What is the Pole’s Card?
The Pole’s Card is a document confirming affiliation to the Polish Nation and certifying that its holder has certain rights related to it. However, one should remember that granting the Card of the Pole does not mean the acquisition of Polish citizenship. The Pole’s Card is also not a document entitling to cross the border or to stay temporarily or permanently in Poland.
Who issues the Pole’s Card?
The authority competent to grant the Pole’s Card or to extend its validity is the consul competent for the place of residence of the applicant, e.g. if the person applying for the Pole’s Card is a Ukrainian citizen, the authority competent to grant the Pole’s Card is the consul of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine. Exceptionally, taking into account the need to ensure quick and efficient access for persons interested in receiving the Pole’s Card, the Council of Ministers, by way of a regulation, may designate a voivode as the authority competent to receive applications for granting or extending the validity of the Pole’s Card and to issue a decision in these matters, as well as indicate the country of origin of persons who may exercise this competence. As a rule, however, the competent authority is the consul.
What the Pole’s Card entitles to?
Having the Pole’s Card, a foreigner enjoys the following entitlements:
- right to work without a work permit,
- right to take up and pursue economic activity on the same principles as Polish citizens,
- the right to a pecuniary benefit for partial coverage of the costs of development and current maintenance in Poland, in case of an application for permanent residence in Poland,
- priority right when applying for financial aid to support Poles abroad,
- exemption from consular fees for accepting and processing an application for a national visa in order to exercise the rights arising from the Pole’s Card,
- exemption from consular fees for accepting the application and preparing documentation for granting Polish citizenship,
- right to benefit from free health care in emergencies, unless an international agreement to which the Republic of Poland is a party provides for more favourable rules,
- right to study, doctoral studies and other forms of education in Poland, to participate in scientific research and development work in accordance with the Act on Higher Education and the Act on the Education System,
- right to a 37% allowance for journeys in passenger, fast and express trains, based on single tickets,
- right of free access to state museums,
- right to assist the consul, within the framework of his competence and with due regard for custom and international law, in a situation where life or safety is threatened.
Who can obtain the Pole’s Card?
The Pole’s Card may be granted to a person who declares affiliation with the Polish Nation and meets all of the following conditions:
- demonstrates its connection with Polishness through at least basic knowledge of the Polish language, which it considers to be its mother tongue, and knowledge and cultivation of Polish traditions and customs,
- in the presence of the Consul of the Republic of Poland, make a written declaration of affiliation to the Polish Nation;
- shows that she is of Polish nationality or at least one of her parents or grandparents or two great grandparents were of Polish nationality,
- declare that she or her predecessors did not repatriate or were not repatriated from the territory of the Republic of Poland or the People’s Republic of Poland, on the basis of repatriation agreements concluded in 1944-1957 by the Republic of Poland or the People’s Republic of Poland with the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to one of the States party to those agreements.
The Pole’s Card will not be issued to a person who, at the time of submitting an application or granting the Card of the Pole, had Polish citizenship or had a permanent residence permit on the territory of the Republic of Poland.
When can a minor child of a foreigner receive the Pole’s Card?
Minors do not receive the Pole’s Card automatically when their parents receive it. The Pole’s Card may be received by a minor foreigner after the submission of the parents’ application, when both parents have the Pole’s Card or when one of the parents has the Pole’s Card – with the consent of the other parent expressed in a statement made before the consul. The Pole’s Card may be granted to a minor over 16 years old only with their consent.