Exercise normal safety precautions. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
- There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. See
Safety and security
- Poland does not recognise dual nationality. Australian-Polish dual nationals must enter and exit Poland using their Polish Passport. See
Entry and exit
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
Poland is part of the Schengen Area, which allows you to enter Poland without a visa in some circumstances.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Poland for up-to-date information.
You must register your place of residence within four days of arrival if you're staying in Poland for more than 14 days. Registration normally occurs as a part of hotel check-in. If staying in private accommodation, you must register with the local registration office. Proof of registration is required when applying for a visa extension.
Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
The currency of Poland is the Zloty (PLN). All major currencies can be exchanged in Poland.
Declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or equivalent in another currency). If you don't declare your cash or give incorrect information on entry or exit, you'll be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
Safety and security
Violent crime is rare but street crime, such as muggings, carjackings and theft from vehicles, happens in large cities, including Warsaw. Petty crime is common, particularly in tourist areas of large cities.
- Pick-pocketing is usually carried out by small groups of criminals near hotels, markets, ATMs, money-changing facilities and on public transport.
- Thieves operate at central railway stations, particularly in the Baltic towns of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot and in Warsaw and Krakow.
- Thieves sometimes target passengers on long-distance trains and buses, and public transport between the airport and central Warsaw.
- Be alert to drink spiking.
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
There's an increasing number of reports where travellers are being scammed with drink spiking and credit card overcharging in venues frequented by tourists. People have been lured in and overcharged for drinks on credit cards while under the influence.
If you're a victim, report the incident to police and contact your bank immediately.
Civil unrest and political tension
Public protests and events can draw large groups of people.
Avoid protests and large public gatherings as they may turn violent.
Monitor local media and follow all local authorities' instructions.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
- Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
- Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
- Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
- Follow local authorities' instructions.
- If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.
Terrorist threat worldwide
If crossing the border by road or train, allow extra time to cover any disruption and make plans if crossing is delayed or not possible.
- Always carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.
- Monitor local media and alerts from transport providers for up-to-date information.
You can drive in Poland for 6 months with an Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit. After 6 months, you must get a Polish driver's licence and pass an exam.
Poland has one of the highest road fatality rates among European Union countries. You're twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Poland than in Australia.
Drink driving is a major cause of road accidents. Local driving practices, poor road conditions outside major cities, insufficient street lighting and traffic volume, particularly trucks, are hazards for vehicle passengers and pedestrians. Many sections of highway are not dual-carriageway or are under construction. Overtaking lanes are scarce. Severe weather in winter can make driving even more hazardous and some roads may be closed.
- You must use your headlights at all times.
- The blood alcohol limit is 0.02.
- Use winter tyres if you drive during the winter months.
- Carry chains if you drive in mountainous or rural regions in winter.
There are local laws on where children can sit in a car. For example, children shorter than 150cm must use a safety seat. Seek advice from your car hire company or the police if travelling with children.
Road rules are different. Do your research before operating any vehicle.
Check the hire company rules before hiring a car or motorbike. Comply with both Poland and Australian vehicle operating and licence laws.
Road safety and driving
There are a number of taxi companies. Where possible, pre-book using a reputable taxi company or use an app such as ‘My Taxi’.
Many unregistered taxis overcharge their passengers. Official taxis have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi (beside the occupied/unoccupied sign). Taxis with a crest but no company name are not officially registered taxis.
Seek assistance from staff at hotels, hostels, restaurants or places of entertainment to book an official taxi.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Poland.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory prison sentences.
Carrying or using drugs
Laws relating to the consumption of alcohol are stricter than in Australia.
- There's almost zero tolerance for drink driving. The blood alcohol limit is 0.02. Offenders can be jailed for up to two years.
- Penalties for drivers involved in accidents while over the blood alcohol limit are severe and include up to eight years imprisonment.
- Public drunkenness is illegal. If you become drunk in public, you could be arrested and/or taken to a 'sobering-up room' and made to pay for the cost of your stay.
- It's illegal to drink alcohol in public places, including parks and public picnic areas.
It is illegal to photograph some buildings. These buildings generally display signs stating that taking photos is forbidden. If unsure whether photos are permitted, check with local authorities.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
Staying within the law
Poland doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to arrested or detained Australian/Polish dual nationals.
By law, Australian/Polish dual nationals must enter and exit Poland using their Polish passport.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars up-front.
- what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
- that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you leave, see a doctor for a basic health check-up. Discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by a doctor.
Take enough prescription medicine to last for your trip. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.
Before leaving Australia, check if your medication is legal in Poland.
There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas. Ticks are very common in country areas and active from spring to autumn.
Measles cases can routinely occur in Poland, with the country currently experiencing an increase in measles activity. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
Air pollution levels vary and can be very high. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, particularly a heart or lung condition, you may be especially affected. If concerned about the levels of air pollution, seek medical advice.
The Polish State Sanitary Inspection Authority recommends getting a flu vaccination to decrease the chances of complications during seasonal flu outbreaks. H1NI (swine flu) has been reported and can be managed by the annual seasonal vaccine.
Most doctors and hospitals require payment prior to providing services, including for emergency care.
The standard of public medical facilities in large cities is reasonable. Facilities in rural and border regions can be limited. Medical evacuation is very expensive.
Poland can experience extremely low temperatures in winter, and snow and ice can be hazards. Snow clearing in cities is efficient but black ice on roads is hazardous.
Highways and roads in rural areas can be blocked for extended periods. Heavy snow can disrupt train travel.
Poland can get severe flooding, particularly during spring. If flooding occurs, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline.
Emergency phone numbers
- Firefighting and rescue services: 112
- Medical emergencies: 112
- Criminal issues, contact police: 997.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
If you need consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Warsaw.
Australian Embassy, Warsaw
3rd Floor, Nautilus Building
ul. Nowogrodzka 11
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone: (48 22) 521 3444
Facsimile: (48 22) 627 3500
Australia in Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania
Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.