Passports under Polish law

The Polish passport is an official document authorizing the crossing of borders and residence abroad and certifying Polish citizenship, as well as the identity of the person indicated in it in terms of the data the document contains.

Such a concept was introduced by the Law of July 13, 2006 on Passport Documents. Accordingly, we can distinguish three features of the Polish passport.

First, it constitutes proof of the identity of the person to whom it applies. Therefore, a Polish passport can be categorized as an official document, on the basis of which it is possible to establish certain elements of identity.

Second, the passport is proof of the existence of a knot of Polish citizenship.

Third, the passport is a certificate of the right of the country that issued it to exercise diplomatic protection over the holder of such a document.

Polish passport document – issuance and validity

The Law on Passport Documents formulates the right of every Polish citizen to get a Polish passport, while at the same time allowing for the possibility of deprivation or restriction of this right, but only in the cases provided by the law.

The Polish passport document is an official document. It is drawn up in the form described and constitutes evidence of what is officially stated therein.

In the current state of the law, four types of passport documents can be distinguished: passport, temporary passport, diplomatic passport, and service passport of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The passport is the most common of the passport documents provided by the law. It is valid for 10 years from the date of its issuance, while a passport issued to a minor under the age of 13 is valid for only 5 years.

A special passport document is a temporary passport. It has a significantly reduced validity period compared to a passport. It is valid for the period indicated therein, but no longer than 12 months from the date of issue. Temporary passport is issued in cases specified by law.

As a rule, passports and temporary passports in Poland are issued by the Voivode, and abroad by the Consul. As a rule, a fee is charged for the issuance of a Polish passport and a temporary passport.

Those entitled to receive a diplomatic passport include the President of the Republic of Poland, the Speaker and Deputy Speakers of the Sejm, the Speaker and Deputy Speakers of the Senate, the President and Deputy Presidents of the Council of Ministers, ministers, secretaries, and undersecretaries of state, deputies and senators, members of the European Parliament elected in Poland, the President, Deputy President and judges of the Constitutional Tribunal and others.

Family members of most of the above-mentioned eligible persons are also eligible to receive diplomatic passports. As a rule, a diplomatic passport can be used only in the performance of professional duties.

Polish passport documents are in the form of a booklet. Their form is regulated in detail in the Decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration of 16.08.2010 on Passport Documents.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of independence, Polish passports with a personalization page with a revised design and made of rigid polycarbonate, measuring 85×125 and 0.8 mm thick, were introduced in November 2018. On the photo of the holder was added, in the form of a wave, the PESEL number. In addition, a thumbnail of the photo, RFID chip, and biometric passport symbol were placed. The date of birth and PESEL number on the photo are made in relief print. 

At the bottom of the passport page with personal data, the owner’s data is repeated in computer-readable form, which speeds up processing at border points. This record consists of two lines of 44 characters each printed in OCR-B typeface. In addition, the data is supplemented with a check digit for each digital field and a check digit at the end covering most of the data from the previous fields. The surname and first name in this record do not contain Polish diacritics and are not included in the calculation of the final check digit.

It should be mentioned that the issuance of a passport document to a minor requires the written consent of both parents, unless by court decision one of the parents has been deprived of parental authority or this authority has been limited. If the positions of the parents are incompatible or it is impossible to obtain the consent of one of them, the consent for the issuance of a Polish passport is replaced by a family court ruling.

What are the benefits of European Union citizenship?

European Union (EU) citizenship comes with several benefits, although it’s important to note that EU citizenship is derived from the citizenship of a specific EU member state. This means that the citizens of individual member states, such as Poland, automatically become citizens of the European Union upon acquiring national citizenship.

How could Polish citizenship be lost?

While assessing eligibility toward Polish citizenship by descent, we analyse facts confirming that Polish citizenship was held by one of your ancestors, but also, we need to review all the fact and events that took place in your Polish ancestor’s life, that could possibly impact his or her Polish citizenship and cause loss of Polish citizenship.