The Act on Polish Citizenship creates the competence of declaratory decisions in cases of confirmation or loss of Polish citizenship. They are unilateral and authoritative statements of the competent public administration body, which in these cases is a governor, in the form of an administrative decision whose object is to state whether the person defined in the decision holds Polish citizenship or has lost it.
Decisions in cases concerning confirmation of having or losing Polish citizenship are issued both in proceedings initiated ex officio and at the request of entitled entities. Apart from the individuals concerned, the entitled persons are also entities that can prove a legal interest or obligation to them.
The application of provisions of administrative law, including those regulating the issue of Polish citizenship, therefore falls within the competence of the public administration bodies. In practice, this means that an individual cannot simply exercise the rights provided for in administrative law provisions or perform the obligations arising therefrom merely because he or she has become acquainted with a provision of that law and has found that he or she meets all the criteria for its application. The norms of administrative law must first be transformed by the public administration body into individual and concrete norms, which take the form of an administrative decision. To use the closest example to us: even if the interested party himself had been familiar with all the laws on Polish citizenship since 1920, and had analyzed all the prerequisites from the point of view of the events resulting in the acquisition of Polish citizenship and the lack of events causing its loss, after that analysis he came to the conclusion: yes, I am a Pole, my ancestor held Polish citizenship and like other persons in the line of inheritance of citizenship he had never lost it – as a result of that statement he could not start using the rights resulting from Polish citizenship. Therefore, it is logical that in order to obtain Polish citizenship confirmation you must file a dedicated application.
One of the most interesting issues in Polish citizenship confirmation proceedings is the stage of proof. The Polish Citizenship Act of 2009 shifted the entire burden of proof onto the applicant. The provisions of the Act state that the applicant has to attach to the application documents confirming the data and information contained therein. In a nutshell, this means that all the evidence supporting the circumstances set out in the application in such cases should be collected by the applicant himself even before the application is filed, and attached to the application in a complete form.
Such administrative proceedings can be said to be divided into two parts.In the first part, the authority, based on the information and attached documents, will check whether the ancestor from whom you derive your citizenship had Polish citizenship at all. This is done by relating your situation (that of your ancestor) to the Polish citizenship laws then in force.
The second part of the proceedings is to rule out any circumstances leading to the loss of Polish citizenship by your ancestor.
If, in the first part of the proceedings, the province governor finds that your actual possession of Polish citizenship has been confirmed, and then all circumstances leading to the loss of Polish citizenship have been ruled out, at the very end you will receive a decision confirming that you hold Polish citizenship.