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Polish citizenship guide

 
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Polish Citizenship Act of 1920

Important information
See Polish Citizenship Act of 1920

The first Polish citizenship regulation was the Polish Citizenship Act from January 20th, 1920. First of all, the Act defined individuals of the Polish State which regained independence after 123 years of captivity. In accordance with the Act regulations, to be recognized as a Polish citizen, one had to:

1. Be settled on the territory of the Polish State and could not concurrently be recognized as a citizen of another country. One was considered to be settled in the Polish State, if the individual:

  • was registered or had the right to be registered in the census books of the former Kingdom of Poland;
  • had property rights to real estate in one of the communities on the territory of the Polish State that had constituted a part of the Austrian or Hungarian State;
  • had a permanent residence, on grounds of German citizenship, in the territory of the Polish State that had constituted a part of the Prussian State;
  • was registered in an urban or rural community or in a state organization on the territories of the former Russian Empire that had constituted parts of the Polish State.

2. Be born on the territory of the Polish State and could not concurrently be recognized as a citizen of another country.

The Act also defined rules of acquiring and losing of Polish citizenship. Polish citizenship could be acquired through:

1. Birth.
Legitimate children acquired their father's citizenship by birth and illegitimate children acquired their mother's citizenship. Children whose parents were unknown and who were born on the territory of the Polish State were considered Polish citizens unless their other citizenship was revealed.

2. Entitlement, recognition or adoption.
A child who was under 18 acquired their father's or mother's citizenship by entitlement, recognition, adoption or the citizenship of another person who recognized or adopted. When parents of an illegitimate child got married then the child acquired its father's citizenship through entitlement.

3. Marriage.
In accordance with the regulation, a female citizen of a foreign country acquired Polish citizenship through marrying a Polish citizen. The rule of unity of spouses' citizenship was common in many countries.

4. Granting of citizenship (naturalization).

In accordance with the regulation a foreigner could apply to the Polish authorities for granting of Polish citizenship. If the applicant fulfilled conditions mentioned by the Act then he/she had the possibility of acquiring Polish citizenship.

5. Adoption of a public office or entering Polish military service.

A citizen of a foreign country acquired Polish citizenship by adoption of a public office or entering Polish military service.

For the reasons of Polish citizenship loss see: Regulations in force from January 31st, 1920 to January 18th, 1951.