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Polish citizenship guide

 
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Polish Citizenship Act of 1951

Important information
See Polish Citizenship Act of 1951

World War II and political transformations in Poland brought about changes in the Polish citizenship regulations. On January 19th, 1951 the new Polish Citizenship Act came into force and replaced the Polish Citizenship Act of 1920. The new Act was in force until August 22nd, 1962. The regulations of the Polish Citizenship Act of 1951 introduced some important modifications as far as acquiring, changing and losing of Polish citizenship are concerned, especially when it comes to the following regulations:

  • The regulation according to which a woman’s citizenship was defined by her husband’s citizenship was repealed (as a result, marrying a Polish citizen no longer results in acquiring Polish citizenship),
  • The regulation according to which legitimate children acquired their father’s citizenship and illegitimate children acquired their mother’s citizenship was repealed,
  • The regulation according to which every Polish citizen who applies for a foreign citizenship has to obtain consent from the Polish authorities was introduced,
  • The regulation according to which persons who came to Poland as repatriates acquired Polish citizenship automatically was introduced.

On the day of declaring the new Act, Polish citizens were individuals who:

  • had Polish citizenship on the basis of the hitherto regulations,
  • came to Poland as repatriates,
  • lived in the Recovered Territories and the former Free City of Danzig (Gdansk) and received confirmation of their Polish nationality.

In accordance with the Act, a Polish citizen was not a person who on August 31st, 1939 had Polish citizenship but permanently resided abroad from January 19th, 1951 and:

  • due to the border changes in the Polish State acquired citizenship of another country on the basis of the international agreement or
  • was of Russian, Belorussian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian nationality, or
  • was of German nationality unless his/her spouse was a Polish citizen and resided in Poland.

In accordance with the Polish Citizenship Act of 1951 Polish citizenship could be acquired through:

1. Birth: a child acquired Polish citizenship if both parents were Polish citizens or one of the parents was a Polish citizen and the other was unknown or his/her citizenship was undefined or unknown. In the case when one of the parents was a Polish citizen and the other was a citizen of another country then the child acquired Polish citizenship. However, the parents could also choose for their child the citizenship of the country of which one parent was a citizen on condition that the law of that country allowed acquiring its citizenship in such a way.

2. Being born on the Polish territory: a child born or found in Poland acquired Polish citizenship if both parents were unknown or their citizenship was unknown or undefined.

3. Repatriation: persons who came to Poland as repatriates acquired Polish citizenship in accordance with the law. Being a repatriate had to be confirmed on the basis of a document issued by a Polish consular or diplomatic authority.

4. Granting of citizenship (naturalization): a foreigner could apply to the Polish authorities for granting of Polish citizenship. The decision was issued by the State Council (Rada Państwa).

5. Recognition: a relevant authority could recognize persons who did not have Polish citizenship and resided in Poland at least Since May 9th, 1945 as Polish citizens unless they came to Poland as foreigners and were treated as foreigners.

About the regulations concerning the loss of Polish citizenship defined by the Act of 1951 see Regulations in force from January 19th, 1951 to August 21st, 1962.