Thursday, December 3, 2009

Benefits of having a Polish (EU) passport

Since Poland's accession to the European Union in 2004, there has been an increase of interest among people of Polish descent in obtaining a Polish passport. Polish citizenship makes it possible for them to reside, study, own property and gain employment in the European Union countries.

As a Polish citizen, you can live and work in any of the EU countries and enjoy free public health care and education. You can also gain access to preferential investment loans, employment schemes and you don't have to stand in the "Others" queue at airports!

Confirmation of Polish citizenship can be daunting, as those who have tried doing it by themselves will tell you! While the general rule is that if you have Polish ancestors then you are already a citizen of Poland, there are any number of reasons why your citizenship may have lapsed. This is why the Polish government requires you to confirm your citizenship before you can apply for your Polish passport.

Do you think that confirming your Polish citizenship is simply a matter of getting in touch with the Polish government? Think again! Confirmation of Polish citizenship can be challenging, frustrating and time consuming.

Confirmation of citizenship is an administrative and not a legal process so don't get sucked in by lawyers who will charge you an arm and a leg for the simplest of tasks.

The key to success is to check whether you are eligible in the first place, gather relevant documentation and submit it in the right way, to the right department in Poland. It requires your commitment and full cooperation but if you leave it to the experts, the journey, whilst long and at times frustrating, will lead to a successful conclusion.

How do you tell whether you are eligible?

Unfortunately, the answer to the question above isn't simple. The Polish citizenship legislation, whilst very liberal and generous, is also quite complex. This is why establishing eligibility is essential at the very beginning of the process so that your application doesn't end in refusal, frustration and loss of time and money.

Some of the factors that the Polish government takes into consideration include the ancestors' year of birth, nationality of the second parent/grandparent, foreign military service, acquisition of foreign citizenship, conscription age of the father/grandfather of the applicant, holding of public office but most of all, available documentation proving all of the above. In some cases, because of the Polish legislation, siblings from the same parents may or not be eligible, depending on their gender and year of birth.

The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient evidence and proof of citizenship and, as a general rule, the more documents issued by the Polish government are submitted, the better your chances. Other documents, such as International Identity Cards, Refuge Cards, Red Cross documentation and archival documents from Australia can also be accepted.

The fundamental part of the process is to gather information and all available documents, and check whether you are actually eligible. Some families may be reluctant to explore their past, as many of them are victims of trauma so it is important to treat their stories and lives with respects. Often, we can provide you with tips on how to approach them in a sensitive way, as your ancestors will often hold the key to your EU passport, that is documentation as well as information on their past.

Obtaining a Polish passport is a 2 step process:

1. Confirmation of Polish Citizenship
File containing your family's documents proving your ancestry needs to be put together. Everything has to be prepared in the Polish language, then submitted for assessment by the authorities in Poland. Most applications are processed within 12 months from the day of lodgment, though some do take longer.

2. Application for Polish Passport
To apply for your Polish passport, you will need your certificate of Polish citizenship and your Polish birth certificate (yes, even if you were not born in Poland!).
Feel free to email me if you have any other questions!
Yours sincerely
Eva Hussain
Polaron Language Services

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


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