Do you need Polish citizenship to live in Poland?


For many years we have been getting questions about becoming a Polish citizen. The requests for advice were made through our Forum, via emails, or by our tours’ guests. In the last case these questions were often preceded by words like: “I feel like home here…”, “Now I understand so much better why my grandparents missed the “Old Country””, or ”I have a feeling that my life made a circle and I am back where I belong…”.

The number of inquiries about obtaining Polish citizenship has risen dramatically in recent months. It may be a result of the genealogy research services we started to provide this March, but we are not sure if it is the only reason for the increased interest.

So far, also before 2020, we have managed to help quite a few people in obtaining documents required to submit applications for confirming Polish citizenship. Through the years we have also established working relationships with people who specialize in the legal process of confirmation of Polish citizenship by ancestry.

One of these experts who we have worked with on a regular basis, Katarzyna Kacprzak, prepared guidelines for confirming and obtaining Polish citizenship by descent.

Katarzyna has a 100% success track record. If she accepts the case there is a good chance that she will deliver. 


But is it necessary to be a Polish citizen to live in Poland?

You may have heard of people who decided to move to Poland, for example, from the US. One of such examples is David Piekarczyk and his wife Joan. For more than 13 years now they have been living in Poznan, western Poland. David, although a direct descendant of Poles, is not a Polish citizen yet. He and his wife have a residence permit to live in Poland. David shares his experience, impressions as well as opinions on his blog David Blog Poland .

Although I have never met David personally we met on-line many years ago not long after he moved to Poland. When I asked David if he could write a few words to our readers who might be interested in his experience of living in Poland he readily agreed. Here is what David shared with you:

“Why would you want to move to Poland when you don’t speak the language and don’t really know anybody”? That’s what our kids said to us when we told them in 2006 that we were moving to Poland the next year. It was true what they said. However, I began researching my family history and discovered there was a large related family in Poland I never knew about. My parents never spoke of them. Thus began a long and continuing life adventure. I started writing a blog describing all the our daily activities, the trials and tribulations of obtaining all the documents required, our travels from Poland to different countries, continued family research, residency permits, health insurance, cost of apartments or house buying, big and little problems, and the possibility of Polish citizenship. The last one I am still pursuing. In total, today there are 4,674 blogs since I started writing. Many have changed in prices and requirements since then. Now, thirteen years later, we are glad we made the decision. 

I DO have a search engine on my blog. So, if you are looking for something specific like food shopping, bureaucracy, flats, citizenship, etc., all you have to do is enter a keyword in the search space. It should pull up past blogs that have that word in it. I tried the word bureaucracy and it pulled up 16 blogs going back to 2010. Some keywords to use are: immigration, NFZ, health insurance, food shopping, flats, apartments, documents, citizenship, doctors, hospital, driver’s license, moving, heating, residency permit, temporary resident permit, politics. 

We still see the kids  and grand kids, just that it’s on Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or Facebook. I have helped more than a few other Americans move to Poland by answering their email questions. Poland has changed since our first arrival. We had some trouble communicating because of the language barrier, Now, there are many people speaking English including doctors, dentists and other professions. We have visited 10 countries since moving here. We live in the center of Europe, Berlin is only 2 ½ hours away by car. My biggest advice is, if you are serious about moving, start planning at least one year before you move. In order for things to change, you have to change. We did, my wife and I changed our lives. We moved to Poland.

As you see there are thousands of posts on the blog. As David suggests, you can use the search option in the blog if you want to find out about a specific topic. We did some search for you and extracted links to posts in topics that might interest you. 


General (drivers license, health care, cell phones, temporary/permanent residency permit, safety in Poland)


Social Security Office, IRS (ZUS, US) in PL


pesel number


health care (private and NFZ)


temporary residence permit


why I do it (first-hand experience)



At the end one more piece of information for the majority of you whose ancestors emigrated before 1920. If you reside in Poland on the basis of a permanent residence permit for at least a year, you can also apply for obtaining Polish citizenship if you prove your Polish ancestry, even if your forefathers lived here in the period when Poland didn’t exist on the world map.


I hope we were able to answer some of your questions regarding confirming (or obtaining) Polish citizenship and the possibility of living in the country of your ancestors. 

The current situation also in Poland, especially in recent days, in politics, covid-19, restrictions on moving, is far from rosy. When will it change and in what direction? Nobody knows. But it will not last forever as nothing lasts forever. And as David wrote: “ if you are serious about moving, start planning at least one year before you move”.


Zenon, David, Katarzyna and the PolishOrigins Team

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