If your heritage is Polish, then it may be possible to claim your Polish citizenship and get the associated Polish EU passport. A Polish EU passport can give you, and your family, benefits you may not have even considered that comes with being a citizen of the EU. In Australia, we have many people who are now taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.
Why would I want a Polish EU passport?
A European Union passport holder has entitlements that are valuable. Some of the benefits include:
- Eligibility to work
- Eligibility for university level education
- Own and reside in property
- Ease of travel in Europe
For more details review our EU Passports page.
What is the process to get a EU Polish Passport by descent?
There are number of steps that you need to go through in order to be eligible to get your Polish EU passport. Without guidance, the process can be time-consuming and frustrating. Our structured process allows for a smoother path to approval when compared to random ad hoc applications. We will work with you to determine eligibility, assist with the application and the associated documentation requirements. When the official documents are approved, we will then work with you on the process to the get EU passport.
Eligibility is determined based on a set of criteria and your specific circumstances. Some cases are clear as to your eligibility. Other cases require more research and supporting documentation. By answering our eligibility checklist, we will be able to recommend to you of the next actions to take.
In most cases, our clients need additional supporting documentation. We facilitate the process of getting these documents. Our partners based in Europe will conduct the research and extract the necessary documents to help support your application. This is where most people in Australia cannot assist you with your application. Sourcing these documents can be tedious and unless you know where to go and what to ask for, you can often be thwarted.
When the supporting documents have been sourced then the application can then be submitted. Often, there is some coordination with the Polish officials. You will need to attend an interview in Australia and the formalities of identification will be conducted.
Polish Citizenship Document
When citizenship is confirmed you will receive the formal documentation and that is required to get your EU Polish Passport.
TO GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you would like for us to call you regarding your edibility, please either call our office or Fill out this GET A QUOTE form.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many generations back?
You can get Polish citizenship if one of your direct ancestors (parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, etc.) had Polish citizenship and citizenship link is not broken (i.e. they did not lose their Polish citizenship after they emigrated Poland, due to marriage or other things).
You do not need to know Polish language to restore your citizenship.
You can get Polish citizenship if one of your direct ancestors (parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, etc.) had Polish citizenship and citizenship link is not broken (i.e. they did not lose their Polish citizenship after they emigrated Poland, due to marriage or other things). Dual Polish citizenship means that you can get Polish citizenship/passport and keep your current citizenship, according to Polish law.
Who is not eligible?
If your ancestors left before 1918 (independence of Poland) according to current laws, you cannot obtain Polish citizenship.
What is the process?
In a nutshell, the application process for a Polish citizenship is the following:
- We will find documents proving your ancestors' Polish citizenship and the fact that they left Poland,
- You will collect some documents that prove that you are a direct descendant of the Polish citizen (we will tell exactly which documents are needed, usually it is 3-5 documents, such as birth and marriage certificates and a copy of your passport),
- We will prepare the application and translate all the documents to Polish,
- We will submit the application directly in Poland on your behalf,
- We will follow up the status of your application and ensure that its processing is not delayed by local officials,
We will tell you where you can collect your Polish passport after the application process is finished.
Can you find documents needed in Poland? I do not have any documents from Poland, can you help?
- Our experience of archival search
We have extensive experience searching in various archives in Poland and Germany for the documents needed by our clients. There are different archives in Poland and most of them can have some type of citizenship records and in most of the cases, we were able to find the documents needed.
We can also find documents in German archives showing that your ancestors left during the WW2 and were staying in Germany in Displaced Persons’ Camps or were deported for forced labor.
How likely is that you will be able to find the documents needed in Poland?
We cannot give a 100% guarantee that we will find the documents proving your ancestor's Polish citizenship for the simple reason that some of the archives were lost during the WW2 and after. However, if your ancestors fled during the WW2 so far we were able to find the documents needed for all of our clients, so it is likely we will be successful in your case, as well. We have extensive experience working with various archives in Poland and were able to find some proof of citizenship in the most complicated cases. The likelihood that citizenship documents will be found decreases if your ancestor left soon after Polish independence. It is still likely we will find the documents from the 30’s, but if your ancestor left in 1919-1920 (just one or two years after independence), then there are very little surviving documents from that time period.
Where to find documents in the USA?
You can find the date when your family came to the US by finding their Naturalization Certificates.
Naturalization certificates can be obtained through Freedom of Information applications, online from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or from the local office of the National Archives.
How long it takes
Usually, the application takes 1-3 months to prepare (the actual time mostly depends on how fast you can get the necessary documents from your country of residence). It can take 9-18 months for Migration Department to process the application. So I would say, you should expect to have your Polish citizenship in about a year, year and a half after starting the process. However, due to increasing number of applications, the processing time by Migration Department is increasing so we urge our clients to submit applications early.
We stay in contact with Migration department and follow up the status of your application during its processing period, in order to make sure that it is processed as fast as possible (making sure they do not have any questions, in case they need additional information - it is immediately provided and making sure that the application is not de-prioritized, because nobody is following it up).
Is it possible to get citizenship faster?
There is no legal way to get the applications processed extra-fast and if someone is claiming that they can do that either they are misinforming the applicants or they are doing something illegal, which can heavily jeopardize chances of getting Polish citizenship.
We make sure the applications are processed as fast as possible by preparing the applications and all the supporting documents well, as well as following them up on them until you get Polish citizenship. We make sure that the application itself and the supporting documents are prepared properly and applications are not suspended or rejected. We had clients approaching us that were submitting the applications themselves and were struggling with the process for 2-3 years without success because Polish authorities are very strict regarding the application process and it is very easy to miss details doing it the first time and knowing Polish language, citizenship law, and application rules. After citizenship applications are submitted they are being processed in succession (on the first come, first served basis). We follow up the process with Migration Department and make sure the applications are not lost, "de-prioritized" or "forgotten" as it often happens because the department is understaffed. In case they have any questions or need additional information we make sure we provide requested information fast and the processing is not delayed.
Tax implications for the USA
If you officially live in Poland (or any other EU country), you would be taxed by that country (regardless of your citizenship US or Polish).
If you have Polish citizenship and live in the US, Poland will not tax you. Details below.
We get the question regarding the taxes often. Below you can find our comment regarding the question. (Please note that it is not a legal advice and you should check your tax implications with a tax lawyer.)
I can comment only on Polish tax system since I am not a qualified and registered lawyer in the USA. Please check the US tax implications with a qualified lawyer in the US.
Poland taxes its residents - i.e. you will be taxed by Poland only if you reside in Poland (residence-based taxation - most countries in the world and in Europe use this system). If you are a Polish citizen but live and work in the US, you will not have to pay taxes in Poland, but only in the USA.
The USA, on the other hand, taxes income of its citizens regardless of where they live (citizenship-based taxation). So, you will be taxed by Poland only if you lived in Poland, but you will be taxed by the US government always (whether you live in the US or in Poland).
Poland and USA have double tax avoidance treaty, so your taxes would not sum up, but you would be paying a higher tax of the two. For example, personal income tax in Poland is 15%, and (let's assume) in the USA you would be in the tax bracket that has to pay 25% income tax sum of your taxes paid (in Poland and the US) in that case should not exceed 25% if you lived in Poland and had USA citizenship.
There are basically three scenarios:
1. You have Polish and US citizenship but reside and work in the USA. In that case from the tax perspective, nothing changes for you - you do not have to pay Polish tax or fill out tax return papers in Poland because you are not a resident of (i.e. living in) Poland. Your US taxes should not change.
2. You have Polish and US citizenship but reside (and work) in Poland. In that case, you have to fill out Polish tax return and pay Polish taxes. Poland and US have double taxation avoidance treaty (which in general means that you would not have to pay double tax, but the higher amount of the tax share).
3. You have Polish and US citizenship but reside and work in another country (i.e. UK). In that case, you would not have to fill out Polish tax return or pay tax in Poland. You would have to pay tax in the US and in the UK. Most countries have signed double tax avoidance treaty with the US, so your total tax would be whichever tax is highest (in US or UK).
I hope I answered the question about the tax implications for you. In very short summary there are no tax implications - if you are US citizen you will have to pay tax to the US government regardless of your second citizenship. Polish citizenship does not imply automatically that you would have to pay tax to Poland. You would have to pay tax to Poland if you are residing in Poland (regardless of your citizenship). Other EU countries have quite similar tax system to Poland (amount of taxation is, of course, different).
Tax implications – non-USA
Obtaining dual Polish citizenship does not have any tax implications as far as Poland is concerned. There are no tax or filing requirements if you are not living in Poland. That is if you get Polish citizenship, but live in Australia you will not have to fill any income declarations in Poland or pay taxes to Poland. If you live and work in Poland (regardless whether you are a citizen or not) you would have to pay taxes and submit income declarations in Poland. Like in most EU countries Polish tax system is residency based and not citizenship based (like in the US), meaning that Poland taxes permanent residents of Poland (anyone who lives and works in Poland) regardless of their citizenship, but it does not tax Polish citizens if they live abroad.
After you get Polish citizenship, your spouse, unfortunately, would not get Polish citizenship automatically. However, if you move to almost every EU country your spouse would be eligible for residence and work permit and live in the EU together with you. After living in EU for some time they would be able to get permanent residence permit and citizenship eventually. Actual citizenship rules differ from country to country, but for life and work purposes it is enough that one person has Polish citizenship, which allows you and your spouse to live and work almost anywhere in the EU.
Eligibility of children
After you restore your Polish citizenship your children will be able to get Polish citizenship as well, both if there are born after you restored your Polish citizenship and before that.
Benefits of Polish citizenship
There are 4 main benefits to having a double US and EU (Polish) citizenship.
- Possibility to live and work in the EU. It is increasingly difficult for non-EU nationals (including US citizens) to get work permits in the EU countries. So having the EU country citizenship for some persons can be a significant benefit: it gives a possibility to work and do business in Europe easier, it is valued by some employers, who can send a person on a secondment to Europe without additional paperwork. It also gives a possibility to live and work freely anywhere in Europe - be it at a young age or later in life.
- Possibility to get free or very cheap but high-quality education in Europe. For example, tuition fee for medical studies in the US is $20-40,000 per year, but medical studies are free in Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and many other countries in Europe. If you study medicine in Europe (to become a doctor in 7 years) you save $140-280,000. Saving for other types of studies would be smaller, but still substantial. Probably Polish citizenship would pay for itself during the first month of studies. Your grandchildren would be eligible for the same benefits as well in case they will be born as Polish citizens.
- Hopefully, nobody would have to use this one, but medical care in the EU in a case of serious illness is also either free or very cheap compared to the USA.
- Children born to the person with a double citizenship will automatically get Polish citizenship as well, as well as their children and their children. So this is an investment for generations.
Most of the costs are already included in the fee for our services, which besides our work also includes the cost of translations and fee for submitting the application itself. You may incur additional costs only for the tasks that we cannot do in/from Poland:
- postage costs when sending us all the documents;
- costs for sourcing the documents needed in your home country (usually 3-5 documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, a copy of passport etc.) and certifying them (they have to be apostilled and certified by a notary public).
- Getting passport in local Embassy
Do you need to live in EU/Poland for certain time period after receiving citizenship?
Can you lose citizenship after it is given?
No. only if you have hidden information when applying or you have got another citizenship after getting Polish citizenship.
Do I have to visit Poland in order to get citizenship?
No, you do not need to visit Poland to get the citizenship, unless you want to. We will take care of the application on your behalf and you will be able to get a passport in the closest Polish embassy or consulate.
More questions and examples:
1. My mother was Polish. My sibling did not qualify for Polish Citizenship but I do. Is this possible?
This is very possible because of the Polish Citizenship 1920 & 1951 Acts. According to the 1920 Act, in force 1920-1951, only a father could transfer citizenship to a married couples’ child. If your sibling was born before 1951 and you afterward, then you would be entitled to Polish citizenship while they would not.
2. Does Poland allow dual citizenship?
Poland will not recognize you as a dual citizen, however, it does not punish you for have multiple citizenships. Therefore, if you have both Polish & American citizenship, in the eyes of Polish authorities you are solely a Polish Citizen. Due to the fact you are viewed solely as a Polish citizen, you must enter and leave Poland using your Polish passport.
3. According to the Citizenship Act of 1920 did all Polish women lose their citizenship when they married a foreign man?
All Polish women did not lose their citizenship upon marriage to a foreign man. A Polish woman only lost her Polish citizenship when marriage to the foreign man automatically gave her to his citizenship.
Example: A Polish woman emigrates to Canada in 1945 and marries a Canadian man in 1947. At the time of marriage, she is still Polish because in Canada marriage does not automatically entitle a woman to citizenship.
Example 2: A Polish woman emigrates to Austria in 1945 and marries an Austrian man in 1947. At the time of marriage, she is not Polish because in Austria marriage automatically made a foreign woman Austrian.
4. What documents can I submit to support my confirmation of Polish Citizenship claim?
These documents will all help support your claim. Some documents are better than others. For example, an old Polish Passport is a great document. While birth certificates alone are not very useful because citizenship is granted by blood not where you were born. Remember that all documents must be either Polish or translated into Polish. All translated documents must be certified by a consul (an official representative of the government).
-court order(s) (for example regarding name change),
-copies of the passports,
-copies of other forms of identification,
If you would like to find out if you are eligible, please click here for a questionnaire. At the end of the questionnaire, provide your contact details and we will email or call you to discuss further your options.