Policy Document

An Act of 7 September 2007 (No. 180, Item 1280) on the Pole Card

Year

2008

Country

Poland

Topic

Migration

Subtopic

Naturalisation & Citizenship

Main implications

The Pole Card was granted to citizens of the states of the former Soviet Union [1]. It declared the Polish ethnicity of people who, due to regulations in their own countries, could not obtain Polish citizenship or permission to reside in Poland. The card was intended to serve as a symbolic confirmation of belonging to the Polish nation (Gorny, Pudzianowska 2010).

To receive the card, the person had to declare his or her affiliation with the Polish nation by (1) proving his or her relationship to Polish culture through a demonstration of at least a basic knowledge of the Polish language (and that he or she considers Polish his or her native language), along with evidence of his or her knowledge and cultivation of Polish traditions; (2) submitting a written declaration of his or her affiliation with 'the Polish nation'; (3) providing evidence that at least one of his or her parents or grandparents, or two great-grandparents, were of Polish nationality; or providing evidence that he or she has been actively involved in Polish linguistic/cultural activities for a period of at least three years.

The card could be also granted to the holders’ children. If only one parent held the card, the consent of the other was necessary (the granting of the card to children who were over age 16 could occur only with their consent).

The cardholder had the right to (1) an exemption/refund of fees related to an application for a visa when entering Poland; (2) an exemption from the obligation to have a work permit; (3) the right to set up a company on the same basis as a Polish citizen; (3) the right to participate in various forms of education; (4) free health care services in case of emergency; (5) a 37 % discount on public transport, and (6) free admission to state museums [2].

The granting of the card did not give the person the right to Polish citizenship, nor to settle in Polish territory. It also did not serve as a document that could be used to cross borders.

The card was issued by the consul or person authorised by him or her for a ten-year period, with a possible further extension of another ten years.

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

People who declared their membership in the Nation of Poland, and who could prove their affiliation with Polish culture.

Read the Law

Original full text source in native language

Dziennik Ustaw z 7 Września 2007 (Nr 180, Item 1280) [Journal of Law, 7 September 2007 (No.180, Item 1280)]

Original full text web source in native language

http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet

Comments & Clarifications

[1] The act defined these countries as the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Estonia, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. [2] In practice, the rights of the cardholder varied depending on whether the person was a citizen of a European Union country (in this case, Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia). Thus, for EU citizens, only two out of six described benefits were of any significance (i.e. the 37 % discount on public transport and the free admission to state museums). The rest were applicable to the cardholder as a citizen of an EU State.

Secondary Literature & Sources

Secondary literature

Gorny, A. & Pudzianowska, D. "EUDO Citizenship Observatory. Country Report: Poland". Robert Schuman Center For Advanced Studies European University, Florence (2010). Available at: http://www.eudo-citizenship.eu/docs/CountryReports/Poland.pdf

Author

Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, Anna Matysiak & Irena Kotowska
Institute of Statistics and Demography
Warsaw School of Economics

Data collected in the framework of the Population and Policy Database

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2012): Policy: "An Act of 7 September 2007 (No. 180, Item 1280) on the Pole Card" (Information provided by Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, Anna Matysiak & Irena Kotowska). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].