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How Does Polish Citizenship By Descent Work?

Michael Decker
Michael Decker


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If any of your ancestors were Polish, you are probably a citizen of Poland too. Yes, even you have resided in another country for most of your life. Polish citizenship laws make you eligible for a second Polish passport by descent. You could also be eligible to live, work and study in any of the EU nations without any boundaries. Sounds too good to be true? Trust us. All you need to do is prove your Polish ancestry, as Poland considers anyone of Polish descent to be its rightful citizen.

However, easy as it may sound, it does require some patience as the process can be long and requires some amount of paperwork. But all of this is worth it if you want to gain your right to an EU passport the easiest way.

What is Polish citizenship by descent according to Poland’s law?

Poland’s citizenship law recognizes any foreigner who has Polish ancestry as a Polish citizen. The individual seeking citizenship by descent must have resided in Polish territory for at least 2 years as a legal resident. Polish citizenship by heritage or descent has much to do with the Act on Citizenship of the Polish State that came into force in 1920, as until 1918, Poland was still under Russian occupation. Many Polish had left the country before 1918. Anyone who had left or emigrated to another country before the Act came into force, that is before January 31, 1920, may not be considered a Polish citizen under the Act.

Polish Citizenship By Descent

So to be eligible for Polish citizenship by heritage, at least one of your ancestors would have to be born or lived in Poland after January 31, 1920.

In the initial days of the Polish Citizenship Act, Poland did not allow dual citizenship. This meant that anyone who may be Polish by birth or descent, having citizenship of another country had to automatically renounce their Polish citizenship. But with time and several amendments of the Act, dual citizenship is now accepted by Poland. Today, anyone who is born to Polish parents or is a descendant of Polish citizens is automatically considered a Polish citizen, irrespective of where they were born.

To claim their Polish passport by descent they only need to submit proof of their Polish heritage. But that said, the Polish Citizenship Act has some amount of complexity to it. It is always best to consult a Polish citizenship lawyer before taking a step forward.

Polish by descent Jewish – How does it work?

Under the Polish Citizenship Act, Polish citizens of Jewish descent who emigrated to Israel and acquired Israeli citizenship by the Law of Return between 1958 and 1984, lost their Polish citizenship automatically. But Polish Jews who wish to reclaim their Polish citizenship can do so by applying for the restoration of lost citizenship.

This process may not be very quick and easy. This is where a Polish citizenship lawyer can help you. To reclaim Polish citizenship, there should be no gaps in your Polish ancestry, which means there must be at least one Polish connection in every generation. A lawyer can help you understand if the Polish identity has been preserved in your bloodline, as Poland follows the “Right of Blood”.

Who in your family qualifies for Polish citizenship by descent?

Anyone in your family who has a direct relation of blood with your Polish ancestors, such as your parents, children, siblings, etc., is qualified for Polish citizenship by heritage or descent. As for your spouse, Polish citizenship by descent will not apply if they are descendants of Polish ancestors themselves. However, they can apply for a permit of residence in Poland and live with you. They can later apply for citizenship by naturalization.

Do you need to pass a language test to obtain Polish citizenship by descent?

For Polish citizenship by descent, a language test is not required. But the entire application process is in Polish. If you wish to complete the application by yourself entirely, you will need to be very familiar with the Polish language. All the supporting documents that you submit with your application also have to be translated into Polish by an authorized translator.

In such a case, if you are not fluent in Polish, it is best to hire a professional who can help you with the application process.

Can you immediately get a Polish passport by descent?

No, even if your Polish citizenship by descent is approved you don’t get a Polish passport immediately. The process of approval itself takes one year or more. After your citizenship is confirmed, you will also have to acquire your Polish civil records certificates like birth certificates and marriage certificates. These are required when applying for a Polish passport.

To expedite the process, you can contact a Polish citizenship lawyer who can advise you on how to accelerate things.

Consult one of our experienced Polish citizenship lawyers

When it comes to obtaining citizenship in a different country, you will need all the help you can get. Our expert immigration lawyers are well-versed in Polish citizenship laws and can help you navigate the process with ease. With a little assistance, you are sure to gain your Polish passport by descent much sooner.

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