Since 17 November, Polish citizens have the possibility to withhold their PESEL number in the national register. This is intended to prevent the unauthorised use of personal data when taking out loans and to prevent various forms of crime and fraud.
Currently, the PESEL number can be secured via the obywatel.gov.pl platform, in the mObywatel app, or in person, at an office. In the future, national banks, co-operative savings and credit unions, and postal services will be able to block the PESEL number via their services.
Requirements for withholding the PESEL number
To withhold the PESEL number online, one of the following is required:
- trusted profile
- qualified electronic signature
- online banking access data
For in-person visits to the public office:
- polish citizens need a valid ID card or passport
- foreign citizens need a foreign travel document or other proof of identity and citizenship
- if you are Ukrainian citizen or the spouse of a Ukrainian citizen without Ukrainian citizenship and:
- you have a PESEL number with UKR status,
- you do not have any of the documents listed above
– you need another document on the basis of which your identity was proofed when you were granted UKR status.
- an application for withholding a PESEL number or for the withdrawal of the withholding of a PESEL number – the application can be downloaded from the government website and printed out at home or the clerk can be asked to print it out and fill it in.
In both cases, the PESEL withholding service is free of charge and is processed immediately.
If a person is unable to submit an application to withhold the PESEL number due to illness, disability, or other insurmountable obstacles, it is possible for a proxy to do so.
The proxy must:
- appear personally at the municipal office
- submit a special authorisation for this task
- confirm their identity with a valid ID.
Persons who do not have the legal capacity or only limited legal capacity, a request to withhold or cancel the withholding of a PESEL number can be submitted in person at the municipal office by a legal guardian or custodian. This requires the submission of a court order confirming their status and confirmation of their identity by means of a valid ID.
Why should the PESEL number be withheld?
If, for example, identity documents are lost, personal data such as the PESEL number, name, and surname can be used by others, e.g. to issue a fake ID card and:
- obtain a SIM card, which in turn can provide access to other services linked to the phone number,
- obtain loans from alternative lenders,
- register a pre-paid SIM card that can be used for criminal purposes,
- enter into civil contracts (e.g., renting a car),
- sell the property of the person whose data is concerned,
- other use of this (false) data.
PESEL Number Withholding Registry
In the PESEL Number Withholding Registry, every individual is authorised to carry out several operations.
Key operations include:
- withholding of the PESEL number
- withdrawal of the PESEL number withholding
- setting up automatic withholding of the PESEL number
- viewing the history of PESEL number verification by institutions and companies
- viewing the history of status changes.
Particularly important is the fourth point, which makes it possible to track who has checked the PESEL number and when. If there are unknown events in the history, it may indicate an attempt at identity theft.
How to withdraw the PESEL number withholding?
The withdrawal of the withholding of the PESEL number is carried out in the same way as the original blocking via the mObywatel platform, the obywatel.gov.pl website, or in person at the office. Like the withholding itself, withdrawal is free of charge and there is no limit on the number of withholdings or withdrawals.
If you decide to withdraw the PESEL number withholding:
- you can opt for an indefinite withdrawal
- specify the date and time at which the system will automatically withhold the PESEL number again.
From 1 June 2024 on, banks, financial institutions, and notaries will be obliged to verify whether a person’s PESEL number is withheld in the register before entering into agreements or carrying out activities.
According to the law, citizens cannot be held responsible for obligations incurred without their knowledge, despite the existing withholding. During the transitional period from November 17, 2023, to June 1, 2024, institutions will not be obliged to use information from the register.
Act of 7 July 2023 amending certain laws to mitigate certain effects of identity theft.
If you have any questions regarding this topic or if you are in need for any additional information – please do not hesitate to contact us:
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS DEPARTMENT
Head of Customer Relationships
Department / Senior Manager