Before your arrival at the JFTC, please consider the following issues:
What documents do you need upon crossing borders?
What documents do you need to obtain temporary residency in Poland?
What technical standards should your private vehicle meet to be registered in Poland?
What are your specific requirements concerning private accommodation?
What kind of health insurance documents should you bring from your country?
To acquaint yourself with Polish lifestyle,
please visit: www.poland.gov.pl
If you are interested in information from Bydgoszcz, go to www.bydgoszcz.pl
Housing market in Bydgoszcz offers many opportunities. Housing standard is good and finding suitable accommodation should not pose a problem. The Host Nation Support Unit or your National Support Element will assist you in finding accommodation that meets your expectations.
The Host Nation Support Unit allows time to search for accommodation. Therefore, you are encouraged to fill out the Accommodation Questionnaire defining your specific requirements with this regard. The form is forwarded to you in advance by the JFTC. Please, be mindful that Host Nation Support Unit will do their best to meet your specific requirements, however it may not always be possible. If you have any questions concerning the questionnaire, please contact the Host Nation Support Unit Inprocessing Office or your National Support Element directly. The Host Nation Support Unit and NSE's will assist in finding accommodation from the housing list, however if no adequate housing is found a real-estate agent will be contacted to continue the search.
It is advised to make 1 year contracts with landlords that are new to renting to JFTC members.
The rental cost of utilities is subject to negotiation, if your rental contract obligates your landlord to provide utilities (e.g. waste, phone/ Internet connection, gas, electricity, etc.). You may also discuss with your landlord possibility to exclude the cost from the rental contract and make your payments directly to the service provider.
Foreigners may purchase an apartment in Poland without limitations. If you decide to buy property in a form of land or houses, you may face more complicated legal aspects, so then you should consult a lawyer or a real estate agent. A letter from the Polish Ministry of Interior on the criteria to be met by foreigners at the JFTC upon purchasing real estate is posted on the L-Drive.
For further details contact the Host Nation Support Unit or your National Support Element.
Guidance on housing services, rentals, and associated Polish regulations is available on the L-Drive or through the Host Nation Support Unit In-processing Office.
There is generally no problem finding accommodation in hotels in Bydgoszcz. There are several hotels of different standard. For more information, please contact JFTC Protocol Office. To make a reservation please contact your National Support Element, the Host Nation Support Unit or your sponsor.
Under the NATO SOFA, members of a force are exempt from passport and visa regulations and from immigration inspection upon entering and leaving Poland on the condition that a travel order and a national military ID card is presented. This exemption extends to residency requirements.
Members of a civilian component and their dependants are not granted any visa/residency concessions under the NATO SOFA. This equally applies to contractor personnel not included in the NATO SOFA. In the MOA, Poland agreed to lift or waive the regulations for members of the civilian component, their dependants, military staff members, and for contractor personnel. However, this has not fully been implemented yet and in order to ensure if you or your family are to comply with certain requirements, please observe the rules below and contact the JFTC for more specific information prior to your arrival.
No formalities are required to be observed by NATO military staff posted to the JFTC. However, military staff members may choose to register with local authorities in order to obtain a Polish ID-number (PESEL).
Others (civilian personnel, dependants, contractor personnel) have to register with the City Hall of Bydgoszcz and apply for a temporary residency at the Voivodeship Office (in Polish "Urząd Wojewódzki"). Please remember that residence permit procedure must be initiated no later than on the last day of your valid visa/ visa-free arrival. In fact, non-EU citizens are strongly encouraged to start the residence procedures prior to their arrival to Poland by filling a residence permit application at the nearest Polish Consular Office in their country of residence. If you decide to initiate the procedure upon your arrival, please don't wait with legalisation of your stay until you find private accommodation in Bydgoszcz. You should use the JFTC address, the certificate of status or the confirmation of status, which will be provided to you by the JFTC, and a statement that you and your family are in temporary accommodation (e.g. hotel). Detailed information is available on the L-Drive ("Guide on Legalisation of Stay" in "residency" folder) and on request will be provided to new staff members prior to their arrival in Poland.
The Host Nation Support Unit In-processing Office or your National Support Element handle the procedure which provides translated samples of forms to be filled in and the documents to be collected. The guide and forms are also available on the L-Drive.
There is no fee associated with registration at the City Hall. As for temporary residency, the EU citizens have to expect that it usually takes 30 days to process the application and issue a registration certificate. For the non-EU citizens the fee is 424 PLN per person and the time required for processing is at least 60 days.
Please note the following:
The JFTC generally recommends using the JFTC official address as the formal address of registration of non-Polish members of the staff and their dependants. Do not use it as your private mailing address.
The rules on residency differ, depending on your citizenship, and the documents to be provided from your home country in support of the application vary accordingly. For more information and advice, please contact your National Support Element, the Host Nation Support Unit In-processing Office, or look at the guide on Legalization of Stay in Poland on the L-Drive.
Civilians, contractors, and dependants travelling while on post within the Schengen Area, are suggested to review visa requirements at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/index_en.htm . This recommendation extends to military staff members travelling off duty.
As for travelling while on post on official business, military staff members (NATO/ PfP) are exempt from passport and immigration (visa) requirements, on the condition that they can present a valid NATO travel order and their national military ID-cards, as long as they travel within the areas to which the NATO SOFA or the PfP SOFA apply. Civilians, contractors, and dependants do not benefit from this visa and passport free travels enjoyed by their military counterparts, as underlined above, and are required to prepare accordingly.
If dependants are seeking employment within Poland, they have to obtain a work permit as well as a temporary residency, as required by Polish law. However, if dependants are to be hired by National Support Elements or by the JFTC in supporting positions, they are not required to hold a Polish work permit (MOA, Section 5.9). The same exemption applies to the JFTC contractors (MOA, Section 5.11).
Military NATO personnel are not required to present a passport upon crossing borders to countries, which are parties to the NATO/ PfP SOFA (substituted by a valid travel order and a national military ID). It is highly recommended to hold a passport during the entire posting to Poland. It is the most frequently accepted and used ID. You are required to present it to the law enforcement authorities on demand. Thus, you are recommended to:
Make sure that you and your family hold valid passports throughout your posting at the JFTC.
Ensure to carry your passport or a certified copy of your passport at all times.
Never hand in your original documents - have ready copies certified by a Polish notary.
Upon their first arrival, members of a force or of a civilian component are allowed to import (and re-export) duty-free personal effects and furniture. Upon his/ her first arrival, a dependant is allowed to duty-free import of personal effects and furniture. The arrival does not have to be simultaneous with the arrival of the member of the force or the civilian component. However, the privilege extends only for the term of the service of the member of the force or the civilian component.
Please remember that staff members and their dependants are not exempted from customs inspections. The fact that Poland is a party to the Schengen Agreement and that border control with other Schengen countries is abolished does not change the regulations on import and export of goods to other EU or non-EU countries.
If you want to ensure smooth customs clearance, you are recommended to stay in touch with the Host Nation Support Unit or your National Support Element and to have the customs clearance concluded in Bydgoszcz. The Host Nation Support Unit provides assistance, including coordination with the local customs office and will be able to supply you with specifics regarding Polish customs regulations and requirements for documentation to ease the out-processing.
There are export and import limitations with regard to certain products such as alcohol, tobacco, food items, antiques or wild-life products. For more information contact the Legal Office.
According to the currency law, you are allowed to import to Poland foreign currency, gold, platinum, and other means of payment if its common value does not exceed 10.000 EUR. When you enter Poland and carry currency in excess of 10.000 EUR, you are obliged, in writing, to declare it to the customs. Upon border crossing and on demand from a representative of the customs or the border guard, you are also obliged to present imported currency.
TRANSLATION OF THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
Whenever you are required to present personal documents to Polish authorities or a certified translation by a sworn translator is required, please seek advice from your National Support Element or the Host Nation Support Unit In-processing Office.
The JFTC was established under the Paris Protocol on Status of Military Headquarters, Article 14. It is an international military organisation with the same status afforded to any international military headquarters below the level of Supreme Headquarters.
The status of the personnel serving at the JFTC is defined by the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (NATO SOFA) and the Paris Protocol. Poland concluded a supplementary agreement with Headquarters Supreme Allied Command Transformation on the status of the JFTC and its personnel (the Memorandum of Agreement - MOA) which elaborates on the status of the personnel and provides a similar status enjoyed at other NATO international military headquarters. The JFTC MOA has been implemented and is supplemented with the Garrison Support Arrangement and e.g. ordinances on taxes and duties exemptions. The new Supplementary Agreement to the Paris Protocol was signed on 9 July 2016 and will replace JFTC MOA once Polish ratification procedure is completed.
Below you will find a number of different legal issues, based on the NATO SOFA, the Paris Protocol, and the JFTC experience. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Legal Advisor. Thanks to regular coordination meetings and the L-Drive establishment, the JFTC makes effort to provide information to staff members.
The JFTC Legal Office can assist you in finding answers to problems related to your legal status in Poland. The In-processing Office (the JFTC Support Unit) is ready to provide assistance and holds copies of required forms for residency. If you need legal assistance beyond questions pertaining to status or practical assistance to overcome settling down in Bydgoszcz, you may seek advice from a local lawyer or an attorney.
Under the NATO SOFA and Paris Protocol, members of the force or of the civilian component are not exempted from value added taxes on private purchases in Poland. Local purchases are to be paid in full. However, entitled staff members can claim reimbursement of VAT and excise duty, on conditions set out in Polish law. During the in-processing you will be briefed on limitations (e.g. limits on the number of privately owned vehicles, trailers, motor bikes, leisure boats etc, which can be brought to or bought in Poland free of VAT and Customs). For more information, see the JFTC Directive Tax and Fiscal Entitlements.
The JFTC Shop has been established at the JFTC compound, where the entitled personnel can buy tax-free products. The rules of operation are described in the JFTC Shop Directive. During your in-processing, you will be briefed in details on ration items, ration cards, access to the shop etc.
Non-Polish staff members of the force or of the civilian component are not subject to taxation in Poland on their salary and emoluments received in their capacity. If you are assigned to the JFTC as a member of Polish Armed Forces or of a civilian component assigned by Poland, you are not exempt from the income tax. Any other income generated in Poland due to off-duty activities (if so permitted by the rules of the Sending State, NATO, or Polish law) is taxable by Poland. It also refers to your dependants, unless other agreements provide differently (e.g. double taxation agreements).
You are also exempt from Polish taxation on your tangible, movable property brought into Poland due to your temporary assignment and service at the JFTC. Your dependants are not. In case you receive a tax call on your personal property, please contact the JFTC Legal Advisor. Currently, it is also unclear if joint ownership (e.g. between a member of a force and his/her spouse) will trigger taxes on moveable property. If non-Polish staff members decide to investigate and invest in Polish real estate, all taxes imposed on immovable property owned by foreigners or non-residents are to be met.
Local communities in Poland have a right to introduce certain local taxes e.g. an annual tax on dogs. Upon arriving to Poland with a dog, please contact the Host Nation Support Unit or your NSE to find out if the tax on dogs is in force in the place of your private residence.
For further details please contact the Legal Office.
PRIVATELY OWNED (FIRE) ARMS
The Polish "Weapon and Ammunition Act" states the principles of possession of weapon and ammunition by foreigners. The Act does not apply to service/ integral weaponry of the Polish Armed Forces, or to weapons and ammunition, which are held by foreign forces while in Poland. The Act does not prohibit the possession of e.g. pepper-sprays for personal protection - but you always need to remember that it can only be used in self-defense, and that the extent of the self-defense will be measured according to Polish law.
If you intend to bring your private weapons with you to Poland, please familiarize yourself with the regulations in force on import, export, storing and use of private weapons. You can obtain the information from the Legal Office. A guide detailing regulations is available on the L-Drive. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in criminal or civil proceedings.
Insurance can be obtained either in Poland or in your home country. There is no rule of mandatory insurance except for vehicle owners. You are required by law to take out insurance against third-party liability with a Polish insurance company (see more here).
Before arriving in Poland please check if your insurance covers you when you move to Poland. Due to a lack of reassurance agreement, some staff members at the JFTC had to take out insurance with a Polish company.
Commercial companies provide a number of voluntary insurance e.g. against theft and burglary, liability, and for domestic animals (e.g. third party liability insurance against damage done by an animal, animal treatment insurance, home assistance insurance including taking care of domestic animals).
If you buy a Polish insurance, be aware that the policy has to be renewed on a yearly basis and you may have to contact the insurance company yourself when the policy expires.
For vehicle insurance, click here.
|GENERAL EMERGENCY NUMBER FREE OF CHARGE FROM ANY TELEPHONE||112|
|EMERGENCY ELECTRICAL SERVICE||991|
|WATER-SUPPLY EMERGENCY SERVICE||994|
|EMERGENCY ROAD SERVICE||981|
|MUNICIPAL POLICE (e.g. tickets for parking, speeding, public order violation)||986|
The person answering an emergency call - except 112 operator - may not speak any other language than Polish. During the in-processing at the JFTC you are provided with a status certificate. In the pocket version of the certificate you will find a mobile phone number to the JFTC Community Service Point of Contact who stands ready to help you in emergency situations.
SCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN
Children of JFTC staff members can attend Polish nurseries, kindergartens, public schools, and universities. There is a fee involved. In public schools approximately 50 PLN a year for the Parents' Council. In kindergarten there is a monthly fee. In public nurseries, priority for admission to certain degree depends on the household revenue. Only children, whose both parents work can be admitted to public nurseries.
Under the Polish school system, children between 7 to 12 years of age attend szkoła podstawowa (primary school), children between 13 to 16 years of age go to gimnazjum (junior high school), whereas teenagers between 16 and 19 years of age attend liceum (high school). In most public schools Polish is the language of instruction. However, "17th Gimnazjum" and "9th Liceum" (www.lo9gim17.pl) conduct classes mainly in English (IBO accreditation since 2006).
There are also private schools operating in Bydgoszcz and they all have official accreditation from the competent Polish authorities. Fees vary depending on the school.
The International School of Bydgoszcz (ISOB) was established by the Host Nation in implementation of the JFTC Memorandum of Agreement, and it provides quality educational opportunities for the children of Joint Force Training Centre members.The Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz is the founding body and the supervisor of the school since 2 March 2009. The school teaches in accordance with the standards of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) PYP, MYP, DP.; there are around two hundred twenty students in the ISOB.
For more updated information visit the International School of Bydgoszcz web page http://www.isob.ukw.edu.pl/en .
If your child is to attend a school, some vaccinations may be mandatory. Please contact the Host Nation Support Unit Medical Section for details.
HOME DAY-CARE/ HOUSEKEEPING
If you consider an option of employing a babysitter, a nanny, or a housekeeper, you can either manage the recruitment and employment yourself, or you may choose to hire them through an agency. Offers can be found in daily newspapers or websites such as "Express Bydgoski" or "Anonse".
If you decide to manage the employment yourself, the following should be observed:
- You must sign a contract of employment or a service contract (the latter may be easier to manage).
- Secondly, you have to apply for a tax-identification number (NIP) from the internal revenue service (NIP-3 form and a copy of your passport).
- Then, you have to register your employee with the National Health Fund (NFZ – Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia), using a ZFA form for you, and a ZUA for your employee.
- Monthly, you have to make tax payments and payments to the NFZ (three different payments). You, as the employer, have to provide the employee with an annual statement of payments made for taxes and for the NFZ. It is advisable to hire an accountancy company to help you with calculating, concluding taxes and other payments.
If you decide to employ an au pair/ a housekeeper from abroad and before you take the above-mentioned steps, please make sure that:
- The au pair holds a valid Polish visa (if required), a passport as well as a certification of her/his professional qualifications together with the Polish translation.
- You apply for a work permit for your au pair (if required) at the local Voivodeship Office. The administration fee (currently 100 PLN for a work permit valid for a period longer than three months). The procedure of obtaining a work permit should take no more than one month.
If you consider hiring a babysitter or a housekeeper through an agency, remember that you buy the service from an agency, which employs the worker, according to your requirements. Therefore, all administration burden of employment rests with the agency. Instead, you would have to conclude a contract with an agency, and normally it means you would meet all costs of employment and additionally pay a service charge (around 15% of the costs of employment) to the agency. You should also remember that under the Polish law you are not allowed to hire the same babysitter/housekeeper through an agency for longer than eighteen months.
According to the NATO SOFA, Poland as a Host Nation is obliged to provide medical and dental services to members of the force, members of the civilian component, and their dependants under the same conditions as to Polish personnel. The Garrison Support Arrangement between Poland and Allied Command Transformation regarding base support to the JFTC further details and extends the medical support provided through the Medical Facility at the Host Nation Support Unit to contractor personnel.
The level of medical and dental services and the terms of providing emergency support and basic medical treatment are set out in the JFTC Directive 19-01 Healthcare., which also explains how to register to receive medical assistance from the 10th Military Hospital and the JFTC Medical Facility.
Citizens from the EU benefit from the regulations for transfer of the member states' health insurance coverage within the European Union, unless the Sending State has other rules for health insurance coverage for personnel abroad.
- In general, the EU-regulations require that JFTC personnel (EU citizens) must request relevant authorities in their respective countries to issue an EU form called S1 (in two originals) stating the date of the beginning of the tour of duty and the date of ending the tour of duty. When filling in the S1 your national authorities are required to state your address in Poland. Please use the JFTC as the formal address of registration for the JFTC foreign staff members and their dependants (ul. Szubińska 2, 85-915 Bydgoszcz).
- If your spouse and/or children (EU citizens) are staying in Poland with you, you should make sure to have them included in this form, as this is a requirement for the Polish authorities to include them in the health insurance coverage.
- For the EU citizens a European Health Insurance Card was introduced on 1 June 2004. Currently the European card replaces form E-111 only, which had to be obtained before every temporary stay in another Member State in order to obtain reimbursement of any health expenditures in the Member State of temporary stay. It also provides direct access, where necessary, to service providers in the Member State of temporary stay.
It should be noted that holders of a European Health Insurance Card or equivalent document are entitled to services which are necessary for medical reasons during their temporary stay, taking into account the duration of stay and the nature of the services. In practice, card holders (also those suffering from a chronic or existing illnesses) are entitled to all benefits in kind (healthcare, treatment etc.) needed in order to be able to continue their stay under safe medical conditions. In other words, they should not be obliged to interrupt their stay before the planned date in order to return to their country of residence for treatment. Healthcare, which goes beyond what is medically necessary during a temporary stay is not covered by the card, e.g. when a person travels to another EU country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment.
The JFTC personnel and the dependants (non EU-citizens) are currently required to meet the costs of medical and dental treatment (check your national rules on reimbursement or insurance), except for care which is provided within JFTC Medical Facility.
To see the addresses of public outpatient care medical facilities located in Bydgoszcz, which are opened at nights, weekends and public holidays, please click here.
Below you will find useful expressions which can facilitate your medical interview,
Please note that prescriptions in Poland are valid for 30 days since the date of issue, except prescriptions for antibiotics which are valid only for 7 days.
Staff members registered with the Polish Health Insurance Fund (NFZ) need to carry original NFZ certificate while purchasing medicine on prescription.
There are many pharmacies ("apteka" in Polish) in Bydgoszcz, and some of them operate 24 hours a day e.g. Apteka Centralna, 27 Gdańska Street. For a list of pharmacies, including pharmacies, which provide delivery of medicine to your door, please refer to the Host Nation Support Unit for details.