‘Every person in the modern world is a member of two basic communities: the family and the whole society organized into a state. From this belonging derive certain human characteristics, which determine his position in each of these communities and allow him to distinguish from other people’ (J.Ignatowicz).
Concept of Civil Status
According to Polish law, every person is ascribed the following: sex, age, name, family affiliation, or surname – these are so-called strictly personal characteristics.
In the current legal state, the issues of civil status registration are regulated primarily in the Law of 28 November 2014. – Law on Civil Status Records.
Let’s start with an explanation of the concept of civil status. The above-mentioned law defines civil status as the legal situation of a person expressed by the characteristics that individualize a person, shaped by natural events (birth, death), legal actions (acknowledgment of paternity, marriage), or court decisions (adoption, recognition as dead, dissolution of marriage), or a decision of authorities (for example, decisions to change the name or surname), stated in a civil status record.
Religious vs secular register of records
In Poland, as in other countries, a system of religious registration was maintained for many years. In the interwar period, only the former Prussian partition had a secular register. A significant disadvantage of the registration system inherited from the invaders was the fact that it was not universal. Failure to register such a fact as birth meant that such persons did not exist in the eyes of the law.
Initial work on the preparation of a composite law on civil status records was undertaken as early as 1919, but it was not until after the Second World War that a secular registration of civil status records was established. The first Polish law to address this issue was the Decree of 25 September 1945, Law on Civil Status Records.
The registration of civil status records in Poland
The registration of civil status is a task of public administration. Actions in this field are carried out by the head of the civil registry office or his deputy. Outside Poland, some of the actions in this field are carried out by a consul or a person designated to carry out his functions.
Civil status records are registered in a civil status register in the form of civil status records. This register is kept in a tele-informatic system.
The aforementioned law provides for the possibility of registering an event that took place outside the Republic of Poland and regulates the institution of transcription of the civil status record. The transcription of a civil-status record, also known as its location, is a form of transferring a foreign civil-status document, which is the proof of an event and its registration, to the civil-status register and consists of a faithful and literal transfer of the content of this document, both linguistically and formally, without any interference in the spelling of the names and surnames of the persons indicated in this document. The transcription is also performed by the head of the Civil Registry Office (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego).
It should be emphasized that while the process of confirmation of Polish citizenship for our Clients is underway, we simultaneously transcribe their civil status documents (births, marriages, and divorces). When the Polish citizenship confirmation proceeding ends with a positive decision, to apply for a Polish passport it is required to also provide all necessary civil status records already registered by the Polish Civil Registry Office.
Below you can find a couple of samples of the most recent versions of Polish birth certificates and Polish marriage certificates:
Sample of a new Polish birth certificate
Sample of an older version of Polish birth certificate
Please keep in mind the above version of the Polish birth certificate is still valid and in use. If you have your original Polish birth certificate looking like the above document, you can easily use it while applying for a Polish passport and there is no need to obtain a new duplicate as long as your Polish birth certificate is in good and readable condition.
Sample of a new Polish marriage certificate
Sample of an older version of Polish marriage certificate
Please keep in mind the above version of the Polish marriage certificate is still valid and in use. If you have your original Polish marriage certificate looking like the above document, you can easily use it while applying for a Polish passport and there is no need to obtain a new duplicate as long as your Polish marriage certificate is in good and readable condition.