All visitors to Poland are required to hold a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into the country. Passport holders from the U.S., Canada, and Australia can enter Poland without a visa and stay for 90 days. Passport holders from EU member countries, including the U.K., do not need a visa. Poland is a member of the EU's "Schengen" common border zone, meaning that -- in theory, at least -- if you are arriving from another EU country, you will not be asked to show a passport. Note that you are still obliged to carry your passport with you and show it if requested. Citizens of other countries should check in with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (www.msz.gov.pl) to see whether they are required to have a visa and for any specific instructions necessary for obtaining it.
The websites listed provide downloadable passport applications, as well as the current fees for processing applications. For an up-to-date, country-by-country listing of passport requirements around the world, go to the "International Travel" tab of the U.S. State Department at http://travel.state.gov. Allow plenty of time before your trip to apply for a passport; processing normally takes 4 to 6 weeks (3 weeks for expedited service) but can take longer during busy periods (especially spring). And keep in mind that if you need a passport in a hurry, you'll pay a higher processing fee.
For Residents of Australia -- You can pick up an application from your local post office or any branch of Passports Australia, but you must schedule an interview at the passport office to present your application materials. Call the Australian Passport Information Service (tel. 131-232), or visit the government website (www.passports.gov.au).
For Residents of Canada -- Passport applications are available at travel agencies throughout Canada or from the central Passport Office (Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Alberta, ON K1A 0G3; tel. 800/567-6868; www.ppt.gc.ca). Note: Canadian children who travel must have their own passport.
For Residents of Ireland -- You can apply for a 10-year passport at the Passport Office (Setanta Centre, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2; tel. 01/671-1633;www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie). Those under age 18 and over 65 must apply for a 3-year passport. You can also apply at 1A South Mall, Cork (tel. 21/494-4700) or at most main post offices.
For Residents of New Zealand -- You can pick up a passport application at any New Zealand Passports Office or download it from their website. Contact the Passports Office in New Zealand (tel. 0800/225-050 or 04/474-8100) or log on to www.dia.govt.nz.
For Residents of the United Kingdom -- To pick up an application for a standard 10-year passport (5-yr. passport for children under 16), visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or travel agency, or contact the United Kingdom Passport Service (tel. 0300/222-0000) or search its website at www.ips.gov.uk.
Visitors from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand do not require visas for stays under 90 days. Nationals of other countries should consult the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (general and visa information; www.msz.gov.pl) or contact the Polish embassy in their home country.
Travelers from outside the European Union, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, are permitted to bring with them into Poland duty-free: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250g (8 3/4 oz.) of pipe tobacco, 2L (68 oz.) of wine, and 1L (34 oz.) of spirits. For travelers coming from within the EU, at least in theory, the duty-free limit is 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, or 1kg (2 1/4 lb.) of pipe tobacco, 110L (29 gal.) of beer, 90L (24 gal.) of wine, and 10L (2 3/4 gal.) of spirits. There are no limits on what you can take out of Poland, but special restrictions apply on exports of certain cultural items, including works of art created before 1950.
What You Can Take Home -- For information on what you're allowed to bring home, contact one of the following agencies:
U.S. Citizens: U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/287-8667; www.cbp.gov).
Canadian Citizens: Canada Border Services Agency, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0L8 (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise, Crownhill Court, Tailyour Road, Plymouth, PL6 5BZ (tel. 845/010-9000; www.hmce.gov.uk).
Australian Citizens: Australian Customs Service, Customs House, 5 Constitution Ave., Canberra City, ACT 2601 (tel. 1300/363-263; www.customs.gov.au).
New Zealand Citizens: New Zealand Customs, The Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., P.O. Box 2218, Wellington, 6140 (tel. 04/473-6099 or 0800/428-786; www.customs.govt.nz).
There are no unusual health concerns for visiting Poland, and visitors are not required to get any special inoculations or show medical documents to enter the country. Medical and hospital standards are generally high. Though there are pharmacies everywhere, you should consider bringing along extra supplies of any prescription drugs you are taking. Tap water is drinkable, but you may want to avoid drinking from taps in old buildings since the pipes may be rusty. Bottled water is widely available.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.