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:


  • 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 is obliged to register his/her address in a proper district office (where he/she lives). 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.

If you are interested only in gaining PESEL number without registering your address, you can also do that. You only need to fill in the application form (in Polish) and deliver it to:

  • the office of the district in which you live (if you have registered your address already)
  • to the office in which your employer has his headquarters, or
  • to Śródmieście district office if you are not employed at all/company in which you are employed is located outside of Poland.

You will also need to bring documents confirming your identity and other data included in the application form. In addition, the application should state the legal basis, from which the obligation to obtain a PESEL number results. Note that if any office (e.g. ZUS or tax office) requires you to have a PESEL number, it should also specify the legal basis for such a requirement.

IMPORTANT NOTE: due to the epidemic situation please check if prior appointments of visits by phone or booking online is not required.