For many people of Polish descent, Polish citizenship is a very desirable status. It not only confirms your ancestral roots and Polish heritage, but also gives you a way to acquire a Polish passport and access to the wider EU.

Because of this, we’re often asked how to apply for Polish citizenship, as there is a lot of documentation required. Here, we’ve broken down the key steps in applying for Polish citizenship by descent, as well as how long the process typically takes and what actions can help make it quicker.

Defining Polish Citizenship

There are a number of ways to get Polish citizenship but most of these require you to either live in Poland and speak Polish. This includes trying to acquire Polish citizenship via marriage or naturalization.

However, for descendents of the Polish diaspora, it’s possible to apply for Polish citizenship by descent. This recognizes people descended from Polish origins, giving them the same rights and advantages of a Polish citizen, without requiring them to live in Poland or speak Polish in order to acquire it.

Polish citizen by descent requirements

While the Polish government considers Polish citizenship a birthright, this is only for people of Polish origin that meet specific criteria:

  • you must have a Polish ancestor  (at least one, parent, grandparent, great grandparent)
  • your Polish ancestor didn’t lose Polish citizenship

If these criteria are met, then the process of applying for Polish citizenship by descent can be more accurately described as an administrative procedure to confirm what Polish law already recognizes.

What about children?

If you have children, they are also eligible for Polish citizenship. Because of this, it’s worth planning in advance for your entire family. After all, you will need to apply multiples times and collect the same information, so streamlining this process at the start will save you a great deal of hassle down the line.

Confirmation of possession of Polish citizenship 

Overall, the process for acquiring Polish citizenship by descent can be expressed in a few key steps:

  • Confirmation of eligibility: Before beginning, you should double-check that you meet the core criteria for Polish citizenship by descent.
  • Finding documents: The largest step, here you need to find the necessary files and records for key blood relations.
  • Completing the application form: With everything collected, you can fill in the application for Polish citizenship.
  • Receiving a decision: If everything goes well, you will receive confirmation of your recognized status as a Polish citizen.

Confirming eligibility

Because not all Polish descendents qualify for citizenship by descent, the first step is to establish your eligibility. Bearing in mind the aforementioned requirements, it’s worth finding out information from your family regarding when your ancestors left Poland, and whether or not they renounced their citizenship.

If you need more help on this matter, our handy quiz can help identify whether or not you’re eligible.

Gathering documents

The biggest step in gaining Polish citizenship arguably lies in collecting all the necessary documents confirming your Polish roots. You need to find documents for your initial Polish ancestor, along with any direct descendents between them and yourself.

In such cases, you typically need documents that prove each of your ancestors’ births, if they ever changed their name, and when and where they died. The most common documents required include:

  • Birth records: These documents are often necessary and important for proving the parents of each generation. Your own birth certificate, naturally, is obligatory in this process.
  • Marriage and divorce records: These documents are vital for proving civil status thunder Polish citizen registry rules. They’re also useful for when names have changed, and to otherwise show the development of your family tree.
  • ID: Additional identity documents of your ancestors, such as passports, can help prove identities, as well as foreign citizenship.
  • Death certificates: Such records can prove useful for showing when and where your relatives died, helping to add details to the family history.

In addition, you also need to provide your own ID and documentation. A current passport or national ID, alongside a birth certificate, will provide confirmation of your identity for the purposes of this application.

Finding documents in other countries

During this process, you may have to find documents outside of your home country. Poland is a clear example, but you may also have to correspond with other countries depending on your personal family history.

When it comes to finding documents in Poland, this can be a difficult process. You often have to correspond with local government bodies, where both a knowledge of the Polish language and Polish government procedure will be advantageous. In some cases, it may be necessary to search Polish archives, which are not always digitized. And the less starting information you have, the longer this can take.

For these reasons, having experts on your side in Poland, who are familiar with current processes and practices, can help ensure the best results, as quickly as possible. At Lexmotion, we can help contact such bodies and find the necessary documentation you need.

Getting translations

When gathering records, all documents must be in Polish. This means that documents not originally in Polish need to be officially translated via a sworn translator. This is another step we can help you with, ensuring that every document is officially translated and accepted within your application.

Filling out the Polish citizenship application form

With everything collected, you can now fill out the application itself. Here there are a few barriers that you need to be aware of:

  • Polish language: Your citizenship application, like much of Polish law and its related procedure, is only conducted in the Polish language. As such, you may need some help filling out the form correctly.
  • Delivery address in Poland: This doesn’t need to be a form of permanent residence; the Polish government simply needs to confirm where they can send the documents.
  • Fees: Applying for Polish citizenship usually requires stamp fees. This is an area where the exact regulations and costs change, so be sure to check this. You will have to pay and provide confirmation of the payment as part of the application.

How long does the process take overall?

The process to be granted Polish citizenship by descent has many steps that can take a varying amount of time. In general, we estimate cases to take between 10-14 months, from registering your case and booking your ticket in electronic form in the citizenship queue to acquiring Polish citizenship.

How can I make this process quicker?

The only real way to make your application faster is to be prepared. This is not a guarantee, of course, but at the very least you can strive to make things effective on your side of the process. If you start by gathering as much knowledge from your family as possible, you will have a better understanding of your family history and where to subsequently look.

Alongside this, you can work with legal experts that understand this process well. At Lexmotion, for example, we’re no strangers to this legal process, as well as dealing with Polish governments, local bodies and public records. What’s more, having someone in Poland to liaise with these bodies and deal with bureaucratic processes in the country will be an invaluable time saver.

This can further pay dividends when filling the form out. Our knowledge of sworn translators, the application itself and any changes in legal provisions or regulations will not only save you time, but give you the best chances of a successful application.

What Happens After Your Polish Citizenship is Confirmed?

If approved, you will receive official confirmation from the Polish office, in writing, recognizing your status as a Polish citizen. Importantly, this recognizes your status from the date of your birth, not just from when you received confirmation. While many are happy to leave it at this stage, you’re also now eligible for a Polish passport.

However, before you can apply for a Polish passport, there are a few more steps that need to be done, such as getting an official copy of your birth records and civil status in Polish. If you plan ahead, this can be done at the same time as your citizenship application. While not necessary, it’s a more streamlined and efficient approach.  In any case, being a Polish citizen will grant you many of the immediate benefits of Polish and EU citizenship.

More importantly, as per current legislation, it is a permanent decision and does not expire. It leaves your options open for the future. You do not need to take any immediate actions at this stage.

Are you by any chance of Polish origin? Find out if you are eligible for EU citizenship by taking the test below:

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