ELIGIBILITY TO ACQUIRE POLISH CITIZENSHIP
• By descent from parents, where at least one of them is a Polish citizen/Ius Sanguinis
A child acquires Polish citizenship by birth (regardless of the place of 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 whom one is a Polish citizen, while the other is a citizen of another state, acquires Polish citizenship by birth. However, the parents are entitled, 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, to choose for the child the citizenship of the foreign state of which one of the parents is a citizen, if according to the law of that state the child acquires its citizenship.
In the case when the parents are not in agreement on this matter, each of them may apply to a court for a resolution within the course of three months from the day of the birth of the child.
The proper authority outside of Poland for receiving declarations concerning citizenship is a consul of the Republic of Poland. (Art. 6)
• By birth on the Polish territory
A child who was born or found within the territory of the Republic of Poland acquires citizenship when both parents are unknown, whose citizenship cannot be established, or who are stateless (Art.5)
• By declaring a stateless person as a 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 a governor of a province (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 (Art.9)
• By marriage with a Polish citizen for aliens residing in Poland
An alien can acquire Polish citizenship following a simplified procedure, if she/he:
- has been married for at least three years to a Polish citizen, and
- Obtained a residence permit
Such an applicant needs to apply to the Province Governor (Wojewoda) of her/his place of residence in Poland and declare an intention of becoming a Polish citizen. Application needs to take place within 6 months from obtaining the residence permit. (Art. 10)
• By regaining the citizenship lost in childhood by Parents declaration
By signing an affidavit executed before proper Polish authorities within 3 months after the birth of the child, parents can choose foreign citizenship for the child, on the condition that the laws of the foreign country grant the child citizenship based on descent from the foreign parent. Such a child loses Polish citizenship by its parents’ declaration.
However, she/he can regain Polish citizenship if he/she executes an affidavit expressing the will of becoming a Polish citizen in front of proper Polish authorities after turning 16, but before 6 months into her/his legal age.
• By regaining Polish citizenship lost pursuing marriage to a foreign citizen
A Polish citizen who lost Polish citizenship by marrying a foreign citizen can regain his/her citizenship if the aforementioned marriage ceases to exist. Such a person needs to apply to the Province Governor (Wojewoda) of her/his place of residence in Poland, or to a Polish consul if residing abroad.
• By naturalization by the President of the Republic of Poland
A foreigner may be granted Polish citizenship at his or her own request, if
- He or she has resided in Poland for at least five years on the basis of a permanent residence permit;
- In particularly justified cases a foreigner may be granted Polish citizenship at his or her request even though he or she does not meet the requirements defined above.
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)
For citizens who emigrated from Poland before 1962, the above-mentioned eligibility criteria do not apply.
INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS WHO EMIGRATED FROM POLAND BEFORE 1962 AND THEIR DESCENDANTS:
Under Polish law there were in force, in the corresponding periods, the Statute on Citizenship of the Polish State of January 20, 1920 (in force between 1920 and 1951) and the Statute on Polish Citizenship of January 8, 1951 (in force between 1951 and 1962). The provisions of Polish law that were in force at the time of the occurrence of events significant to a case at hand are applicable for the resolution of questions of Polish citizenship (significant events taken into account are usually the date of departure from Poland and/or the date of acquisition of foreign citizenship)
• Provisions applicable from 1918 until 1951:
The provision 11 of the Act dated 1920 stated that a Polish citizen looses his/her Polish nationality:
- When a person obtains foreign citizenship, or
- When a person accepts public office or joins the army in a foreign country without prior approval of the Polish Government. Persons compelled to active military service may acquire foreign nationality after obtaining permission from the Minister of Military Affairs, otherwise they are deemed to be Polish citizens.
• Provisions applicable from 1951 to 1962:
Provision 4 of the 1951 Act stated that a person “is not a Polish citizen, even though he/she had Polish citizenship on the 31 of August 1939, but he/she resides permanently outside Poland and:
- If due to the change of Polish borders he/she obtained foreign nationality in accordance with the international agreements, or
- If a person is of Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian nationality or
- If a person is of German nationality (unless the spouse of such a person has Polish citizenship and resides in Poland).
• Special provisions for Polish citizens who immigrated to Israel from 1958 to 1984:
Pursuant provisions of Act of January 23 1958, Polish citizens lost their nationality if:
- They submitted an application for changing their Polish citizenship into Israeli
citizenship and were issued emigration travel documents to Israel
- Entered Israel to reside in the country and became Israeli citizens. Those persons
and their descendants can regain Polish nationality by applying for Polish
citizenship to the nearest Polish consulate.
• FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: Is a Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate or a school diploma a proof of Polish citizenship?
A: NO. According to Polish law, place of birth, place of baptism or attending a Polish school does not prove Polish citizenship. The factor determining Polish citizenship is the citizenship of parents.
Q: Does a child born from Polish parents on the US territory and holding US citizenship, who never lived in Poland, hold Polish citizenship?
A: YES, because he/she is born from Polish parents.
Q: I am a Polish citizen. My spouse is a US citizen. Our children are born in the US and are US citizens. Are they also Polish citizens?
A: YES. Children born from couples of mixed nationality lose their Polish citizenship only by parents’ declaration made within three months from the child’s birth.
Q: I have surrendered my Polish passport to foreign authorities and declared to those authorities that I renounce Polish citizenship. Have I lost my citizenship?
A: NO. A Polish citizen can only lose his/her citizenship if she/he submits an application for the renouncement of Polish citizenship to the President of Poland and receives the President’s declaration of renunciation.
Q: I have emigrated from Poland with my parents as a minor child, before WWII. Since then, I reside abroad. I do not have a Polish passport. Am I still a Polish citizen?
A: To receive an answer to that question, you should submit an Application for Confirmation of Possession or Loss of Polish Citizenship to the nearest Polish Consulate.
Q: My grandparents immigrated to the US in the 1920s’, 1930’s. Am I entitled to Polish passport?
A: In order to determine your eligibility, you need to submit an Application for Confirmation of Possession or Loss of Polish Citizenship to the nearest Polish Consulate.