Act on Polish Citizenship of January 8, 1951

Chapter 1. Polish Citizens

Art. 1. A Polish citizen may not be at the same time a citizen of another state.

Art. 2. As of the effective date of this Act, the following persons shall be Polish citizens:

  1. persons possessing Polish citizenship pursuant to previously prevailing regulations,

  2. persons who arrived in Poland as repatriates,

  3. persons whose Polish citizenship was confirmed pursuant to: the Act of April 28, 1946, on Polish Citizenship for Polish Nationals Residing in the “Recovered Territories” (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland, no. 15, item 106), the Decree of October 22, 1947, on Polish Citizenship for Polish Nationals Residing in the Territory of the Former Free City of Danzig (aka Gdańsk) (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland no. 65, item 378) or other prevailing regulations.

Art. 3. A relevant authority may recognize persons who do not fulfill the requirements set forth in the preceding Art. but have resided in Poland at least since May 9, 1945, as Polish citizens, unless such persons arrived in Poland as foreigners belonging to a specific country and were treated in Poland as foreigners.

Art. 4. A person who was a Polish citizen on August 31, 1939 but is currently a permanent resident of a foreign country and:

  1. in connection with the shift of borders of the Polish State, s/he acquired foreign citizenship under the terms of an international treaty, or

  2. is a Russian, Byelorussian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian national or

  3. is a German national, unless the spouse of this person is Polish and resides in Poland,

  4. shall not be a Polish citizen.

Art. 5.

  1. The fact of a Polish citizen getting married with a foreign citizen does not affect their spouse’s respective citizenship.

  2. A change of citizenship by one spouse does not trigger a change in the citizenship of the other spouse.

Chapter 2. Acquisition of Polish Citizenship

Art. 6. A child acquires Polish citizenship when:

  1. both parents are Polish citizens or

  2. one of the parents was a Polish citizen and the other parent was unknown or his/her citizenship was not specified or unknown.

Art. 7. Children born or found in Poland acquire Polish citizenship where both parents were unknown or their citizenship was unknown/not specified.

Art. 8.

  1. A child born in Poland to a couple where one parent is a Polish citizen and the other a foreigner, acquires Polish citizenship, unless both parents, in a statement made to the relevant authority within one month of the child’s birth, should choose the other parent’s foreign citizenship for the child provided that, under the laws of this country, the child is eligible to acquire citizenship in this manner.

  2. If parents are unable to reach an agreement, either of them may refer the case to court within three months of the child’s date of birth.

  3. A child which acquired foreign citizenship in the manner referred to in Sections 1 and 2 above, may choose Polish citizenship after reaching the age of 13 by making an appropriate statement to the relevant authority.

Art. 9. The provisions of the directly preceding Art. shall also apply to children born abroad to parents where one parent is a Polish citizen and the other a foreign citizen, if the laws of this country reciprocally follow the same rules with respect to the citizenship of children born in Poland to parents with different citizenships.

Art. 10.

  1. A foreigner may be granted Polish citizenship on request.

  2. The grant of Polish citizenship may be conditional on proof being provided that the foreigner’s foreign citizenship was cancelled.

  3. Persons arriving in Poland as repatriates in accordance with the procedures set forth by relevant authorities shall acquire Polish citizenship by operation of law.

Chapter 3. Loss of Polish citizenship.

Art. 11.

  1. A Polish citizen may acquire foreign citizenship only after s/he obtains permission from the Polish authorities to change their citizenship.

  2. The permission to change citizenship, if granted to parents, extends to children in parental custody.

  3. The permission to change citizenship, granted to one parent, extends to children in this parent’s custody where the other parent is not a Polish citizen or, being a Polish citizen, gives his/her consent to the relevant authorities for the children’s citizenship to be changed. If the other parent objects to the change in citizenship or if parents find it difficult to work out a compromise, the case will be resolved in court.

  4. The permission will extend to children of over 14 years of age only upon their consent.

  5. The acquisition of foreign citizenship in accordance with Sections 1-4 above shall result in the loss of Polish citizenship.

Art. 12.

  1. A Polish citizen living abroad may be deprived of Polish citizenship if she/he:

    1. breached the duty of loyalty towards the Polish State,

    2. acted to the detriment of the vital interests of the People’s Republic of Poland,

    3. illegally left the territory of the Polish State after May 9, 1945,

    4. refused to return to Poland at the request of the relevant authority,

    5. evaded military service,

    6. was sentenced abroad for a felony [Polish zbrodnia pospolita] or is a recidivist.

  1. The deprivation of Polish citizenship may be extended to children of the person deprived of citizenship if the children live abroad and are below 13 years of age.

Chapter 4. Procedures

Art. 13.

  1. The State Council shall make decisions to grant and deprive of citizenship.

  2. The State Council issues decisions to deprive of Polish citizenship at the request of the Prime Minister.

  3. The decision to deprive of Polish citizenship may be published in Monitor Polski gazette in lieu of personal delivery.


Art. 14. The Council of Ministers will determine, pursuant to an ordinance, the authorities having the power to decide on all matters concerning citizenship not entrusted to the discretion of the State Council.

Chapter 5. Temporary and miscellaneous provisions

Art. 15.

  1. Decisions issued prior to September 1, 1939 pursuant to the Act of March 31, 1938, on Deprivation of Citizenship (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland, no. 22, item 191), shall have no legal effect vis-à-vis persons residing in Poland on the effective date hereof.

  2. The State Council may restore Polish citizenship to persons living abroad if these persons were deprived of their citizenship pursuant to the procedure referred to in the preceding sentence, unless they regained Polish citizenship prior to the effective date of this Act.

Art. 16. The provisions of this Act shall also apply to the citizenship of children born and found in Poland prior to the effective date of this Act.

Art. 17.

    1. Previous regulations governing matters regulated herein shall lose their force.

    2. In particular, the following regulations shall lose force:

    1. the Act of January 20, 1920 on Polish State Citizenship (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 7, item 44), as amended,

    2. the Act of September 26, 1922 on the on Regulations Governing the Right to Choose Polish Citizenship by Citizens of the Former Austrian Empire or the Former Kingdom of Hungary and the Right to Choose Foreign Citizenship by Former Citizens of these Countries Having Polish Citizenship (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland no. 88, item 791),

    3. the Act of March 31, 1938 on Deprivation of Citizenship (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland no. 22, item 191),

    4. the Act of April 28, 1946 on Polish Citizenship for Polish Nationals Residing in the “Recovered Territories” (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland no. 15, item 106),

    5. the Decree of October 22, 1947 on Polish Citizenship for Polish Nationals Residing in the Territory of the Former Free City of Danzig (aka Gdańsk) (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland no. 65, item 378),

    6. Art. 110 and 111 of the Act of February 4, 1950, on General Military Duty (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland no. 6, item 46).

Art. 18. The implementation of this Act shall be entrusted to the State Council and the Prime Minister.

Art. 19. This Act shall take effect as of the day of its promulgation.

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