The acquisition of Polish citizenship by confirmation may be adversely affected by several factors, such as the impossibility of proving the Polish citizenship of an ancestor, non-fulfillment of the conditions for the acquisition of Polish citizenship by any of the persons in the line of inheritance of citizenship or loss of citizenship by any of those persons.
Difficulties in proving the possession of Polish citizenship through ancestry are usually caused, on the one hand, by the fact that the person interested in obtaining Polish citizenship does not possess any documents of the ancestor that were created in Poland before his/her emigration or in connection with it, and, on the other hand, by the fact that, especially when the emigration took place before World War II, the resources of the Polish archives, though rich, are nevertheless incomplete – the war destruction also covered materials coming from state offices, including civil registration books. This factor, however, is relative – the catalog of evidentiary means used to prove Polish citizenship in the process of its confirmation is open, so there is no formal limitation in the scope of materials that can be used. On the other hand, one must remember that the Voivode considers the case for Polish citizenship confirmation within the framework of free evaluation of evidence, i.e. he decides on his own which evidence he deems credible, based on his knowledge, experience, and logical reasoning.
Failure to fulfill the conditions for acquisition or loss of Polish citizenship by any of the ancestors in the direct line of inheriting citizenship is, in turn, a factor that has a negative impact on the possibility of obtaining Polish citizenship by its confirmation.
At this point, it should be noted that every significant past event from the point of view of Polish citizenship must be evaluated from the point of view of the regulations that were in force at the time when it occurred. As an example, a person who derives Polish citizenship from her great-grandfather must first prove that the great-grandfather held Polish citizenship, but also that neither the great-grandfather, grandfather, parent nor herself lost citizenship. In such a situation it means a ‘”journey’” through all Polish citizenship regulations: the Acts of 1920, 1951, and 1962.
From the contemporary point of view, the 1920 Act on Citizenship of the Polish State makes the conditions of acquiring Polish citizenship by birth the most complicated. Polish citizenship was obtained by birth, but depending on the marital origin of the child, the child acquired the citizenship of the father (a legitimate child) or the mother (an illegitimate child). The next Act on Polish Citizenship in 1951 did not contain the above distinction: citizenship was acquired by birth, and it was sufficient that only one of the parents held Polish citizenship. The next Act of 1962 regulated the issue of acquiring Polish citizenship in a similar way. However, an additional provision was introduced, stipulating that changes in the determination of a person or citizenship of one or both parents were taken into account when determining the child’s citizenship if they occurred within one year from birth. The practical aspect of the regulation in terms of its negative impact on the possibility of acquiring citizenship sometimes concerns children who derive Polish citizenship from a father who is not their mother’s husband; the acquisition of citizenship then depends on the moment when the child was acknowledged by the father.
While the regulations currently in force provide for renunciation of Polish citizenship as practically the only possibility of losing it – i.e. the loss as a result of a declaration of will by a Polish citizen, which additionally has to be accepted by the President of the Republic of Poland, the previous regulations included a wider catalog of factual and legal events that resulted in the loss of citizenship.
Polish authorities to getacquire foreign citizenship and its actual acquisition that Polish citizenship was lost.
Moreover, with regard to a child whose only one parent held Polish citizenship, the parents were granted the right to choose either the father’s or the mother’s citizenship – if they used it in favour of the citizenship of the parent who was not a Polish citizen, then the child, followingin accordance with the regulations, lost Polish citizenship.
At this point, it should also be noted that the Polish Citizenship Acts were not the only source of regulations that which could result in losing Polish citizenship. Separate and requiring an individual separate discussion are the grounds resulting from international agreements to which Poland was a party.
According to the Act on Citizenship of the Polish State of 1920, the following should be excluded:
– acquiring foreign citizenship – unless the person acquiring foreign citizenship did so with the permission of the relevant Polish authorities or was subject to compulsory military service in Poland in accordance with Polish regulations;
– performing a public function in a foreign country;
– entry into military service in a foreign country;
Subsequent acts on Polish citizenship of 1951 and 1962 sanctioned the loss of Polish citizenship primarily by acquiring foreign citizenship after having obtained permission from the appropriate Polish authorities. This means that the mere acquisition of foreign citizenship did not result in the loss of Polish citizenship – it was only after receiving the consent of the Polish authorities to get foreign citizenship and its actual acquisition that Polish citizenship was lost.
Moreover, with regard to a child whose only one parent held Polish citizenship, the parents were granted the right to choose either the father’s or the mother’s citizenship – if they used it in favor of the citizenship of the parent who was not a Polish citizen, then the child, following the regulations, lost Polish citizenship.
At this point, it should also be noted that the Polish Citizenship Acts were not the only source of regulations that could result in losing citizenship. Separate and requiring an individual discussion are the grounds resulting from international agreements to which Poland was a party.