Repatriation - general information
REPATRIATION - GENERAL INFORMATION
Repatriation means the return to their homeland of people of Polish origin and is one of the ways of acquiring Polish citizenship. This right is available only to people who do not have Polish citizenship and wish to permanently resettle to the Republic of Poland.
The government of the Republic of Poland treats the repatriation action as the fulfilment of a moral obligation and compensation for historical injustices to compatriots coming mainly from the Asian part of the former USSR. The Repatriation Act enables those people or their descendants who, due to deportation, exile and other national and political persecution, could never settle in Poland to return to the country.
The basic legal act regulating repatriation is Act of 09 November 2000 on repatriation (Journal of Laws of 2022, item 1105). According to its definition, a repatriate is a person who came to the Republic of Poland on the basis of a national visa for the purpose of repatriation with the intention of settling permanently.
TERRITORIAL SCOPE OF REPATRIATION
Repatriation applies to persons who, on January 1, 2001, permanently resided on the territories of the present:
as well as the Asian part of Russia.
NATIONAL VISA FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPATRIATION
A national visa for the purpose of repatriation may be issued to a person who meets all of the following conditions:
- is of Polish origin;
- before the entry into force of the law (i.e. before January 1, 2001), resided permanently on the territory of the present Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan or the Asian part of the Russian Federation.
A person of Polish origin is a person declaring Polish nationality and meeting two conditions:
- at least one of their parents or grandparents or two great-grandparents were of Polish nationality;
- will show their connection with Polishness.
The condition relating to Polish nationality shall be deemed to be met if at least one of the applicant's parents or grandparents or two great-grandparents have confirmed their belonging to the Polish Nation, in particular by fostering Polish traditions and customs.
Documents issued by Polish state or church authorities, as well as by the authorities of the former USSR, regarding the applicant or their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents may be proofs of Polish origin, in particular:
- Polish identity documents;
- civil status records or copies of them or baptism certificates confirming any relationship with Polishness;
- documents confirming completion of military service in the Polish Army, containing an entry informing about Polish nationality;
- documents confirming the fact of deportation or imprisonment, with an entry informing about Polish nationality;
- identity documents or other official documents with an entry informing about Polish nationality.
Proofs of Polish origin may also include other documents, in particular:
- on rehabilitation of a deported person, containing an entry informing about their Polish nationality;
- confirming the persecution of a person due to their Polish origin.
The decision on the recognition of the applicant as a person of Polish origin is issued by a consul.
VISAS FOR SPOUSES AND DESCENDANTS (CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN)
A national visa for the purpose of repatriation may also be issued to the repatriate's spouse and descendants down to the fourth degree together with their spouses, if they intend to come with them to Poland with the intention of settling permanently.
Minors remaining under the parental authority of the repatriate also acquire Polish citizenship by way of repatriation. In the event that only one of the parents is a repatriate, the minor acquires Polish citizenship only with the consent of the other parent, expressed in a declaration submitted to the consul.
A minor who has reached the age of 16 may acquire Polish citizenship by way of repatriation only after their consent.
- Applying for a national visa for the purpose of repatriation
A person applying for a national visa for the purpose of repatriation submits an application for its issuance at the Polish consular office competent for the place of residence.
The application must also be accompanied by:
- a recent photograph of the requesting person, undamaged, in colour, 35 mm × 45 mm, taken within the past 6 months before the date of submission of the application, in good sharpness, showing the image of the face from the top of the head to the top of the shoulders, so that the face is 70–80% of the photo, and showing the eyes and face clearly, against a uniform bright background; the photo is to show a person without a hat and glasses with dark lenses, in a frontal position, looking straight ahead, with open eyes, hair not covered, with a natural expression on the face and closed mouth;
- the applicant's curriculum vitae;
- a copy of the applicant's birth certificate;
- documents proving the applicant's current marital status;
- documents confirming the place of permanent residence on the territory referred to in art. 9 par. 1 point 3 of the Repatriation Act;
- proofs confirming Polish origin, as specified in art. 6 of the Repatriation Act;
- other documents confirming the circumstances specified in the application for a repatriation visa;
- a statement that the data contained in the application is true, under pain of criminal liability for making false statements.
They must also present a valid passport.
- Consideration of the application regarding the recognition of the applicant as a person of Polish origin
The consul, on the basis of the documents presented and an interview with the applicant, assesses whether they meet the conditions specified in the act and issues a decision on recognizing or refusing to recognize the person as a person of Polish origin.
- Forwarding the application to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration
After determining that the applicant for a repatriation visa is of Polish origin, the consul submits the application to the Ministry of Interior and Administration to obtain permission to issue a visa.
- Issuing a repatriation visa
After obtaining the consent of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the consul may issue a repatriation visa.
The period of validity of the visa is 12 months - the visa holder should come to Poland at this time.
The national visa for the purpose of repatriation is issued by the consul upon presentation of one of the following settlement conditions:
- proof of having housing and sources of income in the Republic of Poland
- proof of the provision of housing and livelihoods in the Republic of Poland.
The proof of having the conditions for settlement: a document confirming the legal title to a dwelling for a period of not less than 12 months and a declaration of employment or an employment contract for a period of not less than 12 months.
The proof confirming the provision of conditions for settlement:
- a decision of the Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation on granting a place in the adaptation centre for repatriates or
- a resolution of the commune council containing an obligation to ensure conditions for settlement for a period of at least 2 years or
- a declaration of a Polish citizen, legal person or organizational unit without legal personality, established in Poland, containing an obligation to provide premises for a period of at least 2 years. The declaration of a Polish citizen may only refer to ascendants, descendants or siblings of that person.
Due to the lack of the conditions for settlement in Poland, the consul may only issue a decision on qualifying for a repatriation visa. Only after presenting the evidence confirming the conditions for settlement in Poland will the consul issue a repatriation visa.
A repatriate candidate who does not have the conditions to settle in Poland through a consul shall be presented with:
- an offer of a flat and sources of income from the records kept by the Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation;
- a proposal to grant a place in an adaptation centre for a repatriate.
The proposals are submitted in the order in which applications for a national visa for repatriation are submitted. In the first place, they are made available to people deported and persecuted for national or political reasons, whose age and poor health justify their quick repatriation.
The decision on granting a place in a adaptation centre is issued by the Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation.
STATUS OF MEMBERS OF A REPATRIATE'S FAMILY WHO DO NOT HAVE POLISH ORIGIN
If the spouse does not want to take advantage of the possibility of obtaining a repatriation visa, and intends to settle together with the repatriate on the territory of the Republic of Poland, they may apply for a permanent residence permit. It is granted or refused by the Head of the Office for Foreigners.
The above procedure also applies to a minor remaining under the parental authority of a repatriate, if the other parent does not consent to the acquisition of Polish citizenship by the child. In both of the above cases, the application for a permanent residence permit is attached to the application for a national visa for the purpose of repatriation.
ADAPTATION CENTRES FOR REPATRIATES
Granting a place in an adaptation centre for repatriates is considered one of the evidence confirming that conditions for settlement are ensured.
The decision on granting a place in a adaptation centre is issued by the Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation. The decision is issued after the consul presents the written consent of the people interested in being placed in an adaptation centre. When issuing the decision, the Plenipotentiary takes into account the waiting time for the issuance of a national visa for the purpose of repatriation.
The deadline for issuing a decision on placement in such a centre is 3 years from qualifying for a visa for repatriation. If there are no vacancies in the centres, this time may be extended by no more than 2 years.
The repatriate's stay in such a centre lasts up to 90 days. If the repatriate does not take up gainful employment for reasons beyond their control or does not have a new place of residence, the stay in the centre may be extended by the decision of the Plenipotentiary for no more than another 90 days.
In adaptation centres, repatriates are provided with:
- accommodation in a room appropriate to the age, sex and health condition of the repatriate;
- full board consisting of three meals, including one hot meal and drinks;
- round-the-clock access to rooms and devices enabling self-preparation of a meal;
- 24-hour access to hygienic and sanitary facilities;
- cleaning products necessary to maintain personal hygiene, including those intended for minors;
- possibility of making phone calls at their own expense. In particularly justified cases, the costs may be borne by the centre;
- free internet access;
- the opportunity to participate in adaptation and integration classes and in classes enabling learning about Polish history, traditions and customs, as well as in Polish language courses and professional courses.
In adaptation centres for repatriates, classes (in a language understandable to repatriates) are conducted on:
- the healthcare system;
- education system;
- public security;
- pro-family policy and social assistance;
- labour market and employee rights;
- the rights of disabled persons and the procedures for obtaining a disability certificate or a disability degree.
Supervision over the adaptation centres is exercised by the Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation.
THE FIRST STEPS AFTER THE REPATRIATE'S ARRIVAL TO POLAND
At the place of settlement, repatriates are required to:
- register with the local Registry Office their civil status (birth, marriage, etc.) certificates together with their sworn translation into Polish, unless a person applying for a national visa for the purpose of repatriation, presenting evidence confirming possession or ensuring the conditions of settlement, submits an application for a Polish civil status certificate to the consul before coming to Poland (then the consul submits the application together with the documents to the head of the registry office selected by the person applying for a national visa for the purpose of repatriation);
- report to the Department of Citizens' Affairs and Foreigners of the Voivodship Office competent for the place of residence to receive confirmation of Polish citizenship from the voivode. The confirmation is issued on the basis of a passport with a visa for repatriation purposes and upon presentation of copies of marital status records developed at the Polish Registry Office;
- submit an application for an ID card to the City or Commune Office, register for permanent residence and apply for a PESEL number.
ASSISTANCE FOR REPATRIATES ON ARRIVAL IN POLAND
- One-off financial aid
The Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation provides a repatriate and members of their immediate family with one-off financial aid for:
- covering the costs of travel or flight and the transport of property to the Republic of Poland in the amount of twice the price of the train ticket from the station closest to the repatriate's residence to the place of settlement in Poland;
- household arrangements and day-to-day maintenance, in the amount of twice the average monthly gross salary;
- covering the costs related to the start of education in Poland by a minor subject to compulsory schooling in the amount of the average monthly salary for each child.
The consul may also grant aid for travel expenses. This applies to people to whom the consul issued a repatriation visa and who do not have sufficient funds to cover the costs of travel to the Republic of Poland.
- Financial aid for renovation, adaptation or equipment for premises
The staroste competent for the repatriate's place of residence shall, upon their request, provide financial aid to partially cover the costs related to the renovation, adaptation or furnishing their apartment. The maximum amount of aid is PLN 6,000 per repatriate and each member of their immediate family. This amount is subject to revaluation every year.
The repatriate may submit the above-mentioned application within two years from the date of acquiring Polish citizenship.
- Financial aid to meet housing needs
The Government Plenipotentiary for Repatriation provides financial aid to meet housing needs on the basis of:
- a declaration of a Polish citizen who is their ascendent, descendant or siblings, with an obligation to ensure conditions for settlement for a period of at least 2 years, or
- the Plenipotentiary's decision to grant a place in an adaptation centre.
The aid is provided in the form of an additional payment to:
- the rent for a flat or a residential building (no more than the price of the premises specified in the contract),
- the fees for accommodation in a student house (up to PLN 300 per month),
- the cost of purchasing a flat or a residential building (up to PLN 300 per month).
The total amount of the aforementioned financial aid may not exceed PLN 25,000 per repatriate and each member of their immediate family.
The financial aid to meet housing needs may be provided for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of the repatriate's arrival to Poland or their leaving the adaptation centre.
Return of the housing aid provided
A repatriate returns the amount of the aid granted, reduced by 10% of its amount for each year that has elapsed since its payment, if the premises purchased with the use of the financial aid are sold within 10 years.
The repatriate is not obliged to return the amount of aid provided if:
- within 180 days from the date of sale of the real estate, present the Plenipotentiary with an extract of a notarial deed confirming the purchase of another apartment or residential building;
- the cost of purchasing another apartment or building is not lower than the amount to be returned.
- Help of the commune in carrying out renovation, adaptation or furnishing residential premises
The commune may provide a repatriate with aid consisting in carrying out renovation, adaptation or equipping residential premises. For the implementation of this task, the commune receives a subsidy of up to PLN 6,000 from the state budget for the repatriate and for each member of their immediate family.
Aid consisting in carrying out renovation, adaptation or furnishing residential premises shall not be granted to a repatriate to whom the commune has provided residential premises.
- Help in learning the Polish language and adapting to new living conditions
A repatriate may be assisted by ensuring participation in free Polish language courses and adaptation in Polish society.
The courses are provided by the Centre for the Development of Polish Education Abroad. The application form can be downloaded from the website www.orpeg.pl
In addition, in adaptation centres for repatriates, participation in adaptation and integration classes, classes enabling learning about Polish history, traditions and customs, as well as Polish language courses and vocational courses are provided.
- Access to healthcare during the first period of stay in Poland
Repatriates have the right to use health care up to 90 days from the date of crossing the border of the Republic of Poland. After this time, they are subject to the same healthcare regulations as all Polish citizens.
It should be remembered that the free use of the above benefits is not related to the time of staying in an adaptation centre. In special situations, a repatriate may stay in the adaptation centre for up to 180 days, but this does not extend the period of free healthcare.
- Professional activation of repatriates
The staroste competent for a repatriate's place of residence may provide them with professional activation. This can be done by:
- reimbursing part of costs for improving professional qualifications;
- reimbursing part of the costs incurred by the employer for employing a repatriate (e.g. creating a job, training, remuneration).
Costs of professional activation may be reimbursed not later than 5 years after a repatriate acquires Polish citizenship and on condition that the repatriate has been employed for at least 24 months.
One or more of the above-mentioned forms of professional activation may be used, but the total amount of related expenses may not exceed twelve times the average monthly remuneration in the quarter preceding the date of the first contract.
- A supporting person for a repatriate
A repatriate may be assigned a person who will support their integration. Such a person may be assigned by the commune head, mayor or city president, at the repatriate's request justified bytheir specific situation. It may result from:
- old age;
- health condition;
- lack of adaptive skills;
- not using the Polish language to a sufficient degree.
The help of the support person includes:
- providing information on how to deal with matters in the field of medical care, education, social assistance and employment;
- supporting the repatriate in dealing with the above-mentioned matters, in particular in drawing up official letters on their behalf;
- assisting an elderly repatriate during medical appointments.
With the repatriate's consent, the supporting person may apply to state authorities and organizations for information necessary to assist the repatriate.
A supporting person is assigned for no longer than 2 years.