Every Polish citizen has their own PESEL. Simply speaking, it is an identification number of a person, required in all sorts of places: banks, hospitals, government offices and many other institutions. But how does it work for foreigners coming to Poland?
Do I need PESEL?
A PESEL number will be necessary in a few cases: when you want to get a Polish drivers license, create a bank account or sign in to the National Court Register. In many other matters, you can use your birth date or ID/passport number – a PESEL makes your daily life easier, but normally is not absolutely necessary.
How do I get a PESEL number?
If you have a permanent/long–term EU residence permit, or stay in Poland on the basis of any other indefinite stay form, a PESEL will be assigned to you automatically, while applying for permanent zameldowanie (residence permit).
If you have a temporary residence permit/visa, and want to obtain a PESEL number, you need to apply for it. The whole procedure is not really complicated: fill in this form (link) and bring it to Urząd Miasta along with your ID/passport/visa. In Wrocław, the Citizens’ Affairs Department is located at 4 Gabrieli Zapolskiej Street (2nd floor, rooms 228 and 231, you can find their opening hours and contact numbers here(…). It may take up to 4 weeks to receive your identification number. The service is free of charge.