Feb 13, 2007, 09:48pm #
Recently, I emailed the Polish Embassy in the U.S. regarding this very question. Here
is their response:
In reply to your e-mail regarding the question of eligibility for
Polish citizenship, please be advised that many people of Polish
about valid claims to Polish citizenship.
However, the issue is of complicated nature. Since our law provides
the so called "blood" type of citizenship, it is possible even for
generation to successfully claim the right to Polish passport. The only
question that remains is whether one's descendants were able to pass
citizenship to their offspring in a consecutive manner.
The main principle of our law was and still is the exclusiveness of
Polish nationality. Polish law does not recognize dual citizenship of
citizens. While current Polish law does not forbid Polish citizens from
becoming the citizens of a foreign state by birth or naturalization,
authorities shall recognize that citizens as a Polish citizen only. A
citizen may acquire foreign citizenship with a full effect under Polish
once he/she receives a permission to renounce Polish citizenship
the President of the Republic of Poland. Unfortunately, it was not
like that. When Poland regained independence in 1918 we had to cope
difficult task to make one state from three partition zones,
many minorities as well. That fact was behind the very restrictive
Citizenship Act of 1920. It's provisions were upheld also by March
Constitution of 1921. That law which was in effect until January 1951
provided for automatic loss of Polish citizenship in case of foreign
naturalization or service in a foreign armed forces. In practical
those who emigrated and get naturalized under that law could not pass
citizenship to their children.
If the ancestors who came to the United States were born while
did not existed, before Poland regained independence in 1918, it means
they came to the United States as Polish nationals, but not Polish
Since the citizenship is a sort of an artificial concept, it is
difficult to understand why people who emigrated from Poland under
partitions had not been considered Polish citizens. However, as Poland
not existed as a state at that time, those Poles who traveled to
traveled there as citizens of Germany, Austria and Russia.
Taking the above into consideration such ancestors could not pass
citizenship to their children because they were not Polish citizens
According to Polish Citizens Act of 1920 only people who lived on
of Poland in 1920 and not being citizens of other country could be
recognized as Polish citizens.
Under the law of 1962 the President of the Republic of Poland can grant
Polish citizenship, but an alien is eligible to apply for the
only in case he or she has resided in Poland as a lawful permanent
for the period of at least 5 years. The granting of the citizenship can
subject to submission of evidence of the loss or renunciation of
Embassy of Poland in Washington D.C.