Polish origin - basic information
WHO IS A PERSON OF POLISH ORIGIN?
A person of Polish origin is a person declaring Polish nationality and meeting all of the following conditions:
- At least one of their parents or grandparents or two great-grandparents were of Polish nationality;
- The person demonstrates its connection with Polishness, in particular by cultivating Polish language, Polish traditions and customs.
HOW CAN YOU LEGALIZE A STAY OF A FOREIGNER OF POLISH ORIGIN?
Foreigners of Polish origin may legalize their stay in Poland by:
- Applying for the Pole's Card on the basis of Polish origin;
- Applying for a permanent residence permit on the basis of Polish origin;
- Applying for a permanent residence permit on the basis of a valid Pole's Card.
The Pole's Card does not mean granting Polish citizenship to a foreigner, granting the right to settle in Poland, or the right to cross Polish borders without a visa. On the basis of the Pole's Card, a foreigner may obtain a long-term residence visa free of charge, entitling to multiple crossings of the Polish border.
You can read about the procedure of applying for the Pole’s Card on the basis of Polish origin here.
A person whose Polish origin has been confirmed may settle in Poland permanently - this means that such a person may apply for a permanent residence permit. When applying for a permanent residence permit on the basis of Polish origin, the person should additionally present documents confirming Polish origin. You can read about such documents below. In order to verify Polish origin, a foreigner may be called for an interview at the Voivodship Office, where during the interview the representative of the Office may ask them various questions to confirm the relationship of the foreigner with Polishness. More information about conducting such an interview is available below.
WHICH DOCUMENTS CONFIRM POLISH ORIGIN?
Documents and proofs confirming Polish origin:
- Polish identity documents;
- civil status records or copies of them;
- baptism records;
- school reports;
- documents confirming the relationship with Polishness;
- documents confirming completion of military service in Polish military formations;
- documents confirming the fact of deportation or imprisonment with an entry informing about Polish origin;
- documents on the rehabilitation of a deported person with an entry on the Polish origin of the person;
- foreign identity cards with information about the Polish nationality of the holder;
- a certificate of a Polish community organization confirming active involvement in activities for the benefit of the Polish language and culture or the Polish national minority;
- a final decision on Polish origin issued in accordance with the provisions of the act on repatriation etc.
APPLYING FOR A PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT - HOW IS AN INTERVIEW DONE AT THE OFFICE IN ORDER TO CONFIRM THE RELATIONSHIP OF A FOREIGNER WITH POLISHNESS?
In the course of the proceedings for granting a permanent residence permit on the basis of Polish origin, a foreigner may be requested to appear in person in the Voivodship Office in order to clarify the essential circumstances necessary to make a decision on granting a permanent residence permit. The interview at the Voivodship Office is in Polish and may last about 60 minutes.
Examples of questions that may be asked to a foreigner during such an interview:
- Who was Polish in your family?
- What traditions/customs are associated with it?
- When is Christmas celebrated in Poland? What are the traditional dishes of the holiday?
- When did the Battle of Grunwald take place? Who participated in the battle?
- What dough is used to bake a lamb for Easter?
- Who is the founder of the city of Krakow?
- What is Fat Thursday?
- When is Independence Day celebrated in Poland?
- What is Śmingus Dyngus?
- What cities were the capitals of Poland?
- What is on the Polish coat of arms?
- What does the Polish flag look like?
- Who was John Paul II?
- Who was Adam Mickiewicz?
- Who is Lech Walesa?
- What are the lines of the Polish national anthem?
- Who is General Dąbrowski mentioned in the anthem?
- What year was the Constitution adopted in Poland?
- What holidays in Poland are days off from work?
- Who among Poles received the Nobel Prize?
- Why are you applying for a permanent residence permit?
During the interview, the office worker writes down the foreigner's responses and, after the interview, presents the record to the foreigner. The foreigner should read the text carefully and if they agree with the content, they should sign the document.
WHERE CAN DOCUMENTS CONFIRMING A PERSON'S POLISH ORIGIN BE OBTAINED?
Documents confirming Polish origin can be obtained, among others, in the following archives:
Warsaw, 7 Długa Street
Central office: 22 831 54 91 or 22 635 45 32 (33)
Białystok, 4 Rynek Kościuszki,
telephone number +48 85 743 56 03
3) Archives of the Registry Office in Lodz
(stores civil status records reconstructed in court proceedings in 1947- 1952)
Aleja Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 100, Lodz,
telephone number +42 638 53 03
4) Church Archives.
List of the Church Archives is available here.
Documents confirming Polish origin can also be obtained in the relevant archives or state institutions in the foreigner's country of origin.
Preparation for a visit, be it in the state or church archives, should begin with gathering all available information and documents. All copies, extracts and photocopies in your possession are important - even if they are damaged, hard to read or even incomprehensible. With the help of an archivist, you can try to recover them and get information from them that will help you start your search. The list of various sources enabling genealogical research is available here in the chapter "Genealogy" (the website is available in Polish and English).