The Process of Obtaining Polish Citizenship Step by Step

June 29, 2024

Obtaining Polish citizenship is the dream of many people who wish to associate their future to Poland. Whether they are motivated by family history, a desire to start a new life in the heart of Europe or simply a love of Polish culture, gaining Polish citizenship opens the door to many opportunities. However, the process can seem complicated and full of formalities, so it is worthwhile to thoroughly understand the particula steps that need to be taken.

Therefore, below we will introduce you to all steps of the process of obtaining Polish citizenship, from submitting an application to the ceremonial granting of citizenship. We will discuss the required documents, administrative procedures and deadlines you need to know. In addition, we will hint at the issues that may raise the most difficulties and how to avoid them. Thanks to this guide, you will go through the whole process with more confidence and without unnecessary stress.

 

Legal basis for acquiring Polish citizenship

Issues concerning the principles, conditions and procedures for obtaining Polish citizenship are regulated by the Act of 2 April 2009 on Polish citizenship, hereinafter referred to as the "u.o.p."

Pursuant to Article 4 of that Act, Polish citizenship may be acquired in three ways:

  •   By operation of law,
  •   By being granted Polish citizenship,
  •   By recognition as a Polish citizen.

There is also the possibility of restoring Polish citizenship, which is a different procedure from the ones mentioned above, consisting in regaining lost citizenship. The procedure is so detailed that we will be tempted to discuss it in detail at another time. Today we will focus strictly on the granting of citizenship.

 

Acquisition of Polish citizenship by operation of law

Polish citizenship may be acquired automatically, i.e. by operation of law, in accordance with the provisions set out in the Polish Citizenship Act, particularly in relation to minors.

Pursuant to Article 14 of the Act on Polish Citizenship, a child acquires Polish citizenship by birth if he or she meets one of the following conditions:

  •   At least one of the parents is a Polish citizen,
  •   He or she was born on the territory of Poland and the parents are unknown, have no citizenship or their citizenship is undetermined.

Additionally, a child found on the territory of Poland whose parents are unknown automatically acquires Polish citizenship. Separate provisions apply to the acquisition of citizenship by repatriation, regulated by the Repatriation Act of 9 November 2000.

 

Grant of Polish citizenship

The second way of acquiring Polish citizenship is by submitting an application to the President of the Republic of Poland. Pursuant to Article 18 of the Act on Polish Citizenship (u.o.p.), the President has the possibility to grant citizenship to a foreigner. The procedure takes place at the foreigner's request, and in the case of minors, it is submitted by their legal guardians.

The application for Polish citizenship must contain the following information:

  •   Personal data of the foreigner.
  •   Address of residence.
  •   Information about the foreigner's parents and other ancestors, if they held Polish citizenship.
  •   Details of previous possession and loss of Polish citizenship and date of acquisition of citizenship of another state.
  •   Information on the foreigner's sources of livelihood, professional achievements, political and social activities.
  •   Knowledge of the Polish language.
  •   Details of the foreigner's spouse.
  •   Information whether the foreigner has applied for Polish citizenship before.
  •   Justification of the application.

The application should be accompanied by:

  •   Documents confirming the data and information contained in the application.
  •   Photographs of the persons included in the application.

Polish passport application is submitted on a special form set out in Annex 1 to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Poland of 7 August 2012.

Once the application is submitted, the provincial governor or consul forwards it together with the necessary documents to the minister in charge of internal affairs (MSWiA). Before forwarding the application to the President of the Republic of Poland, the MIAA consults with the Chief of Police, the Head of the Internal Security Agency (ABW) and other relevant authorities. These opinions must be provided within 30 days, with the possibility of extending the deadline to 3 months in exceptional cases.

The President of the Republic may also independently request additional information from the relevant authorities. On the basis of the collected data, the Head of the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland prepares acts of granting citizenship or notices of refusal. These documents contain the foreigner's personal data, the content of the decision of the President of the Republic of Poland, the date of issuance and the number of the decision.

The citizenship grant acts or notices of refusal are forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) or the voivode, who then deliver them to the applicant.

 

Recognition as a Polish citizen

The provisions of the Polish Citizenship Act also provide for a procedure to recognise a foreigner as a Polish citizen if he/she meets certain criteria. Pursuant to Article 30(1) of the a.o.p., a foreigner may be recognised as a Polish citizen in the following situations:

  1. A foreigner has been continuously residing on the territory of Poland for at least 3 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit, a residence permit for a long-term EU resident or a permanent residence permit, having a stable source of income and a legal title to housing.
  2. The foreigner resides continuously on the territory of Poland for at least 2 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit, a residence permit for a long-term EU resident or the right of permanent residence, and:
  •       has been married to a Polish citizen for at least 3 years, or
  •       does not have any citizenship.
  1. The foreigner has been continuously residing on the territory of Poland for at least 2 years on the basis of a permanent residence permit obtained in connection with the granting of refugee status.
  2. A minor foreigner is residing on the territory of Poland on the basis of a permanent residence permit, a residence permit for a long-term EU resident or the right of permanent residence, having one parent who is a Polish citizen and the other parent who is not a Polish citizen has agreed to this recognition.
  3. A minor foreigner resides in the territory of Poland on the basis of a permanent residence permit, a residence permit for a long-term EU resident or the right of permanent residence, having one parent who has been restored Polish citizenship and the other parent who is not a Polish citizen has agreed to this recognition.
  4. The foreigner has been continuously and legally residing on the territory of Poland for at least 10 years, having a permanent residence permit, a long-term resident's EU residence permit or permanent residence rights, as well as a stable source of income and a legal title to housing.
  5. A foreigner resides continuously on the territory of Poland for at least one year on the basis of a permanent residence permit obtained in connection with Polish ancestry or a Pole's Card held.

A foreigner applying for recognition as a Polish citizen, with the exception of minors, must have at least B1 proficiency in the Polish language, confirmed by a relevant certificate.

The application for recognition as a Polish citizen should in turn contain:

  •       Personal data of the foreigner.
  •       Address of residence.
  •       Information on sources of livelihood, housing, professional achievements and political and social activities.
  •       Data of the foreigner's spouse.
  •       Information on any previous applications for Polish citizenship.
  •       Justification of the application.

Additionally, a foreigner with parental authority over a minor foreigner must include the child's data and information on the other parent's consent to the recognition of citizenship. The application should also be accompanied by documents confirming the data contained in the application, an official certificate of knowledge of the Polish language, and photographs of the persons included in the application.

In the case of simultaneous proceedings for granting or restoring Polish citizenship, the recognition procedure may be suspended or discontinued. Before making a decision, the voivode consults the Voivodeship Police Commander, the director of the ABW delegation and other authorities to check whether recognition of citizenship does not pose a threat to state security.

 

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