Obtaining a transport license
In order to transport goods or passengers, you need to obtain a transport license. In order to do this, you need to create a company first and only after that you may obtain a license.
What does the Law say about transport license?
“Goods transportation, as well as passengers transportation by vehicle with a carrying capacity of over 3.5 tons (both within the country and throughout the EU) is a licensed activity and requires special permits”*. However, it is worth mentioning that the capacity limits will change and from 2022. It will also be mandatory to obtain a license for international transportation for a vehicles with a carrying capacity of 2.5 to 3.5 tons.
*USTAWA z dnia 6 września 2001 r. o transporcie drogowym
How do transport services look like in Poland?
Transport is one of the fastest developing industries in Europe. Poland has 64% of share of foreign transport in the total transport performance – this makes it the leader among all European countries. Geographically, Poland is located at the crossroads of trade routes between the eastern and western parts of the continent, it allows a significant volume of cargo flows passes through it.
There is no secret that the transport business today is one of the most popular areas of entrepreneurial activity in Poland among foreign citizens, especially the CIS. Especially, because the geographic location of Poland helps entrepreneurs to enter the European market without any problems, and the simplified procedure for employing foreigners allows them to hire your compatriots without any hindrance.
However, when creating a transport company, remember the essential formalities that must be followed in order to carry out transport orders smoothly and legally. Although the specifics of running a transport business in Poland should not surprise entrepreneurs from Ukraine – the requirements for vehicles, the availability of licenses, comprehensive insurance, etc. – all these points are familiar, some points still differ. You should, first of all, pay attention to the types of licenses, their validity period, the required certificates, as well as the issue of insurance. Also, it will not be superfluous to think about finding a good accountant.
Types of transport licenses in Poland
So, the General Inspectorate of Road Transport (GITD) mainly provides 3 types of licenses:
- Carriage of goods. This type of license is undoubtedly the most popular. This license is granted for a period of 5 to 10 years. The main condition for obtaining it is the presence of a permit to exercise the profession of a road carrier (zezwolenie na wykonywanie zawodu przewoźnika drogowego).
- Carriage of passengers. Here, the main task is to determine whether the vehicle on which the transportation will be carried out is structurally adapted to transport more or less 9 people, including the driver (this can be seen in the registration certificate – field “S1”). Only vehicles adapted to transport less than 9 people, including the driver, are exempted from the obligation to have a permit, but only for purposes not related to earning money. If you are thinking of providing paid services of a vehicle intended for the transport of less than 9 people, including the driver, you will need one of the following licenses: a license to transport people by taxi, a license to transport people in a passenger car, a license to transport people by a vehicle designed for transportation of 7 to 9 people. As for international transportation, the Road Transport Law does not provide a licenses for transportations carried out by vehicles with no more than 9 seats, including the driver, regardless of the nature of the transportation – whether you make a profit from it or not. However, keep in mind that this law may differ from country to country and before starting this kind of business, you should check the Law in that particular country.
- For mediation in the transportation of people. This service should be classified as a completely separate service. Transport mediation is the activity of transferring transport orders to other companies. A license for transport mediation can be obtained from the county governor for a period of not less than 2 years and not more than 50 years. If you will provide your services only on the territory of Poland, then there is no need to obtain a permit for the profession of a road carrier (zezwolenie na wykonywanie zawodu przewoźnika drogowego). However, you need to obtain a Certificate of Professional Competence (Certyfikat Kompetencji Zawodowych).
 PWC Report „Transport of the future – prospects for the development of road transport in Poland 2020-2030”
What do you need to get an international transport license in Poland?
Algorithm for obtaining a transport license
- Have a certificate confirming the professional competence of the carrier (certyfikat kompetencji zawodowych). Such a certificate must be held by at least one of the founders or employees of the company. To obtain a certificate, you must attend a 10-day preparatory course and pass an exam. The exam is additionally paid. If it is impossible to obtain a certificate for any reason, you can hire an employee with such a document for your company. It is not necessary to hire a full-time employee; in practice you may hire a worker on 1/4 or 1/8 of the minimum salary.
- Own an operational base (parking, transport area) for servicing and parking cars that are currently not used. In practice, you may sign an agreement. Plus you have to disposal your own car park (a number of rented cars).
- Confirm the reliability of the company – all employees as well as founders must provide a certificate of no criminal record in Poland (Zaświadczenie o niekaralności KRK)
- Confirm your financial independence (zdolność finansowa) – this is the carrier’s professional liability insurance policy. It must be in the amount of at least 9000 euros for the first car and at least 5000 euros for each next one. Financial independence can also be proven in the form of a bank guarantee or carrier liability insurance.
- Have a digital card for the tachograph (karta do tachografu) for reading movement data.
- Obtain a local transport license (Licensja Krajowa) – a permit for transport within the country. Issued indefinitely. Cost – from 1000 zł.
After having a fully prepared package of documents along with an application for obtaining an international license, you must contact the General Inspectorate for Road Transport (GITD), where the final decision on granting a license to the company will be made.
How long does it take to obtain a transport license?
The decision will be made within a month after the inspector receives a package of documents, sometimes this period can take up to 2 months.
How much does a transport license on carriage of goods cost?
The cost of an international transport license on carriage of goods, depending on the validity of the license:
- for 5 years: 4.000 zł (state duty) + 440 zł for an extract from the license, which must be in each vehicle
- for 10 years: 8.000 zł (state duty) + 880 zł for an extract from the license
The cost of a license to operate within the country is 1000 zł (state duty) + 100 zł for an extract from the license. Issued indefinitely.
How much does a transport license on carriage of passengers cost?
The cost of an international transport license on carriage of passengers, depending on the validity of the license:
- up to 5 years: 3600 zł (state duty) + 396 zł for an extract from the license, which must be in each vehicle
- from 5 to 10 years: 7200 zł (state duty) + 792 zł for an extract from the license
How much does a transport license for mediation in the transport of people cost?
The cost of an international transport license for mediation in the transport of people, depending on the validity of the license:
- from 2 to 15 years: 400 zł
- from 15 to 30 years: 450 zł
- from 30 to 50 years: 500 zł
It is ALSO important to remember to notify GITD about any changes in the data specified in the application (documentation). You are given 28 days to declare changes.