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Obtain Citizenship by Descent in Poland

Obtain Citizenship by Descent in Poland

There are different routes to acquire citizenship in Poland and one of them is Polish citizenship through ancestry. If you are interested in applying for citizenship through heritage you should know that obtaining citizenship through this route is possible only for those with Polish ancestors. Our Polish lawyers can assist you in this matter.

The main ways through which foreigners can obtain Polish citizenship

There are several ways that make it possible to become a Polish national when relocating here. Foreign citizens who have family members with origins in this country could apply for citizenship through descent in Poland.

Below you can find all possible routes to Polish citizenship:

  1. by naturalization which is one of the most employed means by foreign citizens;
  2. by marriage which is one of the fastest ways of obtaining citizenship in Poland;
  3. by investment or business that targets high net-worth individuals from non-EU countries;
  4. by descent which is mainly a right that can be obtained by those with Polish origins on request.

Acquiring citizenship by origin in Poland is not quite a difficult process, however, you are required to submit all the documents with caution. If you are planning to move to Poland and apply for citizenship, our lawyers can assist you.

The services of our experienced lawyers are at your disposal if you have lived outside Poland for an extended period and are interested in acquiring citizenship here. They can help you document your relationship with your Polish ancestors and present it in front of authorities.

 Quick Facts  
 Means to acquire citizenship in Poland  Naturalization, marriage and descent are the main ways to acquire citizenship in Poland

Special requirements to get Polish citizenship by descent 

 Yes, the applicant must be related to at least one Polish citizens

 Access to citizenship based on the relation with Polish grandparents (YES/NO)

YES, it is possible to get citizenship based on having at least one Polish grandparent 

 Access to citizenship based on the relation with other Polish ancestors (YES/NO)  YES, a blood relation with a Polish great-grandparent is also accepted
 Authorities in charge with the issuance of Polish documents

 Ministry of Interior in Poland

 Permanent residence requirements (YES/NO)

 No, there is no need to live in Poland to gain citizenship by descent

 Option to search for Polish ancestors (YES/NO)

 Polish Vital Records

 Special procedure to complete to gain citizenship by ancestry

The main aspect to consider is finding information about the relation with a Polish citizen born after 1920 

 Degree of difficulty in obtaining citizenship

 Ancestry is the easiest way to secure citizenship in Poland

 Option to apply for citizenship by other means (YES/NO) YES, one can also choose to apply for citizenship by naturalization 
 Requirement to live in Poland (YES/NO)

There is no need to have lived in Poland prior to applying for citizenship 

 Possibility to pass on citizenship to descendants (YES/NO)

 YES, after gaining this status, it can be passed on to future generations

 Possibility to obtain citizenship as a spouse of a Polish descendent (YES/NO)

NO, but the spouse will be able to secure residency in Poland through kinship 

 Support in applying for citizenship by descent (YES/NO)

YES, our immigration lawyers in Poland can assist in citizenship by descent matters 

 Other immigration services (YES/NO) YES, we can also help in securing citizenship by marriage and investment, as well as permanent residency in Poland 
Legislation    Act on Polish Citizenship.

Proof of descent 

Applicants must provide documented evidence of their Polish ancestry, such as birth certificates and other relevant records. 

Dual citizenship 

Poland allows dual citizenship, so individuals can retain their current citizenship while acquiring Polish citizenship by descent. 

Application process  The application process involves submitting required documents to the competent Polish authorities with the help of our immigration lawyers in Poland.  
Residency requirement  

Not required. 

Language requirement  

Not required. 

Birth registration 

Some individuals may need to register their birth with the Polish civil registry before applying for citizenship by descent in Poland.  

Timeframe for approval 

3-6 months. 

Passport application 

Once citizenship is granted, individuals can apply for a Polish passport to enjoy the full rights and benefits of citizenship. 

Documentary evidence  A comprehensive set of documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, and proof of ancestry, is required. 
Eligibility for minor children 

Minor children of individuals acquiring citizenship by descent in Poland may also be eligible for citizenship. 

Fees and costs 

Applying for Polish citizenship generally incurs minimal fees, with the main exception being the 219 PLN stamp duty. 

 Inheritance and property rights

Polish citizens by descent enjoy inheritance and property rights in the same manner as citizens who acquire citizenship through other means. 

Changes in legislation 

Applicants should stay informed about any changes in Polish citizenship laws that may affect eligibility criteria or procedures. Consult our Polish lawyers to stay updated.  

Appeal process  There may be provisions for appealing decisions in case an application for citizenship by descent is initially denied. You can get help from our law firm in Poland in this regard.  

Qualifying criteria for citizenship by descent in Poland

Just like in the other ways through which Polish citizenship can be obtained, descent also has certain requirements to fulfill. More precisely, the foreign citizen must prove he or she has or has had blood relatives who are/were Polish citizens.

Here are the main requirements enabling a foreign citizen to apply for Polish citizenship by descent:

  • people who have parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents can apply for Polish citizenship without any problem;
  • those whose ancestors were born and had lived in Poland after 1920 can apply for citizenship by descent;
  • foreigners whose ancestors left Poland before 1920 but whose addresses can be found in local registers;
  • foreign citizens with ancestors who have maintained Polish citizenship by the day of the birth of the foreign applicant.

There are no difficult formalities to apply for citizenship by descent in Poland, however, in the case of those who have ancestors dating back to 1920, finding the necessary documents to prove a family connection can take some time. This is even more difficult when it comes to those who have left Poland and whose Polish addresses can be found in Russian, Prussian, or Austro-Hungarian civil registers.

If you want to migrate to Poland based on your local origins, we kindly invite you to first get in touch with our lawyers who can start the formalities ahead. If you have any questions on Poland citizenship by descent, our lawyers will answer them.

The procedure of claiming Polish citizenship by descent

The process of applying for citizenship by descent in Poland must start by finding all your relatives who live or have lived in Poland by the time of the application. This implies collecting data like dates of birth and residential addresses from all your ancestors. Also, if you had family members who have completed military service in Poland, their names and ranks must be added to the biography next to your personal information.

The biography must be filed with the Polish embassy or consulate in your current home country alongside various application forms and your valid passport.

The search for Polish relatives must be completed with the Vital Records in Poland. Our immigration law firm in Poland can guide you through the procedure of applying for citizenship by descent.

Documentation requirements for Polish citizenship by ancestry

If you are interested in applying for a Polish passport through ancestry, please be mindful of the paperwork needed to be submitted to the authorities. Below our immigration lawyers provide a general guide regarding documents you need to obtain Polish citizenship through ancestry. Besides this guidance, if you are seeking practical legal support, our immigration lawyers in Poland can assist you:

  • Conducting searches through official records: Applicants must submit documented evidence such as birth certificates, marriage records, and other official documents to establish their familial connection to a Polish citizen. Such documented evidence can help you in getting Polish citizenship through ancestry without much hassle. 
  • Obtaining records: These documents must be obtained either from Polish authorities or from relevant authorities in countries outside of Poland where the documents are held. This ensures the authenticity and validity of the provided evidence. If you are moving to Poland by ancestry route, it is recommended to get legal help. 

In addition to birth certificates and marriage records, other pieces of evidence that can support the application for Polish citizenship through ancestry include:

  1. Family tree: A comprehensive family tree showing the lineage connecting the applicant to the Polish ancestor.
  2. Naturalization records: Records of naturalization or citizenship obtained by the Polish ancestor in another country, if applicable.
  3. Passport copies: Copies of passports belonging to the Polish ancestor or any family members that may indicate Polish citizenship.
  4. Military records: Any military service records of the Polish ancestor, especially if they served in the Polish armed forces.
  5. Property ownership records: Documents proving property ownership by the Polish ancestor in Poland or any relevant historical records.
  6. Census records: Historical census records showing the presence of the Polish ancestor in Poland or abroad.
  7. Church records: Baptismal, confirmation, or other church records that mention the Polish ancestor or their family members.
  8. Legal name changes: Documents indicating any legal name changes undergone by the Polish ancestor or their descendants.
  9. Correspondence or letters: Any correspondence or letters that mention the Polish ancestor or their family connections.

If you are planning to immigrate to Poland, please arrange these documents with the help of our lawyers. A combination of these documents provides a verifiable lineage to the Polish authorities and increases your chances of obtaining citizenship.

Poland citizenship by descent vs. naturalization

Foreign citizens who want to relocate to Poland have the possibility of acquiring citizenship after living here for a specific number of years, which is one of the downsides of this means of obtaining full rights as a Polish citizen. In the case of citizenship by descent in Poland, one is no longer required to live for such long time in the country to have all the benefits that come with a Polish passport.

When seeking a path for permanent immigration to Poland, it must also be noted that not all foreign citizens have the privilege of having Polish ancestors or close relatives and based on their blood ties descent can be invoked to obtain a passport.

Each means of obtaining Polish citizenship has its advantages, and when it comes to descent, some of the most important refer to:

  • the waiting period which implies the timeframe until the authorities verify the documents;
  • the fact that once acquires the Polish passport, the applicant is not required to complete any other procedure.

On the other hand, Poland citizenship by descent implies a thorough verification when the ancestors whose origins one relies on for gaining a passport have passed away a long time ago. This is not only time-consuming, but it can also be difficult to find all the documents proving the kinship between the Polish citizen and the applicant.

Our immigration lawyers in Poland can assist when it comes to tracing down ancestors and filing for citizenship.

Can a foreign citizen with Polish origins obtain citizenship by naturalization?

Many persons born from foreign parents who moved to another country want to find their origins and relocate back to their home countries, which is often the case of those with Polish origins who want to move here based on their blood heritage.

When a natural connection cannot be established, and thus, citizenship by descent in Poland cannot be claimed, the safest way to go is naturalization. This way, the foreign citizen can come to Poland, obtain a residence permit or not, if he or she relocates from an EU or EEA country, and wait for the period required to be able to apply for citizenship.

This is often the most employed path for foreign citizens who want to live in Poland with full rights, including those with Polish ancestors who do not want to go through long-time searches with old archives to find their relatives.

Tailored support in obtaining citizenship by descent

Applying for Poland citizenship by descent is not complicated from a documents point of view, as the authorities only need the papers through which you can prove your relationship with the Polish citizens. However, when your ancestors have lived here a long time ago or they left the country before 1920 and the registers you need to search, our lawyers can help you trace down your roots by making extensive searches that will help you.

You can also watch our video below:

Advantages of applying for Polish citizenship by descent

If you have Polish ancestors, then citizenship by descent is the safest way to acquire a Polish passport. Even if the procedure can take longer, you will not need to wait for a necessary timeframe for acquiring citizenship through other means.

By comparison, it is worth noting that:

  • Polish citizenship by naturalization can be obtained after 3 years of legally living here as a permanent resident;
  • citizenship by marriage can be obtained in nearly 3 years, as it resembles the naturalization option;
  • citizenship by investment requires 5 years of living in Poland plus a significant financial contribution to the national economy.

Once you are done with the Poland migration procedure, our lawyers can also assist you with other matters that require legal attention. For instance, we can assist you with acquiring Polish permanent residency if you are eligible. 

After Poland immigration and acquiring residency, we can also guide you on how and when permanent residency can lead to citizenship in Poland

If you are seeking legal help to obtain Poland citizenship through heritage, please consider contacting our lawyers.