Documents Required to Confirm the Possession of Polish Citizenship by Descent

The required documents to confirm Polish citizenship and obtain a Polish passport are divided into three groups: 1. Polish documents proving Polish citizenship of your ancestors, 2. Foreign documents proving that the chain of citizenship was not broken in subsequent generations, and 3. Documents that prove or establish the family line.

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1. Polish Documents Proving Ancestral Citizenship

The crucial issue in each administrative procedure for the confirmation of Polish citizenship is relevant Polish documents, meaning issued by Polish authorities in Poland after 1920, through which it is possible to prove that your ancestors were Polish citizens. According to 2011 Polish legislation, an application not supported by Polish documents will not be even approved for processing. Therefore, in the event that a person applying for the confirmation of Polish citizenship does not have Polish documents, it is necessary to search for them in archives in Poland and Germany, Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania.

The most important documents are as follows:

  • Proof of residence, residence registration cards
  • Extracts from Registers of Permanent Residents
  • Electoral rolls to the Polish Parliament and local authorities
  • Military enlistments
  • Entries in real estate registers
  • Notarial deeds
  • Polish civil acts: birth and marriage certificates
  • Documents that prove the confirmation/recognition of Polish citizenship
  • Certificates of good standing/police clearance certificates
  • Documents that prove the course of military service and employment
  • Medical, school and other official certificates
  • Copies of Polish ID cards, passports, travel documents, military books, and other identity cards

It is not easy to conduct searches for archival documents, particularly in territories that before WWII were Polish and are now part of Belarus or Ukraine. We have developed appropriate methods of searching for documents and have established cooperation with various archives and institutions in Poland and abroad. Consequently, we are able to localize and obtain certified copies of relevant documents within 3 months of commencing archival searches. Read more here: ARCHIVES SEARCH.

2. Documents Proving the Chain of Citizenship Was Not Broken

It is necessary to prove that there was no loss of Polish citizenship as a result of emigration and naturalization in another country. Relevant documents produced by the country in which your ancestor lived and finally settled are:

  • naturalization acts (also of previous generations)
  • documents proving the acquisition of foreign citizenship
  • documents of military records until January 19, 1951
  • documents proving jobs held until that date

3. Documents That Establish the Family Line

Usually the most easily obtainable documents are those proving the family line from your ancestors that emigrated from Poland to you. These are:

  • Birth, marriage (divorce) certificates
  • Parents' and grandparents' birth, marriage (divorce) certificates
  • Name change certificates
  • Certified copy of each applicant's valid foreign passport

Importance of Polish Documents

The most important aspect of the application process is Polish documents that prove your ancestors acquired and held Polish citizenship. As of 2011, without these documents it is not possible to apply for citizenship according to new legislation that mandates any application that is not based on Polish documents will not be accepted for processing.

Documents proving that citizenship was not lost are, of course, also crucial.

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