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Hymn do miłości Ojczyzny

Święta miłości kochanej Ojczyzny,
Czują cię tylko umysły poczciwe!
Dla ciebie zjadłe smakują trucizny
Dla ciebie więzy, pęta nie zelżywe.
Kształcisz kalectwo przez chwalebne blizny
Gnieździsz w umyśle rozkoszy prawdziwe,
Byle cię można wspomóc, byle wspierać,
Nie żal żyć w nędzy, nie żal i umierać.

Ignacy Krasicki

PEOPLE OF POLISH DESCENT

 In principle Polish citizenship is "inherited" from ancestors, even by people born outside Poland. Thus, people of Polish descent must simply find out whether their ancestors were Polish citizens. The rules for the acquisition of Polish citizenship have changed repeatedly since 1920, when the first law on Polish citizenship (the Act on Citizenship of the Polish State of 20 January 1920) came into force.

Regulations in force from 15 August 2012

Polish citizenship can be acquired by:

  1. virtue of law
  2. the granting of Polish citizenship
  3. the recognition as a Polish citizen;
  4. the restoration of Polish citizenship.

A minor acquires Polish citizenship by birth if

  1. at least one of his/her parents is a Polish citizen;
  2. he/she was born in the territory of the Republic of Poland, and his/her parents are unknown, hold no citizenship or their citizenship is undefined.

A minor acquires Polish citizenship if he/she was found in the territory of the Republic of Poland, and his/her parents are unknown. A minor foreigner adopted by a person or persons holding Polish citizenship, acquires Polish citizenship if the full adoption took place before the minor attained the age of sixteen. In this case it is assumed that the minor foreigner acquired Polish citizenship on the date of his/her birth. Conclusion of marriage by a Polish citizen with a person who is not a Polish citizen does not affect the citizenship of the spouses.

Changes with regard to the identity or citizenship of one or both of the parents shall be taken into account in determining the citizenship of the minor, if these changes occur within one year from the date of birth of the minor. Changes with regard to the identity of the father following from a court decision in proceedings for the denial of paternity or invalidation of recognition of paternity, shall be taken into account in determining the citizenship of a minor unless the minor has attained full legal age or upon the consent of the minor if he/she has attained the age of sixteen. Granting Polish citizenship to parents, recognizing them as Polish citizens or expressing consent to the renunciation of Polish citizenship extend to the minor remaining under their parental authority. Granting Polish citizenship to one of the parents, recognizing him/her as a Polish citizen or expressing consent to the renunciation of Polish citizenship extend to the minor remaining under his/her parental authority, where:

  1. the other parent has no parental authority;
  2. the other parent has made a declaration expressing consent to the acquisition or loss by a minor of Polish citizenship.

In case of a minor who has attained the age of sixteen, the granting of Polish citizenship, the recognition as Polish citizen, or the loss of Polish citizenship as a result of the renunciation of the citizenship by his/her parents, occurs only with the consent of a minor, expressed in an appropriate declaration.

Regulations in force from 22 August 1962 to 15 August 2012

A child acquires Polish citizenship by birth when:

  1. both parents are Polish citizens, or
  2. one of the parents is a Polish citizen and the other one is unknown or his/her citizenship is undefined or if he/she holds no citizenship.

A child born or found in Poland acquires Polish citizenship when both parents are unknown or their citizenship is undefined or they hold no citizenship.

A child of parents, one of whom is a Polish citizen and the other one a citizen of another state, acquires Polish citizenship by birth. However, the parents may, in a declaration made in conformity before the competent authority within three months from the day of the birth of the child, choose for their child the citizenship of the foreign state of which one of the parents is a citizen, if under the law of that state the child acquires its citizenship. In the absence of agreement between the parents, each of them may, within three months from the day of the birth of the child, apply to a court for a resolution. A child who acquired foreign citizenship as a result of his/her parents' declaration or a court resolution acquires Polish citizenship if, after attaining the age of sixteen or within six months after attaining full legal age, he/she makes an appropriate declaration before the competent authority and that authority issues a decision accepting the declaration.

Changes with regard to the identity or citizenship of one or both of the parents shall be taken into account in determining the citizenship of the child, if these changes occur within one year from the date of birth of the child. In such cases the three-month period mentioned above is reckoned not from the day of the birth of the child but from the day on which these changes were determined.

Changes with regard to the identity of the father following from a court decision in proceedings for the denial of paternity or invalidation of recognition of paternity, shall be taken into account in determining the citizenship of a child unless the child has attained full legal age. If the child is sixteen years of age or older, any change of citizenship may be effected only with the consent of the child.

Regulations in force from 19 January 1951 to 22 August 1962

These regulations were similar, with small differences relating in particular to persons whose parents were of different nationalities.

A child acquired Polish citizenship if

  1. both parents were Polish citizens or
  2. one of the parents was a Polish citizen and the other parent was unknown or his/her citizenship was unknown or undefined.

A child born or found in Poland acquired Polish citizenship if both parents were unknown or their citizenship was unknown or undefined

A child of parents, one of whom was a Polish citizen and the other one a citizen of another state, acquired Polish citizenship, unless both parents within one month from their child's birth submitted the application in which they chose for their child the citizenship of the foreign state of which one of the parents was a citizen, on condition that the law of that state allowed acquiring its citizenship in such a way. In the absence of agreement between the parents, each of them could turn to court for a resolution within one month from their child's birth. A child who acquired foreign citizenship as a result of his/her parents' declaration or a court resolution, and attained the age of thirteen, could choose to be a Polish citizen after submitting an appropriate declaration before the competent authority.

These regulations applied also to children born abroad of whom one parent was a Polish citizen and the other was a citizen of another state if the other parent's state had the same citizenship regulations concerning children born in Poland to parents of different citizenships.

Regulations in force from 31 January 1920 to 19 January 1951

At that time the regulations on the acquisition of Polish citizenship were much more different from the present regulations. The differences particularly concerned the unequal position of women and men.

Polish citizenship was acquired by:

  1. birth;
    Legitimate children acquired their father's citizenship by birth and illegitimate children acquired their mother's citizenship. Unknown parents' children who were born or found in the territory of the Polish State were to be considered Polish citizens unless their other citizenship was revealed.
  2. entitlement, recognition, adoption;
    By entitlement, recognition or adoption a child who was under the age of eighteen acquired the citizenship of his/her father or mother, relatively the citizenship of another person who recognized or adopted.
  3. marriage;
    A woman who was a foreigner acquired Polish citizenship by marrying a Polish citizen.
  4. grant;
  5. taking up a public office or entering military service in the Polish State unless a stipulation was made
  6. .

Specific rules

Due to the obvious fact that Poland regained its independence as late as in 1918 and as a result of wars and changes of borders, there existed numerous ways of acquiring Polish citizenship.

  1. rules provided for in the Polish State Citizenship Act of 20 January 1920

    At the moment of declaring this Act (i.e. Act of 31 January 1920), the right to Polish citizenship served every person, without distinction of gender, age, religion or nationality, who:

    1. was settled in the territory of the Polish State and was not a citizen of another country. Regarded as a settled in the Polish State, was any person that:
      1. was registered or was entitled to be registered in the census books of the former Kingdom of Poland;
      2. had the residence right in one of the communes in the territory of the Polish State that constituted a part of the Austrian State or the Hungarian State;
      3. before 1 January 1908, on grounds of German citizenship, had a permanent residence in the territory of the Polish State that constituted a part of the Prussian State;
      4. was registered in an urban or rural commune or in one of state organizations in the territories of the former Russian Empire that constituted parts of the Polish State;
    2. was born in the territory of the Polish State and was not entitled to the citizenship of another state;
    3. was entitled to Polish citizenship based upon international treaties.
    Polish citizenship could also be granted to citizens of other countries of Polish descent as well as their descendants if, after returning to the Polish State, they submitted, to an administrative body at their place of residence, documents confirming their Polish descent, including a statement that they wanted to become Polish citizens and renounced the citizenship of another country. Since 20 October 1938, it applied also to the residents of Cieszyn Silesia. It should be mentioned that these rules were officially in force only until 19 January 1951.
  2. rules set out in the Regulation of the Minister of the Interior of 6 February 1925 on the acquisition and loss of Polish citizenship as a result of options provided for in the Peace Treaty between the Allied and Associated Powers and Austria signed in St.-Germain-en-Laye on 10 September 1919.
  3. rules set out in the Act of 26 September 1922 on the regulation of the right to choose Polish citizenship by the citizens of former Austrian Empire and former Kingdom of Hungary and the right to choose foreign citizenship by the citizens of these states having Polish citizenship.
  4. rules set out in the Regulation of the Minister of the former Prussian District and the Minister of the Interior of 13 July 1920 on the acquisition and loss of Polish citizenship in accordance with Article 91 of the Treaty between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany, signed in Versailles on 28 June 1919 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 35, item 200).
  5. rules set out in the Decree of the PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND of 19 October 1938 on the extension of the binding force of the applicable Act of 20 January 1920 on the Polish State Citizenship to the regained territory of Cieszyn Silesia and on the change of some of its provisions.
    Moreover, a person who resided and had a homeland right in one of the communes within the territory of the regained land of Cieszyn Silesia, formerly being part of the Czechoslovak Republic, is entitled to Polish citizenship if the person (or their father or, in the case of illegitimate children, their mother) has had this right continuously from 1 November 1918 and if they have not acquire this right for holding a public function; the condition related to the place of residence does not apply to people of Polish descent.
    However, pursuant to the Act of 15 February 1962, a person is not a Polish citizen if they are citizens of another state and live abroad. This rule has applied since 22 August 1962 until today.
  6. rules set out in the Act of 28 April 1946 on the Polish State citizenship of people of Polish descent residing within the Regained Territories.
    Pursuant to this act, every person that had a permanent place of residence within Regained Territories, proved their Polish descent in front of the (nationality) verification commission and, on this basis, obtained the confirmation of their Polish nationality by a competent general administration body of first instance and submitted a declaration of allegiance to the Polish Nation and Polish State had a right to obtain Polish citizenship. This act was in force since 10 May 1946 until 19 January 1951.
  7. rules set out in the Decree of 22 October 1947 on the Polish State Citizenship of the people of Polish descent residing on the territory of the former Free City of Danzig
    Pursuant to this decree, every person who had a permanent place of residence within the territory of the former Free City of Danzig before 1 September 1939, proved their Polish nationality before the (nationality) verification commission and, on this basis, obtained a confirmation of their Polish descent by a competent general administration body of first instance and submitted a declaration of allegiance to the Polish Nation and Polish State was entitled to the Polish citizenship. This regulation was in force since 28 October 1947 until 19 January 1951.
  8. rules set out in the Polish Citizenship Act of 8 January 1951
    Pursuant to this act, as of the effective date (i.e. 19 January 1951), Polish citizens were persons that:
    1. had Polish citizenship under previous regulations,
    2. arrived in the Polish People's Republic as repatriates,
    3. obtained a confirmation of their Polish descent under: the Act of 28 April 1946 on the Polish State Citizenship of the people of Polish descent residing within the Regained Territories (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 15, item 106), the Decree of 22 October 1947 on the Polish State Citizenship of the people of Polish descent residing on the territory of the former Free City of Danzig (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 65, item 378) or previously applicable regulations related to this matter.
    Moreover, competent authorities could recognize as Polish citizens persons that did not meet the requirements of the previous clause, but resided in Poland at least since 9 May 1945, unless they arrived in Poland as foreigners of particular nationality and were treated as foreigners in Poland.
    What is important, pursuant to this act, a person who was a Polish citizen on 31 August 1939, but resided permanently abroad and:
    1. due to the change of the Polish State borders, acquired the citizenship of another country under an international agreement, or
    2. whose nationality is Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian, or
    3. whose nationality is German, unless the nationality of the spouse of this person is Polish and the person resides in Poland was not a Polish citizen.
    The Polish Citizenship Act of 8 January 1951 was in force until 22 August 1962.
  9. rules set out in the Repatriation Act of 9 November 2000
    This act was amended several times - rules applicable since 20 July 2007 are presented below.
    A person entering the Republic of Poland on the basis of a repatriation visa acquires Polish citizenship by operation of law on the date of crossing the border of the Republic of Poland.
    Pursuant to this act, a person is recognized to be of Polish descent if they declare that they are Polish by descent and meet all of the following conditions:
    1. at least one of their parents or grandparents or two of their great-grandparents were Polish;
    2. they prove their Polish identity reflected, in particular, in their cultivation of the Polish language as well as Polish traditions and customs.
    A person is recognized to be of Polish descent if they declare to be Polish, had Polish citizenship and at least one of their parents or grandparents or two of their great-grandparents were Polish and they prove their Polish identity reflected, in particular, in their cultivation of the Polish language as well as Polish traditions and customs.
    The condition that at least one of one's parents or grandparents or two of one's great-grandparents must be Polish is deemed met if at least one of one's parents or grandparents or two of one's great-grandparents confirmed their Polish nationality status reflected, in particular, in their cultivation of Polish traditions and customs. Polish citizenship is also granted by virtue of repatriation to a minor being under parental authority of a repatriate. However, if only one of the parents is a repatriate, a minor acquires Polish citizenship only upon the consent of the other parent, expressed in the form of a declaration submitted to the consul.
    A minor acquires Polish citizenship by virtue of repatriation if they do it upon their guardian's consent expressed in the form of a declaration submitted to the consul.
    The acquisition of Polish citizenship by a minor who has reached the age of 16 can only take place upon their consent. A repatriation visa cannot be granted to a person who:
    1. has lost Polish citizenship acquired by virtue of repatriation under the Repatriation Act or
    2. has repatriated from the territory of the Republic of Poland or the Polish People's Republic under repatriation agreements entered into in the years 1944-1957 by the Republic of Poland or the Polish People's Republic with the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to one of the countries being a party to these agreements, or
    3. acted to the detriment of the Republic of Poland while staying outside the Republic of Poland, or
    4. participated or participates in the violation of human rights.
    A repatriation visa can be granted to a person of Polish descent who, before the effective date of the act, resided permanently on the territory of the current Republic of Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan or the Asian part of the Russian Federation. A repatriation visa can also be granted to a child of this person.