My kids and I just applied last week to obtain our Polish Passports. As it turns out, we didn’t have to travel to Los Angeles Consulate office because the consulate office “comes to you”. Yes, to my surprise, there are currently two countries in the world that offer this service to their citizens. Poland and Belgium. Once a year, the main consular office will send representatives to a location or city near you. Just as they came to Houston, Dallas and 14 other cities to offer assistance to any Polish citizen in need of consular services, even passports.
The consular representative workers were incredibly kind and helpful. I just couldn’t believe how they actually go out of their way to help. We brought with us the Polish Birth Certificate (Which is the most important document for passport) and the Polish Confirmation document. They helped us apply for the Pesel Number and two days later, we were able to apply for the passports once the Numbers were available. (Which luckily for us, they were).
So here is in short what we had and how we got it: Polish Confirmation Document and Polish Birth Certificate document was obtained with the attorney’s office in Poland who helped us with the process (Read the rest of the post). Then Pesel number was obtained at the consular office. There is not a “Pesel Document” or paper, they simply apply on your behalf and that’s it. Your Pessel number will show on your passport. That means that all you need is three pictures and a copy of the two documents. That’s all. You can also apply for the Pesel Number any time and I recommend that you that, unless you live near the consulate office, in which case you can apply for Pesel Number and Passport at the same time.
It is finally a reality. I received an email from my dad last week that would show me the face of amazing things to come. It was titled: “Oye el archive anexo” (listen to the attached file)
It would be the first time he sends me a “voice email” and I could notice a little bit of excitement in his voice during the first few seconds of the message.
He knew how important this was for me, and so he said something like:
“I received word from Poland this morning. You and your brother David are finally confirmed Polish Nationals!”
I could barely contain my excitement and decided to call him right away to express my gratitude.
This was, at last, the end of a very long process that he had to deal with for a little over two years. The uphill battle was over, and the victory was his. But it wasn’t easy; and it came with some drama…
According to Polish Nationality Law, those who are descendant of Polish Citizens are considered Polish citizens too. Regardless how many generations had passed. However, every Polish citizen is expected to “confirm” their
citizenship before enjoying any of the benefits of being polish, (applying for passports, etc).
This would have been simple if it weren’t for a little detail: Between the years 1918 and 1951, acquisition of another citizenship caused the loss of Polish citizenship.
My grandmother was born in Częstochowa and my grandfather was born in Będzin. They got married on February 1939 and left Poland before the Second War on April 1939. Then, they went to Afghanistan where my grandfather worked as an engineer and my grandmother as a teacher (Afghanistan was back then a peaceful country ruled by a pro-modern king). There, in Kaboul, my father and my uncle were born. After my grandfather finalized his work contract, my grandparents decided go to Venezuela in 1945, and became Venezuelan citizens in 1951; and therefore, lost their Polish citizenship for few months of difference between dates. This was one bad news I received with a lot of sadness.
It simply meant that my dreams of becoming a polish citizen and the wish of my own grandmother (God bless her soul), who always wanted us to be polish, went straight to waste.
The thing is… sometimes not everything is completely lost. Specially if you have a father who is willing to do anything to help. So it was up to my dad and a very clever attorney in Poland named Krzysztof Banek to find the little “fine print” in the law. That exclusion that says: “A polish male citizen who acquired another citizenship between 1918 and 1951 was obliged to ask permission from the Polish Military Office in order to become citizen of another country. Otherwise, he would still be considered Polish citizen to the eyes of the law (unless he served in a foreign public institution or serviced in a foreign military force).
That meant that my grandfather who had already passed away could “recover” his polish citizenship and therefore, the chain of polish ancestry would not have been broken.
That was one of the most difficult tasks imaginable. My dad went through very anxious times in order to take advantage of this little window of opportunity presented. But that meant he needed to find proof that my deceased grandfather was once Polish, did not served in any military service and that he was his son.
So he made it his burden to slowly and stressfully find documents that were already difficult to obtain for any Venezuelan citizen. Including a letter from the military headquarters in Caracas stating that my grandfather did not serve for them. This is like going to a school, stepping into a principal’s office and say: I need a letter that certifies that I did not studied here”.
This was in fact, the most difficult step. And it almost went wrong because the military office in Venezuela is always very reluctant to help in such matters.
Finally, after several months of diligence, he got the necessary documents and was finally able to recover my grandfather’s citizenship. Then he was able to confirm his own citizenship and therefore mine too. Our polish heritage runs in our blood, and now there is a paper that confirms that.
Now I’m working with the same attorney’s office in Poland (The Law Office of Krzysztof Banek) in order to obtain the confirmation of my children’s citizenship. UPDATE: Done!
This would be then, the best legacy one could receive from his father: The opportunity needed to fulfill my dream.
I’m also studying polish and hoping that one day, we will be living in Poland for good.
My wife loves the idea and I know it will be a great place to raise my kids.
Also, I truly recommend the Law Firm of Krysztof Banek for anyone who needs to go through the process of obtaining the Confirmation of Polish Citizenship since the process is a lot faster than doing it through the Embassy. Good Luck!