PESEL number

PESEL (Polish: Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności, Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population) is the national identification number in Poland. It consists of 11 digits that are unique for every registered person. It looks like this:

YYMMDDPPPPK

  • YY – last two digits of a year person was born in
  • MM – month
  • DD – day
  • PPPP – random number, but the last digit indicates person’s gender (odd number is for male, even – for female)
  • K – randomly generated number

Since 2018 every foreigner in Poland should have PESEL number and is also obliged to register his/her stay in a proper district office. Procedure of registering already includes assignig unique PESEL number to a person, so technically every international student and worker in Poland should have PESEL. Obviously, not every one has, but if you are a foreigner who plans to stay in Poland for longer period of time, you definitely should think about going through the whole procedure.

This is particularly important when you are an employee (that includes members of staff at the UW). Until 2018 employer who hired international worker could use Tax Identification Number (NIP) in order to settle taxes, but now it applies only to persons who are engaged in their own business activity. So having PESEL number is the only way for regular employees to settle things up with Polish tax office.