Do you have Polish roots? Were your parents, grandparents or great-grand parents born in Poland? Did you find their Polish identity documents? Did you learn that any of your ascendants had Polish citizenship? Check if there is a possibility that you also obtained Polish citizenship and find out what is the procedure of confirming it.
The Act on Polish Citizenship of April 2, 2009 makes it possible to acquire confirmation of Polish citizenship by way of a decision. To obtain such confirmation, you have to submit an appropriate application and prove that the applicant acquired Polish citizenship (and has not lost it until the time of submitting the application).
However, how to assess if you acquired Polish citizenship?
When analyzing whether a particular person currently has Polish citizenship, you should refer not only to the above-mentioned, currently binding act, but also to many legal regulations that are no longer binding, i.e. primarily to the Act on Polish Citizenship of January 20, 1920, to the Act on Polish Citizenship with On January 8, 1951, and to the Polish Citizenship Act of February 16, 1962 – as, as a rule, citizenship is determined by the provisions in force at the date of birth (the provisions of legal acts that are no longer applicable will be applicable to assess whether our ancestors acquired Polish citizenship).
You are able to derive Polish citizenship from your ancestors – in the proceedings you will have to prove which ascendants had Polish citizenship (e.g. grandmother) and that other descendants of this person (i.e. your subsequent ascendants) also had this citizenship (e.g. your mother – who is a daughter of the aforementioned grandmother). You must prove that the possession of Polish citizenship was uninterrupted among your ascendants in a straight line (from the person you know had Polish citizenship, until to you).
Each of the above-mentioned regulations on Polish citizenship provided the possibility of acquiring citizenship by birth, and so:
– the Act of 1920 provided that, as a principle, a person born in the territory of the Poland would acquire Polish citizenship on the date of entry into force act. People born after the entry into force of this law can acquired Polish citizenship if: in the case of children – their father had Polish citizenship, in the case of illegitimate children – their mother had Polish citizenship.
So if, for example, your great-grandfather was born in Poland before 1920 (e.g. in 1905), in the territory of the Poland, then, in accordance with the content of the above-mentioned act, he acquired Polish citizenship upon its entry into force.
If the daughter of this great-grandfather – your grandmother, was born in 1930, then, as a principle, she acquired Polish citizenship (after her father).
– the Act of 1951 provided for Polish citizenship will include all those who were entitled to it under the regulations in force so far, and also for children whose parents were Polish citizens. In case where one of the parents was a foreigner, the child also acquired Polish citizenship, unless the parents, before a competent public authority body, chose foreign citizenship for the child. In the above range, the same regulation was provided for in the Act of 1962.
So, if your grandfather’s daughter, your mother, was born in 1959 (even if your grandfather’s wife was not Polish and your mother was born abroad) – as a principle, she acquired Polish citizenship.
It should be also stressed that on the basis of each of the above-mentioned legal regulations previously in force in Poland, there were situations not mentioned above, in which Polish citizenship could be acquired (e.g. by granting, in some cases also by getting married or accepting a public office in Poland). However, these are detailed regulations and it would be futile to mention them all here.
It should also be remembered that the above-mentioned regulations also provided for situations in which previously acquired Polish citizenship could be lost. Most of them, however, required an additional decision by an authorized body – Polish citizenship could be renounced or deprived of it. However, the Act of 1920 provided for the possibility of losing Polish citizenship “automatically” – without the need to confirm this fact by any authority, if the statutory conditions were met. And so, according to Art. 11 of the above-act – the mentioned loss of Polish citizenship took place by acquiring foreign citizenship, as well as by accepting a public office or entering military service in a foreign country without the consent of the Polish Government.
The Act of 1951 also included the possibility of automatic loss of Polish citizenship – in accordance with the content of Art. 4, from the moment of its entry into force, a Polish citizen was no longer a person who, although on August 31, 1939, had Polish citizenship, but lives permanently abroad and: or 2) is of Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian nationality, or 3) is of German nationality, unless that person’s spouse has Polish citizenship and lives in Poland.
Moreover, it is worth emphasizing that when examining a specific case whether our ancestors acquired Polish citizenship and whether they managed to “transfer” this citizenship to us, we must remember not only the legal regulations in force in the territory of the Republic of Poland, but also the provisions of international agreements and the content of legal acts in the countries where our ascendants moved to or where they were born.
Consequently, in order to decide if we actually acquired Polish citizenship after our ancestors, each time we must thoroughly reconstruct the history of our family and analyze it through many legal regulations previously in force in the territory of the Republic of Poland and through the foreign legal acts.
Proceedings for confirmation of Polish citizenship
The procedure for confirming Polish citizenship is conducted by the Voivode competent for the applicant’s place of residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland (current or last), and if the person has never lived in Poland – the Mazowiecki Voivode. It is also possible to submit the application abroad through the Polish Consul, competent according to the applicant’s place of residence.
The applicant includes in the application, his personal data and all information he has gathered about his ascendants in a straight line (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents), from whom he derives Polish citizenship. In addition to personal data such as date and place of birth, date and place of marriage, etc., the application includes a space for a descriptive presentation of resume of the abovementioned persons. These should, in particular, include the place of employment and military service in Poland and abroad, the circumstances of leaving Poland (if the person lived in Poland), changes of names and last names, foreign citizenships and the date of their acquisition, identity documents. The applicant may of course indicate other information and explanations which, in his opinion, are applicable to the resolution of the case. The application must include documents confirming the data and information contained therein, and above all, marital status (birth and marriage) certificates.
The application must include a confirmation of the fee for the decision to be issued in the case (PLN 58). Moreover, if you act through a proxy, you must pay a stamp duty (PLN 17). The following are exempt from stamp duty for the power of attorney: the applicant’s spouse, parents, children and siblings. The kinship has to be confirmed by the documents attached to the case.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision you received, you can always appeal. The appeal is submitted to the Minister of the Interior and Administration through the voivode who issued the decision in this particular your case. You have 14 days to do it, from the delivery of the decision.