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The Age Old Question: Am I a Polish Citizen? (now American)


amIpolish 1 | -
4 Nov 2011 #1
For years I have researched whether or not I am a Polish citizen by descent and have considered applying for confirmation and that wonderful benefit of an EU passport. I have consulted some experts in the field and have gotten various answers. I thought that I would query here to see if someone can dissect my case and give a good and straight answer. I am considering heading to Warsaw in a few months and coughing up near 1000 euro to a lawyer to help me in this, and hoping for some encouraging news from someone knowledge before I do so.

Here is a rundown of the case.(BTW I am American)

Documentation
-Birth and death certificates of all relevant family members
-Naturalization certificate
-Polish passport of ancestor
-Polish birth certificate of ancestor
-Polish(Rabbinical? family is Jewish) marriage document of ancestor and spouse
-Statement from US military service that they have no record of my ancestor in US military

History
-Great-Grandfather born in Poland 1896
-Leaves for US in 1928
-Grandmother born in 1932 in US
-Great-Grandfather becomes US citizen 1935(but never joins military which apparently keeps him from losing citizenship in Poland)
-Grandmother turns 18 in 1950
- More sane nationality law goes into effect in Poland in 1951
-Father born in 1958

Issues
According to some because my grandmother became an adult in 1950 somehow Poland view her as losing her citizenship then as it was before the 1951 reforms. I have conflicting reports on this. It doesn't seem to make sense to me and I believe I've read there was a provision to exempt people of Polish national who were born in another country and acquired citizenship there by birth there from losing Polish citizenship for that reason. I am not sure why here becoming an adult effects her citizenship status, as this has no bearing on citizenship in the US.

I am also worried about the 1935 naturalization, my great-grandfather was 39 when he was naturalized here, within military obligation age and thus according to what I read and heard it wasn't possible for him to lose the Polish citizenship for this reason.

Hopefully, someone who has been through the procedure or is very familiar with the regulations can help me sort this out before I invest in more professional and expensive help. Also I hear that the laws are somewhat subjective so I hope that being an educated and productive member of society would help to lean the odds of me confirming my Polish citizenship in my favor.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I am also became rather well versed in the matter, besides my own complicated case, so if you have any question please ask me and I will try to help.
PWEI 3 | 612
4 Nov 2011 #2
I am considering heading to Warsaw in a few months and coughing up near 1000 euro to a lawyer

That would not help at all and would be simply a waste of money.

Personally my concern would be that your great-grandfather left Poland without proof that his military service obligations were completed. If he did not complete such (and you'll need proof that he did, i.e. discharge papers), his citizenship would have been revoked and so would that of his daughter. There was a discussion about a case rather similar to yours here a while back Polish Citizenship request rejected--military service of father

Looks like you need to find his military records before you apply.
smurf 39 | 1,981
4 Nov 2011 #3
Just as a matter of interest, what benefits would a Polish passport have over your American one?
If you have a yankie visa you can go to all Schengen agreement countries without a visa anyway.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
4 Nov 2011 #4
Just as a matter of interest, what benefits would a Polish passport have over your American one?

Quite a lot - unlimited stays in the EU, no need for a work permit, etc.

(but never joins military which apparently keeps him from losing citizenship in Poland)

Automatically stripped of Polish citizenship at this point.

-Grandmother born in 1932 in US

Automatically US citizen, which would result in Polish citizenship being awarded and then stripped due to the law in place at the time.

-Father born in 1958

Wouldn't have had Polish citizenship to begin with - and would have been stripped regardless by the 1951 law.

According to some

Ignore all these reports and look at the law. She was born a US citizen, which meant she automatically lost Polish citizenship. If you consider that at the exact moment of birth, she would have been a Polish and US citizen - but Polish law would have stripped her of the Polish citizenship at the exact same moment. The rest is irrelevant. There's no provision in the relevant law for being born abroad - the US is and was fairly uncommon for awarding citizenship based on jus soli.

help me sort this out

As it stands with the law, you have no chance. Polish citizenship passes down from parents to children and can't skip generations - but at least 3 generations would have been stripped of any potential citizenship.

Your best hope is to find a lawyer who is well connected - but in all honesty, it would be better to simply move somewhere with easy citizenship laws (Belgium for instance) rather than spending a lot of money trying to chase something that you're likely not entitled to.

Also I hear that the laws are somewhat subjective so I hope that being an educated and productive member of society would help

No. Polish law simply doesn't work like that - you're either eligible or you're not. They must make decisions in accordance with the relevant law - your only hope is to find someone that's 'connected' to find a way to issue a favourable decision. However, in your case, I just cannot see how you'd be eligible - bearing in mind that your grandmother AND your father would have to claim Polish citizenship first. You can't 'jump' generations.
smurf 39 | 1,981
4 Nov 2011 #5
unlimited stays in the EU

yea but he wont need a visa if he stays in the Schengen countries.
peterweg 37 | 2,319
4 Nov 2011 #6
Looks like you need to find his military records before you apply.

Whats the situation with all the Poles who settled in the UK after the war? Don't think my dad ever became nationalised in the UK. Am I a citizen?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
4 Nov 2011 #7
yea but he wont need a visa if he stays in the Schengen countries

Not a visa, but still restricted to the Schengen 90 out of 180 days rule. Quite a lot of them get caught (including in Poland) every year. If they want to stay longer, then they need a valid residence permit - EU citizens don't need one. Well, in law, they need a "residence certificate" - but no-one enforces that.

Whats the situation with all the Poles who settled in the UK after the war?

If he never renounced it and never obtained UK citizenship (did he always hold a Polish passport?) - then yes, you'll be a Polish citizen (unless you were born before 1962).
PWEI 3 | 612
4 Nov 2011 #8
but he wont need a visa if he stays in the Schengen countries

Yes he will.
smurf 39 | 1,981
4 Nov 2011 #9
Sound, I didn't know, thanks and buddy good luck with the passport stuff.
PWEI 3 | 612
4 Nov 2011 #10
Happy to help.
Maria Keitner
3 Mar 2018 #11
Came to America 45 years ago . Always had Polish passport but forgot to renew . Did I lose my Polish citizenship ? What is pasel and can I get it ?

Maria


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