The restoration of Polish citizenship was initiated by the Act on Polish Citizenship of 2 April 2009. Therefore, the restoration of Polish citizenship may be applied for only from the date of entry into force of the Act, id est 15 August 2012. 

The restoration of Polish citizenship may be requested by those persons who previously had Polish citizenship, but lost it before 1 January 1999 under the applicable acts regulating the acquisition and loss of Polish citizenship. 

In order to restore Polish citizenship, an application should be submitted to the minister in charge of internal affairs. The application should be appended with all documents confirming the fact that in the past the foreigner was a Polish citizen and lost his/her Polish citizenship under the applicable acts on Polish citizenship. 

Before issuing a decision, the minister in charge of internal affairs requests the Police Commander-in-Chief, the Head of the Internal Security Agency and, if necessary, other authorities to provide information on whether the restoration of Polish citizenship does not constitute a threat to national defence or security or the protection of public security and order and whether the foreigner who submitted the application for the restoration of Polish citizenship did not act to the detriment of Poland, in particular its independence and sovereignty, or violated human rights. 

It should be emphasised that the acquisition of Polish citizenship takes place on the day on which the decision to restore Polish citizenship has become final. The decision restoring Polish citizenship is an ex nunc decision which means that it has implications for the future

Imagine a situation in which the proverbial Jan Kowalski applies for the restoration of Polish citizenship as he lost his Polish citizenship in 1950 due to the acquisition of citizenship of a foreign country. Following the procedure, the minister in charge of internal affairs concludes that Jan Kowalski was previously a Polish citizen and then, by a decision of 2018, he restores Kowalski’s citizenship.

In the light of the foregoing, the question arises whether the son of Jan Kowalski, born in 1980, also acquired Polish citizenship at the moment of restoring citizenship of his father. Bearing in mind the fact that the decision restoring Polish citizenship is an ex nunc decision, the son of Jan Kowalski could not acquire Polish citizenship because at the time of his birth Jan Kowalski was not a citizen of the Republic of Poland. However, it should be emphasised that the children of Jan Kowalski born following the date of the decision becoming final will acquire Polish citizenship by virtue of law by being born from a father who is a Polish citizen. 

Apl. Adw. Aleksandra Zakrzewska

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