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Polish citizenship by petition to the president of Poland?


lowfunk99 10 | 397
29 May 2018 #1
Has anyone every petitioned the president of Poland for citizenship? My avenues by ancestry are closed because they all became naturalized.
Pan T. K.
29 May 2018 #2
Poland's citizenship laws are more complicated than you think. If your male relative did not complete compulsory military service to Poland, (unless excused), he could not lose his Polish citizenship before 1951. After 1951, permission from the Polish government was required. If no permission was received, that person remained a Polish citizen. You can petition the president of Poland as a last resort, but it is best to exhaust all other avenues first, and he cannot help you if you are, in fact, a Polish citizen already.
OP lowfunk99 10 | 397
29 May 2018 #3
I had someone look at it and they said because they were naturalized that it affects my status.
None of my direct line ever service in the military. They emigrated before Poland became a country again.
Pan T. K.
29 May 2018 #4
It probably depends if they naturalized before 1920, but if they still had residency from the part of the partitions that they left, they may still have had citizenship, especially if there was no military service.
OP lowfunk99 10 | 397
30 May 2018 #5
My name great-grandfather became a citizen after 1920. They said that once he did this he lost his Polish citizenship.

He did it in 1927.
Pan T. K.
30 May 2018 #6
Right. He only could have lost his Polish citizenship if his military service to Poland had been completed, or excused then. Otherwise, he remained a Polish citizen. It's called the "military paradox" rule of the 1920 Polish Citizenship Law. In Poland, everything is complicated.

So how old was he in 1927, and how old was his child from whom you descend? Also note that any loss of his Polish citizenship doesn't necessarily apply to his children.

Also note that the President of Poland has the constitutional power to grant citizenship to those without it, but not passports to Polish citizens by birth. Were you to apply to him, his office would likely first direct that you apply for "confirmation or loss of Polish citizenship" to decide if you were born a Polish citizen. It appears to me the you must complete this step first, and if you don't they will conduct an investigation anyhow and it will be of lesser quality than if you research things yourself. So, you should first look for an argument that you already have Polish citizenship, although this may entail a trip to the archives, etc. Don't expect anything to happen quickly. That's not how things work in Poland. Appealing to the President's office is the last resort, not the first.

Ignore the trolls on the forum giving disinformation. They haven't undergone the process detailed above as they were not born of Polish parents.
OP lowfunk99 10 | 397
30 May 2018 #7
He was born in 1890/91 In Rutkowskie which was part of Russia at the time. He emigrated in 1911. My Grandfather was born in 1915 or so. Neither of them ever served in the military or in office. He was naturalized in 1927.

I lived in Poland before so I totally understand the lack of speed!

I have a friend that is still waiting for this years registration card. He will apply for next year before he gets this year. He has lived in the same place for years and is a professor in ZG. I think they procrastinate just because they can.
Pan T. K.
3 Jun 2018 #8
So it would appear that your great-grandfather left the Russian ruled Kingdom of Poland around his 21st birthday to avoid military service in the Tsar's army. Many did that. Therefore, unless he somehow lost his residency rights in the Kingdom of Poland for leaving for America, (which I doubt), he became a Polish citizen according to Article 6 (1) the Treaty of Riga (1921). Once abroad, he never returned to complete his compulsory military service to Poland, and therefore remained a Polish citizen due to the "military paradox" exception to the rule for losing citizenship. (See the last two sentences of Article 11 of the 1920 Polish Citizenship Act.) Since his naturalisation in the U.S. was invalid according to Polish law, his son could not have lost his Polish citizenship either, and by the time he turned 21 his father still had not reached age that his military service was no longer required. That's your argument.

Here's what you should request from the archives to prove your great-grandfather's citizenship.
1) Your great-grandfather's birth record, (recorded in his local church or Jewish council),
2) Your great-grandfather's passport records,
3) the registers of the village where your great-grandfather had been resident,
4) Your great-grandfather's military service records, draft notices, etc., to Poland and the Russian Kingdom of Poland,
(During WWI, Poles did receive draft notices abroad if the partition power had an address, since they were desperate for cannon fodder.)
5) Your grandfather's military service records to Poland.
You should get the birth record. Passport records have been harder to find, but better since they prove a political connection rather than just the place of birth. You must demand the military records, because without a record of military service, or a release therefrom in the archives, no loss of citizenship was possible in the Second Republic. It all becomes a moot point.

After getting as much of that as possible, consult a good lawyer who understands the "military paradox" and is prepared to do battle with the bureaucrats, who may demand "proof" that your great-grandfather didn't become stateless after WWI. Your attorney should also be prepared to invoke the applicable articles of the Polish Constitution which protect the rights of Polish citizens to reside abroad, against discrimination for refusing to return to live under communism, and against revocation of citizenship by bureaucratic sleight of hand, and the right to access government documents relevant to your family and its citizenship rights in Poland.

It's a difficult claim, but it is possible. If the claim fails, there will be a record upon which to petition the Polish President. Good luck!
OP lowfunk99 10 | 397
4 Jun 2018 #9
Is there anyone that you know that can assist with this?
dolnoslask 5 | 2,413
4 Jun 2018 #10
My avenues by ancestry are closed because they all became naturalized.

That's the problem, no way back.
Pan T. K.
5 Jun 2018 #11
Is there anyone that you know that can assist with this?

Well, you can start by writing to the National Archives:
Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych w Warszawie
ul. Dluga 7,
00-263 Warszawa
The documents from the times of the partitions are not well indexed. So, the passport and military records, etc. are not easy to see or search. You may need to hire a genealogist to help with this. What you need is proof from the archives that your great-grandfather had residency rights in the Russian Kingdom of P*land, AND "no record found" on the military service for him and his son.

Search for the 1920 Citizenship Act online. It has been translated online in to English by at least one lawyer who does citizenship petitions, and also notes the importance of the "military paradox". Also, get an exemplary copy of your great-grandfather's naturalisation petiition in the U.S. and then get an apostille on it. That should prove that he had P*lish citizenship in 1927. Then assert the military paradox exception.

Be prepared for some frustration. You can also write to PiS Chairman Kaczynski and petition to have the law amended, and the archives indexed and more fully opened regarding the citizenship of exiles of the communist regime.
thesipguy 3 | 27
5 Jun 2018 #12
Treaty of Riga (1921)

Pan T. K. how about a person who left Poland at age 7, I believe it was approx 1902, he left for Israel, his son was born prior to his father becoming 50 years old, he was never stateless as he had citizenship of the then Palestine Mandate and neither him nor his kids served in any army prior to 1951 do his grandchildren have a case?
Pan T. K.
5 Jun 2018 #13
he was never stateless as he had citizenship of the then Palestine Mandate

You misunderstand. By "stateless" I am referring to an absurd assumption by some bureaucrat that a person who had a right to Plish citizenship under the founding treaties of the Second Republic, i.e., Versailles, St. Germain-en-Laye, and Riga, had lost his/her such rights somehow, even if no proof exists to support the assumption simply because he/she was living abroad. (This assumption likely violates at least one article of the present constitution.) What complicates the 1920 Citizenship Law, is that it was based on residency rights, and the treaties, which means looking at people's rights under the three partitioning powers. These could vary, but generally they were happy to allow people to emigrate since it served as a release valve to reduce social pressures. Then WWI came and those abroad were sought as more cannon fodder for the war. The issue is essentially, did people who left the land which became the Second Republic retain a right of return from the relevant partitioning power such that they were entitled, as a matter of law, to citizenship after independence? If so, how can it be proved?

For someone who left at age 7 circa 1902, you would need to look to his parents, (the father generally if legitimate), to see if his rights had somehow been revoked by them. So more information is needed here. Since the British didn't arrive in Palestine until 1917, you have some gaps to fill during a very crucial time period for your claim: Where were your ancestors during WWI and its immediate aftermath? Expect to have problems with this claim if you can't. Unlike other European nations which are happy to recognise the citizenship of those abroad after several generations, the Third Republic is not one of them, even for Catholics. This can be especially true for Jews, who may have had documents destroyed during WWII.
thesipguy 3 | 27
6 Jun 2018 #14
Pan T. K.

Thanks, it's not for me, I am a Polish citizen, it's for my wife, I guess I will need more info from her family, regarding his father he left Poland with his 7 year old son, I will see if I can get more info and documents.
terri 1 | 1,627
6 Jun 2018 #15
If you are a Polish citizen, then if the marriage is recognized in Poland, your wifer in time becomes a Polish citizen too. Get some info on how this is done.
Pan T. K.
8 Jun 2018 #16
And if the wife already was a Polish citizen, then the same process for confirmation or loss of citizenship would apply. She can't get what she already may have.

What the hijackers here have missed is that entire families are petitioning to have their citizenship rights recognized and splitting the cost. If a grandfather was a citizen, then so are the aunts, uncles, children, cousins and grandchildren. All of these people aren't coming back to Poland to live like refugees for 3 years while learning a language that their ancestors may not have spoken. That isn',t required, and it remains a constitutional right to live abroad.
mafketis 21 | 7,390
8 Jun 2018 #17
What the hijackers here have missed is that entire families are petitioning to have their citizenship rights recognized

So they can use those suddenly convenient Polish passports to get to Western Europe.... If their ancestors didn't even speak Polish and they regard living in Poland as an ordeal then it's a very good thing if they can't get those precious passports to somewhere else.
Pan T. K.
9 Jun 2018 #18
If their ancestors didn't even speak Polish and they regard living in Poland as an ordeal then it's a very good thing if they can't get those precious passports

According to Article 35 of the Constitution, ethnic minorities have the right to "develop their own language, to maintain customs and traditions, and to develop their own culture." Before the nation was forcibly homogenized after WWII, there were many such ethnic minorities, the Jews being the most numerous. Citizens born abroad who speak English as a first language are similarly protected. Linguistic or ethnic discrimination, which is being expressed here by our trolls, is expressly prohibited by Article 32 of the present constitution, and again, all citizens have a constitutional right, (Article 52) to live abroad if they so choose. When they do so, they are entitled to the protection of the state, (Article 36), which means they have a right to a passport.
mafketis 21 | 7,390
9 Jun 2018 #19
ethnic minorities have the right to "develop their own language, to maintain customs and traditions, and to develop their own culture

but not at the expense of their knowledge of Polish the common language of those with Polish citizneship (or ability to navigate mainstream Polish society)

Let us know when you get that passport....
Pan T. K.
9 Jun 2018 #20
but not at the expense of their knowledge of Polish

To those born citizens, there is no legal requirement that they can read, write, understand, or speak the official language to exercise their rights. Someone can always assist completing the forms. In official proceedings, there is a right to demand a translator according to E.U. and International law.

For those seeking citizenship by naturalisation, the rules are different. Ignore the trolls.
mafketis 21 | 7,390
9 Jun 2018 #21
born citizens, there is no legal requirement that they can read, write, understand, or speak the official language

because they are born citizens and the natural assumption is that they will learn the common language instead of being a pest and demanding services that they haven't earned

In official proceedings, there is a right to demand a translator

you sure do have a lot of demands... what can you offer that would make it worth the Polish state's time?
kwr66 1 | 4
16 Jul 2018 #22
@Pan T..K.
Perhaps you could help me understand my situation - your answers are very in-depth and extremely knowledgeable.
I made another post awhile back about my great-grandmother being born in Czestochowa. I've done all the research I can and this is what I have.

My great grandmother was born in 1898. I have her and her family's birth records and their names listed on the permanent residents list from the archives. She emigrated to the US in 1912, met my great grandfather and married. I have proof of nonrecord of a marriage license from the Philadelphia archives, and proof of nonrecord for naturalization from both the Philly archives and USCIS (federal immigration). So she never officially married or naturalized, because US law back then said that women who married automatically acquired the citizenship of their husbands.

My grandmother was born in 1917 in the US. This is where I run into the snag - since my great grandmother left Poland before 1918, I would have had to prove that she was Polish and had polish documents. However, I believe that since my grandmother was born in the US before 1918, my claim for confirmation of citizenship is invalid. That is the advice I've received from my law firm.

They have advised me to apply for a grant of citizenship from the president. What can I do to help my case? They've advised me to become more active in polish organizations and to take polish classes, as well as provide documentation of my affiliation with Poland. What else will help my case be stronger? Would B1 or B2 polish certification help as well? Any info you can provide would be much appreciated, or anyone else for that matter.
terri 1 | 1,627
16 Jul 2018 #23
It would be extremely difficult, almost impossible for the president to grant you citizenship, unless you are a gifted footballer who can play for Poland and score goals in international games. Other than that your chances are less than zero.
Pan T. K.
17 Jul 2018 #24
So after around five years of trying to get documents from a Plish archive you were successful. Congratulations! You are helping to enlighten others how "straight forward" the process really is.

Now, you are trying to claim citizenship through the maternal line. The first thing to remember is that your grandmother could not pass citizenship on to a legitimate child until January 19, 1951. So if your parent was born before that, you do not qualify for a passport, but you do qualify for residency due to having Plish roots. Your claim then depends on whether or not your grandmother became a citizen according to the Citizenship Law of 1920, or the subsequent Treaty of Riga (1921). This would be the case if your grandmother was "enrolled or [was] entitled to be enrolled to books of permanent population of former [Russian ruled] Kingdom of Poland", or former Russian lands to the East from the resulting Wilno line, which resulted from her birth of your great-grandmother. That depends on the old Russian laws, not the subsequent 1920 law. Possibly, your great-grandmother retained a right of residency even if married, but I rather doubt it.

She emigrated to the US in 1912, met my great grandfather and married.

Now first you wrote that your great-grandparents married in the U.S., and then you contradict yourself. You need to document that your grandmother was born illegitimate. This could be done through the birth record, or census records. Your proof is not that, but only that no marriage record was found for you great-grandparents in Philadelphia. Possibly they were married elsewhere and that is why you have received the advice that you did. Even so a man could legitimatize a child simply by publicly recognizing the child as his own, and thus the child would not be considered illegitimate. Otherwise, a child born in the U.S. to those who became citizens of the Second Republic would also be a citizen if under 21 in 1920. Such claims are possible but difficult due to the number of generations past, and the presumptions of the present law. Your claim appears to fail because you haven't proved your grandmother was born illegitimate, not because she was born in 1917.

You certainly can apply to the president, but since you have roots here, they will perform a check for citizenship or its loss before he could grant that. If you want to function effectively in old country, learning the language is a good idea, and a requirement if you need to be naturalised.
kwr66 1 | 4
17 Jul 2018 #25
Wow, thank you so so much! First off, yes. Very straightforward process haha. I located the birth certificate and the list of permanent residents on JewishGen after some research. That's just when the fun began. I contacted the archives myself and ordered a copy of both and requested that they be apostilled/notarized to be official documents. This was in 2014. They sent pictures and unofficial copies, and replied with a cryptic letter about how they cannot officiate copies.

The Polish team of the law firm was able to get what they needed and provide me with the official copies. This was late 2016. Apparently the law for confirmation requires polish representation - and honestly, it makes everything so much easier.

So, now to address the rest. I was born in 1995 in the US. My mother was born in 1954 in the US. My grandmother was born in the US in 1917(for context) and my great grandmother was born in 1898 in Czestochowa.(also for context). How do I determine whether my grandmother was eligible under the citizenship law of 1920 or the Treaty of Riga of 1921? Just so I'm understanding clearly, even if my grandmother was born in the US in 1917, she would still be entitled to be enrolled in the permanent residency books due to my great grandmothers birth in the Kingdom of Poland/permanent residency there? Or am I mistaken?As far as the Russian law goes, where do I start to research that?

My grandmothers birth cert has both of my great grandparents listed on it - I suppose that doesn't help prove she was illegitimate. I suspect that the reason I can't find the marriage cert is that A) my great grandparents were married elsewhere or B) they were married at a synagogue and the records are there or don't exist or C) were married in Philadelphia after 1914, when there was a fire and all documents from 1914-1920 something were wiped out. The reason I say married, despite a lack of proof, is that on all 3 of the US censuses I have found their family in, my great grandmother was indicated as being married in 1912/1913, even though she immigrated in 1912. Same with naturalization - she was marked as naturalized, but no evidence exists (that I have located). That is why i assume that she was automatically naturalized.

So as far as the illegitimacy claims, with both parents on my grandmothers birth cert and her listed on the census with both parents, it appears that she wasn't illegitimate. What else could prove that she was illegitimate?

Also, when you say a child that is under 21 in 1920 born to those who were citizens of the Second Republic, does that equate as my grandmother being born a Polish citizen by chance? I think I might have lost you on that one. Sorry to ask you to explain further but if that is the case, I'm assuming the reason she would need to be illegitimate is because Polish women who married foreigners automatically acquired the foreigners citizenship back then? Please correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure I am).

You have been the number one most helpful resource - a million thanks. No one has been able to walk me through this mindboggling process like this before.
Pan T. K.
17 Jul 2018 #26
What else could prove that she was illegitimate?

From what you have written, it appears obvious to me that you can't prove an illegitimate birth. My only question is the nationality of your great-grandfather. If he was a U.S. citizen then your great-grandmother became a U.S. citizen when they married. So, that would explain your situation at the time. If he were to have been a Russian immigrant, then maybe you have a case as below.

does that equate as my grandmother being born a Polish citizen by chance?

Only if she had a right to be enrolled in the books of Russian K. o. P., etc. before the Treaty of Riga. If the local lawyer says she didn't, that's probably correct. You can always ask for a second opinion on that point.
Pan T. K.
17 Jul 2018 #27
Apparently the law for confirmation requires polish representation

The law itself does not actually require that, but de facto it does. Otherwise, they give people the run around. The whole process is designed to make the foreign born spend as much money as possible domestically as possible. Even church records in Latin require an official translation of irrelevant things like the names of godparents, etc. I am aware of no other country in Europe that makes recognition of foreign citizenship so difficult. The rest are happy to welcome such expats home and boost their population claim for E.U. parliament seats, etc.

Not Poland.
kwr66 1 | 4
17 Jul 2018 #28
My great grandfather was actually a Russian immigrant - however I do not have a specific location nailed down for him. The family is marked as Russian/Polish on the censuses. He was born in 1894 and came here in 1901/1902. He was marked as an alien and I haven't been able to find any naturalization paperwork for him.

Would I need to prove that with birth, residence, and immigration documents?

Also in the case that I do move forward with the citizenship grant, there are more documents about my great grandmothers family at the archives. What else, if anything, could be useful? Going back subsequent generations, for example?
Pan T. K.
17 Jul 2018 #29
The family is marked as Russian/Polish on the censuses.

I think you need to focus more on your great-grandfather. The designation "Russian-Polish" on the census refers to them as being from the Polish part of Russia,which could mean the kresy, or the K. o. P. proper. The fact that your great-grandmother got married so soon after arriving in the U.S. suggests this was an arranged marriage, which is how things were done then frequently. If so, they would have been from the same or nearby villages back home, or she was related to one of his friends in America. All that was necessary was that he liked her picture.

Would I need to prove that with birth, residence, and immigration documents?

A letter from the U.S. that no record was found of his naturalisation would be enough for a reasonable person, but the bureaucrats aren't reasonable people. They have been known to demand proof that absurd things didn't happen under the present law.

Your claim hinges on the arcane interpretation of the laws of the old Russian Empire in conjunction with the Treaty of Riga, i.e., what happened when a woman from the K. o. P. married a man from the kresy to her residency rights? If she could remain registered independent of him, your claim might be O.K. If not, then was she automatically registered where he is registered, and what of the fact that they were married abroad? What if anything were they required to do upon their return, if they ever wanted to? I doubt most Polish lawyers can answer those questions, so they just tell you to ask the president for citizenship. A history professor or Russian legal scholar might have answers to this. You can also check with the archives in both nations to see if either filed an election for either citizenship under the Treaty of Riga. That said, I would see if you could find his arrival record at Ellis Island or Baltimore, then try to find a record of a passport in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine or Lithuania to determine exactly were he was registered. These cases frequently are won in the archives.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
17 Jul 2018 #30
I am aware of no other country in Europe that makes recognition of foreign citizenship so difficult.

Poland has very generous provisions for citizenship. Some people simply aren't eligible, like yourself.


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