speak english fluently, you could find opportunities at any of the Multi national companies that do business in many countries from Poland, where just about everyone speaks English.
      Remember Poland is a place for a lot of outsourcing, the reason = cheap labor, so don’t expect to get American Rich here, but you could get Polish rich, because the cost of living is in line with your pay. A single guy taking home say 5000-PLN (about $1500) a month can live as well here as an American taking home $5000/month in the USA. Only in Poland you will have a hotter, skinnier girlfriend and no-GMO FOOD! I love Poland and I am here to stay.

  18. Esther

    I am a software developer from Albania (a small country in Balkan). An American company called Epam System, located in Krakow, contacted me, and offered me a work as software engineering.

    The salary is approximately 9500 PLN gross.

    Do you think, this salary is OK for a young female to live in Krakow? Do you think is safe for a female to live alone in that city?
    What advice will u give to me, if I was one of your relatives, or friends?

    Any advice will be very much appreciated from my part.

    1. Mark Biernat

      For that salary in Poland I think you will be rich. It is a safe city and you can walk anytime day or night through the city. You will see when you get there. I would look on Gumtree or go to a real estate firm to find a flat to rent in Krakow. Could be anywhere but I do not like to commute so best near your work. I prefer unfinished apartments and then go to IKEA the Swedish furniture store in Krakow. Students always know where the deals are for apartments so if you are visiting you could post signs near the university. I was working at professional job in Boston and lived in a youth hostel for three months until I found the flat I liked. It was worth the wait. So the place you rent will be the most important part of your happiness. I recommend to get something near a green area or close to the forest if you can as there is a lot of pollution in the city. That is the only drawback. For food shop at Alma or the old market for the most natural food.

    2. Aleksandra

      The salary that you are offered is very high by the Polish standards, so you can comfortably live in Poland. Speaking of safety, it is definitively safer to live anywhere in Poland than in Albania. You shouldn’t be worry about. I am a native Pole who lives in US for the past 27 years and at the same time spends two Summer months living in Poland only so I know both worlds very well. Good luck in Poland

  19. BG

    Is someone’s age the same in poland as it is in U.S.?

    1. Mark Biernat

      Yes but people in Poland start counting generally on January 1st. So if you are born on May 1st and are 18 on May 1st even before their birthday a lot of people will tell you they are 18.
      Also in the Polish language people say Mam (I have) 18 years. In English we say I am 18 years old. It can be funny to hear Poles (or Americans) trying to translate their native language literally.

    2. HJRR

      That was a funny question, but Marc handled it correctly.
      I would only add, if you are from the stressful USA you may actually experience a slowing of he aging process here in Poland.
      Honestly, my classmates and friends my age who remained in the USA have more gray hair, look older and are still stressed out.
      Not me, Poland has just been a pleasure for me .

  20. Esther

    Thank you very very much for your information.
    Actually these days I’ve known an albanian boy, who study in krakow and he also suggested me about gumtree, but is everything in polish language, nothing in english 🙁

    Anyway thank you again
    Have e nice time


  21. Barbara

    My husband is getting a job transfer to Pyskowice. We are U.S. citizens and speak only English and a little Spanish.
    Our one son is entering 9th grade this year and is an “average” student but plays the viola. Our other student is going into 7th grade and is very intelligent but loves American football and baseball. We want the experience of living in another country for our children, but don’t know where to begin.
    We are mostly worried about the schools.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Nothing to worry about I assure you. In America the schools try to minimizes drugs and bullying and deviant behavior that is shocking. In Poland kids run in the halls and chew gum. Maybe I am exaggerating the contrast but really, Polish schools very good. The only worry is they are exceptionally stressful, because of the exams.

      I would recommend a private school and they are everywhere. However, even the public schools have English based schools, even at elementary to the University level.

      Polish is a hard language but it can be learned, even as an adult, I did.

      In terms of intellect we all add up to 100%. If you have an average student no worries there, the wider the base the higher the pyramid. The average students I know from school are doing great things and the exceptionally smart students are doing just OK. It is analogous to the popular kids in high school became like the Fonz in Happy Days, while the average looking kids got some style and became attractive. So it is with the brain. The brain can adapt and sending them to Poland will be an exceptional opportunity for this. Also check out

      I think my biggest worry is they will be the most popular kids in school with the Polish girls. Sorry if I am not answering your question better, but really I live in Poland and it is a safe place and the schools are fine. In contrast the the USA, I am worried sending my daughter to school.

  22. Red

    I am considering retiring to Poland from the USA. Just starting out by trying to understand the process – all the little steps to consider. Any information or recommendations will be appreciated.

    Let’s start with visas. I see there is a type D visa available which would allow me to stay for up to a year. I assume I would need to renew each year until I decide about possibly applying for citizenship. Am I understanding this correctly ? Are there any other alternatives or considerations ?

    Taxes. My income will consist of $1700 USD per month social security and withdrawing $700 USD per month from my 401k. About $28,800 USD annually or about 86,400 PLN annually. Would I need to pay taxes in the USA and/or in Poland ?

    Banking. Can anyone recommend a bank I can open an account with to have my funds deposited directly to each month ? And also get their debit or credit card, additional savings account, etc.

    Insurance. I understand I will need medical and hospitalization insurance. Can anyone recommend any insurance companies I contact to apply for insurance ? Any estimates about their costs ?

    Thank you all in advance. So many websites to look at. So many questions to ask. You all know what I am embarking upon having been through it before. Also – is there anything else I may need to consider ? I’d like to make this as fun as possible. A true learning experience.

    1. Mark Biernat

      If you have that income money is not an issue if you are frugal. Also you can take money out of any ATM everything is like the USA. You can set up a bank account without an issue. Insurance you can buy ZUS or other private insurance or pay cash. Medical care in Poland is a fraction of the USA. Insurance is about 200 dollars a month but will cover 100% – basically. But you can pay cash for an operation cheap. I recommend going to a private company like Hestia.

      1. Red

        Hi Mark –

        I’m making progress. I’d like to retire and move to Krakow in late January. From what I’ve learned so far is I’ll need a resident permit, a PESEL number, and medical insurance. Do you recommend any agencies or lawyers who could assist me with this ? Can I do any of this myself ? I’m living in Chicago and I’ll be moving in with my girlfriend there and we want to get the process started. Hopefully in the next few months we can get everything understood and taken care of.

        Thanks for your help and all the great information.

  23. Esther

    Hi again from me.
    Hope you are doing well.
    This time I am looking for information that actually I don’t know where to search for.
    As the time of my departure to Poland is coming, I wanted to ask any information, (advice or whatever) from your about the below issue.
    How can I assure that the company which offer me the job really exist in Poland and they are not defrauding me? Because they asked me a relocation package fee, which they promise to reimburse in my first salary. They mentioned this fact even in the contract I signed and also during the interviews,

    Currently I signed the contract and I have the company number (the number that I think the company is registered as a business) also I have the company address and other data which are mentioned in the contract.

    I searched everywhere, I even asked a polish person if a company with this name exist, and he answered yes. But anyway I want to have e confirm that the persons whose are contacting me are really from this company.

    Where should I ask this information? Is it enough if I fix an appointment with the polish embassy here in Albania to ask for the above information?

    Please any answer from your part will be very appreciated.
    Thanks again for your time and support

    Waiting for the information

  24. Esther

    I have done a lot of searches, and everything seems ok, the persons seems to work in this company etc etc, but I am writing to you because I need an official confirm to be sure that I will not be defrauded.

    Thanks again

  25. Bill

    Hello, Mark. How would you characterize the neighborhoods of single-family residential housing outside of the bigger cities in the country, starting with Warsaw? Do they resemble in any way the typical subdivisions in the USA in regard to design, access to services and public transportation, etc., but obviously smaller in scale? Or, are they primarily one-off units built to spec by the owners and housing contractors (home builders)?

    I am retired and prefer to live near a sizable city (say 10 – 15km) to have access to and a choice of dentists and medical services, musical venues, etc.



    1. Mark Biernat

      In Poland I think they are better connected to trams and buses and hospitals than in the USA. When you say medical are you talking walk in clinics or do you need some special treatment on a regular basis. The homes can be custom or cookie cutter homes. It is exactly like the USA in a free market with money anything is possible.

      1. HJRR

        I would add a few comments, real estate taxes in Poland are very low.
        Depending on the size of your land and the size of the house, you are probable looking at about 200-400 USD Per year.
        Yes, per year not per month.
        So that takes a major expense away.

        If you are talking 10-15 km outside a major city, just keep in mind the traffic to get into and out of the city.
        Like Jankie just outside Warsaw is well connected, but jammed with rush hour traffic.
        Same with Bebiece just outside Krakow, well connected with buses and a road, but jammed up almost all the time.

        There are of course other suburbs to consider in each city. With less of a traffic problem.

        Finally, I have yet to see a single family house in Poland with a basement, at least not an American style basement. But it is possible to have it built like you want, just saying I think a lot of single family construction is on a slab to save money.


        1. Mark Biernat

          Taxes are nothing on real estate in Poland. Also no HOAs or CDDs, often well and septic so compared to US home ownership there are a lot of advantages.

  26. Randy

    Both of my maternal grandparents immigrated to the US in the early 20th century from Poland. I am 46, single, and disabled. I receive Social Security Disability (appx $1900/mo USD), and an disability early retirement pension (appx $700/mo USD). I am thinking about retiring to Poland. I would move with at least $30,000 USD in a bank account. I don’t speak any Polish, but I’m willing to learn some basics before I move, and take more lessons once I settle there. I’m wondering. How well could I live on this income (I would rent for the first several years preferably southern Poland)? What my chances are at citizenship with my roots? How will not knowing the language affect my chances at citizenship?

    And then, the only criminal record I have is multiple DUI’s. The last was over 5 years ago. I have since quit drinking. I’m concerned how that will be viewed.

    1. Mark Biernat

      I guess my first question is how are you disabled? Life in Poland is not as easy as the USA for disabled people because of the lack of wheelchair ramps and icy conditions. You could get a greencard but your DUIs are a problem. I think they will ask this. If you gave up drinking it better be for good as there are great opportunities to drink in Poland with all the good beverages and dark lonely nights. So I would consider those two points above all. Money wise your fine.

      1. Randy

        I have several physical disabilities. I can get around enough to get cabs and take care of myself. I just can’t work. I’ve tried several avenues and the Social Security Administration made the decision that I can’t return to working. Therefore, I applied for and got my early retirement pension. I am not confined to a wheelchair. I do walk with a cane, especially in the winter. I come from upstate NY, so I am not a stranger to inclement weather. I’m secure that my drinking days are over. What interests me most is the lifestyle in Poland. I am drawn to the old world values that I grew up with. The US has gone so far astray. I appreciate your response. I will continue to look deeper into the possibilities. God Bless.

        1. Randy

          Do you think my lineage would help my cause at all?

    2. Mirek Bieniak

      My RIP uncle used to have 20+ DUI`s. Circumstances vary from place to place.Same rule applies to Ukraine, Bulgaria and former USSR.

  27. Randy

    My grandmother was born in Krakow. Her maiden name was Burdzel. My grandfathers birth place is questionable. I believe he altered his last name upon arriving in the US, to Szajner. The both came to the US in the 1910’s.

  28. marcin

    Sorry for off topic. One of my best friends, living now in the US, liked your blog on Facebook so I started reading it. I find it very interesting as a Pole living in Poland who travels often to the US (business). Regarding the Polish weather I understand your feeling. Winter is grey and rather cold. There are years with the snow on the streets since January to April. However for example last year was without snow at all. However day is short and lack of sun is depressing. But when you live in northern Europe you got used to it. A few years ago I spent a few weeks in Florida. It was October and it was right after one of my US business trips. Florida was very nice, I visited many places, your St. Augustine too. However at the end of the stay I was tired of the sun. So when finally I saw the autumn mud around Okecie I was literally happy 🙂

    I do not agree with the author that Poles are that religious. Religion is more private thing – you do not see here the things like in the US like ‘what Jesus would do’ or something. However we are really very family guys, I agree. And religious holidays are occasions for family meetings ever for the guys like me, who do not believe in God. Easter, Christmas, Nov 1st mark the changing seasons – special thing about northern countries.
    But if one wants to explore Polish religiousity, he should go to Czestochowa and visit the cementary on the Nov 1st. This is really magical.

  29. marcin

    When I was living in the countryside somewhere around Warsaw I met the American who married the Polish woman and had kids with her. They all moved to Poland. He was working as an English teacher and happy with the quality of life. And I am talking about countryside, not Warsaw or Krakow. However despite staying in Poland for a few years time his Polish was still very poor. Just because the fact Poles are learning English now and everybody takes the advantage of meeting the foreigner and tries to practice English.

  30. Jonathan

    Hello, I am a 45 year old veteran looking to get out of the crazy USA. I grew up in a Polish family as I was adopted into one. I since have had a longing to move to Poland for good. I am an injured American Army Vet so I receive disability for the rest of my life, $1,100.00 a month. So I will always have an income, if I were to also open a bank account in Poland I would be able to just transfer my monthly disability from my American account to a Polish bank account. No would that be possible? And also would my US dollars transfer then at the exchange rate giving me actually an increase since the exchange is 3to1? And with my proof if steady income will that help in my request to Immigrate? Thank you for your time and advice.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Money is the least of your worries. The money is enough and you can use your US bank account, I did. You can open a Polish bank account when you have a visa. The only think I would be concerned with is a Polish visa. You need to talk to the office or foreigners to determine what you can do as it is complex your situation.

  31. Felipa Neri Salgado

    My name is Felipa. My son and I speak Spanish and English fluently. We have talked about moving to Poland. Presently, we are seeking an IEP for my son. He will begin therapeutic school in the upcoming week.

    My question is how can i find out about the schools in Poland for students with special needs. If you have any websites that I could look into. I did receive the the websites: and from your comment on moving to Poland from the US.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Poland has everything the USA has. My daughter was getting excellent speach therapy in Poland and just OK speak in the USA. I do not have information about how you would approach this other than use Google to search for such a specific question. I do not if you are living in Krakow or Warsaw, there are 100s of people and programs. I can help you connect with someone if you are in Krakow.

  32. Tevfik

    Dzien dobry Mark, co tam?

    I was Erasmus student in kraków when I was student, so I know Kraków and I fell in love with this city.

    Question is,

    Have you ever heard about civil engineering jobs in Kraków or Warszawa? Do you have any link? I checked but couldnt find.

    Kind regards

    Do zobaczenia.

    1. Mark Biernat

      You can get a job as the economy is good (relatively) I recommend as my first source for job offers. I also apply directly to the company on their website.

  33. Larry

    My wife and our two kids will be moving to Kraków later this year. My company will be sponsoring our housing and the kids’ schooling as this is a work related move.

    I’ve seen in a number of forums where people are trying to figure out the cost of living. I’ve had a bit of a difficult time determining our monthly budget for expenses such as utilities, mobile plans, grocery&eating out 2-3x a week, gym membership, weekly housecleaning, and babysitting 2x a week. My net pay will be 15-20k pln per month.

    While we are extremely thankful for what the firm has provided, can anyone provide a ballpark estimate of how much I should budget for the above?

    1. Mark Biernat

      Food is 3000 pln if you are shopping at Alma eating French cheese and Italian whole wheat pasta. It is 500 pln if you are eating Polish food. You can buy a sack of potatos for 50 pln. Utilites are cheap, 50 pln for high speed internet and 200 pln for heating and electric lets say. Food is the only real cost so it depends how you eat.

  34. John

    Hey Mark-
    This information and inside look at life in Poland is absolutely invaluable. Thanks to you and all the contributors for your heartfelt contributions from those of us who have not yet taken the transition to a new land; to a new kind of freedom.

    You have given much insight into what an average day of living in Poland would look like. My own circumstances, based upon what you have offered to others, woulld appear that I’d have more than enough money to live comfortably without having to work. But I am at present a practicing chiropractor in the USA and would love to continue to work at my profession if I relocated to Poland. Might you know of other chiropractors already working in Poland that I might contact for information? Also, you gave advice about banking in one of your comments. Would you know if certain banks authorize transfer of funds from US banks to a bank account in Poland?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Krakow chiropraktyka might be a search you do. Most or many speak English and you can call them directly. I did know some personally that studied in the USA and practice in Poland but can not find them now. Its a matter of getting your license valid there. Bank accounts are a non-issues there are American banks like Citi as well as all banks you can transfer funds. There is a big market for expats there. My dentist and Osteopath both studied in the USA and lived in the US many years.

      1. Rich Scott

        Good day Mark, I have been married to a Polish woman for more than 17 years. We are looking to move to Warsaw. She is in her mid 50’s but concerned about finding a job. I am on my early 50’s with 3 years experience teaching ESL in Canada. My wife seems to think there is a stigma Poland about hiring older people. While I believe that I can obtain work teaching English, I am trying to seek some outside opinions on this. What are your thoughts and how might she overcome this?

        1. Mark Biernat

          If you are healthy and can add value to an organization then you can have a job. If your emotions get involved and you feel like you can not than you can not. You have to present yourself like in any country as someone who is energetic, positive and give a unique contribution to your employer. Either that or you become an entrepreneur and you will get paid what you are worth in the market. I do not think the market cares too much about age unless you make it an issue for them.

  35. Scott Overmyer

    My wife would very much like to live near her ancestral town in Poland for awhile, perhaps retiring there. I’m game, but I wonder if it’s possible for me to get an academic (or industrial) position there in computer science, since I’m not ready to retire yet.

    1. Mark Biernat

      If she is willing to go through the process of applying for a visa based on lineage then I think it is possible. However, they do not hand out visas at the boarder. You have to work very hard to go through the paperwork and be patient with the codex of the law.

  36. Maria

    Hi Mark,
    I am female and baptized as a Catholic since birth and always fascinated of Poland because of their religious beliefs in Catholicism. I am retiring next year with Calpers + SS benefits. My retirement from Calpers is approximately $4,200.00 a month including Social Security benefits before taxes. Since it is a European country, what are the chances of an Asian with American Citizenship would be able to live in Poland and what do I have to do?

    Can my retirement income support my living expenses in Poland and would I pay taxes on my retirement income in Poland? I love countryside and simple living.

    Thank you, Maria.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Your sincere interest in Poland and cultural alignment as well as self sufficiency certainly will play in your favor. With the retirement benefits you have you would have a good life in Poland and in Europe. However, getting a visa would be the difficulty in every country from the USA to the UK to Poland. I would first talk to the department of foreigners and see the requirements. If you could teach English and get a work visa than you could eventually get a green card. You can live as an American only three months at a time under current law. So in my mind the only concern you have is with a visa, which you have potential to get, just have to follow up with the how.

      1. Maria

        Hi Mark,

        I am back again. I am making plan to tour Europe including Poland. I would like to find out when is the best time of the year to visit Poland. I was told not to go on Summer and Winter. I am thinking to set up my vacation in Spring April 2016 along with my friends. I will retire on 07/31/2016 and I would like to visit the place before I make the final decision if I should retire in Poland or even stay there for 90 days. What part of Poland should I go for a visit? I preferred the area where I can easily access public transportation. Thank you very much for your assistance.


        1. Magda

          You can match seasons in Poland with US states as PA, NJ, NY. The difference is humidity and windchill, which is rare in Poland. So if you would like warmer weather then summer etc. you should keep in mind that with the crazy climate change that we have in U.S. The rest of the world has as well. Last few weeks in Poland went from 85-95 temp to 70s.

          Hope this helps.

  37. Monica Biernat

    Hi Mark, My husband is retired and we are thinking about moving to Poland. We have visited once and loved it. Both sides of my family come from northern Poland. Are retirees from the US able to move and lived there? If so, can any of the paper work be done in the US or does it have to be done in Poland? Is healthcare available?
    Thank You Monica Biernat

    1. Mark Biernat

      Moving to Poland is a good idea because of the many advantages of the cultural life in central Europe. However how to live there is the real trick. I reccomend getting a visa for because you are obviously Polish you have Polish ancestry like me, we even have the same last name. Therefore, if you can confirm your lineage, based on legal documents, as marriage and birth certificates, this is you best option. As I did, you be able to get at least a green card. This will be your biggest challenge to having a life in Poland. Once you are able to achieve either Polish citizenship or you have a visa the logistics of day to day life will sort themselves out with time period example although universal health care in Poland is available it still has a cost. Just like in any other country you have to buy insurance, even government insurance.

      However, compared to the United States the cost of medical care in Poland is nominal. It is equivalent to less than $300 a month for 100% coverage period if you pay privately. I believe you get better care and care at a fraction of the cost of the United States. In fact, we need to do some dental work and we are going to fly to Poland instead of having it done in the US as quite frankly even if you factor in the price of the airfare it would be cheaper period there are many advantages that I’ve outlined in this website about living in Poland such as relatively inexpensive mass transportation, rich cultural life, fresh farm food, and generally an interesting linguistic and cultural experience. However, the biggest downside life in Poland is the weather. If you don’t mind cool summers snowy winters then I think Poland is for you. non European Union citizens based on your ancestry.

      All the paperwork can be done in the United States if you contact the consulate. If you email them or call them they will be able to guide you directing you to the office of foreigners. Alternatively you can contact the office of foreigners directly in Warsaw Poland crackle. Biggest caveat is since the official language of Poland is polish most people speak the Polish language and are hesitant to use English in official government dealings. However the office of foreigners is an exception. You can also go to the website of the Polish consulate and it will detail out the criteria for determining your visa and what documents are required again this is a Paper Chase. If you can hold the bureaucracy of the Polish visa process you should be fine living in Poland.

      1. Scott Overmyer

        We investigated the possibility of an EU passport based on my wife’s lineage, but as it turns out, her ancestors left Poland before it was an independent country, and so she isn’t eligible for a Polish passport on those grounds. We’re trying other options as she would still like to live in Poland at least part of the year, and perhaps we will retire near her ancestral home town of Wejherowo, just outside Gdynia, if the Polish government will permit it.

  38. julie grabiec

    My husband is Polish and we have 2 young children 4 and 10 months, both have a very close bond with their grandparents in Poland and since they don’t have any family as such in UK I am wanting to move to Poland for the children to grow with family. My husband intends to stay in UK for the mean time although will move eventually. I wonder about schools, are nurseries free and what age also I don’t speak much Polish although I understand much more would I be able to work . My daughter is completely bi-lingual so I have an advantage at least. I just wonder the ins and outs of moving a living in Poland.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Nurseries (żłobek) are free but you have to sign up in advance. You can always get a private one as an alternative or a babysitter also. In Poland grandparents often take care of the grandkids, that is the culture. Schools in Poland are good quality and are a classical education. This is in contrast to what we havde the in the USA or perhaps the UK.

      The countryside education is often more personalized and very good, as good as a Western private school. Thre are private schools in big cities. If you have specific questions just ask.

  39. Magda

    I loved reading this! Very inspiring and persuasive. I moved to America when I was 10, and finally got the chance to return to my family for the first time in 11 years. I am 21 years old now, and I am studying to become a doctor in America. After spending the summer in Warszawa with my family, I want to see if it’s possible for me to finish my studying here and hopefully be able to be a doctor here, instead of in America. The problem is that I don’t speak much of Polish anymore. I have forgotten it while living in America. And learning all of the medical terms all over in Polish will take as much time, if not more time, as it did to learn it in English. Would you happen to know if it’s possible for me to be an American Doctor in Poland? I want to become a Psychiatrist, but I’m still in my early years of Medical school so I’m able to change to a different doctor. A Psychiatrist would be easy to transfer to because all I would have to learn are the medications over here. I can understand everything people say, I just can’t speak the language very well. So I can listen to what they have to say, the problems they are having, and decide what kind of medication is needed. This might be all stupid, but after reading your article, I thought I’d comment.
    Thank you

  40. Kenny

    I have been debating on moving to Poland, specifically Poznan. The only problem is, I don’t have a degree, so I wouldn’t have reason to why to move there for school, though that would be a good opportunity, but I do have school loans and other forms of debt, bills I have (car payment).

    How would I take care of that if I was to move there? Also, where would I start to begin the process to moving there?

    1. Mark Biernat

      You need to take care of your debt to live long term there as they will ask for a complete statement of your financial situations. To live in the USA, that is what they care about, that is they want to make sure you have money and income. To live in Poland it is the same, although if you are seek temporary student visa in Poland that might give you some leeway. Can you not focus on being debt free in the USA? You could learn excel finish something in accounting and be a consultant in the US for twenty five dollars an hour, for a few years then move there.

  41. Pat

    How difficult is it to obtain a retirement visa from some one from Canada who would like to live in retirement in Poland.
    What is required.

    As I have found a wonderful local in the Western Pomerania of Poland
    Thank You

    1. Mark Biernat

      The question is do you have Polish roots or bloodline? Poland goes by bloodline like most of Europe, you need to find some justification for a visa as there is no such thing as a retirement visa, rather it has to be based on something. If there were the whole world would like to retire in Europe and North America to some extent.

  42. Christopher J. Kim

    Hello Mark, just read your post and I found it quite informative.
    I am a Korean who was brought up in the States (So Cal) only to be back and
    living in Korea currently. And during my Spain trip 2 month ago for total of 17 days,
    I took a detour trip to Poland for 3 nights and 4 days via RyanAir.
    It was one night at Warzawa passing by in order to get to Krokaw for 2 nights there.
    Anyways, to cut the long story short, I fell in love with everything about the country
    has to offer. Beautiful women, their femininity and innocence, cheap costs in living and etc.
    Yes I love Polish food and the cool breeze weather during summer and the list goes on and on.
    And as I have doing some research ever since I am back home, I have realized that certain commodities are not so cheap compared to other EU countries, and thus heard that people buy cars from Germany and bring them to Poland since that is cheaper way to do it. Perhaps I will follow suit. What I am wondering about is the range of house prices there. If I am going to live there permanently, AirBNB isn’t going to cut it so that means I will more likely be purchasing real estate there.

    I am predicting that since the wage comparatively puny, I know I have to open up some business there or carry on the internet business that will hopefully bring in income from my homeland Korea. But either way I am not financially worried since I come from a wealthy family and all.

    Like you have said, I am interested in living in Krakow for starters, and see how it goes from there, please advise me on the procedure of immigration from Korean person’s stand point.

    I have been told that Koreans have good reputation there since the 80’s, when our company (NOW merged by GM) Daewoo started investing there and after year 2000 SAMSUNG, LG , KIA & HYUNDAI and etc., building factories there and etc.

    Thank you and will be waiting for your reply.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Your assessment is correct, Poland is a wonderful country but how can a responsible financially capable person with good intentions immigrate to Poland or at least live there is the question. Since Poland is European the tradition is by right of blood or those who have Polish background. Since you do not the other way is economic or financial immigration based on the ability to take care of yourself and perhaps even create jobs. However, for the shorter term you can get a Polish work visa is you know a language and want to teach it for example. I would recommend that path and after living in Poland for a time under a work visa you can explore a Polish greed card and then citizenship. I would recommend you research the office of foreigners in Poland, the website for this is found here,spis.html Poland has no issue with foreigners, but like every country they do not want masses of people they will have to care for on their social system. Poland has fought so hard for its independence both economic, cultural and political and does not want to just give it away. You are an educated, bright and self sufficient person that can respect Polish culture, so I think there is no issues here.

      1. Scott Overmyer

        I have gotten the opinion of a Polish lawyer who tells me that my wife’s family left Poland before it was an independent country, so she’s not able to claim this birthright. What are other options under which she could become a citizen? We have a good map of her Polish ancestry.

        1. Mark Biernat

          It is not totally true. Since being Polish is defined by blood not nationhood because Poland was partitioned for many years, yet people were Polish. The Lawyer is wrong. My friend who was a lawyer said the same thing to me, but he was wrong. Do the research yourself.

          1. Scott Overmyer

            Thanks for your reply. Did you go through the process of becoming a Polish citizen?

          2. Mark Biernat

            Yes I went through the process of becoming a Polish citizen. I first started with a permanent residency visa. That was the most difficult as the same documents required for a permanent residency in Poland are required for a citizenship. The citizenship comes with time and additional information with the fundamental documents of birth certificates and marriage certificates tracing your Polish lineage is actually done in the permanent residence card visa.

  43. Abdallah

    I am an undergraduate student who will be moving to Warsaw in 17 days. I’ve always wanted to visit Europe and starting my Bachelor Degree there is an excellent opportunity. However, I have no idea about their culture. For example, is there any type of acts that they would consider rude, but it’s normal for other people of different cultures? And, is it true that they really appreciate if a foreigner speaks their language? I am asking these questions simply out of curiosity.
    Also, I am planning on moving my monitor with me (24″) which is used for my PC set up. Am I better off buying one there, or is it worth shipping?

    1. Mark Biernat

      I would recommend looking at Saturn or Auchan two Polish shops for computer goods, and the prices for computers and screens. In my experience shipping is often more than buying depending on how the condition of your current screen and your current level of disposable income.

  44. Gregory Spring

    We are currently in the United States and moving to Kraków in 10 days.
    My wife just got her Polish citizenship and passport. I both my wife and I have retirement Social Security and some investments to live on. We also bought an apartment in Kraków a few years ago and have been renting it out. Now we finally move in.
    I have all of the proof, paperwork, I need, some already translated. I have insurance to cover me for the first six months and a Polish bank account.
    We are planning to stay for two years. Exactly which type of visa would I be applying for? Long stay, resident or something else.
    A note, we love Poland and staying there for a while will give us more time to travel and learn. I have decent limited vocabulary and will be hiring a tutor for myself. My wife speaks Polish.
    Any other advice is really welcome.

    1. Mark Biernat

      You will love Poland and you are nice to do this for your wife. I would recommend going to the office of foreigners to get your visa situation clear. It will be an adventure for sure, and a positive experience for you. The office of foreigners has the information you need to stay legal. Some Americans just live there but I do not recommend it, as they could ask you to leave the EU for a while before you come back. Depending on where you are from I would recommend getting a warm apartment in the winter, as it is like Maine or Minnesota in terms of climate.

  45. Marek

    Hi Mark. Thanks for the article I hope this page is still active. My name is Marek (just like yours). I came to the USA in 1987 when I was 7 years old. Do the math I am 35 now. I have a Masters degree in Disability Studies (probably won’t be able to do anything with it in Poland) but I have a big passion to make the big step and move back to Poland after almost 30 years of living here. Honestly, the USA seems like it is no longer the same like it was a couple of years ago. Are you still satisfied in Poland?

  46. YY

    Hello Mark,

    I’m a Malaysian born Chinese.
    I met my fiance when I traveled around Eastern Europe. He’s a Pole.
    Our plan is to get marry and live in Poland,next year, and I have few concerns.

    First of all is about job hunting. I started to learn Polish few months ago, it’s a little bit complicated but still can manage, my fiance told me that looking for a job in Poland is a little bit difficult for foreigners, especially someone who doesn’t able to speak and understand Polish well. Chinese Mandarin is my mother tongue but I can speak English too.
    My profession is Chemistry by the way. I checked online, IT and marketing are the most popular profession in Poland. May I know that is it possible for a foreigner to get a job in Chemistry field in Poland? Or maybe this profession is not that popular in Poland?

    Another issue is about for those who marry a Polish citizen, while holding a temporary residence or permanent residence pass, will they enjoy the same benefits for example medical insurance or maternity leaves like a Polish citizen does?

    I really like Poland, a very beautiful country, maybe it’s because she’s full with friendly and helpful people. I received a lot of help from Poles while I traveling in Poland, even though some of them (especially old people) do not understand or a little English, but they willing to help when I asked for direction.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Poland is a beautiful and I believe you can easily get a job and thrive there no matter if you are Chinese or Polish. You can always teach languages and or chemistry, which are both popular in Poland (the land of Madame Curie). Build a resume on, and start to apply to foreign and Polish companies. Benefits for maternity are long term, however, in Polish wages.

  47. Catherine Suski

    Hi Mark,

    I am a 2nd generation Polish American, just visited for the first time this past summer. Like you I have always been interested in the culture of my grandparents an don’t like what’s happening in the US.

    I have an MBA and am a marketing executive. Is there work for people like me? I assume I need to learn to speak and write Polish fluently, correct?


    1. Mark Biernat

      I am not fluent in Polish but I am very good. I speak and understand and read but can not write well. Poland is a paradise in many ways, if you do not like the politics and nonsense of the USA.

  48. Daniel Laskowski

    I have the same thoughts as you . I lived in Beacon Hill long ago. Would like to get a nice home and wife. I teach chemistry to medical student could I find part time work?

    1. Mark Biernat

      Yes there is not reason you can not. It is a great county and for people that speak English Poland has a lot of opportunity to make money.

  49. Rysavy

    Hunny is pushing stronger and stronger for my moving there immediately as opposed to him coming here 4-5 years first. But I wanted him here with the job ops for his education to build a good nest egg as I stabilize my mother’s living situation. And to give me time to learn survival Polish.

    I do not think there is that much I can’t adapt to otherwise. I am spoiled so smaller living spaces of Europe in general make me squirm. I haven’t been physically in Eu since I was a kid in the 70s. I worry about equity in healthcare quality as far as specialist nature (ie, my youngest child still at home need extensive therapy for ASD diagnosis). The likely wetter and colder weather makes my skin bump to think of (I am a Texan who lives in drier AZ to keep my Asthma non-issue) tho I do enjoy snow

    I am retired military and worked mostly in Logistics and Postal as civilian. I was a general contractor in my youth. I cannot see my getting a viable employment as a strict English speaker. I was multilingual as a kid but as the elders faded so did my languages. I still can navigate understanding of Spanish and French and small bits of German, but no longer speak Euskara, Tsalagi or Bohemian at all. Both because of injury from car wreck and simply disuse.

    Be that as it stands, I wonder what is simplest way for a transition? How difficult is coming over (besides expense). Is it better to have a legal representative handle immigration? Should we marry first? How hard is it to acquire viable employment?

    (PS Yes I am female, nickname has a story why it is not rysava :3 )

  50. Sharon Kreder

    Hi Mark, I absolutely loved your Moving to Poland comments. I found Poland 3 years ago while searching for my family. They live in small villages about an hour from Kraków not far from Tarnów. I am heading back for the summer in just under 2 months.
    I agree, it is a beautiful place where family is valued and there is just about everything you would need to live there as you would here in the US. I have found the people there to be generally friendly and warm. I spoke very little polish the first trip, a bit more the second. This trip I will be able to converse pretty well and really learn for the locals their language. I have been taking polish language lessons for almost 2 years. I have toyed with the idea of moving there but as a senior with a big family here in the US, the decision is not easy. I am not looking for advice. I just wanted to say thanks for a nice article.

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