Does a foreigner have to have a PESEL?

PESEL number – what situations is it used in?

The PESEL number is an individual number found in the Universal Electronic Population Registration System. It is a nationwide registry in which population records are collected. Due to the fact that the PESEL number is individualized, we use it when communicating with offices, hospitals, schools or courts. It is commonly used as a method of identifying an individual, but in principle it can be replaced by, for example, an ID card number or passport number. For this reason, many foreigners, despite living and working in Poland for several months, still do not have a PESEL number, replacing it with, for example, a passport number or a residence card number.

In some situations, however, having a PESEL number is essential. From the employer’s perspective, we are talking about two cases in particular, i.e. the tax identification of an individual and the establishment of an ePUAP profile.


PESEL as a tax identification number

The fast approaching end of the year is, among other things, the time for annual tax settlements. Employers are required to send PIT-11 declarations for their employees to the competent tax office no later than 31.01.2024, and to provide employees with these declarations no later than 28.02.2024. When preparing PIT-11 declarations, it is necessary to indicate an identification for tax purposes – either NIP or PESEL. Currently, for individuals who do not conduct business and are in Poland to perform work, the only acceptable identification for tax purposes is the PESEL number.

Please note that tax declarations are sent to the relevant office only electronically, and the system does not accept declarations that indicate, for example, „00000000000” or „11111111111” instead of the PESEL number. This means, therefore, that if a foreigner does not have an assigned PESEL number then the employer will not be able to fulfill his tax obligations, thus exposing himself to fiscal penalties.

Employers still have more than two months to verify that all foreigners they hire have a PESEL number and, if necessary, help foreigners obtain one.


PESEL as the basis for ePUAP creation

Foreigners appointed to the management board of a legal entity have numerous duties related to the financial reporting of these entities. One of the main duties is to sign the financial statements and the management report.

The provisions of Act of 29.09.1994 on Accounting indicate that both the annual financial statements and the annual management report of the entity should be signed by all members of the management board or by one member of the management board, subject to appropriate declarations by the other members of the management board.

The above Act also requires members of the management board to have these documents signed alternatively – with a qualified electronic signature, a trusted signature (ePUAP) or a personal signature.

Similar technical requirements apply to the reporting of information about the entities’ real beneficiaries to the Central Register of Real Beneficiaries (CRBR).

The most common and free form of obtaining the required signature is to create an ePUAP profile, which allows documents to be signed electronically for free. However, the creation of an ePUAP profile is only possible by individuals with an assigned PESEL number.

Therefore, if the company’s members of the management board still do not have a PESEL number and consequently cannot sign documents electronically, we recommend that they apply for a PESEL number as soon as possible, so that next year’s reporting obligations do not cause unnecessary problems for the management board.


How to obtain a PESEL number?

As a rule, the PESEL number is assigned ex officio.

Foreigners receive a PESEL number ex officio when completing the formalities for registration for a stay of more than 30 days. In such a case, along with the registration certificate, the foreigner receives a certificate of assignment of the PESEL number.

However, if a foreigner cannot or could not register, it remains for him to apply for a PESEL number. The application is free of charge and is submitted to any municipality office indicating your basic personal data. The contents of the application should indicate the legal basis (specific regulation) entitling the person to receive a PESEL number, which should be based on the purpose for which the PESEL number is to be assigned.

The waiting period for assigning a PESEL number to an application submitted by mail is several days. Given the approaching end of the year, the waiting period may become longer, so we recommend completing the formalities in this regard as soon as possible.


If you or your employees would need our assistance in obtaining a PESEL number – we remain at your disposal and encourage you to contact us.

Dominika Czaplewska   |   11.23.2023

Autor :

Dominika Czaplewska

Dominika Czaplewska

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