Polish Citizenship
October 9, 2007 1:53 AM   Subscribe

Can I obtain Polish Citizenship?

Today in one of my classes, my economy professor mentioned the fact that he had recently discovered that people whose great-grandparents/grandparents who emigrated from Poland can apply for Polish citizenship (according to the professor, many people have taken them up on this so they can hold jobs in other parts of the EU). He then said he looked further into it and discovered that it involved a period of residency, the length of which he didn't specify. My mom's side is entirely Polish, my great-grandmother and father came over some time before America joined the allies, I think sometime in the early 30's although it might have been a little later or earlier than that. I was wondering if my eco professor was right about this, if I would be eligible, and how long residency is.
posted by bigspoon to Law & Government (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Consulate General on Polish Citizenship.

According to this third-party explanation page, you really need to know when they emigrated (you'll have to supply records in any case), because it may change your eligibility.
posted by dhartung at 2:00 AM on October 9, 2007

I've got some Polish ancestry myself and this comment got me curious, so I did a little quick googling and turned up this thread, with this helpful comment (about halfway down):

I've seen questions on here about Polish citizenship by descent and I'd like to give my experience. I was born in the U.S. to a Polish father. I decided that I'd like to claim Polish citizenship, so I inquired at the Polish Consulate in Chicago. The person I spoke with was not at all optimistic. He said that the fact that my father was born in Poland (and I had his birth certificate) didn't mean much. I'd have to have documentation to show that 1) he was a Polish citizen and 2) he hadn't lost his Polish citizenship by taking U.S. citizenship before 1955. The simple fact of having a surname ending in -ski and a Polish birth certificate was not adequate proof! I decided to file a claim anyway, which required filling out a form in Polish, a separate biography in Polish, and including a couple passport photos (plus a fee of about $60). After about a year, a paper came back from Poland saying that I'd have to submit more proof. Finally, after doing more searching in my father's old papers I found an old document that described him as a Polish citizen. After sending that, I received a paper from the consulate a few months later confirming my Polish citizenship. So, it's not an easy process. Important factors are: 1) Was your Polish ancestor born in Poland while it was a country? Remember...Poland was erased from the map at various times and if your ancestor was born in (say) a section ruled by Germany, Poland doesn't recognize it as a Polish birth! 2) Did your ancestor take foreign citizenship before 1955? If so, the communist-era citizenship laws stripped your ancestor of his Polish citizenship, which may have prevented him from passing it on to you. I've seen posts that say that if you had a Polish grandfather that makes you a Polish citizen. Unfortunately, the reality is that it's not that simple!

So it looks like you need documentation of your great grandparents' Polish birth and citizenship - but then again, that is just a comment on an internet forum so don't take it as the official word.
posted by AV at 4:56 AM on October 9, 2007

Any other E.U. countries have a way for grandhildren/great-grandchildren of citizens to claim citizenship? I remember hearing that, at least at one time, grandchildren of Irish citizens could claim Irish citizenship.
posted by mahamandarava at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2007

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