Polish citizenship by descent

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Updated: 10.06.2024

Obtaining Polish citizenship by descent is legally referred to as “Confirmation of Citizenship”. This process acknowledges that a person with Polish ancestry is, in fact, a Polish citizen.

However, formal confirmation is required to register the citizenship and issue a passport.

polish citizenship law - everything you need to know
Polish citizenship law – How to get the Polish citizenship by descent?

How to obtain Polish citizenship by descent?

To acquire (confirm) Polish descent citizenship, you must demonstrate that you have ancestors who held Polish citizenship and that no events occurred during their lifetimes or yours that resulted in the loss of this citizenship.

Who may obtain Polish citizenship by descent?

You may obtain Polish citizenship by descent if you direct lineage from a Polish ancestor. Specifically, you may qualify if you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was born in Poland or lived in Poland after January 1920 and did not lose their Polish citizenship at any point. This includes individuals of Polish-Jewish ancestry.

requirement for citizenship is direct lineage from a Polish ancestor
Eligibility criteria: One requirement for citizenship is direct lineage from a Polish ancestor

Obtaining Polish citizenship by ancestry – Quick Facts

Key Fact Details
Legal Term Confirmation of Citizenship
Acknowledgment Recognizes that a person with Polish ancestry is a Polish citizen, requiring formal confirmation to register citizenship and issue a passport.
Eligibility Direct lineage from a Polish ancestor (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent). Ancestor born in Poland or lived in Poland after January 1920. No loss of Polish citizenship during their or the applicant’s lifetime.
Required Documents Polish ID cards or passports, Civil status records (including foreign-issued), Extracts from church books, Military books, Certificates from archives, and more
Challenges Lack of documents may require research in state and church archives. Active participation needed by the applicant and their attorney. Strict regulations on dual citizenship.
Possible Causes for Loss of Citizenship Acquiring citizenship of another country, Entering foreign military service without Polish Government consent, Accepting a public office in a foreign country without consent.
Application Submission (in Poland) Submit to the voivode responsible for the applicant’s current or last place of residence in Poland; if none, submit to the Masovian Voivode.
Application Submission (outside Poland) Submit through the Polish consul in the applicant’s place of residence.
Processing Time Approximately one year
Appeal Process Appeal to the Minister of Interior and Administration within 14 days of receiving an unfavorable decision.
Steps and Requirements 1. Document Collection: Gather original documentation, translate foreign documents into Polish by a sworn translator or consul.
2. Submission: Submit documents to the appropriate voivode or consul.
3. Processing Time: Typically one year.
4. Appeal Process: Appeal within 14 days if denied.
5. Final Steps: Transcribe civil acts into Polish civil registry books, necessary for obtaining a Polish passport.
Personal Documents Required for Obtaining Polish Citizenship
What personal documents are required to obtain Polish citizenship?

Steps and Requirements

1. Document Collection: Gather original documentation, translate foreign documents into Polish by a sworn translator or consul.
2. Submission: Submit documents to the appropriate voivode or consul.
3. Processing Time: Typically one year.
4. Appeal Process: Appeal within 14 days if denied.
5. Final Steps: Transcribe civil acts into Polish civil registry books, necessary for obtaining Polish passports.

Documents required to prove Polish citizenship by descent

To apply for confirmation of Polish citizenship, various documents can be submitted, including:

  • Polish ID cards or passports
  • Civil status records, including those issued by foreign countries
  • Extracts from church books
  • Military books
  • Certificates from archives, and more
Support from the Voivode When Specific Documents Are Unavailable
Application Process: Support from the Voivode when specific documents are unavailable

Challenges in obtaining Polish citizenship by ancestry

If the applicant does not possess above documents or proves confirming the relevant circumstances, it might be necessary to research state and church archives.

During the proceedings for confirmation of Polish citizenship, the applicant and its attorney must actively participate and independently provide evidence of the necessary details. Polish authorities such as, the administrative body (voivode) may support the applicant only when they do not have access to specific documents.

The citizenship regulations in force in Poland since 1920 have been very restrictive regarding the possibility for Poles to hold dual citizenship, formulated to exclude such cases.

It was possible to lost Polish citizenship without being informed, for example, by:

  • Acquiring citizenship of another country
  • Entering military service in a foreign country without the consent of the Polish Government
  • Accepting a public office in a foreign country without the consent of the Polish Government

Procedure for Confirmation of Polish Citizenship Based on Ancestry

To confirm Polish citizenship based on ancestry, an application must be submitted to the voivode responsible for the applicant’s current or last place of residence in Polish territories. If the applicant or their ancestors do not have a place of residence in Poland, the application should be submitted to the Masovian Voivode.

For individuals residing outside of Poland, the application can be submitted through the Polish consul in their place of residence. Typically, the decision on the application is issued within approximately one year. If the voivode’s decision is unfavorable, an appeal can be lodged with the Minister of Interior and Administration.

Steps to obtain Polish citizenship by descent
Steps to obtain citizenship confirmation

Detailed Steps and Requirements

  1. Document Collection: Applicants must gather and provide substantial original documentation to support their claim, such as polish birth certificate, marriage certificate, and proof of Polish citizenship status or residency of family members. All foreign documents must be translated into Polish language by a sworn translator or a Polish consul.
  2. Submission: The application and supporting documents should be submitted to the appropriate voivode or through the Polish consulate if the applicant resides abroad.
  3. Processing Time: The processing of the application usually takes about one year. This includes the verification of documents and the establishment of the applicant’s lineage and eligibility.
  4. Appeal Process: If the application is denied, the applicant can appeal to the Minister of Interior and Administration within 14 days of receiving the decision.
  5. Final Steps: After confirmation, the applicant’s civil acts (e.g., birth, marriage) must be transcribed into Polish civil registry books. This is necessary to obtain a Polish passport, which can be done at a Polish consulate.These steps ensure that the applicant has a thorough and verified claim to Polish citizenship based on ancestry, aligning with the regulations and historical requirements set forth by Polish law.

FAQ for Polish citizenship by descent

FAQ: Polish Citizenship by Descent

What is Polish citizenship by descent?

Polish citizenship by descent, known as “Confirmation of Citizenship,” acknowledges that a person with Polish ancestry is a Polish citizen. Formal confirmation is required to register citizenship and issue a Polish passport.

How can I acquire Polish citizenship by descent?

You must prove that your Polish ancestors held Polish citizenship and that no events caused the loss of this citizenship during their lifetimes.

Who is eligible for Polish citizenship by descent?

You are eligible if you have Polish roots and direct lineage from a Polish ancestor (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent) born in Poland or who lived in Poland after January 1920 and did not lose their Polish citizenship.

What documents are required?

Required documents include Polish ID cards or passports, civil status records, extracts from church books, military books, and certificates from archives.

What are the challenges?

Challenges include lack of documents, requiring research in state and church archives, and strict regulations on dual citizenship.

How do I submit my application?

Submit your application to the voivode responsible for your current or last place of residence in Poland, or through the Polish consul if you are outside Poland.

How long does the process take?

The processing time is approximately one year.

What can I do if my application is denied?

You can appeal to the Minister of Interior and Administration within 14 days.

Why consider acquiring Polish citizenship by descent?

Acquiring Polish citizenship allows you to obtain a Polish passport, enjoy visa-free access to EU countries, and connect with your Polish heritage.

 

For further information, please refer to our comprehensive guide to Polish immigration law and the process of obtaining Polish citizenship. If you have specific questions or need personalized assistance, feel free to contact our specialist.

Expert team leader DKP Legal
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Expert team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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Write an inquiry: [email protected]
check full info of team member: Denis Ushakov