If your parents or grandparents are Polish, you probably already know that Polish citizenship makes it possible for you to reside, study, own property and gain employment in the European Union countries. To help you navigate the bureaucratic maze that acquiring citizenship is, we’ve put together answers to commonly asked questions about EU citizenship and Polish passports.
Frequently asked questions
How do I become a Polish citizen?
If you have Polish ancestry, you are already a Polish citizen and you can apply to have your citizenship verified or confirmed by proving your heritage and by satisfying other eligibility criteria from the Polish government, such as demonstrating that no event took place to affect your ability to reclaim your Polish citizenship. If you do not have Polish ancestry or your ancestor lost their Polish citizenship/ your ancestor’s Polish citizenship was not passed down to you, you need to reside in Poland, speak the language and meet other eligibility criteria set by the Polish government.
How do I confirm my Polish citizenship?
You need to apply to the Voivodeship Office (VO) in Warsaw to have your citizenship confirmed. Your application will consist of documents, translated into Polish, forms, archival records, vital records, documentary evidence and other information. Your application will be assessed by a VO case officer who reviews your file, seeks clarifications and may conduct their own investigation. Once their work is concluded, a decision is drafted and submitted to the VO legal team and management for approval. If they are satisfied with the evidence provided, your certificate of citizenship is then issued.
If I have Polish citizenship, can I live and work in other EU countries?
Yes. Having a Polish passport is like having a passport to any EU country, allowing you to live and work anywhere in the EU.
I do not speak Polish, can I confirm my Polish citizenship?
Yes, Polish citizenship is your birth right. You are only required to prove your lineage to a Polish ancestor. Currently there is no requirement to speak Polish to have your citizenship confirmed, however, if you decide to prepare the application on your own, you will need an advanced level of the Polish language, as the whole process is carried out in Polish.
Do I have to reside in Poland to be a Polish citizen?
No, if you are a Polish citizen by ancestry there is no residency requirement.
In what language must the application be submitted?
The application must be submitted in Polish. All official documentation, application forms, statements and archival records must be translated into Polish by a sworn translator.
Eligibility for Polish citizenship by descent
How do I know if I qualify for Polish citizenship by descent?
Firstly, you need to have Polish ancestors, usually just one. They need to have been born in Poland (or one of the former Polish territories) and resided there after 1920. In other words, you will need to prove that your ancestor was a Polish citizen after 1920 and also at the time of your birth.
I have my grandmother’s Polish birth certificate. Is that enough to apply?
Unfortunately, no. Being born in Poland or having a Polish birth certificate alone does not prove one’s citizenship. You will also need to provide evidence that your grandmother did not lose her citizenship by acquiring foreign citizenship or marrying a citizen of a foreign state before 1951.
My spouse is Polish, do I qualify?
Unfortunately, no. Polish citizenship cannot be acquired through marriage, however you can reside in the EU countries with your spouse with the same rights she or he has. Your children, however, will qualify.
Is Polish citizenship only available through parents and grandparents?
No, there is no limit on the number of generations that you can go back to in order to prove your Polish ancestry (so long as there are Polish records confirming your ancestor held Polish citizenship after 1920).
What kind of information do you need to see if I qualify?
We’ll need some basic information about you, including your date and place of birth and details of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. A family tree would also be great. We’ll ask you about your Polish roots and for a brief family history. The more details and documentation you provide, the more specific we can be in assessing your eligibility.
Once I know that I qualify, what do I do?
We assess your situation completely free of charge. We will contact you to discuss your requirements and examine the documents in your possession and your family’s background. As everyone’s circumstances are different, we have to assess your situation individually. Once we have gained a better understanding of your situation, we will inform you of your chances of success. Again, this is completely free and there is no obligation on your part to proceed with any of our services.
How do I know if my chance of success are high?
If you have detailed knowledge of your family’s history and have access to documentation proving your ancestry such as Polish passports, birth certificates, army records and other historical materials, we are able to confirm that the gathered evidence is adequate and we can provide an all-inclusive quote for our services. We do not charge for quoting. If you have a very sketchy understanding of your family’s background and are missing documentation, due to the passage of time, trauma and displacement of parents and grandparents, we have to conduct archival research to gather information and documentation, which is then used to confirm your Polish citizenship. Once Polaron has conducted an initial assessment, we will advise you in writing about your eligibility and on whether you should proceed with the application or not. Our quote is final and all-inclusive, although you will be asked to supply a number of original documents, which may incur additional costs. In most cases we can guarantee the outcome of your application or you’ll get your money back.
Can my children and grandchildren be included in my application?
If your children are under the age of 18, they can be automatically included in your application. If they are 18 or older and qualify, they will need to apply separately. Your grandchildren can also apply.
Can I apply for other members of the family at the same time?
Certainly! In fact, all living ancestors in the direct line between you and your Polish ancestor are eligible. The research only needs to be done once and everybody can benefit. Applying with siblings or cousins requires little additional research and is a great way to divide up costs. Another benefit of applying with other family members is that you only need one set of documents.
Once the research is done and my ancestry is proved, can my siblings and cousins use it?
Yes, as long as they follow the same ancestral line. Many people share the cost of research, which only needs to be done once per family.
Other countries’ citizenship & the EU
Can I get an EU passport?
Yes, if you are an EU citizen.
How do I get EU citizenship?
EU citizenship can be acquired by birth or by descent. Each member country of the EU has different requirements; you need to comply with the internal regulations of the state through which you want to apply for EU citizenship.
Who are the member countries of the EU?
Member countries include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Passports issued in those countries are EU passports.
Are there any more countries being considered for EU membership?
Yes. The following countries have applied: Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo.
How much does it cost to apply for EU citizenship through Polaron?
Every application is different because it is based on specific circumstances. As an indication, lodgement with Polaron will cost around the price of a plane ticket to Europe.
Lodging directly via the Polish Consulate seems to be cheaper. Why should I lodge my application through Polaron?
Lodging directly via the Consulate may seem cheaper initially, but consider that if you lodge your application directly via the Consulate:
- you will have to navigate your way, in Polish, through Polish laws, regulations and bureaucracy;
- since January 2013, you must nominate a resident of Poland to act on your behalf;
- you are expected to cover notarial fees, Apostilles, filing fees, certified translations and other out of pocket expenses;
- you start the process without having an idea on what the final cost is going to be.
We recently did a price comparison between our charges and the consular option, we are pleased to confirm that our prices are very competitive, and you know exactly how much you are going to pay. Plus a lot less headache! 😉
Do you offer payment plans?
Yes, we do. Payment plans can be spread across several months.
Do you offer special price for more than one application lodged?
Yes, we offer a competitive family discount. See under FAMILY for more information.
How long does it take to have my Polish citizenship confirmed?
If you have all the required documentation, the process of confirmation of citizenship is relatively simple and, based on our experience, can take approximately between 8-10 months. It can become complicated if the events that you need to demonstrate have happened a long time ago, if you do not have the required documents or if other events have occurred that make it difficult to prove the blood ties with your Polish ancestors.
Once my citizenship is confirmed, how long will it take to get a passport?
In an emergency, a passport can be issued within 24 hours by the Polish consulate. The 10 year passport is issued in Poland and takes 2-3 months to arrive.
Can I speed up the process of verifying my citizenship and applying for a Polish passport?
Yes, contact us for more information.
Can I apply for a Polish passport?
To apply for a Polish passport you need to be a citizen of Poland. You also need to have your birth certificate registered in Poland and you need to have a PESEL number (Polish Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności, 11 digit Polish identification number).
What is the process to apply for a Polish passport?
You will need to complete a passport application form as well as provide two identical photographs, your Polish birth and/or marriage certificate and passport processing payment. The passport application must be submitted at a Polish consulate (anywhere in the world) and collected in person by the bearer. Some consulates allow for the passport to be posted to you via registered mail once issued.
What type of passports are there?
Poland issues passports valid for 10 years for adults, whereas children’s passports are valid for 5 years. They are produced in Poland and contain biometric features including fingerprints and a chip. In an emergency, you can apply for an interim passport, which is valid for 12 months and is produced by the Polish consulate. In urgent cases, the interim passport can be issued within 24 hours. No biometric features are contained in temporary passports.
How do I apply for a passport for a minor?
Both parents must be present to submit the passport application, unless there is a court decision restricting the parental authority of one of the parents. If there is no consensus between the parents or inability to obtain consent of one parent, a child passport may be issued on the basis of a family court decision.
How do you guarantee that the information I give you is safe?
Why choose Polaron?
What is your success rate?
We have a 99% success rate, because we are very serious when evaluating your case and we only advise you to proceed with the application if we are certain of your eligibility. We had four rejections since 2003. All of them were overturned on appeal.
Who is Polaron and how did you get involved in this type of work?
Polaron was established in 2000 and is headed by Eva Hussain who is herself Polish and of Jewish heritage. Staffed by experienced international researchers, translators and project managers, Polaron has a great track record.
Where are you located?
Our head office is located in Melbourne, Australia. We also have offices in Poland and the UK.
Where I live there isn’t a Polaron office. Can I still apply?
Yes, absolutely. Many of our clients live overseas or in remote areas.
Rights & obligations
Can I hold two or more citizenships?
Yes. Most countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand and South Africa allow you to have dual or multiple citizenships. It is important you check the legislation of your country of citizenship to ensure you understand your rights and obligations fully.
Will I have to renounce my current citizenship if I become a Polish citizen?
In many countries, having another country’s citizenship will not affect your current citizenship but you should check regulations with local authorities.
If I work in the EU, do I have to pay tax twice?
No. Most countries have signed bi-lateral agreements whereby you only pay tax in one country.
If I become Polish citizen, is it compulsory for me to have a Polish ID?
No, this is no longer compulsory.
If I have Polish citizenship, do I need to serve in the Polish army?
No, military service for males is no longer compulsory in Poland.
Is being registered at your residential address compulsory in Poland?
No, it’s no longer a compulsory requirement.
I was told that I can apply for Polish citizenship based on jure sanguinis. What does it mean?
It is a Latin term for law of ancestry or law of blood. This means one’s right to Polish citizenship through ancestry, usually a parent or grandparent. Poland subscribes to this law through the Act on Citizenship.
What is the current legislation governing Polish citizenship?
It is the Act on Citizenship, dated 2 April 2009 and enacted on 21 August 2012. Poland has had a number of Acts on Citizenship over the years and the Polish government relies on them all when assessing your case.
Do I have to provide a Police Clearance Certificate as part of the application for confirmation of my Polish citizenship?
No, you do not.
What is an Apostille?
The Apostille is usually a stamp (or a sticker) placed on original documents to confirm their authenticity. Countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 are required to present their official documents accompanied by Apostilles. Birth, death and marriage certificates, notarial deeds, court documents, sworn translations and other official documents need to be Apostilled before they can be submitted to other Hague Convention signatory countries. In Australia, Apostilles are issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, www.dfat.gov.au.