Pole’s Card is a document stating adherence to the Polish Nation. As of July 2019, it has expanded and is being issued in every country. It is no longer limited to citizenship of only former post-Soviet republics, as it was before. Pole’s Card is issued by the consul, and for citizens of Belarus also by the Voivode of Podlasie on the territory of Poland.
A condition of issuing a Pole’s Card is a Polish origin, that means, that one of the parents or grandparents or two great-grandparents were of Polish nationality or had Polish citizenship. At least basic knowledge of the Polish language and the cultivation of Polish traditions and culture is also required. If there is no proof of a Polish origin, the foreigner may submit a certificate of a Polish or Polonia organization confirming active involvement in activities for Polish language or culture or Polish national minority for at least 3 years.
Holding a Pole’s Card neither confirms Polish citizenship nor entitles foreigner to cross the border without a valid visa. However, the Pole’s Card makes it much easier to stay in Poland and supports holders in maintaining their connection with Poland and its culture.
Benefits of Pole’s Card:
- no consular fees when obtaining a visa;
- no work permit required;
- possibility of doing business in Poland;
- free education system;
- free healthcare;
- the possibility to apply for Polish citizenship after one year of permanent residence permit on the basis a Pole’s Card;
- visiting state museums for free;
- a foreigner may first apply for funds from the Polish state budget or from the budget of local authorities in Poland intended to support Poles abroad.
The privileges described above cannot be applied if the foreigner has obtained a permanent residence permit or Polish citizenship, because in these cases the Pole’s Card expires by law and should be returned while collecting the positive decision about permanent residence or citizenship.
If a foreigner has a Polish origin and intends to stay in Poland permanently, it is definitely worth getting the Pole’s Card before moving to the country, because it makes it easier for a foreigner to live in Poland.