Local laws and customs
Under Polish law, if asked by Polish police, you must verify your identity by presenting photographic identification. As well as your passport, which we do not advise you carry with you unless absolutely necessary, you should carry another form of identification while in Poland, such as a driving licence or Passport Card. The Passport Card fits easily into a wallet and can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland. It is available to Irish citizens, aged 18 and over, who hold a valid Irish passport with at least 6 months remaining validity.
The currency in Poland is the Zloty. This is available from currency exchange providers in Poland called ‘kantor’. ATMs are available in all major cities and towns. Visitors can also pay by credit or debit card in most shops, bars and restaurants.
It is against the law to consume alcohol in public places in Poland and fines may be imposed.
Public drunkenness (i.e. in the streets, on public transport, etc.) may be dealt with very severely by the Polish authorities, who have the right to detain people overnight in detoxification centres. If you are detained overnight in a detoxification centre, you must pay for the cost of the stay.
The drink-drive limit in Poland is 20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, which is lower than in Ireland (50 milligrammes).
Public transport tickets can be purchased at ticket machines located at main bus and tram stops or at most kiosks and newspaper stands. Tickets must be validated at the start of a journey in the small yellow machine on the bus or tram. You will be fined on the spot if you are caught travelling with an invalid ticket.
There have been reports in Warsaw, particularly at the airport, of overcharging by non-regulated taxi drivers. Only use official taxis, which have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi (beside the occupied/unoccupied light). Taxis with a crest but no company name are not officially registered.
Otherwise, you should telephone taxis for service rather than using parked or passing taxis, which can charge a good deal more. Taxi companies that provide a telephone service are usually prompt and reliable. Taxi apps are available and commonly used in Poland.
Homosexuality is legal in Poland, but there is still a degree of intolerance among some sections of the population; be careful about public displays of affection.
Poland does not recognise marriage or civil partnership between two persons of the same sex. This can have implications should you or your spouse become ill as you may not be recognised as the next of kin. We advise you to explore the possibility of bringing written consent for you and your spouse, to authorise them to access your medical information should you become ill or require hospitalisation. The Embassy can help you to find English-speaking lawyers in Poland.
Irish people are well regarded in Poland but are not immediately recognisable to Poles as Irish. On a small number of occasions, Irish people have received unfriendly treatment because of the stag/hen party phenomenon (particularly in Kraków) which locals found disruptive and a nuisance. You can help to keep Ireland’s good reputation in Poland by behaving responsibly during your stay.
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:11:23 BST