Global Business GuidePoland

From Global Connections

This is one of a series of Global Business Guides designed for businesses wishing to expand into another country/territory. This Global Business Guide was produced in January 2016. The materials contained in this document provide a snapshot at that time and were based on the law enforceable and information available at that time.


Poland is the world’s 14th most FDI-attractive country according to the World Investment Report 2015 published by the UNCTAD. FDI inflows into the country reached EUR9 billion in 2014.

Poland ranked 25th in the World Bank's 2016 Doing Business rankings, rising from 28th in the year prior. Poland's increase in rank represented a number of reforms enacted by the government to make doing business easier, including the introduction of an electronic system for filing and paying VAT and transport tax and reducing delays in processing applications for new electricity connections by increasing human and capital resources and by enforcing service delivery timelines.

Key facts about starting a business in Poland:

  • It takes four procedures and approximately 30 days to start a new business in Poland; this process is detailed in the Doing Business in chapter
  • Obtaining a work permit typically takes up to one month to process and costs up to PLN200; employment regulations are discussed in detail in the Labour chapter
  • Obtaining a building permit takes approximately 65 days and costs PLN588
  • Poland ranked 19th in a comparison of 36 countries’ intellectual property regimes; intellectual property rights are discussed in the Legal overview chapter
  • Companies that wish to list and trade securities on the Warsaw Stock Exchange must, amongst other conditions, have published financial statements with an auditor opinion for at least three consecutive financial years preceding application for admission; this is discussed further in the Finance chapter

Poland's strong economy means that it is an attractive location for overseas investors. Nevertheless, in order to make an informed decision, it is critical to understand the nuances of any local regime. The manner in which people conduct business in Poland may differ from the home countries of investors. Furthermore, variations on these distinctions may exist in different regions of Poland and the industry in which a company operates.

Polish is the official language of Poland and therefore the lingua franca of business. Other languages spoken in Poland that may be used in business include English, German and Russian. German tends to be more used in the west part of the country, Russian near eastern borders and among elder generation. Dress codes in the workplace are typically conservative.

Polish people value formality in business and companies tend to be hierarchical in nature. A handshake is the typical business greeting. Gift giving may occur at initial business meetings or upon the signing of a contract.

Those looking to establish a business in Poland will often look to countries across Europe as alternative options. While membership of the EU ensures parity in many aspects of the legal, tax and audit regimes, Poland can be differentiated on the following factors:

  • Poland is Europe’s eighth largest economy in the EU
  • Poland is the sixth largest country in the European Union in terms of population, with over 38 million citizens
  • The average hourly labour cost in 2015 was EUR8.60
  • Poland is the largest beneficiary of EU funds (over EUR105.8 billion in the period 2014-2020)
  • Poland’s strategic location provides access to the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe; Poland's transport system is outlined in the Infrastructure chapter
  • Poland provides investment incentives for business activities carried out in 14 Special Economic Zones across the country; this is discussed further in the Trade chapter

With its strong economy and large investment of EU funds, Poland is an attractive business location for many investors. Nevertheless, the country faces a number of challenges in the upcoming years. Exports and imports dominate Poland's GDP making the country extremely susceptible to fluctuations in the economies of its trading partners. Further economic instability in primary trading partners, such as the EU and Russia, could hamper Poland's growth prospects.

This guide has been developed to provide businesses with an overview of Poland, its legal regime, start-up and market entry considerations, tax and customs requirements and a general summary of the factors that may affect the decision to do business in Poland. However, the information contained in this document is generic in nature and you should not act or rely on it without obtaining specific professional advice.

Please note that the Global Business Guides may only be available in English.

Useful Links

1 Polish Business Register
2 Tax Administration - Ministry of Finance
3 Customs Services
4 Ministry of Foreign Affairs
5 Patent Office of the Republic of Poland
6 The Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data
7 Invest In Poland
8 Ministry of Labour and Social Policy



1 UNCTAD World Investment Report
2 Doing Business Rankings
3 IP Index
4 Work Permit
5 Poland Economy Size
6 Population Size
7 Labour costs


Download Global Business Guide - Poland (3.63MB, PDF)


This document is issued by HSBC Bank Polska S.A. (the Bank). This guide is a joint project with Grant Thornton. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for business to anyone in any jurisdiction. It is not intended for distribution to anyone located in or resident in jurisdictions which restrict the distribution of this document. It shall not be copied, reproduced, transmitted or further distributed by any recipient. The information contained in this document is of a general nature only. It is not meant to be comprehensive and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this document without obtaining specific professional advice. Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this document, the Bank and Grant Thornton makes no guarantee, representation or warranty (express or implied) as to its accuracyor completeness, and under no circumstances will the Bank or Grant Thornton be liable for any loss caused by reliance on any opinion or statement made in this document. Except as specifically indicated, the expressions of opinion are those of the Bank and are subject to change without notice. The materials contained in this document were assembled in January 2016 and were based on the law enforceable and information available at that time.

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HSBC retains all responsibility for the translation of the content of this guide. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the English and translated versions of this Guide, the English version shall apply and prevail.

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