For foreigners, especially citizens of non-European Union countries, the choice of available banks may be restricted for formal reasons, meaning the necessity to present suitable documents required by a bank. Unfortunately, some banks refuse to open bank accounts for certain foreigners (this refers particularly to persons who do not have a PESEL number or have not yet been granted a residence permit). Internal bank regulations determine who and how may be served by the bank. Unfortunately, those regulations are not generally available even to potential clients.

Certain banks demand a PESEL number – a condition which is under regulations currently in force quite difficult for a foreigner to meet, as obtaining a PESEL number for newly arrived foreigners became almost impossible.

One of the banks that do not require a foreigner to have a residence permit and a PESEL is Millennium Bank. It has many branches in Poland, a modern internet banking service (the application to open an account may be also submitted online) and an attractive offer.

Also in ING Bank Śląski a foreigner can open an account using a passport and another document accepted by the bank, issued in the country of origin and confirming a residence address within that country’s territory, or the foreigner’s statement on the place of residence within the territory of a foreign country. Services of ING Bank Śląski are a little more expensive and it also has less branches. It should also be remembered that opening an account online is not possible.

Raiffeisen Polbank’s offer is also worth considering – here, you will open an account using a passport or a residence permit. Moreover, this bank has interesting financial services and quite a lot of branches, so that your everyday business can be handled conveniently.

Santander Bank has an interesting offer of bank accounts – it is worth visiting or calling one of its branches and looking into its offer. This bank is also former Bank Zachodni WBK and has a lot of branches where you can get professional help. Many matters may also be handled through the Internet or by phone.

When consider opening a bank account in Poland you cannot omit PKO BP bank, which has an interesting offer, modern products, and many branches even in little towns. To open an account, you have to present a passport along with other documents required by the bank. In practice, it may turn out that the passport alone is enough, but there is also a possibility that the bank will demand for example a residence card. Those are individual matters and probably every foreigner will find himself in a different situation, and the bank will require different documents from different people.

Another bank worth mentioning is Pekao S.A., it also has a lot of branches. To open an account in this bank it is enough to present a passport and to declare a monthly inflow into the account. Those should be sufficient to open an account as a foreigner regardless of the country of origin.

It is worth knowing that in Poland all interest from bank deposits is subject to a so-called Belka tax which is 19%. However, tax non-residents (if you do not live in Poland longer than for 183 days in a calendar year) can take advantage of the Conventions on the Avoidance of Double Taxation. If you do, then the interest – whether it be from a savings account or from deposits – will be taxed in accordance with the legislation of the country adequate to your tax residence (the tax is very often much lower). To exercise this right you have to present your bank with a certificate of tax residence issued by a foreign Inland Revenue Office.