Krakow elections 2018: How to register to vote as a foreigner

A statue of Józef Dietl, president of Krakow from 1866 to 1874, near Krakow City Hall on Plac Wszystkich Świętych
A statue of Józef Dietl, president of Krakow from 1866 to 1874, near Krakow City Hall on Plac Wszystkich Świętych

Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced the dates of this year’s local elections. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in participating in Krakow’s democratic process.

Can I vote?

Obviously, most Polish citizens age 18 or older can vote.

If you are a citizen of the EU (who is 18 or older and can vote in your country of origin), congratulations! You can vote on some things: Krakow president (mayor) and city council.

If you don’t fall into either of these categories, sorry – you can stop reading. (You still have to pay taxes, though.)

When are the local elections?

The first round of votes will take place on Sunday, October 21, with the runoff two weeks later on Sunday, November 4.

It may seem like a long way away, but if you’re interested in voting then you may need to take some steps to get ready for the big day.

How can I register to vote?

It depends on your situation. In this section we’ll be talking about zameldowanie: registration of residency in a Polish city.

If you don’t have zameldowanie, we recommend getting it even if you don’t plan to vote. Although there are no penalties for not having it, it’s easy, technically required by law, and makes some other things in Poland easier, like getting a Krakow City Card (and the benefits that come with it).

You can read about how to get zameldowanie here. If aren’t sure if have it already, you can contact the Krakow City Hall (Urząd Miasto) and ask them.

I’m a Polish citizen with zameldowanie in Krakow

You should be registered to vote. On election day you just need your ID card, student card, or another valid form of ID with a recent photo (like driving license or social security card).

I’m a foreigner living in Krakow permanently

First, make sure you have zameldowanie in Krakow (see above).

Once you have zameldowanie, you need to fill out a form called wniosek o wpisanie do rejestru wyborców (application for enrollment in the voting registry) along with a declaration. (Clicking on these links will prompt you to download PDFs of these documents from the city’s website).

The documents are in Polish, but pretty short and simple. If you need a translation, here are the application and the declaration.

Two things you need to know:

  • If you’re a foreigner, cross out the “A” at the top of the wniosek (application) where it says “CZĘŚCI A/B”
  • If you don’t have a PESEL number, you can use the number of your passport or another valid, official photo ID instead.

Where to submit the paperwork? If you remember where you got your zameldowanie, it’s the same office: Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych.

If you’re not sure, first you need to know your district. You can search here. Enter “Krakow” in the “Miejscowość” box and your street address in the “Ulica” box, then look for “Dzielnica” (District).

Your district corresponds to a number:

  • Stare Miasto (I)
  • Grzegórzki (II)
  • Prądnik Czerwony (III)
  • Prądnik Biały (IV)
  • Krowodrza (V)
  • Bronowice (VI)
  • Zwierzyniec (VII)
  • Dębniki (VIII)
  • Łagiewniki-Borek Fałęcki (IX)
  • Swoszowice (X)
  • Podgórze Duchackie (XI)
  • Bieżanów-Prokocim (XII)
  • Podgórze (XIII)
  • Czyżyny (XIV)
  • Mistrzejowice (XV)
  • Bieńczyce (XVI)
  • Wzgórza Krzesławickie (XVII)
  • Nowa Huta (XVIII)

You need to take both completed forms, a valid photo ID (like your passport), and a photocopy of that ID to the appropriate Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych, depending on which district you live in:

The bureaucrats in the office may not speak English, so you might want to bring a friend.

The office will consider your application and alert you by mail at the address you provided if you have been accepted into the Krakow voter roll. They should make a decision within three days.

Then, on election day, you just need to bring the ID that you used to register.

I’m a Pole or foreigner with zameldowanie outside of Krakow, and I don’t want to change it

The process is similar to the above section, with a few changes.

First, in the wniosek document (the first document linked above):

  • If you’re a Polish citizen, cross out the B where it says “CZĘŚCI A/B”. If you’re an EU citizen from outside of Poland, cross out the “A.”
  • Put the address where you have zameldowanie, or where you most recently had it.

Then, in the deklaracja (the second document linked above), put the address where you intend to actually vote from.

When you go to the Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych (see previous section), bring some proof of your current residence in Krakow, like your flat contract with the owner or the title to your property.

What’s next?

Stay tuned for:

  • Krakow Post voting guides on the candidates and parties so you can make an informed decision
  • A guide to what your ballot will look like, how to fill it correctly, and how it will be counted
  • More information on where to find your polling station, or how to vote if you’re disabled or will be out of town on election day

Is there anything else you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Krakow elections 2018: How to register to vote as a foreigner

  • August 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    Permalink

    Very helpful. Dziękuję.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2018 at 10:02 am
      Permalink

      Hi Evan:’)
      Thanks for that
      Is it possible to run for the City Council elections as well?:’)
      Best,
      K

      Reply
  • September 14, 2018 at 10:01 am
    Permalink

    Hi Evan:’) Thank you very much for your article – very useful:’)
    I would like to know another thing, though
    It’s just come to my knowledge that not only is it possible to vote as a foreigner
    But also to run as a candidate for the City Council election:’))

    I would like to apply – do you know how should I do?:’)

    Thanks:’)
    Best,
    K

    Reply
  • September 14, 2018 at 10:21 am
    Permalink

    Finally we can push for quality air in Krakow (URGENT), less cars and more rules for drivers because they don’t care much (Very Important) , more bikes tracks – more Ecology in general.

    Reply

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