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Help required obtaining Polish Passport for Granny

grannytopoland 1 | 3  
21 Sep 2009 /  #1
My grandmother needs help getting her Polish passport.

She has documents (US citizenship certificate copy and entire immigration) ordered direct from USICS (what was formerly the INS, is now under Homeland security) showing that her father came to the USA from Lesko, Poland in 1870. He did not become an American Citizen until 1945.

My grandmother was born in 1924 in the USA.

She never renounced her right to Polish citizenship.

Today she is in her 80s years old, retired and living near Guadalajara, Mexico. She wants to get her Polish passport. What is needed to do so?

As it has been a long wait to get the papers we needed from the US government we want her to get her Polish Passport as soon as possible.

If anyone could recommend a good Polish attorney or if anyone knows who would be the best person to contact in the Polish government it would be much appreciated.

Myself (and the rest of her family) live here in the US - she is just in Mexico as another overfunded gringo retiree :)

Thank you,
delphiandomine 88 | 18,322  
21 Sep 2009 /  #2
Unfortunately, she may be out of luck. I'm not sure of the exact wording of the relevant laws, but to the best of my knowledge, if her father gained American citizenship in 1945, he automatically lost Polish citizenship. For that reason, she may not be able to claim Polish citizenship if she didn't do so before.

It certainly won't be quick, easy or cheap to obtain Polish citizenship in this case. Is there any particular reason why she wants to obtain Polish citizenship at 85 years old? I'd certainly recommend not putting a woman of that age through the stress and expense of a claim for something that may not be successful.
TheOther 6 | 3,690  
21 Sep 2009 /  #3
he automatically lost Polish citizenship

Just wondering: there was no Poland when her father arrived in 1870. How could his daughter renounce a right to a citizenship (Polish in this case) that didn't exist in the first place?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,322  
21 Sep 2009 /  #4
I'm wondering the same thing. My gut feeling is that the 2nd Republic might have granted citizenship to anyone born within the borders of what was Poland before the partitions - but I can't find out one way or another. I'm certainly not convinced that the grand-grandfather in this case would have had Polish citizenship - as you say, Poland didn't exist in 1870. But even if the 2nd Republic did grant it, it would've been lost if (presumably) the Grandmother had become an American citizen before 1951, ignoring the fact that the great-grandfather would have lost it as well.

Is it just me that gets the feeling that grandchildren are putting pressure on the grandmother to obtain EU citizenship so that the family can obtain EU passports? Certainly seems strange that a woman of 85 would suddenly decide that she needs to have Polish citizenship NOW when she's retired to Mexico - and thus presumably she's independently wealthy enough to reside in Poland if she wants to?
OP grannytopoland 1 | 3  
21 Sep 2009 /  #5
Sorry I made an error - her father actually came just before 1900 (when it was Austria Hungary), but he didn't actually become an American citizen until the 1940s. So her father wouldn't have been "stateless" between that time period and besides his US docs state he was a citizen of Poland.

Most of her family has passed away and she'd like some ties to her roots (I'm helping her work on genealogy, hope to track down some long lost relatives). She actually quite enjoys this.

She wasn't "naturalized" in the US - her US citizenship was automatic so I don't see how she could have lost anything because of it.
Spaceman77 3 | 58  
21 Sep 2009 /  #6
I had a similar case to your grandma. In fact, most of what I saw here was true in my case.
My grandparents supposedly "lost" their polish citizenship by becoming Venezuelan Citizens in 1951.
...Not so fast we said.
We began to study the law a little more and it turns out that there was something we could do to prove that my grandfather (who passed away a few years before) didn't loose his polish citizenship.

You see, he was an engineer for the polish army before the second wold war. When he became a venezuelan citizen in 1951 he had supposed lost his polish citizenship, but, because he didn't joint any other army in any country, and because he didn't get authorization from the polish military offices to became a citizen of Venezuela, he was still polish to the eyes of the law.

I got myself a goof attorney in poland who is used to dealing with these type of cases and now, I'm blessed with a polish citizenship as well.

I have family in Poland, who had never left poland. One of them, my father's cousin, is a history professor in some university in Poland. He was able to find documents in poland from even before the war, that proved my grandfather's involvement in the polish army and the public service in poland. That helped a lot. The attorney in poland is also good in finding documents too. If you need, I can send you the info and his website for you to contact them.

Over all, he charged us around 2000 Euros for the entire thing. This is for the process of citizenship for my father, my to brothers and myself.

Good luck in everything you do.
OP grannytopoland 1 | 3  
21 Sep 2009 /  #7
Hi Spaceman,
Please send me the details about the attorney you dealt with email is to_poland@yahoo

Thank you very much!
Piorun - | 658  
21 Sep 2009 /  #8
When he became a venezuelan citizen in 1951 he had supposed lost his polish citizenship, but, because he didn't joint any other army in any country, and because he didn't get authorization from the polish military offices to became a citizen of Venezuela, he was still polish to the eyes of the law.

That's the difference between your case and his. Poland did not exist in 1900, at the time he left Europe for America he travelled as a citizen of Austria-Hungary born on the territory of Poland because that part of Poland was legally under their jurisdiction and administration. His great grandfather never resided in independent state of Poland having left before such existed therefore never been able to apply for nor having been granted automatic Polish citizenship by residing in that country. He has no way to prove he ever was a citizen of Poland, the travel documents in his Possession were issued by government that is other then Polish. In your case whether or not he possessed Polish citizenship at one time or another was never at question only if he legally lost it or not, technicality quite different.
Spaceman77 3 | 58  
22 Sep 2009 /  #9
Well I guess Piorun is right. I didn't think about that at all.
I would still suggest to find an attorney who is very familiar with these cases and ask them first.
I never accepted a no for an answer unless it came from someone who has the last word.
I sent "grannytopoland" the information about the attorney we used and hope that it goes well.
OP grannytopoland 1 | 3  
24 Sep 2009 /  #10
Thank you very much. I went ahead and contacted the attorney to ask for his opinion.

My real thought is would her father/my great-grandfather have been "stateless" simply because he was abroad at the time?

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