EU Citizenship FAQs

If your parents or grandparents are from Europe, you probably already know that EU 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 EU passports.

Frequently asked questions

Polish citizenship

  • How do I become a EU citizen?

    If you have European ancestry, you are already an EU citizen and you can apply to have your citizenship verified or confirmed by proving your heritage and by satisfying other eligibility criteria from the relevant government, such as demonstrating that no event took place to affect your ability to reclaim your European citizenship.

  • How do I confirm my European citizenship?

    You need to apply to the relevant authorities in the country of your European ancestors. 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 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 legal team and management for approval. If they are satisfied with the evidence provided, your certificate of citizenship is then issued.

  • If I have my citizenship confirmed, can I live and work in other EU countries?

    Yes. Having a Polish, Czech, German, Slovak etc. passport is like having a passport to any EU country, allowing you to live and work anywhere in the EU.

  • Do I need to speak the language before I can confirm my Polish citizenship?

    In most European countries, you do not need to speak the language to reclaim citizenship.  You are only required to prove your lineage to your ancestor. In some countries, such as Latvia and Hungary, you do need to prove basic language skills.

  • Do I have to reside in Europe to be a European citizen?

    No, if you are a citizen by ancestry there is no residency requirement.

  • In what language must the application be submitted?

    The application must be submitted in the official language in the country you are applying to. All official documentation, application forms, statements and archival records must be translated by a sworn translator.

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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. You can test your basic eligibility here.

  • 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 EU 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.

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Family members

  • Can my children and grandchildren be included in my application?

    If your children are under the age of 18, they can be  included in your application, but will need to have their own case file. If they are 18 or older and qualify, they will need to apply separately. Your grandchildren can also apply with you.

  • 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.

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EU Citizenship

  • Who is an EU citizen?

    Citizenship of the EU is held by people who are nationals of one of the 28 EU member states and is in addition to their own citizenship. EU citizens have the right to vote and stand as candidates in the European Parliament election.

  • 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.

  • Can EU citizens work in other EU member states?

    Yes. EU citizens have the right to reside and work in another member state without visas or other permits. 

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Cost

  • How much does it cost to apply for EU citizenship through Polaron?

    Every application is different because it is based on specific circumstances.

  • Lodging directly via the 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 through foreign laws, regulations and bureaucracy;
    • 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.

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Duration

  • How long does it take to have my 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 ancestors. Applications for some countries can take up to 48 months.

  • 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 consulate. The usual processing time for a standard passport is 1-3 months.

  • Can I speed up the process of verifying my citizenship and applying for a passport?

    Yes, contact us for more information.

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Polish passport

  • 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.

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Confidentiality

  • How do you guarantee that the information I give you is safe?

    Polaron has strict policies and procedure in place to guarantee that personal details, documents and information are treated in the strictest of confidence. We never share any information with anyone unless authorised by you. Read our Privacy Policy.

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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, Germany, the US 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.

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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 an EU 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 EU citizen, is it compulsory for me to have an ID?

    No, this is no longer compulsory.

  • If I have EU citizenship, do I need to serve in the army?

    No, military service for males is no longer compulsory in EU.

  • Is being registered at your residential address compulsory in EU?

    No, it’s no longer a compulsory requirement.

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  • I was told that I can apply for 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 citizenship through ancestry, usually a parent or grandparent.

  • Do I have to provide a Police Clearance Certificate as part of the application for confirmation of my 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.

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Brexit

  • What is Brexit?

    On 23 June 2016, the UK citizens voted to leave the EU. Brexit will become effective on 29 March 2019 but how this is done exactly isn’t yet clear. Until then, the UK remains an EU member state with all rights and obligations. 

  • What will happen to EU citizens’ rights after Brexit?

    This is not yet clear. It depends on the deal the UK negotiates with the EU and the resulting terms of the withdrawal agreement.

  • What will happen to UK nationals in the EU after Brexit?

    It is not clear and depends on the withdrawal agreement.

  • What will happen to EU migrants already residing in the UK?

    If the withdrawal agreement does not include special concessions for EU citizens, EU nationals will be treated the same as non-EU migrants. This means that they will have to follow the same process as everybody else, unless they comply with registration requirements before Brexit takes place. 

  • Many EU nationals in the UK are applying for British citizenship. What are the criteria?

    If you have lived in the UK for the past 5 years and held permanent residence status for at least 12 months, you can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation. You need to have resided in the UK for more than 450 days in the last 5 years or more than 90 days in the year leading up to the application. You must also be of good character, speak English, intend to remain in the UK and hold a permanent residence card.

  • What will happen to people who live in the UK but commute to EU for work?

    The Brexit deal protects cross-border workers. They will be able to continue working in in the EU while residing in the UK.

  • What about UK residents who may marry an EU citizen after Brexit. Will their future spouse be able to live in the UK?

    The Brexit deal does not protect those who marry an EU citizen after Brexit. Future spouse will have to comply with the UK immigration rules.

  • I am an EU national. My studies in the UK will finish in 2021. Will I be able to stay?

    Yes. You will be able to stay in the UK after Brexit as a student, a jobseeker or worker. 

  • Will I have to pay higher tuition fee after Brexit? Will I have access to student loans?

    EU citizens resident in the UK who qualify for a new UK status after Brexit will keep their right of residence. For students who commenced their studies in the UK before Brexit, this means that they will continue to pay the same tuition fees and be eligible for student loans. 

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EU citizenship rights and obligations

  • What are my obligations as a new EU citizen?

    You should use your EU passport whenever you enter any of the 28 EU countries. You do not have to live in the country of your citizenship. Most EU countries give you the right to vote, even if you don’t live there. 

  • Do I have to pay taxes in the country of my EU citizenship?

    Most EU countries will not tax your income if you don’t live there. Some EU countries have treaties signed which regulate taxation, i.e. Australia and Poland. 

  • I work in Spain. Can my wife also work there even if she is not an EU citizen?

    Yes. Your family members do not need to apply for a work permit in any of the EU states.

  • Can I work in the public sector in another EU country?

    Yes.  If you  are  an  EU  citizen,  your  right  of  access  to  employment  in  other  EU  states includes the  public  sector. Some  national  authorities restrict  access  to  public  sector  jobs  in  diplomatic  service,  armed  forces  and  tax  authorities.

  • I am Greek and I work in Poland. Is my Australian wife subject to the work permit procedures?

    No. As your family member, she has the same rights as you.

  • Will my Italian professional qualifications be recognised?

    You can  rely  on  EU  rules  on  the  recognition  of  professional  qualifications  if you  are  fully  qualified  in your country of origins.

  • What if my professional qualifications are from outside of the EU?

    You will need to undergo a procedure of qualification recognition.

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Other ways of gaining Polish citizenship

  • My family immigrated out of Poland before 1918 and I have been told I do not qualify. Is there a way of gaining Polish citizenship for people in my situation?

    Yes, in certain circumstances you can apply for grant of Polish citizenship to the Office of the President of Poland. 

  • I heard you can apply to the President of Poland for grant of citizenship if you do not qualify to have your citizenship confirmed through ancestry. What does that look like?

    If you have Polish ancestors and they lost or never held Polish citizenship although they considered themselves Polish, you may be able to apply for a grant of citizenship through the Office of the President of Poland. The grant is governed by the Law on Polish citizenship of 2 April 2009. The President in his constitutional power may grant Polish citizenship to any foreigner whatsoever and his authority in this regard is unlimited. Since the application is assessed at the President’s discretion, the outcome cannot be predicted or guaranteed. 

  • My ancestors originate from Prussia and whilst these areas are in today’s Poland, I am not sure if I qualify for Polish citizenship.

    You might but your case may be quite difficult to prove because of passage of time and lack of documentation. Check your eligibility. 

  • My ancestors came to Canada prior to 1918. They considered themselves Polish but were listed as Austrian on their citizenship certificates. Do I qualify for Polish citizenship?

    You might but your case may be quite difficult to prove. Any cases where ancestors immigrated out of Poland prior to 1918 are challenging due to passage of time and lack of Polish documents. Check your eligibility.

  • My mother and father were born in areas that were part of Poland before the war but are now in Belarus and Ukraine. Do I qualify?

    You probably do. Cases such as yours are challenging to prove due to difficulties in obtaining proof from Belarussian and Ukrainian archives but we’ve had much success in seeing them to fruition. Check your eligibility

  • My grandfather immigrated to Israel in 1950. Upon arrival, he was registered for the Israeli military, however he didn’t actively serve in the army. Do I qualify for Polish citizenship?

    Most likely and unfortunately not. Prior to 19/1/1951, men (as well as their spouses and children) lost their citizenship if they were subject to conscription in another country. In other words, he didn’t have to serve but be merely registered with the IDF reserves to lose his Polish citizenship. It may be worth acquiring your grandfather’s military status certificate from IDF. The information Israeli government has may indicate he was not registered.

  • My mother moved from Poland to Canada in 1965 where she gained Canadian citizenship. Does my mother’s Canadian citizenship negate her Polish citizenship?

    You are most likely still eligible, as long as your mother did not renounce her citizenship directly with the Polish government.

  • My parents renounced their Polish citizenship in 1958 in Australia. Am I still eligible for Polish citizenship?

    You are most likely still eligible, as long as your mother did not renounce her citizenship directly with the Polish government.

  • Would my grandmother’s marriage in 1947 to my Canadian-born grandfather have resulted in a loss of her Polish citizenship?

    Yes, your grandmother would have lost her citizenship by marrying your Canadian grandfather in 1947, unless the marriage was religious. If the marriage was a civil one, unfortunately the line of Polish citizenship from your grandmother would have been extinguished. Therefore, it wouldn’t be passed onto you and your children. If the marriage was religious, you and your children may still be eligible.

  • My grandmother is Polish and came to England after the second world war. Do I need to prove she still has citizenship? Would I be able to use other family members?

    Yes, you do but she does not need to apply directly to have her citizenship confirmed. You can only apply through direct relatives. 

  • I already hold dual Canadian and US citizenship. Is there a limit of how many citizenships I can hold? Do I need to renounce those citizenships before applying for Polish?

    No, there is no limit on how many citizenships you can hold in Poland, however, we recommend you check whether holding dual citizenship in Poland can affect our Canadian or US citizenship with relevant authorities.

  • I hold dual Australian and Polish citizenship. What passport should I travel on?

    You should check with relevant authorities but most people enter the EU on their Polish passport.

  • I just had a baby. Should I confirm her citizenship? What does the process look like for her?

    Yes, even your baby needs a travel document.

  • Does Poland check criminal records of applicants?

    Not for confirmation of Polish citizenship through descent.

  • I have a disability. Will my status be recognised if I travel to EU countries for access to disabled parking places?

    Disabled parking permits in the EU have been standardised and are called the Blue Badge.  They are generally given equal recognition in all EU countries but you are subject to the local rules and they may vary from country to country. 

  • Is there anything I need to know if I want to carry a large amount of cash with me on a trip to another EU country?

    Yes. If you travel to or from a country outside the EU with €10,000 or more in you must declare it to the customs authorities when crossing the border. Within the EU there is no limit to the free movement of capital but some national regulations apply. 

  • I am a Polish citizen and want to travel to Sweden with my cat. I heard about an EU pet passport. How does that work?

    You can travel with your cat or dog if it has a European pet passport.  It’s available from vets and must contain details of a valid anti-rabies vaccination.  Some EU countries require animals to be microchipped, treated against ticks and tapeworms.

  • Will I be covered by my social security health insurance if I need medical treatment abroad?

    Yes, if you use the European Health Insurance Card prior to leaving.  If you suddenly get sick or have an accident in another EU country, you will be covered for all necessary treatment. The care must be provided by a public health sector doctor.  

  • How does the EU define family members?

    Family members in the EU include: your spouse (or your registered partner); your direct descendants (under 21 years of age or dependant, and those of  your  spouse  (or partner);  your  parents  or  grand-parents  and  those  of  your  spouse  (or  registered  partner). Only these family members are recognised as having an automatic right to reside with you  in  the  country  where  you  legally  stay  as  an  EU  citizen.

  • I am an EU citizen. My Mexican spouse has a 20-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. She is a full-time student and lives with us. Can she move with us?

    Yes. Since she is your wife’s daughter and dependent on you, she can join you in EU.

  • I am and EU citizen. Could my parents join me even if they are from USA?

    Yes, they can.

  • I am a non-EU citizen and live in Belgium. My husband divorced me soon after our arrival in in the EU. Can I stay in the EU if I have the custody of our child?

    Yes. You retain the right to reside in Belgium, which is the country of residence of your child, provided that the court ruled that the father’s access to the  child must be in Belgium.  

  • My same sex partner and I live in Germany and I am Belgian. Can we get married in Belgium and have our marriage recognised in Germany?

    Since Germany does not provide for same sex  marriage in its legislation, it is not required to  recognise your marriage. However, since German  legislation recognises registered partnerships  between same sex partners, German authorities will have to recognise your relationship at least as a  registered partnership under German  law.

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Civil records

  • Does a birth certificate issued overseas need to be legalised in Poland?

    A birth certificate issued in one EU country  will  automatically be recognised  in another.  If you or your children were born outside of the EU, you will need to have it legalised in Poland through the civil registry authorities. 

  • Does a marriage certificate issued overseas need to be legalised in Poland?

    A marriage solemnised in one EU country  will  automatically be recognised  in another.  You can ask for your civil status documents in Poland to be updated on the basis of your marriage certificate issued in another EU state. If your marriage was solemnised outside of the EU, you will need to have it legalised in Poland through the civil registry authorities. 

  • Does a divorce issued overseas need to be legalised in Poland?

    A divorce granted in one EU country will  automatically be recognised  in another. You can ask for your civil status documents in Poland to be updated on the basis of a final decree issued in another EU state. If your divorce was carried out outside of the EU, you will need to legalise it through civil registry authorities in Poland. Your divorce will then be recognised in the rest of the EU.

  • What are the Schengen Agreements?

    The Schengen Agreements have created  the Schengen Area without controls at the internal  borders. The Schengen  Agreements were initially  developed  outside of the EU, which is why Norway  and Iceland, non-EU  countries, are part of it. Later, Switzerland and Liechtenstein also joined. Although the  Schengen rules have become part of EU law, two EU countries have opted out: Ireland and the UK. The Schengen area also includes three European micro-States Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City.

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