The Act on Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners governs buying a property in Poland. As a rule, it is necessary to first obtain a special permit. Who issues the permit to buy a property in Poland by a foreigner? What are the requirements to obtain such a permit? How long is it valid? Find answers to these questions in this article.
Buying a property in Poland by a Foreigner. Who issues the permit?
The Act on Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners provides the rules for granting the permit.
It is issued as a result of the administrative decision made by the Minister in charge of internal affairs if there were no objections from the Minister of National Defence. In the case of agricultural property – if the Minister of Rural Development doesn’t raise objections.
The objection stated by these authorities results in the inability to grant a permit. It is expressed in the form of a decision made within 14 days following the receipt of the request issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs.
A negative decision to issue a permit for buying a property by a foreigner doesn’t require the opinion of the Minister of National Defense or the Minister of Rural Development.
Buying a property by a foreigner – the subject and the object of the permit
Within the meaning of the Act, a foreigner is:
- an individual who is a non-Polish national,
- a legal person whose registered office is located abroad,
- an unincorporated partnership of the persons referred to in point 1 or 2, whose registered office is abroad. It must be established in compliance with the legislation of a foreign country,
- a legal person and an unincorporated commercial partnership whose registered office is in the territory of Poland. It must be, directly or indirectly controlled by the persons or partnerships referred to in points 1, 2, and 3. of the Act.
Buying a property means the acquisition of ownership right of this property. Alternatively, the acquisition of the right to its perpetual usufruct following any legal event. You should remember that the acquisition of property may occur not only in the case of buying a property by a foreigner but also due to other legal transactions. This relates to actions such as e.g. the transformation of the cooperative right to accommodation into the property right. Another example may be the acquisition of a property by usucaption.
Buying a property by a foreigner – application for a permit
The foreigner’s request results in the issuance of the permit if:
- acquisition of property poses no threat to the defence and security of the state or to public order;
- acquisition of property is not contrary to the interests of social policy and social health;
- the foreigner demonstrates circumstances that confirm his relation with the Republic of Poland.
The circumstances listed below can be a basis to verify the connection with Poland:
- being of Polish nationality or Polish origin;
- marrying a national of the Republic of Poland;
- holding a temporary, permanent or EU long-term residence permit.
The application for the permit to buy a property by a foreigner should include:
- the name of the applicant and his legal status;
- identification of the property to be acquired;
- the name of the seller;
- a description of the legal form of the acquisition of property;
- information on the purpose and possibility of acquiring the property.
A foreigner applying for a permit should enclose the following documents:
- a document that confirms the circumstances indicated in the application,
- a document that confirms the connection with the Republic of Poland
- other documents that enable verification of the validity of the property’s acquisition.
There is no possibility to list all the documents that may be necessary to consider the application. In this way, the legislator made it possible for the authority to demand any document, as long as it justifies the proceeding. Any document that determines the correctness of the property’s acquisition may be valid.
What is important, the area of a property purchased by foreigners for their living needs may not exceed 0.5 ha.
Buying a property by a foreigner – the content and validity of the permit
The permit should specify in particular:
- the name of the buyer and of the seller,
- the acquired property,
- special conditions, if the Minister of Internal Affairs specified them in a given case.
According to the regulations, the permit for the purchase of property by a foreigner is valid for 2 years.
Permit proceedings may be discontinued if the foreigner who initiated them requests it. This can also happen if the owner of the property says he has no intention to sell it to the foreigner applying for the permit.
Buying a property by a foreigner – a promise of a permit
A foreigner intending to buy a property may apply for a promise of a permit issuance. The promise of a permit can be used when a foreigner, for various reasons, cannot yet apply for a permit to buy a property.
Foreigners most frequently apply for a promise of issuance in the following situations:
- They want to buy a property through an auction,
- The property they want to buy has an unresolved legal status,
- They want to buy a separated part of a property, and the geodetic division has not yet been completed.
The promise is valid for one year from issuance. A permit allowing a foreigner to buy a property cannot be denied during the validity of the promise. This can only happen if a significant change in factual circumstances has occurred. The essence of this change should affect the decision in the case.
Buying a property by a foreigner – when a permit is not necessary?
The Act on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners specifies cases in which it is possible to buy a property by a foreigner without the permit.
For example, a permit is not required for:
- Buying an independent residential unit, which provides adequate living conditions.
- Buying a unit or a share in a unit serving as a garage, if it is intended to provide adequate living conditions.
- Buying a property by a foreigner who has been living in Poland for at least 5 years from the date of obtaining a residence permit.
- Buying a property that will be part of matrimonial property – i.e. when the foreigner is the spouse of a Polish citizen and lives in Poland for at least 2 years. The timeframe is calculated from the moment of obtaining the residence permit.
- Buying a property if, on the date of acquisition, the foreigner is entitled to statutory inheritance from the seller. In this scenario, the seller must be the owner of the property for at least 5 years.
Yet, you should remember that despite the statutory exemptions there are certain situations in which a permit is needed to buy a property. For example, buying by a foreigner a property located in a border zone creates such a scenario. Another example may concern buying agricultural lands with an area over 1 ha.
According to the regulations, a permit for buying property by foreigners who are citizens of states that are parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation is not required.
The trade in real estate with foreigners is somewhat limited by the provisions of the law. Especially, of the Act on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners. The Act provides for a special acquisition procedure that takes into account the need to obtain a relevant permit.
Are you a foreign national who plans to buy a property in Poland? Our experts are here to help you. We offer legal advice and support in collecting the necessary documentation. Please feel free to contact our specialists.