Switch to: Polish       | English      

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 fact that Poland regained independence as late as 1918, and also because of wars and changes of boundaries, there were many special rules concerning the acquisition of Polish citizenship.

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.