How to obtain the Pole’s Card while staying in Poland?

Due to the recent facilitation of obtaining the Pole’s Card for Ukrainian citizens residing in Poland, we present a short guide on how to obtain this document without travelling to Ukraine.

What is the Pole’s Card?

The Pole’s Card is a document confirming belonging to the Polish Nation. In itself, it does not constitute a residence title (permanent residence or citizenship), it does not entitle to cross the border without a visa. But! Its holder enjoys a number of rights.

Who can apply for a Pole’s Card?

You will be granted a Pole’s Card in Poland if you declare that you are a member of the Polish Nation and meet the following conditions together:

  1. you demonstrate your connection to Polishness through at least a basic knowledge of the Polish language, which you consider to be your mother tongue, as well as knowledge and cultivation of Polish traditions and customs;
  2. in the presence of the Provincial Governor, or an employee designated by him/her, you will make a written declaration of your affiliation to the Polish Nation;
  3. you can prove that you are of Polish nationality or that at least one of your parents or grandparents or two of your great-grandparents were of Polish nationality, or present a certificate from a Polish or Polish-American organisation confirming your active involvement in activities promoting the Polish language and culture or the Polish national minority for at least the last three years;
  4. neither you nor your ancestors were repatriated from Poland;
  5. you do not have Polish citizenship or a permanent residence permit in Poland.

A Pole’s Card may be granted to a person with stateless status in Ukraine.

Where to submit an application?

According to the latest legislation, Pole’s Cards will be issued by Provincial Governors*. As a result, you will be able to apply for a Pole’s Card at your nearest Provincial Office.

Applying for and issuing the card is free of charge.

How to prove Polish origin?

Examples of evidence: documents issued by Polish state or church authorities, as well as by the authorities of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, concerning the applicant or his/her parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.

Examples: Polish identity documents, identity documents indicating Polish nationality, civil status certificates and baptismal certificates confirming Polish nationality, documents confirming military service in the Polish Army confirming Polish nationality, documents on the rehabilitation of a deported person with an entry on his Polish nationality, documents confirming the persecution of a person because of his/her Polish origin and others.

How to demonstrate knowledge of the Polish language?

The applicant for the Pole’s Card demonstrates knowledge of the Polish language by submitting a certificate of passing an examination in Polish as a foreign language before a state examination board, a certificate of graduation from a school or university in Poland or a certificate of graduation from a school abroad with Polish being the language of instruction.

In the absence of the above-mentioned documents, the knowledge of Polish will be assessed during the interview by the Provincial Governor.

What does having a Pole’s Card entail?

Example entitlements:

  1. Exemption from the work permit requirement,
  2. undertaking and exercising economic activity under the same conditions as Polish citizens,
  3. enjoying free primary, secondary and university education on the same basis as Polish citizens, with the simultaneous possibility of applying for scholarships for foreigners studying and studying in Poland,
  4. in emergencies to receive free health care in Poland,
  5. 37% discount on rail travel,
  6. free entrance to state museums.

* Ordinance of the Council of Ministers of July 1, 2022 amending the Ordinance on the Designation of the Provincial Governor Competent for Conducting Proceedings for Granting or Extending the Validity of the Pole’s Card.