All matters related to the acquisition of a real estate by foreigners are governed by the Act of 24 March 1920 on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners. First and foremost, it introduces the principle that the acquisition of a real estate by foreigners as a result of any legal event (e.g. conclusion of a sales agreement, donation, life tenancy agreement, and inheritance) requires permission. Whereby, not only a natural person who does not hold Polish citizenship is deemed to be a foreigner but also a legal person with its seat abroad, a company without legal personality established in accordance with the legislation of foreign countries, as well as a legal person and a commercial company without legal personality with its registered office in the territory of the Republic of Poland, controlled directly or indirectly by the persons or companies listed above.
The permission shall be issued, by way of an administrative decision, by the minister in charge of internal affairs, if no objection is raised by the Minister of National Defence, and regarding agricultural property, if no objection is also raised by the minister in charge of rural development. The permission is valid for two years from the date of issue.
Such a permit shall be issued at the request of a foreigner upon fulfilment of the following prerequisites:
- the acquisition of a real estate by a foreigner will not cause a threat to defence, state security or public order, and is not opposed by considerations of social policy and public health;
- he/she demonstrates that there are circumstances confirming his/her connection with the Republic of Poland
The legislator specifies, as an example, what may be considered evidence of a foreigner’s connection with Poland (inter alia, possession of Polish nationality or Polish origin; marriage to a citizen of the Republic of Poland; possession of a residence permit (temporary, permanent, a long-term resident of the European Union or performance of economic or agricultural activity on the territory of the Republic of Poland, in accordance with the provisions of Polish legislation).
A foreigner applying for a permit shall be obliged to attach documents confirming the circumstances indicated in the application.
Furthermore, there are numerous exemptions from the permit requirement for the acquisition of real estate. There is no need to obtain a permit, except for those properties located in the border zone and agricultural land of more than 1 ha, in the case of:
- the acquisition of a separate residential unit within the meaning of the Act of 24 June 1994 on Premises Ownership;
- the acquisition of self-contained commercial premises with a garage purpose or of a share in such premises, if this is related to meeting the residential needs of the purchaser or the owner of the real estate or of the self-contained residential premises;
- the acquisition of a real estate by a foreigner residing in the Republic of Poland for at least 5 years after the granting of a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for a long-term EU resident;
- the acquisition by a foreigner married to a Polish citizen and residing in the Republic of Poland for at least 2 years after the granting of a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for a long-term EU resident of real estate, which as a result of the acquisition will constitute the spouses’ statutory community;
- the acquisition of a real estate by a foreigner, if on the date of acquisition he/she has been entitled to statutory succession under Polish law from the transferor of the real estate and the transferor has been the owner or perpetual usufructuary of the real estate for at least 5 years;
- the acquisition by an entity referred to in Article 1(2)(4) of the Act for its statutory purposes, of undeveloped real estate, the total area of which in the whole country does not exceed 0.4 ha in urban areas;
- the acquisition of a real estate by a foreigner who is a bank and simultaneously a mortgage creditor, through the procedure of taking possession of the real estate as a result of an unsuccessful auction in enforcement proceedings;
- the acquisition or takeover by a bank that is a legal person referred to in Art. (2)(4) of the Act of shares in a company referred to in Art. 3e, in connection with the bank’s enforcement of claims arising from banking activities.
Note: The acquisition of an interest in land associated with the ownership of a dwelling does not require the Minister’s permission, as it is a right attached to the dwelling and is closely related to it (common property). However, approval shall be required for the acquisition of interests in separate real estate, i.e. such as access roads, parts of housing estates, which are acquired together with the apartment but constitute separate real estate and are not part of the common real estate. (Frequently Asked Questions – Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration – Gov.pl website (www.gov.pl))
A contract for the purchase of real estate must be concluded in the form of a notarial deed. On the websites of the Chambers of Notary Public you will find information about the notary offices that provide support to persons from Ukraine (e.g. in the Wielkopolska region – https://rejent.poznan.pl/pomoc-ukrainie/lista-notariuszy-udzielajacych-wsparcia/).
Legal basis: Ustawa z dnia 24 marca 1920 r. o nabywaniu nieruchomości przez cudzoziemców (t.j. Dz. U. z 2017 r. poz. 2278).