Ways to get Polish citizenship
Getting Polish citizenship is straightforward until it comes down to citizenship by descent. Like most European countries, Poland uses the “right of blood” method to determine Polish citizenship by birth. Basically, any child born to at least one Polish parent obtains citizenship at birth, regardless of where they are born.
Polish citizenship by naturalization can be obtained by legally residing in Poland as a permanent resident for three years if you speak Polish. Otherwise, you need to be legally resident for the last ten years and currently have permanent resident status.
If you’re married to a Polish citizen, you get a small discount on the time required for naturalization. You must, however, be legally resident in Poland, not living overseas.
So far, Polish citizenship is either difficult, if not impossible to get, or not worth it. Poland isn’t a bad place to live, but it’s not worth getting legal residence there to work toward a second passport.
However, obtaining Polish citizenship by descent is an easy way to get Polish citizenship if you meet some difficult conditions.
The process of claiming Polish citizenship by descent
Claiming a Polish passport isn’t easy. Like any citizenship by descent program, Poland’s government operates at a slow pace.
Before claiming your second passport, you must first prove that you are eligible for Polish citizenship. This is done by sending a biography and filling out forms — all in Polish — to your local Polish embassy.
You will also have to collect the birth dates of yourself and all of your Polish ancestors since first emigration, as well as information on other military service or citizenships that are part of your family tree.
Then you wait. In some cases, people have reported waiting one year or more to hear back. And the response is often “send us more proof”.
My citizenship by descent lawyer tells me Polish cases are some of the toughest out there. For the reasonable fees he charges, I would highly recommend a lawyer for the process. While countries like Ireland can be done on your own (although lawyers are quite cheap), doing your own Polish citizenship case might leave you pulling your hair out.
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