ELIGIBILITY TO ACQUIRE POLISH CITIZENSHIP
Polish Citizenship can be acquired in many ways. These ways can be divided into following categories:
1. Applicants or Descendants of people who were born in Poland or have family from Poland.
2. Applicants who did not have any family from Poland, but are eligible to acquire Polish Citizenship.
3. Applicants or Descendants of emigrants who emigrated from Poland before 1962.
4. Special provisions for Polish citizens and their descendants who immigrated to Israel from 1958 to 1984.
It is important to be familiar with all applicable Regulations when preparing and filing application for Polish Citizenship.
Polish Citizenship rules and regulations can be found in USTAWA z dnia 15 lutego 1962 r. o obywatelstwie polskim (Dz. U. z 2000 r. Nr 28, poz. 353, z 2001 r. Nr 42, poz. 475, z 2003 r. Nr 128, poz. 1175) which can be translated as The Statute on Polish Citizenship, of 15 February 1962 with later amendments. This is the most important act that regulates Citizenship of the Republic of Poland. Each person interested in obtaining Polish Citizenship must meet requirements set forth in this document. Thus, it is essential to prepare application carefully, knowing what should be included in it and what evidence should support this application.
1. APPLICANTS WHO WERE BORN OR HAVE FAMILY FROM POLAND.
• By descent from parents, where at least one of them is a Polish citizen
A child acquires Polish Citizenship by birth when:
1. Both parents are Polish citizens, or
2. One of the parents is a Polish citizen, whereas the other is of unknown or undefined citizenship or does not possess any citizenship (Art. 4)
A child of parents of which one is a Polish citizen, while the other is a citizen of another country, acquires Polish Citizenship by birth. However, parents may, in a declaration made in conformity before the proper authority within the course of three months from the day of the birth of the child, choose for their child citizenship of another country of which one of the parents is a citizen, if according to the law of that country, the child acquires its citizenship.
• Through marriage with a Polish citizen for aliens who are currently residing in Poland
An alien can acquire Polish Citizenship, if he:
- Is married for at least three years to Polish citizen, obtained a residence permit
Applicant needs to apply to the Wojewoda of his place of residence in Poland and declare intention of becoming a Polish citizen. Application needs to take place within 6 months from obtaining the residence permit
• By regaining Polish Citizenship lost due to a marriage to foreign citizen
Polish Citizen who lost Polish Citizenship by marrying foreign citizen can regain his citizenship if this marriage no longer exists. Such person has to apply to the Wojewoda in place of his residence in Poland, or to a Polish consul if residing abroad.
2. APPLICANTS WHO DO NOT HAVE FAMILY FROM POLAND. THESE APPLICANTS MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO ACQUIRE POLISH CITIZENSHIP IN ONE OF THE WAYS DESCRIBED BELOW.
Note: For citizens who emigrated from Poland before 1962, the above-mentioned eligibility criteria do not apply.
• By naturalization by the President of the Republic of Poland
A foreigner may also obtain Polish Citizenship by applying to the President of the Republic of Poland, if:
- He resides in Poland for at least five years holding permanent residence permit;
- In specific cases, foreigner may obtain Polish Citizenship by applying to the President of the Republic of Poland, even though he does not meet the conditions described above. It depends on President’s evaluation of presented facts and evidence.
The granting of Polish Citizenship may be dependent on a submission of proof of the loss of or dispensation from a foreign citizenship.
The granting of Polish Citizenship to both parents extends to the children remaining under their parental authority. (Art. 8)
• By birth on the Polish territory
A child who was born or found within the territory of the Republic of Poland, acquires citizenship of Poland when both parents are unknown, when its citizenship cannot be established, or who are stateless.
• Stateless person can be declared Polish Citizen
A stateless person can be declared Polish if:
- The applicant resides in Poland for at least five consecutive years
- The stateless person applies to the Wojewoda of her/his place of residence in Poland.
Acquisition of Polish Citizenship can be extended to applicant’s children if they reside in Poland. Each child over sixteen years of age needs to agree to the acquisition of Polish Citizenship.
• By regaining the citizenship lost in childhood by Parents declaration
By affidavit executed before proper Polish authorities within 3 months after the birth of the child, parents can choose foreign citizenship for the child if the laws of the foreign country grant the child citizenship based on descent from the foreign parent. Such child looses Polish Citizenship by parents’ declaration.
He can however regain Polish Citizenship if he/she executes an affidavit expressing will of becoming Polish Citizen before proper Polish authorities after turning 16, but before 6 months to the legal age (18 years old).
3. APPLICANTS OR DESCENDANTS OF EMIGRANTS WHO EMIGRATED FROM POLAND BEFORE 1962.
Applicants who emigrated from Poland before 1962 are subject to either:
-Statute on Citizenship of the Polish State from January 20, 1920, or
-Statute on Polish Citizenship from January 8, 1951.
These statutes are significant to determine which law applies to specific case. Hereinafter, is a summary of applicable laws for applicants that were born abroad, emigrated or acquired foreign citizenship before 1962.
• Laws applicable for emigrants between 1918 and 1951:
Section 11 of the Act from 1920 stated that Polish citizen looses his Polish nationality:
- When he obtains foreign citizenship, or
- When he starts working for foreign government or joins army of a foreign country without approval of the Polish Government.
• Laws applicable for emigrants between 1951 and 1962
Pursuant to Section 4 of the 1951 Act, emigrant is not a Polish citizen, even though he had Polish Citizenship in August 31, 1939, when he resides permanently outside Poland and:
- Due to change of Polish borders he obtained foreign citizenship in accordance with international agreements, or
- This person is Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian Citizen, or
- This person has German Citizenship, unless the spouse of such person has Polish Citizenship and resides in Poland.
4. SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR POLISH CITIZENS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS WHO IMMIGRATED TO ISRAEL FROM 1958 TO 1984.
Pursuant to provisions of Act from January 23 1958, Polish Citizens lost their nationality if:
- They submitted an application to change Polish Citizenship to Israeli Citizenship and were issued emigration travel documents to Israel
- Entered Israel to reside in this country and became Israeli Citizens.
These persons and their descendants can regain Polish nationality by applying for Polish Citizenship to the nearest Polish consulate.