The Pole’s Card is a document confirming its holder is a member of the Polish nation. It does not mean that the foreigner is granted Polish citizenship, obtains a permanent residence permit in Poland or has the right to cross the Polish border without a visa.
Possession of a Pole’s Card is connected with certain entitlements. Its holder has the right to:
- receive a long-stay visa free of charge and valid for multiple crossings of the Polish border;
- take up legal work on Polish territory without a work permit;
- conduct business activity in Poland on the same terms as Polish citizens;
- take advantage of the free Polish education system at primary, secondary and tertiary levels on the same terms as Polish citizens, and also to apply for scholarships and other assistance available for foreigners learning and studying in Poland;
- in emergencies use the free health care provided in Poland on the same terms as Polish citizens;
- benefit from a 37-percent discount for rail travel within Poland;
- visit national museums in Poland free of charge;
- have priority when applying for funding from the Polish state budget or the budgets of local authorities in Poland directed at supporting Poles abroad.
Who can a Pole’s Card be issued to?
A Pole’s Card can be issued to a person who, at the time of application, is a national of a state which is a former member of the Soviet Union or is a stateless person in one of these countries and jointly satisfies the following conditions:
1) demonstrates their connection with the Polish nation and Poland by at least a basic knowledge of Polish, which he views as his mother tongue, and by knowledge and cultivation of Polish traditions and customs;
2) in the presence of the consul makes a written declaration of belonging to the Polish nation;
3) demonstrates that at least one parent or grandparent or two great grandparents are or were of Polish nationality or were Polish citizens, or presents a certificate from an authorised organization of Poles living abroad in the country of residence confirming active involvement in activities promoting the Polish language and culture or benefiting the Polish national minority for a period of at least the preceding 3 years.
A Pole’s Card may also be granted to a person whose Polish descent has been certified in accordance with the provisions of the Repatriation Act of 9 November 2000.
Application procedure for a Pole’s Card
Applications for a Pole’s Card should be submitted at the Polish Consulate competent for the place of residence of the applicant in his country of origin. The Pole’s Card is granted by the Polish consul.
The basic set of documents required to submit a complete application for a Pole’s Card is as follows:
- the application, available here->; it should be filled out in compliance with the guidelines attached to the application, which can be found here ->
- 1 photograph – guidelines concerning photographs can be found here ->
- completed and copied documents certifying the applicant belongs to the Polish nation
Notes: examples of documents and certificates are: Polish identity documents; civil register certificates or their duplicates; baptism certificates, school certificates; documents confirming links with Poland etc.; documents attesting to service in Polish military formations; documents confirming the fact of deportation or imprisonment containing an entry informing of the person’s Polish origin; documents on rehabilitation of a deportee containing an entry informing of the person’s Polish origin; foreign identity cards containing information about the Polish nationality of the holder; a certificate from an organization of Poles living abroad confirming active involvement in activities promoting the Polish language and culture or benefiting the Polish national minority; a final decision on Polish descent issued under the provisions of the Repatriation Act, etc.
- a copy of a foreign passport (page with photo) and internal passport (page with photo and page with the address of permanent residence). The originals should also be made available for inspection.
Subsequently, an appointment by phone for an interview with the Polish consul should be made.
A list of Polish consulates with contact details is available here ->
The consul will have a conversation with the applicant in Polish about Poland, its history, culture, customs and traditions. The conversation should take around 15-20 minutes.
After successfully passing the conversation stage, the consul presents the applicant with a declaration of belonging to the Polish nation for the applicant to sign.
When can a child be granted a Pole’s Card?
A child shall be granted a Pole’s Card at the request of its parents, if both of them are holders of the Pole’s Card.If only one parent is a holder, the other parent, in the presence of the Polish consul, must agree for the Pole’s Card to be granted to the child. If the other parent does not have parental authority, such consent is not required.
How long is a Pole’s Card valid?
A Pole’s Card is valid for 10 years from the date of issuance. The holder must apply for prolongation for another 10 years not later than three months before the expiration date of the Pole’s Card.
The Pole’s Card expires if its holder receives Polish citizenship or a permit to settle in Poland.
How to use the Pole’s Card?
To exercise any right guaranteed by the Pole’s Card, it must be presented together with a valid identity document.
Refusal to grant the Card of the Pole
The consul issues a decision refusing to grant a Pole’s Card in the event:
- the applicant does not meet the criteria listed above;
- during proceedings to obtain the Pole’s Card the applicant submitted an application or attached thereto documents certifying a falsehood, or has presented falsified documents;
- the applicant has been repatriated from the territory of the Republic of Poland or the Polish People’s Republic on the basis of repatriation agreements concluded in the years 1944-1957 by Poland with the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to one of the state parties to these agreements;
- the applicant has received Polish citizenship or a permit to settle on Polish territory;
- for reasons of national defence, security or protection of public order in Poland;
- the applicant has acted or acts against the vital interests of Poland.
Revocation of a Pole’s Card
A consul annuls a Pole’s Card if:
- its holder behaves in a manner degrading to the Republic of Poland or Poles;
- during proceedings to obtain the Pole’s Card the applicant submitted an application or attached thereto documents containing false personal data or false information;
- the holder testified falsely or concealed the truth;
- the holder has forged or remade a document in order to present or in fact has presented such a document as an authentic one;
- the applicant receives Polish citizenship or a permit to settle on Polish territory;
- it is justified by reasons of national defence, security or protection of the public order in Poland;
- the applicant has acted or acts against the vital interests of Poland.
In the case of annullment or revocation of a Pole’s Card its holder is obligated to immediately return the Card to the consul.
The application and proceedings related to granting a Pole’s Card are free of charge and no fees are assessed at any stage.