There are many British citizens that have Polish origins and can claim their Polish citizenship. Assuming that at least one of your ancestors was Polish, you actually are a Polish Citizen and all you need is to have this fact confirmed. You don’t have to know Polish language and you don’t need to travel to Poland – unless you really would like to! In case you are wondering how to get Polish citizenship by descent, here, with our piece on the matter, you can learn how to secure it.
If you are not sure whether you truly have the right to a second Polish EU passport, we will help you to check it via our Polish citizenship test.
Whether it was a higher necessity, impulse or fate, many Poles decided to live in the United Kingdom. Writer Joseph Conrad, author of the “Heart of Darkness” masterpiece, or the spy that was an inspiration for later James Bond girls – Krystyna Skarbek. Founder of M&S Michael Marks, inventor Stefan Tyszkiewicz, actress and singer Irena Anders, comedian Mel Giedroyc, footballer Phil Jagielka. All of them either Polish or of Polish descent, contributed to their new, British homeland and establishing modern Polish-British relations.
Back in September 1939 only 3,500 Polish emigrants lived in Great Britain. Polish-born population in the UK peaked after the Second World War, when it reached 157,300. Hundreds of Polish soldiers fought alongside Allied forces, and the Polish Army under British command was created in 1940. There was even a special squad of Polish Air Forces fighting as a part of the RAF. After WWII many war heroes did not want to come back to the country, fearing the newly established communist government they chose to stay in the UK or other countries of the Commonwealth. They started families and today their children, grand- and great-grandchildren are valuable members of the UK society.
Can I Apply For Polish Citizenship By Descent?
Polish citizenship through ancestry is possible due to a Polish nationality law called ‘Right of Blood’ (we’ve written more about Ius Sanguinis and its specifics here). The most important thing to know is that if any of your ancestors held Polish citizenship at some point of their lives, most likely you have inherited it. There is no limit as to the number of generations, nor the obligation to have the citizenship confirmed by each one of them. You can rediscover your roots, your family history, and be the first in line who got back the right to have the Polish passport issued. Isn’t it exciting?
Like previously said, there are no language requirements and the procedure can be completed fully remotely, which is a huge advantage in comparison to the other methods of gaining Polish citizenship. Since you have Polish origins, it is your birthright to take the benefits of having a second Polish passport. The great advantage of this right is that the citizenship in Poland is not gained by being born on its soil – you inherit it from your Polish ancestors being born and living in the UK or any other corner of the globe. This procedure was established for the people of Polish descent so they could reconnect with their heritage and safeguard their privileges.
We already know the Polish citizenship by descent procedure could be done, but should it? Is it really worth applying for?
The Perks of Having Polish EU Citizenship
Having Polish passport comes with a lot of privileges and advantages, some of which you may not even be aware of! You can travel wherever you want in the EU with fewer travel procedures, such as going through special gates accessible only for EU passport holders. Do you imagine no queue lines at the airports? It’s just the beginning of a long list of the everyday gains you can enjoy.
For people with Polish citizenship coming to live in EU countries, other than the UK, is practically effortless. EU Citizenship guarantees that you can live in any other EU country without restrictions, bureaucracy or obligation to have a residence permit or special visa. But that’s not all of it. Working abroad and running business activities in all the other EU countries, it’s something you can just… do. In other words: there are no permits necessary. And there is more: Taking advantage of the shared market, equal legal conditions and, in the case of employment, being treated the same way as a local person – all of it is in your reach, to be secured for you and your family.
Having the Polish citizenship by descent confirmed, means you – as the owner of EU passport – can have all these privileges.
If the subject of assets that come with the Polish/EU citizenship is interesting to you, we invite you to read our piece on it in which we have given the matter even more insight and examples.
How does the procedure work?
First of all, to have the Polish citizenship confirmed, one has to present sufficient proof of the ancestor’s Polish citizenship. How to do that? You might consider checking your family archives in search of any personal document that could have been issued by some sort of Polish authority. It can be an old, expired ID, passport or military records. If you stumble upon other documents, do not dismiss them either – they can be really helpful as an auxiliary documents. We’ve written more about Polish documents here.
But if you think that the fact you do not have any documents concerning your ancestor stops you from having Polish citizenship confirmed – this is just not true! Polish documents, such as old Polish passports’ or ID’s applications, which are also sufficient for the procedure, can be traced in the archives. Such Document Search is also something we can assist you with. We have genealogy experts in our team that specialize in searches in the Polish Archives. If the documents concerning your Polish ancestor are there, we will retrieve them.
Remaining steps are all about the paperwork, forms and administration – paying duty stamps, ordering sworn translations, registering your vital records (i.e birth/marriage certificates) in Poland and last but not least, placing the Polish citizenship application with all required documentation to the Provincial Office. The decision of said office is issued in the form of Polish Citizenship Certificate, which, with other documents, is exchangeable for the Polish passport in your nearest Polish Consulate.
If you decide to choose Lexmotion, we will manage your application successfully – up to the point of collection of Polish passport in your local Polish consulate.
Would you rather go through the procedure of Polish Citizenship Confirmation in easy, 12 Steps? Not a problem – we’ve got it covered in this article.
UK-specific types of Polish citizenship documents
We’ve outlined in detail what type of documents might be needed, and provided you with examples. But there are some UK-only documents that our clients often send to us, all of which are very useful for this procedure. They concern mostly the Polish soldiers who stayed in Great Britain after WWII. Below you can find their scanned copies and Polish and English names.
- Polskie Siły Zbrojne – Zaświadczenie o zakończeniu służby (eng. Polish Armed Forces – Certificate of Service Completion)
- Army Form B271A (Polish) Wojsko Stałe – Polski Korpus Przysposobienia służba wojskowa (Army Form B271A (Polish) Standing Army – Polish Resettlement Corps military service)
- Autentyczny odpis umowy służby w wojsku stałym (eng. An authentic copy of the service contract in the standing army)
All the above documents were issued in UK and belong to a special category of His Majesty’s Armed Forces papers issued in the Polish language, which are also legal Polish Army documents.They were provided either by Polish Forces under British Command during Second World War or just after it, by the successor unit called Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC). They are not only a key to prove your Polish citizenship and come through the procedure smoothly and easily, but also true goldmine for anyone interested in their family history. For many British who have Polish ancestors the documents are often the most precious and well-kept ones. As PRC was primarily focused in directing ex-servicemen to the British workforce, they have gathered a lot of information about them. You can learn whether your ancestor knew how to fix a radio, knew a thing or two about gardening or what was their first, second and third choice where to settle in the Commonwealth!
If you do not have any UK military documents, you can consult with the Army Personnel Centre (APC), whom you can contact via this link. It’s the best place to start your search, but you need to know that only close family and their legal representatives may apply for it. If you want access to records held by APC, you will have to provide proof of your kinship to your Polish ancestor. If you don’t feel like getting in touch with British MOD, we can also apply for the records on next-of-kin behalf. We have done it many times, and we are successful in obtaining army files of our client’s fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and sometimes female ancestors’ too!
Just on the side note – you might have stumbled upon the opinion that service in non-Polish army caused loss of citizenship. As Poles had their own units under British command, they were exempt from that rule. Moreover, service in Allied Armies also didn’t cause any issues, given the obvious circumstances.
In case you know your Polish ancestor never served in the army, and you are beginning to worry your case is lost – nothing more wrong. We can do the regular search is Polish archives, and find the documents sufficient to make your case successful and secure your Polish citizenship and EU passport.
How to get Polish citizenship – ways of acquiring Polish citizenship without having a Polish ancestor.
The Polish citizenship by descent is certainly the easiest way to obtain the EU passport, but not the only one. If you have already done the Polish citizenship test and you are sure you cannot obtain Polish citizenship by descent, there are still options for you. Are you curious about how to get Polish passport? You could be either recognized as Polish citizen or having the citizenship granted by the President of Poland.
The first option is the legal procedure called acknowledgment of Polish citizenship. With this method you can be recognized as Polish citizen after continuous permanent stay in Poland. Your stay in the country has to be uninterrupted, but that doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to leave at all, there are just some limitations. In some cases it has to be at least 4 years, in others 7 years of living in Poland. At the moment of applying for the citizenship your stay has to be registered on the basis of permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit. You would also have to have a regular income and legal title to the place you are staying in. There is also a language requirement – you have to pass the official Polish language exam (both written and oral). With these conditions being met, the application is placed to the Provincial Office, just like for in case of obtaining citizenship by descent method. Obviously, you would need different documents, confirming that conditions described above are met. If you are living in Poland or you would like to live here for some time, this opportunity for securing your Polish citizenship and EU passport is perfect for you.
The other method is granting of Polish citizenship and it comes from the Presidential privilege to grant citizenship to anyone, guaranteed by the constitution of Poland. No conditions or requirements from other methods described have to be met. As many applicants wrote letters to the President, asking for citizenship, it also became more formalized in time. The requests are filled in person or by mail, via the Provincial Office (if the foreigner lives legally in Poland) or the Consuls (living abroad). If you wish to attach the documents that are not in Polish, they have to be sworn translations. The catch is definitely waiting time and that if refused, you cannot appeal from the decision (but can retry later on without any issues). Currently, the waiting time is about 2 years and most of the applications are refused. In our experience, only 10% are accepted and mainly because of one’s contribution for Polish culture, science, economy, sport, etc. If you are proud of your individual achievements, working for the Polish NGOs in their country of living or have any other experience in helping the Polish community abroad this procedure might just fit the purpose.
Family members – who can get the Polish citizenship together with me?
As you are thinking of obtaining Polish citizenship, you probably consider securing Polish passport for all your family members. Did you know that at the beginning of the 20th century one Polish passport was often issued for the whole family: husband and wife together with their children. There could be four, five people in the picture with their details. It’s not possible to have such a family passport anymore, however there are plenty of opportunities to get one for each family member.
In case of Polish citizenship by descent your children and grandchildren, both minor or adult, can get their Polish passport as well as you. There is only one condition that has to be met according to current Law regulations: if you are a male, your children should be born while you are legally married to their mother, or you need to have a document confirming your paternity issued within a year form the child birth. In the second option, in most cases the birth certificate is completely sufficient.
Would you like to claim Polish citizenship for your children? It’s enough to take our Polish citizenship test and we will ensure all your family members involved are taken care of.
When it comes to other ways of acquiring Polish citizenship, the situation is also bright. You can include your minor children in both procedures we have described: acknowledgment of Polish citizenship, and granting Polish citizenship by the president. The only limitation is that the other parent has to officially agree for it. It means you cannot get Polish citizenship for your child when your wife or husband doesn’t want to. But, once your application is accepted, you can start enjoying all the benefits together with your kids.
What about the spouse? Is it possible to get Polish citizenship by marriage? According to Polish citizenship law, the fact of being married to Polish citizen is not sufficient basis to obtain Polish Citizenship. Spouses of Polish citizens have the right to live in each EU country together with their Polish husband or wife with no special permits required. Usually they also have free access to the local job market. If you already have or plan to get Polish citizenship and live in Poland, your spouse will definitely benefit from it. Even if they can’t get the Polish passport straight away, it’s possible to have it in a 4-5 years perspective. For those who like looking to the future – the attractive options are just in front of you.
If you would like to consult on the matter of Polish citizenship with us, our doors are open – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.