The strength and resilience of the Polish economy can be attributed to its large domestic market, early and deep economic reforms, and prudent policies, with consistent EU strategy being the top priority, serving as an important discipline for political and economic integration. A vibrant entrepreneurial landscape of small and medium-sized enterprises benefiting from a large domestic market and strong competitive advantages in neighboring European countries is also an important source of growth.
No wonder that Poland is a country many people want to live, work and study in and the popularity of the Polish passport, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, is on the rise.
Becoming a Polish citizen is not possible under all circumstances. In Poland, children obtain their Polish citizenship at birth through the legal principle of “right of blood” – that is, being born to parents who are Polish citizens as opposed to another legal principle of “right of the soil” which is so popular in the Western Hemisphere.
Polish citizenship and nationality laws are complex, partly because of Poland’s history and historical relationship with other countries around the world. In some cases, it will be necessary to go back several generations to identify whether an individual is a Polish citizen or is entitled to apply for Polish citizenship. From the fourteenth century to the Age of Reason, Poland was probably Europe’s most progressive country and certainly its most tolerant. The Polish Commonwealth (which existed until 1795) was open to foreigners. Poland offered unrestricted religious freedom to anyone living within its boundaries, including hundreds of thousands of Jews, who had been welcomed in Poland when other European nations were persecuting them. In 1795 Poland disappeared from the map to regain its independence again in 1918.
There are four ways of getting Polish citizenship:
- By naturalization
- By right of blood
- By right of the soil
- By the President’s decision
Naturalization is the most common way for adults who were not born Polish. Getting citizenship by naturalization implies that you have fulfilled certain requirements that the Polish government has set and you qualify to apply for Polish citizenship. To apply to naturalize as a Polish citizen, you have to fulfill the residency requirements which will differ for people from the EU and people from outside of the EU. You also need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the Polish language and be of good character as well as have the intention to make Poland your home. The good character requirement is mainly based on previous immigration history and an individual’s criminal history.
The other type, by right of blood or Jus Sanguinis, means that you get Polish citizenship if you are a direct descendant of Polish citizens. This includes only your parents and no other relatives. If you come from a Polish family and you live abroad, you can apply to the Polish authorities for confirmation of your citizenship. You will need to file a motion and provide your personal details such as your name, residential address and date and place of birth, but also your mother and father’s information, and both your maternal and paternal grandparents. If your great grandparents were Polish, you also need to provide that information in the motion. A confirmation of Polish citizenship is issued by the Voivodeship Office in Poland. It’s a one-page document that confirms that you acquired your Polish citizenship by birth. It also includes information on the legal provisions based on which this decision was made. Then, you can apply for a Polish passport.
By right of the soil or Jus Soli means that child is born or is found in Poland and both parents are unknown or their citizenship is undefined, or they do not have any citizenship.
Lastly, the President of Poland may grant Polish citizenship to a foreign citizen at the foreigner’s request. The President’s decision is entirely discretionary, which means that the President may grant Polish citizenship to any foreigner irrespective of whether the statutory provisions regarding Polish citizenship have been met. Therefore, no fixed criteria or requirements apply to this procedure.
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