Polish Citizenship

Anna Terlecka, partner of our Firm, specialises in cases concerning obtainment/confirmation of Polish citizenship.

Obtain Polish citizenship by deriving it from your ancestors

The Polish legal system is based on the principle of blood (ius sanguinis). This principle states that a child acquires Polish citizenship by operation of law by being born of parents, at least one of whom is a Polish citizen. According to this principle, a minor – regardless of place of birth – born to persons or a person with Polish citizenship also acquires Polish citizenship.

The Polish Citizenship Act of 2 April, 2009 makes it possible to obtain a decision confirming Polish citizenship, which is a necessary document when applying for a Polish passport.

The main laws that will be relevant to the procedure of confirming Polish citizenship are the Law of 20 January, 1920 on Citizenship of the Polish State and the Laws on Polish Citizenship of 8 January, 1951 and 16 February, 1962.

According to the 1920 Law on Citizenship of the Polish State, a person born or settled on the territory of the Polish State acquired Polish citizenship by operation of law when the law came into force. Persons born after the entry into force of that law acquired Polish citizenship if – in the case of married children – their father held Polish citizenship, and in the case of illegitimate children – their mother held Polish citizenship. Recognition or adoption of a child also resulted in the possibility of acquiring Polish citizenship.

The Polish Citizenship Acts of 1951 and 1962 provided for the possibility for a minor to acquire citizenship by operation of law if at least one of his parents was a Polish citizen.

In order to obtain a positive decision, it is required to prove that ascendants in a direct line possessed Polish citizenship and had not lost it by the time of your birth. The loss of Polish citizenship could have occurred due to accepting public office, entering military service (depending on the date of these events), or by acquiring foreign citizenship (if this occurred before 8 January, 1951).

Therefore, if your ancestors were born in Poland or were settled in the Polish state and did not lose their citizenship, you will most likely obtain a decision confirming your Polish citizenship and thus be eligible to apply for a Polish passport.

Remember that Poland gained independence in 1918 after 123 years of Austrian, Russian and Prussian annexation. As a result, the borders of the Polish State were changing during this time. If your ancestors were born or settled in the territories of the former Kingdom of Poland (no longer within the Polish borders), as a rule, this does not preclude you from applying for a decision confirming your Polish citizenship.

Remember also that Polish citizens who, after 8 January, 1951, adopted foreign citizenship through naturalization (e.g., American citizenship), as a rule, do not lose their Polish citizenship.

We have successfully handled cases for many citizens living permanently outside Poland, who derived Polish citizenship from their ancestors living not only in the current territory of Poland, but also in the current territory of Lithuania or Ukraine.

The decision on confirming the possession of Polish citizenship is issued by the provincial governor competent for your place of residence or the last place of residence on the Polish territory. If your ancestors emigrated and you do not live in Poland, the proceedings will be conducted before the Mazovian Provincial Governor in Warsaw.

The application for confirming the possession of Polish citizenship contains data of the person interested in obtaining the decision and information on family members from whom you derive Polish citizenship.

The application shall be accompanied by documents confirming Polish citizenship, as well as documents indicating the continuity of this citizenship until the time of your birth.

The decision on confirming Polish citizenship, according to the regulations, should be issued within 1 month and in complicated cases within 2 months from the date of application. After its receipt and the transcription of civil status records, it is possible to apply for a Polish passport.

Obtaining a decision confirming your Polish citizenship allows you to obtain a Polish passport and dual citizenship. Once you receive a Polish passport, you automatically become (without having to undertake any additional formalities) a citizen of the European Union. The effects of the decision confirming Polish citizenship also extend to your descendants (children, grandchildren).

As a citizen of one of 27 countries of the European Union, you enjoy the rights established by EU regulations.


  • free movement/entry into another EU member state without the requirement of an entry visa;
  • reside or settle on the territory of member states (European Union),
  • take up employment in the territory of the European Union;
  • establish a business in the territory of the European Union;
  • access to education on the territory of any member state of the European Union;
  • diplomatic and consular protection by the authorities of another member state on the territory of a third (non-EU) country, (e.g. in case of illness, arrest);
  • passive and active participation in elections to the European Parliament.

Check your chances of a positive outcome and ensure European citizenship for yourself and your descendants.

If you are not sure whether you will get a positive decision confirming the possession of your Polish citizenship contact me at a.terlecka@terlecki.net. I approach each case individually and conduct a preliminary analysis of the case to indicate the chance of obtaining a positive decision.

I realize that due to the considerable passage of time you may not have all the required documents concerning your ancestors. Don’t worry about this, as in the scope of this proceeding:

  • I provide assistance in obtaining the documents necessary in the process of certifying Polish citizenship in the territory of Poland and, if necessary, also outside Polish borders (USA, Lithuania, Ukraine);
  • I provide certified translation of documents necessary in the process for certifying Polish citizenship;
  • I transcribe foreign civil status records into Polish Civil Status Books (necessary to obtain a Polish passport);
  • I prepare the application for confirming Polish citizenship and complete all the documentation;
  • I monitor the course of the proceedings and provide all information;
  • I am in constant contact with archives and offices;
  • I receive correspondence related to the proceedings;
  • I provide assistance in obtaining a Polish passport.

Another advantage of our law office is the proximity to the seat of the Mazovian Governor, who is competent to consider cases for persons permanently residing outside Polish borders.

You can submit the application personally at the Polish Consulate. In such case, it is possible to mail the package with documents to your address.

Below you will find some references from my clients: