If like me, you’ve been thinking of acquiring Polish citizenship (or confirming the possession of it which is the legal term), and Brexit has made you think seriously about taking action, here is a quick guide to what I’ve discovered.
Please note, I am not offering any legal advice here. There is, as you would expect a great sea of bureaucracy to this process: I will let you know how it goes in the coming months. What I have learned to date is:
It’s not a Consulate decision
The Consulate deals with the paperwork (your declaration of possession of citizenship) but the actual decisions are made by the local authorities in Poland. If you live outside of Poland then it is the wojewoda in Mazowsze (Mazovian Voivod Office).
Do you automatically get a passport?
No, not immediately. This is a separate process once you have a Certificate of Polish Citizenship. You can have this Certificate without then applying for a passport – or you can go the whole hog and obtain a passport. If you do obtain one, remember that legally you will then have to use this passport when entering and leaving Poland.
What documents do you need to apply?
If you belong to the second or subsequent generation of Polish emigrants you need:
- an original birth certificate issued in Poland of the family member who settled outside the borders of Poland
- other documents confirming Polish ancestry (e.g. parents’ or grandparents’ birth, baptism, marriage certificates, copies of Polish passports)
- your marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Your current passport or other valid document confirming your current nationality and identity
- Act of naturalisation (if you were originally born in Poland and naturalised), or your parents’ or grandparents’ (if they were naturalised – i.e., their Polish citizenship was revoked which was something the Polish government could do before 1962)
ALL these documents, if they are in English, need to be translated into the Polish language by a sworn translator registered in Poland. Here is a list of approved translators.
In addition you need to complete this application form:
This has to be filled out in Polish with a detailed autobiography in Polish about you and your family, including details of Polish ancestry. There are four parts to the form:
- Part I: Your details, your mother and father’s details (which includes where they were born AND their parents’ names; both grandmothers’ details including their parents’ names, both grandfathers’ details including their parents’ names
- Part II: Your autobiography including places of work
- Part III: An autobiography of your mother and father, and both grandparents stating their places of birth, work, and if they lived in Poland, the places, how they left Poland and what their citizenship status was and how it has changed
- Part IV: Additional information and list of documents attached (relevant birth and marriage certificates)
A consular fee of £64 is required, addressed to the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
Well done for reading this far. I told you it was complicated, but not impossible.