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Born in Poland and exempt from the US travel ban but...


DillPickleYo
22 Feb 2021 #1
Hello all,
I was born in Poland but have lived in the US since the age of 2. I need to go to Poland because my aunt is very sick and we own land in Poland which we are in risk of losing. So I need to get my aunt to see the right doctors and take her medication (she isn't doing anything on her own and is in very bad condition now due to her health problems) and I need to secure our land. The exceptions to the US travel ban include the right to reside in Poland and having Polish parents. I have my Polish birth certificate and I have my parent's Polish passports (both expired). I've been researching for days but I can't find anything on what documentation is needed to prove exemption from the travel ban. Can I enter Poland with my birth certificate and my parent's Polish passports? I know a temporary Polish passport would be ideal but I don't have that much time. I need to get to Poland ASAP. Once I'm in Poland I know I can get my actual Polish passport or a temp passport. If they do not accept the documents I have what is another way into the country? Can I land in a place in Europe and enter via roads? Once I'm in Poland I won't have a problem waiting for my Polish passport but I need to get there quickly now. Thank you got any responses that point me in the right direction.
jon357 69 | 18,457
23 Feb 2021 #2
This might be useful.

pl.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

You may need to contact the border guard first (they grant exemptions) and there's a link for that on the page.

edit
From my reading of this belows, transit passengers may enter Germany. Whether or not you'd be able to leave the airport and go to Poland by road is a different matter, however, as you may know, both countries are in Schengen so there's not usually a check when flying to Poland from Germany. Whether there are checks due to covid is something you'd probably need to ask the airline.

bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/faqs/EN/topics/civil-protection/coronavirus/travel-restrictions-border-control/travel-restriction-border-control-list.html#f13919566
OP DillPickleYo
23 Feb 2021 #3
Thank you for the quick response. I have been told that crossing the Polish border on land wouldn't be any issue because they can't turn anyone away that has enough documentation to show they are entitled to stay in Poland. Besides my Polish birth certificate and my parent's Polish passports, I have my baptism certification (issued in Poland), my parent's Polish birth certificates, my parents Polish degrees and a bunch of other official documents issued from Poland. It's hard to get into contact with the Polish embassy to see if I'm able to fly directly to Poland. I think my safest options are to get a temporary Polish passport (if it takes less than 2 weeks) or to fly to a country in Europe without a US travel ban and enter Poland via land. I have heard of temporary passports being issued in 24 hours, but with COVID and the embassy being closed it might take longer.
jon357 69 | 18,457
23 Feb 2021 #4
It's hard to get into contact with the Polish embassy to see if I'm able to fly directly to Poland

Have a look at the link to the border guard (on the US Embassy page). They are the people who are involved if there's any issues and people are advised to contact them.

I think my safest options are to get a temporary Polish passport

This is easier.

fly to a country in Europe without a US travel ban and enter Poland via land.

Germany does allow people transiting through the country; you may need to have an onward rail ticket, or a flight ticket to Warsaw. As I say, an airline may be able to advise.
OP DillPickleYo
23 Feb 2021 #5
I spoke to the Polish embassy. I have a PESEL number but they did not see a Polish passport on record, probably because I came to the US at the age of 2 probably under my mom's passport. They said they'd be able to confirm my citizenship but it would take 6 months to 1 year and then I could get a temporary passport. I cannot wait that long, my aunt won't live that long if she doesn't get help and we will lose our land (we have been trying to secure it from the US but now with COVID it's become near impossible). They said if I have a contact in Poland it will greatly expedite the process but my sick aunt wouldn't be able to do it. So once I actually get into Poland it will be a pretty quick and easy process to prove my citizenship and get my Polish passport. The embassy and LOT airlines also said that I may be able to enter Poland with the documents I do have but I wasn't able to reach anyone today via phone. So in the meantime I'm researching entering Poland via circumvention - landing in Germany or Ukraine and then entering Poland via train / bus / taxi. I'm guessing if I would like to enter Poland via train or bus from Germany or Ukraine I would have to show my Polish travel documents. So I'm thinking of taking the bus or train to the town nearest to the Polish border and crossing via taxi or even on foot. My question is: is the Polish border heavily protected like the US-Mexico border? Are there checkpoints at every roadway into the country? Once I'm actually in Poland I can quickly and easily get the proper documents. The only problem is actually getting into Poland. So if I land in Germany or Ukraine I'm thinking I could travel to a town near Poland and cross via car or on foot. Is this possible?
jon357 69 | 18,457
23 Feb 2021 #6
Germany ... entering Poland via train

This is personally how I'd do it (and I'm researching travel via Germany right now for various reasons). You'll probably need proof of onward travel from Germany (this is my understanding of their regulations right now) however you can book tickets on the Warsaw-Berlin Express (you didn't say where you're going, however it also stops in Zbaszynek, Poznan, Kutno, Konin) online via the Deutshes Bahn site, bahn.de

I'd not go through Ukraine, since it isn't in Schengen so there are border controls. Between Germany and Poland, there are none, unless Covid gets worse and they suspend Schengen again for a while.

Be aware that rules are changing from time to time. Covid rates are increasing in Poland, so it's not impossible that the border situation is affected.

My question is: is the Polish border heavily protected like the US-Mexico border?

There's no border with Germany as such, both countries are part of Schengen, you barely notice that you've gone from one place to the other. There's an eastern border with Ukraine/Belarus/Kaliningrad and this is very heavily policed.

When teh lockdown was at its height back in the spring, however, they made temporary controls. The train (from what I can see online) is back to normal now, as train travel within the Schengen zone has been restored.

travel to a town near Poland and cross via car or on foot. Is this possible?

Not Ukraine. In Germany, as I mentioned, you are allowed to transit through the country (check with your airline though) and you may need onward proof of travel. A train ticket bought in advance is best.

Which part of Poland are you going to.
OP DillPickleYo
23 Feb 2021 #7
My aunt and the property in question are in Pulawy. How does transit through Germany work? I was looking into it and it seems I need to fill out an application prior to flying to Germany. Once I land in Germany, what would the procedure be? Is the train to Poland within the airport or do they let you leave the airport as part of your transit? I still don't understand why I have to wait 6 months to a year be issued a temporary Polish passport if I have a PESEL number but I guess that doesn't matter at this point. Any rumors on what changes are coming February 28?
jon357 69 | 18,457
23 Feb 2021 #8
Once I land in Germany, what would the procedure be?

Is the train to Poland within the airport or do they let you leave the airport as part of your transit?

Flight to Berlin, train from Berlin to Warsaw. The station's not in the airport; you'll need to get a bus, subway or cab. I usually use subway or uber however the bus goes straight to the station. You have to buy the ticket (a couple of dollars) from the machine at the airport door where the buses stop.

As far as I can tell from reading the German government websites (these may change), Covid restrictions say you can leave the airport for transit providing you spend the minimum time in Germany, and it's a good idea to have an onward ticket booked.

Thinking about it, you may as well get a connecting flight from Berlin Tegel to Warsaw. Because both Germany and Poland are in Schengen, there aren't (normally) any immigration controls to go through, and they aren't even allowed to stop you (they just check ID). Whether there's any Covid checks right now, I'm not sure. Worth checking with Lufthansa (whose customer service is unfortunately a bit annoying).

Any rumors on what changes are coming February 28?

Everything was supposed to be relaxed a bit, however because the infection rate is rising here and they've confirmed that the new mutations are here already, it's anybody's guess. They may get tougher at the borders; I personally hope not.

I'm lucky because I can wait until then before buying my ticket. I'll be travelling to the UK via Germany or Holland on Lufthansa or KLM. I'll need to get a Covid test immediately before flying (you'll probably have to as well). Warsaw Airport do a speedy service, however there are plenty of places in town, and as far as I can tell, the day before is OK.

There are various pages on Facebook for expats in Poland and specific ones for expats in Warsaw. If you use facebook, it might be worth joining those pages since people are discussing travel and borders on them all the time.

pages on Facebook

I had a quick look at one for Americans in Warsaw and they were saying that they aren't letting people from there into the Schengen zone at all. That was a post from 3 days ago. I don't know how accurate that is, however it's worth having a look and see what people are saying.

I'd strongly recommend contacting the border guard via the address on this page: strazgraniczna.pl/pl/kontakt/1946,Komenda-Glowna-Strazy-Granicznej.html
Novichok 2 | 5,231
23 Feb 2021 #9
I need to go to Poland because my aunt is very sick

She needs medical care, not you. Don't go.
The property can be taken care of by lawyers. Problem solved.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
24 Feb 2021 #10
Once I land in Germany, what would the procedure be?

You will have to quarantine for 10 days,exceptions are for people who dont leave the transit zone on airport.To begin with they will not even let you board for the EU until you have proper documentation for your final destination.I have been to Poland 3 times since covid so the info is first hand.Your best bet is contact the straz granieca and get permission before you fly or will spend more to change the ticket.

The property can be taken care of by lawyers. Problem solved.

More like problem created,the freaking lawyers in Poland will rob him blind.
lol and whatever she needs but he needs the property.
OP DillPickleYo
24 Feb 2021 #11
I have been trying to contact the Polish Border Guard but so far no luck. Their site says that documents that confirm identity and nationality are valid for crossing the border. And yes while my aunt, and not me, needs medical attention it's not that simple. I won't go into too many details but we have been trying to take care of her the best we can from the US by sending money and scheduling appointments but she doesn't go and she doesn't take her medications. She's in a very bad state right now and needs someone there with her or she probably won't live long. It's extremely urgent. As for the land, we have been trying to go through lawyers for the last 2 years or so. We have gone through different lawyers who tell us different things and have lost money. It's not as easy as you think. We send documents that never get signed or returned, we stop getting responses, etc. When we finally threatened to sue using a different Polish firm we were told that due to COVID the circumstances have changed and there are delays in communication, but no delays for the deadline for losing the land. If I could take care of everything from the US I would but it's not possible. The easiest thing to do is to travel to Poland and "kill two birds with one stone".
Novichok 2 | 5,231
24 Feb 2021 #12
I have been trying to contact the Polish Border Guard but so far no luck.

No kidding...Contacting Polish Consulate in Chicago from Chicago is harder than reaching the White House so I am shocked that some naive soul gave you that advice.

The easiest thing to do is to travel to Poland and "kill two birds with one stone".

You are assuming that your physical presence would change things. I wouldn't be so sure.
I don't know how much that land is worth and who will get the money when sold. If it's not much or if it's somebody else who will get it proceeds, just walk away. At some point, I had an opportunity to buy my parent's apartment at one of the best locations in Warsaw (Nowy Swiat 47a) and realized that the gain would not be worth the aggravation, so I just let it go.

but she doesn't go and she doesn't take her medications.

Even if she did, she is not your moral or legal responsibility. With that attitude, you are in the clear if you just let things be. Are you going to be there to argue, lose, and feel like s**t that you didn't do enough? How long are you willing to be there? Until she dies or when you will get to the end of your rope?

Acting on emotions is never good. Think things through, have a clear "what if" plan before you take the first step.
My best advice and the bottom line: let it go. You have your own life to live.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
24 Feb 2021 #13
Their site says that documents that confirm identity and nationality are valid for crossing the border.

If you have an old Polish passport then you should be good,but the problem is if they let you board the flight from the USA.

We have gone through different lawyers who tell us different things

You need to hire a respectable law firm,of course they will charge more but you will get your work done.I am not going to recommend you anyone but you can go to the US Consulate site and get the list of lawyers they suggest.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,817
24 Feb 2021 #14
@DillPickleYo

I would just fly from Chicago to Poland on your US passport and go through the quarantine. Or go through Holland - when I was researching flights when my grandpa passed recently it looked like Holland didn't have the restrictions that other countries did.
jon357 69 | 18,457
24 Feb 2021 #15
I would just fly from Chicago to Poland on your US passport and go through the quarantine

He'd need permission from the border guard. They aren't letting Americans in without certain vert specific reasons for travel.

Or go through Holland

They're quite strict at the moment. Germany less so, providing you have onward travel..
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
24 Feb 2021 #16
I would just fly from Chicago to Poland on your US passport and go through the quarantine.

No Dirk,they will not allow him to even board the flight without proper documents.US citizens are not allowed in the EU,until they have proper documentation.I have been to Poland 3 times during this mess and they check my Polish passport 2/3 times before boarding and by the plane entrance.lol just to see I tried to give them my US passport and the guy panicked in Frankfurt lol and then suddenly I pulled out my Polish passport and was let in the EU that too in the transit area.
OP DillPickleYo
25 Feb 2021 #17
I think I've figured it out. I can fly to Germany as a transit area by presenting proof of onward travel, my US passport, my Polish documentation (I have documents proving my parent's citizenship besides the passports) and a print out of the travel exemptions for Poland which state the those who are children of Polish citizens, those having a right to Polish residency and those visiting for humanitarian reasons can enter. This should be enough to land in Germany and allow me out of the airport to travel. I've been on the phone with US Customs and TSA. They only check that you are who you say you are and they cannot verify that the documents are enough to enter Poland so they will let me on the flight at my own risk of being rejected once I'm trying to enter Poland. So when I land in Germany it should be the same - they should let me travel to the Polish border at my own risk of being rejected. So once I leave the airport in Germany I can take a train / bus to a town bordering Poland and walk in through the open border. Because if I try to take the train / bus directly to Poland there is a risk of being rejected at the border. After speaking with Customs and TSA, it seems that approving certain documentation (like birth certificate for exemption from travel ban) is out of their jurisdiction so they only verify you are who you say you are and you proceed at your own risk of being rejected when you land. So... flight to Germany with proof of transit through Germany, leave German Airport, take train or bus to border, walk across.
jon357 69 | 18,457
25 Feb 2021 #18
I can fly to Germany as a transit area by presenting proof of onward travel

This is my understanding of the information online on the German government websites,

I.leave.the.airport in Germany...Because if I try to take the train / bus directly to Poland there is a risk of being rejected at the border.

There aren't passport checks on the trains that go across the border. If there were any issues due to Covid restrictions, they could hardly throw you out of the train window, could they? Should (and this is an extreme circumstance) they make checks on the stretch of line between Frankfurt am Oder and Rzepin, they'd have to take you back from Rzepin. If they suddenly became that strict due to a change in infection levels, foot crossings like Gorlitz/Zgorzelec would also be closed as they were during the first lockdown.

Train services across Schengen have been restored, and they aren't allowed to do immigration checks within the Schengen zone. If there was a new problem, they'd just cancel the trains.

proof of transit through Germany

An online ticket for the Berlin-Warsaw Express (buyable from bahn.de and you'll need to print it) should be sufficient.

Good luck with your travels!
OP DillPickleYo
25 Feb 2021 #19
Thank you! Just in case anyone is wondering, transit through Germany to another EU state requires a printout of the current national regulations in place in the country of destination. The Polish travel restrictions state that children of Polish citizens and those entitled to residency are exempt. This is what Germany uses to decide transit - they don't actually call the Polish Border Guard or have Polish border guards stationed there. So the German regulations state that a birth certificate (amongst other documents) is proof of family relations and can be used to enter Germany (if I had anyone living in Germany). Since they accept birth certificates for their own country they shouldn't have any issue with accepting it to show my relationship to my parents, and using my parent's documents (dowod osobisty, swiadectwo pracy, swiadectwo dojrzalosci, odpis actually urodzenia, passports (expired), college diplomas, etc.) to establish that they are citizens. Also, I have a PESEL number which really should be enough to enter Poland directly. So by having a PESEL it also shows I have the right to be in Poland.

One important thing for anyone reading this in a similar situation: once you enter Poland you cannot leave without a Polish passport. In my situation this is fine because I'm planning on staying for a while anyway, until all my documents get established... and maybe I might even move there when our land gets settled.
OP DillPickleYo
26 Feb 2021 #20
Hello all,
I would just like to give an update to my situation. I finally got into contact with the Polish border guard via email! They said I am able to enter Poland based in the conditions and documentation mentioned above! They said they cannot deny any Polak entry into Poland even if there is no Polish passport. As long as there is sufficient documentation to show that you are Polish / have a right to be in Poland (Polish parents, right to property, etc.), they cannot deny you entry! And I had mentioned all my documents and they said it is sufficient proof to show I am Polish and enter Poland! Hopefully there won't be any other issues trying to get on the plane in the US. I can always show them the email. Thank you all for your help!
jon357 69 | 18,457
26 Feb 2021 #21
That's great news. Best wishes for your travels.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
26 Feb 2021 #22
trying to get on the plane in the US. I can always show them the email

Now that might be your biggest issue,just print and have the email also on phone ready to show,its the airline who has to be convinced to fly you not the US authorities also make sure you have open/changeable air ticket to fly back as its airlines responsibility to fly you back in case you are denied entry.Airlines employees are not very sharp sometimes.
OP DillPickleYo
27 Feb 2021 #23
Does anyone know if I can take the COVID-19 antigen test to waive the 10 day quarantine period? All the information I have read on the Polish Border Guard's website just says " SARS-CoV-2" test. But from what I understand this can be either the antigen test or the PCR test. I would rather take the antigen test if it could be used for entering Poland and waiving the 10 day period. But I can also do the PCR test and the results should be available on my phone before I land in Poland.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
27 Feb 2021 #24
waiving the 10 day period.

When I went to Poland no one TOLD me or checked on me even after filling the forms they give you in plane to fill.I do know 3/4 people who travelled from the EU were called and the cops checked them.Download the app KWARANTANNA and check if your number is in it and if they are monitoring you.
OP DillPickleYo
2 Mar 2021 #25
Hi all, I'm writing this from Warsaw. I was able to enter Poland yesterday based on my US passport, Polish birth certificate and my parent's expired Polish passports. Although I will say I wasn't allowed to board my first flight which was with Swiss despite my email from the Polish Border Guard saying I could enter (the lady at the counter said "even though they said you have documents to enter, they didn't sign anything that says they are specifically allowing you to enter ", which i thought was the stupidest thing I had ever heard). So I bought a ticket for a direct flight to Warsaw the next day with Lot and had no problem getting on the plane or into the country. I have to try to get my money back from Swiss now. They said I wouldn't be eligible for a refund but if they denied me onto the plane when I should have been able to board, I think I deserve a refund.
Joker 2 | 2,190
2 Mar 2021 #26
. I was able to enter Poland yesterday based on my US passport,

Do you still have to self quarantine?
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
2 Mar 2021 #27
I will say I wasn't allowed to board my first flight

I told you.

Do you still have to self quarantine?

Officially YES,only if they check on him,otherwise he is free,like I was.
@OP,Swiss will most likely give you a voucher valid for 1 year.
Joker 2 | 2,190
2 Mar 2021 #28
YES,only if they check on him,otherwise he is free,like I was.

Cool. Theres a wedding in Poland this summer I want to attend.
Miloslaw 12 | 3,328
2 Mar 2021 #29
@Joker

The Polish authorities are pretty crap, so if you can get in you will probably get away with it.
Not that I am encouraging you to do so..... LOL!!
Cargo pants 3 | 1,276
2 Mar 2021 #30
this summer I want to attend.

I think the weddings are banned officially,or any occasion over 5 people.I am going back in April will let you know.If also they lift the state of emergency till then Americans with no Polish documents are not allowed.


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