The BEST Guide to POLAND
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Has anyone with a US or CDN passport recently been subjected to the "Passport Trap" in Poland?



Remikm 1 | 1    
2 May 2016  #1

Little background, I was born in Poland and immigrated to Canada in 1990 when I was 5. Last time I had / traveled on a polish passport was in 99, even though I was already a citizen since 95. Fast forward to 2008 I travel to Poland on a Canadian passport and have gone back in 2010, 2012, 2014, and going again in June. Now I've never had any issues with border officials in Poland as to why I do not have a polish passport, but lately the free polish newspapers here in Toronto have reported numerous times on dual cititizens being stopped from leaving until they obtain a polish passport. Question is, has anyone here personally had similar experiences recently or should I just chalk it up as slow news days for these "rags"? My mother has been breaking balls to get polish passports for the fan as she believes everything in these papers. Anyone?


kpc21 1 | 763    
2 May 2016  #2

It seems that according to the Polish law, if you have Polish citizenship, you are treated in Poland as a Polish, and not Canadian citizen, and therefore to leave Poland you need a Polish passport. As long as you are a Polish citizen, any passport other than Polish is not recognized in Poland.

I have no idea, what it has to do with the international law, it's really crazy, stupid and looks like the Polish country actually just wants money from you for issuing the passport.

So it seems that you must either get Polish passport in Canada, or after coming to Poland, but in Poland it make take some time. From what I read, to get a passport you must have an ID card first, so you must apply for it and wait a few weeks until they print it, then again apply for the passport and wait a few weeks. The procedures while issuing a Polish passport in Canada do not seem to be different, but the price is much higher, and probably waiting time longer.

Or if you have a Canadian passport only, something which may work is coming back to Canada from another Schengen zone country than Poland. Nobody will stop you at the border within the Schengen zone since the borders are open, and for example in Germany it won't rather make any difference to them which citizenship you use.
terri 1 | 1,224    
2 May 2016  #3

Very strange. This is the first time that I've ever heard ...that to leave Poland you must have a Polish passport.
Harry 78 | 13,533    
2 May 2016  #4

Question is, has anyone here personally had similar experiences recently or should I just chalk it up as slow news days for these "rags"?

It certainly can happen (in fact immigration officials are legally required to not let you out unless you show them a Polish passport) and certainly has happened in the past. I'm unaware of it starting to happen much again, but with the current bunch of brain-dead cretins forming a government, nothing would surprise me. The 18% regime (and most of its ever dwindling band o supporters) dress themselves up as uber-patriots when the reality is that they are exactly the reverse, so deciding to hassle other people over this is exactly the kind of moronic thing they would do.

My mother has been breaking balls to get polish passports for the fan as she believes everything in these papers. Anyone?

Why not just get a Polish passport before you next come here? There's no doubt as to your nationality.
Sylvio 5 | 24    
2 May 2016  #5

"..but with the current bunch of brain-dead cretins forming a government, nothing would surprise me. The 18% regime (and most of its ever dwindling band o supporters) dress themselves up as uber-patriots..." Harry, perhaps if you and your ilk controled their mouths a bit better you might still have the government you so passionatly want, alas all action leads to reaction. So, until your electorate learns the fine art of civil moderation, put it in your cantacrious pipe and smoke it,mate..!
terri 1 | 1,224    
2 May 2016  #6

I understand that this is the prime strategy to keep people in the country (Poland) whether they want to be there or not.
OP Remikm 1 | 1    
2 May 2016  #7

I've search online and read about Polish nationality law about how technically Poland only sees me as a Polish citizen, I'm not really worried I was just hoping to find someone on here who has actually experienced this first hand. Like I mentioned this is the 5th time I'm going since 2008 and I've never had a border official say one word about it even when it clearly shows Poland as my place of birth in my CDN passport. I'm actually traveling from Rzeszow to Toronto via Munich.
Harry 78 | 13,533    
2 May 2016  #8

I'm actually traveling from Rzeszow to Toronto via Munich.

In that case, you'll be fine: you'll clear immigration in Germany, not Poland. Are you going back the same route?
kpc21 1 | 763    
3 May 2016  #9

I understand that this is the prime strategy to keep people in the country (Poland) whether they want to be there or not.

It's more about paying to your country at least the passport issuing fee, instead of just having the citizenship and doing absolutely nothing for the country. Those who live in Poland pay taxes here, so it makes sense that the country wants something from you when you come to Poland. But anyway in my opinion it should be so, that if you don't want to use your Polish citizenship, you shouldn't be forced to use it. You come to Poland as a Canadian citizen and you should be treated so.

Although when you come to Poland, you also automatically gets some laws resulting from your citizenship, like they cannot throw you out from Poland even if you stay here for a period longer than it is allowed for Canadians, or when you come to Poland, they cannot deny you entry to the Polish territory, even if you don't have all the proper documents (not expired ID or passport). You get some laws automatically, so it makes sense that you get also some obligations.

In that case, you'll be fine

Theoretically if you want to do anything in Poland for which you need an identity document, they can demand the Polish passport or ID card from you, not recognizing the Canadian one, but anyone other than the public institutions is not even able to know that you have also Polish citizenship.
piotroceans - | 4    
3 May 2016  #10

The simple answer to the situation is that if you are a dual national of Poland and another nation, be it perhaps Canada or Britain, when in Poland you cannot possess dual nationality at all. When you are inside Polish borders you are a Polish citizen. As such you must always carry at least your Polish I/D card with you, which, if you have done nothing illegal is actually quite useful, and when you leave Poland you can leave on either passport just so long as the guys at the desk do not check too carefully. It is not very likely that a non Polish citizen will have a Polish I/D card as it takes so long to get one without the proper Polish papers. I have dual nationality of English and Polish and I often change passports as I come in and out by accident. The only time I have ever been asked questions was recently at Luton Airport, nowhere near London, when I realised that I had completed my boarding card using my British passport and I was travelling on my Polish passport as my other was obtaining a visa. There was no problem, I just apologised for the error and I smiled nicely!

So, in Poland you are Polish; in Canada you may be either or both just as I can be both or either am in England or in any other country.
delphiandomine 82 | 15,963    
3 May 2016  #11

I'm unaware of it starting to happen much again, but with the current bunch of brain-dead cretins forming a government, nothing would surprise me.

I can't find it, but it was one of the Straż Graniczna websites recently - they sent out the information reaffirming that Polish citizens need to identify themselves using a Polish identity document. That's where the news in the Polonia media has come from. In other words, proud PiS patriots are determined to stop people using LOT.

Amazing how much bad advice is on some of those Polonia websites though - I found one a while ago that said that dual citizens should use their American passports to benefit from "travel protection". Those of us that know Poland know how laughable that idea is!
InPolska 12 | 2,034    
3 May 2016  #12

I am not surprised as it is normal. If claiming also to be a Polish citizen, normal to hold passport from Poland. Polish passports are very expensive (more than from a lot of western countries) and also long to wait but this is another problem. Bi-national Poles living abroad don't even pay tax to Poland so expecting them to spend some money on official documents does not "shock" me...
kpc21 1 | 763    
3 May 2016  #13

Polish passports are very expensive (more than from a lot of western countries) and also long to wait

140 zł (with 50% discount for children and students) is not so much taking into account that you have to pay it only once for 10 years (for children, if I remember well, up to 12 years - once for 5 years). And I managed to get my passport in something like a week - but that time I needed it quite urgently and I had luck that they managed to do it in a short time.

I have checked the price of the German passport - 59 euro for adults. Almost twice more. USA - 140 US dollars. A few times more. UK - 72.5 pound. Twice more than in Poland.

I wouldn't say Polish passport is expensive. And the ID card is even free of charge.

when in Poland you cannot possess dual nationality at all

You can, it's not forbidden, but when you are in Poland, you are not allowed to make use of any other nationality than the Polish one.

I wonder if similar regulations exist in other countries, especially in the EU.
delphiandomine 82 | 15,963    
3 May 2016  #14

And the ID card is even free of charge.

Yep, and it's good for travelling to what, around 40 countries?

But I think InPolska was referring more to the difficulties of getting a Polish passport abroad.
InPolska 12 | 2,034    
3 May 2016  #15

@Kpc: are you sure? I was told by French embassy that Polish passports were expensive. French ID cards too are free.
kpc21 1 | 763    
3 May 2016  #16

If you want to get a passport from an embassy, the service fee for doing it by embassy for you is high. If you go to Poland and apply for the passport on your own, then it's 140 zł, or even 70 zł.
InPolska 12 | 2,034    
3 May 2016  #17

Ah ok! It costs more when doing it at an embassy. I had not think so but now I understand ;).
piotroceans - | 4    
4 May 2016  #18

Passport in Poland was140zł and for a 28 to 30 day service.
Passport in England 128 GBP (715zł) and for a 4 hour same day service that is available.
in England "A standard adult first passport or renewal costs £72.50, or £82.25 if you use the Post Office's Passport Check and Send service. Child passports cost £46, or £55.75 using Check and Send. Passport for people born on or before 2 September 1929 Free" if you can take your Mother with you on the day of applying to verify your date of birth.

"You can get a passport using the 1 day Premium service or 1 week Fast Track service if you need one urgently and you're in the UK."

All quotations from the gov.uk passport pages of the website.

I stand corrected by my own words that it is not forbidden to be a dual national or to hold two passports, but the status of dual nationality cannot be used to gain advantage as might happen in other countries. So it might as well be forbidden.
Marsupial - | 978    
4 May 2016  #19

Thats why we are not going for visit, very sadly, while the urine party is in. One of the reasons anyway.
delphiandomine 82 | 15,963    
4 May 2016  #20

I wonder if similar regulations exist in other countries, especially in the EU.

It's pretty much standard - the relevant convention (I forget which one it is...) makes it clear that you cannot use consular protection if you're a national of the state in question. Poland goes a little bit further by requiring you to identify yourself using Polish identity documents, but that's it.
BSOH    
16 Nov 2016  #21

For years I have been reading annoyed posts from Polish-Canadians (and US-) about the "Poland passport trap". Well, guess what, the Canadian government now does exactly the same. Got this yesterday from the Canadian consulate in Dublin, Ireland. I put the French version in to "prove" that I didn't (can't!) make it up. There is a short-term measure in place until 31 January 2017, but after that it's Canadian passports for dual citizens, or you're in big trouble trying to get into Canada.

Dear Canadians,

You are receiving this email because you are registered with the Government of Canada's Registration of Canadians Abroad service. Please share the following important information with other Canadian nationals and dual Canadian citizens in your acquaintance.

Starting on November 10, 2016, Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, will need a valid Canadian passport to fly to or transit through Canada.
...
Global Affairs Canada
...

À nos ressortissant(e)s canadien(ne)s,

Vous recevez ce message puisque vous vous êtes inscrits auprès du Gouvernement du Canada à l'aide du système d'inscription des Canadiens à l'étranger. Nous vous saurions gré de transmettre l'information importante suivante à tous les ressortissants canadiens que vous connaissez, y compris ceux qui ont la double nationalité.

À compter du 10 novembre 2016, les citoyens Canadiens, y compris les citoyens ayant la double nationalité, devront présenter un passeport canadien valide pour se rendre au Canada par avion ou transiter par le pays.

...

Affaires mondiales Canada.
Pilsner    
16 Nov 2016  #22

How about a dual citizen ( american/polish) who is working with the defense contractor in Usa and has his polish passport with us authorities for top security clearance can leave Poland if he goes there with special permission?

What will he do?
mafketis 16 | 4,691    
16 Nov 2016  #23

it's Canadian passports for dual citizens, or you're in big trouble trying to get into Canada.

Why is it unreasonable to expect citizens of a country to use passports from said country when entering or leaving? Citizenship is not a consumer accessory to make life easier but a covenant between the citizen and the country that carries with it rights and responsibilities. It seems reasonable for one of those responsibilities to be to enter and leave the country with the appropriate passport.
Wincig 2 | 147    
16 Nov 2016  #24

@mafketis

Indeed, and that is the rule applied by many other countries apart from Poland
Bugs    
15 Dec 2016  #25

Can confirm, this has come close in my case but talked my way out however my mother just had this problem 3 days ago and was turned away until she gets her Polish passport. Ridiculous.
Bugs    
15 Dec 2016  #26

Just to give you background, she's an Australian citizen (with passport) and had a Polish identity card (dowód osobisty). It makes no sense...
cjj - | 281    
16 Dec 2016  #27

"Starting on November 10, 2016, Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, will need a valid Canadian passport to fly to or transit through Canada."
That will be painful if it includes transit flights :(
I'm a dual Canadian but stopped renewing my passport when they last hiked the prices :( Didn't seem so necessary now I'm living in Europe.

money--
Polish dual    
19 Apr 2017  #28

The US has the same law: According to Section 215 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1185), it is illegal for a U.S. citizen to enter or leave the U.S. on anything other than an U.S. passport. This applies to dual citizens as well, meaning that persons holding e.g. both Swedish and American citizenships and passports must enter and leave the U.S. on a U.S. passport. [...] Airlines may also refuse to board a U.S. citizen on a U.S. flight if the U.S. citizen does not hold a valid U.S. passport.

Canada now has the same rule. Dual Citizens have to enter Canada on a Canadian passport.
jalleluja123 1 | 7    
6 May 2017  #29

Poland, at least for Polish dual citizens living in the US has made it easier to renounce Polish citizenship. . It is simple as long as you are single and already have your valid Polish passport.

What you want to do is get your personal digital certificate called Profil Zaufany on ePUAP (only in Polish language). Over there you can request from home online your civil status act, birth act etc. From embassy website you download and fill renunciation application. You make a notarized proof of possesing different citizenship such as a naturalization certificate, obtain passport size photo and take it all to the consul and pay a fee. After a year or so the President of Poland issues permission to lose Polish citizenship and you send to the Polish embassy your Polish passport. In PESEL registry system they will update your record and mark you as foreigner. Although you may want to have copy of a letter with confirmation of loss of Polish citizenship just in case.

They no longer ask for certificate of no criminal record or hand written biography.
I never went that route though. Only went as far as to check my live PESEL data and update my residency registration to indicate that I no longer live in Poland and instead live abroad so military obligations would no longer apply to me.



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