Polish descentPrint

Who is considered to be of Polish descent?

A person of Polish descent is considered to be a person declaring Polish nationality and meeting each of the following conditions:

1) at least one parent or grandparent or two great grandparents are or were of Polish nationality or were Polish citizens,

2) shows his connection with the Polish nation and Poland, in particular by knowledge and cultivation of Polish language proficiency, traditions and customs.

A person of Polish descent is also considered a person declaring Polish nationality who previously held Polish citizenship (a person who held and lost Polish citizenship before 1 January 1999 may also apply for restoration of Polish citizenship – more information on the procedure is available here ->) and who has at least one parent or grandparent or two great grandparents who are or were of Polish nationality or were Polish citizens, and who demonstrates their connection with the Polish nation and Poland, in particular by knowledge and cultivation of Polish language, traditions and customs;

How can the stay of a foreigner of Polish descent be legalized?

Foreigners of Polish descent may legalize their stay in Poland through:

 

a) applying for a Pole's Card on the basis of Polish descent,

b) applying for a permit to settle on the basis of Polish origin,

c) applying for a permit to settle on the basis of a valid Pole's Card.

The Pole's Card does not mean that the foreigner is granted Polish citizenship, obtains a permit to settle in Poland or has the right to cross the Polish border without a visa. 

The holder of a Pole's Card has the right to receive a long-stay visa valid for multiple crossings of the Polish border, free of charge.

The application procedure for a Pole's Card on the basis of Polish descent is described in detail here - >:

A person whose Polish origin has been confirmed may settle permanently in Poland - this means that such a person may apply for a permit to settle. More information on the procedure of obtaining a permit to settle is available here ->. In the case of applying for a permit to settle on the basis of Polish origin, the applicant should additionally present documents confirming their Polish origin. A list of such documents can be found below. For verification of Polish descent, the foreigner will be asked to appear  in person at the Voivodship Office, where during an interview a representative of the Office may ask him various questions in order to verify his connection with Poland and the Polish nation. More information about the interview is available below.

What documents confirm an individual's Polish descent?

Documents certifying an applicant's Polish descent can be, for example:

  • Polish identity documents;
  • civil register certificates or duplicates;
  • baptism certificates,
  •  school certificates;
  • documents confirming links with Poland and the Polish nation;
  • documents attesting to service in Polish military units;
  • documents confirming the fact of deportation or imprisonment containing an entry informing of the Polish origin of the person;
  • documents on rehabilitation of a deportee containing an entry informing of the applicant's Polish descent;
  •  foreign identity cards containing information about the Polish nationality of the holder;
  • a certificate from an organization of Poles living abroad confirming active involvement in activities promoting the Polish language and culture or benefiting the Polish national minority;
  • a final decision on Polish descent issued under the provisions of the Repatriation Act, etc.

Applying for a permit to settle - what happens during the interview at the Voivodeship Office to confirm Polish descent?

In the course of the procedure for granting a permit to settle on the basis of Polish origin, the foreigner is invited to the Voivodship Office to appear in person in order to clarify the relevant facts necessary to make a decision on granting a permit to settle. The conversation at the Voivodship Office is in Polish and can last about 60 minutes.

 Examples of questions that can be asked of the foreigner during the interview:

1. When is Christmas celebrated in Poland? What are the traditional Christmas foods?

2. When was the Battle of Grunwald? Who took part in this battle?
3. What kind of pastry is baked into the shape of a lamb for Easter?
4. Who is the founder of Kraków?
5. What is Shrove Thursday/Fat Thursday?
6. When is Independence Day celebrated in Poland?
7. What is śmingus dyngus?
8. Which cities used to be the capital of Poland?
9. What appears on the Polish coat of arms?
10. What does the Polish flag look like?
11. Who was John Paul II?
12. Who was Adam Mickiewicz?
13. Who is Lech Wałęsa?
14. In what year was the Constitution adopted in Poland?
15. What holidays in Poland are days off from work?
16. Which Poles have won the Nobel Prize?
17. Why are you applying for a permit to settle?

During the interview the official writes down the foreigner’s answers, and after the interview is finished shows the interviewee the record. The foreigner should carefully read the text, and if he agrees with its contents, he should sign the document.

Where can I get documents proving Polish descent?

Documents confirming Polish origin can be obtained, among other places, from the following archives:

 

1)     Central Archive of Historical Records in Warsaw

Warsaw, Długa 7

Main switchboard: 22 831 54 91 or 22 635 45 32 (33)

e-mail:sekretariat@agad.gov.pl

http://www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl

 

2) National Archives in Białystok

Białystok, Rynek Kościuszki 4,

tel. +48 85 743 56 03

www.bialystok.ap.gov.pl

sekretariat_ap@bialystok.ap.gov.pl

 

3) Civil Register Office Archive in Łódź

(maintains the archives of civil register records recreated in court proceedings between 1947-1952)

Aleja Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 100, Łódź,

tel. +42 638 53 03

 

4) Church Archives

The list of Church Archives is available here: http://www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl     

Documents confirming Polish origin can also be obtained in the relevant archives or state institutions in the country of origin of the foreigner.

Preparation for your visit, be it in the national or church archives, should begin by gathering all available information and documents. It is important to present all copies, extracts and photocopies in your possession - even damaged, difficult to read or even impossible to understand. With the help of an archivist, you can attempt to recover the information that will help you start your search. A list of different sources that can help you with genealogical research can be found at http://www.archiwa.gov.pl in the "Genealogy" section (website available in Polish and English).

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