Step-by-Step Guide: How to get a Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka)

Kristina Volchek
8 min readMay 28, 2019

I this article I will describe my own experience of receiving Karta Polaka (also known as Pole’s Card or Polish Card). To get a Pole’s Card, follow the 7 steps below.

Step 1. Check what is Karta Polaka and if you can apply

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Polish Card is a document confirming belonging to the Polish nation. The Card can be granted to people who do not have Polish citizenship or permission to reside in Poland and who are citizens of the former Soviet Union states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

So, basically, to apply for the Polish Card you should be a citizen of one of the countries listed above. If you met the first portion of requirements, you can proceed to meet the following conditions:

  1. You should know the Polish Language (at least a basic level — so you can understand what the consul is asking) & Polish Culture (holidays, Catholic traditions, rituals, etc.).
  2. You should in the presence of the consul of the Republic of Poland submit a written declaration of belonging to “the Polish Nation” — which is basically signing a document during the interview with the consul.
  3. You should prove that at least one of your parents or grandparent or two great-grandparents were of Polish nationality or had Polish citizenship — which is the easiest way to get a Pole’s card.
  4. Otherwise, you should present an attestation from a Polish diaspora organization acting on the territory of one of the above-mentioned states, confirming that you have been actively involved in Polish linguistic and cultural activities within Polish community of their region for a period of at least the past three years — which is almost impossible to get from a Polish diaspora organization even you’ve been a real Polish activist for at least the past three years.

Step 2. Consider if it’s worth it

So, what’s in it for you? Which bonuses does it give? Is it worth a try?

  • Getting National Visas free of charge;
  • Starting and running a business on the same basis as citizens of Poland;
  • Studying for free and having special conditions on scholarships;
  • Getting free health care services in the states of emergency;
  • 37% discount on public transport omnibus, flier and express rail travel;
  • Free admission to state museums;

Since 2014 you can also settle in Poland and get the permanent residence card. Since 2016 after living in Poland for one year you can acquire Polish citizenship. Since 2017 you can apply for financial assistance for the first 9 months of residence in Poland. Sounds cool, right? 😉

How many people have it? According to this article — in 2016 about 170,000 people were Karta Polaka holders; among them, 76,000 Belarusians and about 70,000 Ukrainians.

Me in Białystok

Step 3. Choose a Polish Consulate Office to apply

My journey with getting Karta Polaka started in November 2018 by trying to book a time slot at one of Polish Consulate offices. I’m originally from Minsk (Belarus), but to apply at Minsk’s office and schedule a meeting with the consul you have to wait at least 6–12 months. So, I’ve decided to apply at Białystok (this option works only for Belarus citizens) where the period of waiting is only three months — so, in November 2018 I was able to schedule an appointment on February 2019.

Speaking of meeting the requirements — that was pretty simple for me: I’m from Belarus, my grandmother was of Polish nationality (it is written down in her birth certificate), I’ve learned the Polish language (I hope I have fluent level 😰), history and religious observances.

So, to register for the interview with the consul I followed this link where you can choose the time & date, book it and receive a confirmation request email.

The confirmation email from Polish Consulate

After confirming the time & date by the link in the email, you will be officially scheduled for chosen time & date. In my case, I was scheduled for February 11, 2019, at 14:30.

Step 4. Prepare yourself & documents confirming compliance with the conditions

The next three months after scheduling the interview were really stressful. Besides, polishing my Polish 😅 and getting into Polish history & traditions, I had to prepare documentation in a proper way.

Since I was going in Białystok instead of Minsk, I should have to translate a bunch of birth certificates into Polish with the help of a certified by The Minister of Justice Belarusian-Polish translator. So, I checked the list of those guys for Białystok here and choose Siegień Bazyli who has a Viber account connected to his phone number. So I can send photos of my documents and get them in Białystok before the interview. The average price for such translation is 20–40 PLN (5–10 USD) per each document.

So, let’s go through the list of required documents to apply:

  • Wniosek — an application form for Pole’s Card which contains information about the applicant (like name, address, citizenship, list of provided documents, etc.) and should be filled out in Polish;
  • Photo of you, 35 x 45 mm, not older than 6 months, without headgear and sunglasses;
  • Originals of identity documents (and their copies);
  • Originals of documents (and their copies) confirming that at least one of your parents or grandparent or two great-grandparents were of Polish nationality or had Polish citizenship;
  • And if you are going the hard way— attestation from a Polish diaspora organization acting on the territory of one of the above-mentioned states, confirming that you have been actively involved in Polish linguistic and cultural activities within Polish community of their region for a period of at least the past three years.

In my case, I prepared the following:

  • My Belarusian passport and its copy;
  • My father’s, grandmother’s and my birth certificates (both originals and copies);
  • Certified translations of all birth certificates into Polish with the certified translator’s seals;
  • Wniosek o przyznanie Karty Polaka (application for Pole’s Card) filled out in Polish;
  • My photo (not older than 6 months).

Step 5. Study Polish language and culture

Thanks to YouTube and plenty of sites containing “Top Karta Polaka interview questions” you can be very well prepared. I can admit, that this was the most stressful part of the whole process. Poland has such a great history, so many wars, so many great people and events, so you can’t just try to remember everything. Moreover, religious traditions are very different from Belarus, so I have to learn all of them too.

Considering the amount of what to learn and the need to update my Polish knowledge, I decided to join some Polish courses. Due to the popularity of Karta Polaka in Belarus, we have special courses that help with both language and Polish culture. I choose the one with positive reviews at Center of Slavic Languages ​​and Cultures which is exactly 3 months long.

While preparing for the interview I found a few helpful websites to help in my journey:

Białystok

Step 6. Go to Polish Consulate Office & survive the interview

Three months later, with my head full of history, culture and traditions I came to Białystok. I visited my certified translator to get my translated birth certifications and started worrying like a student at his first exam.

With hope in my heart, I entered the Podlaski Urząd Wojewódzki w Białymstoku at 14.00 on February 11. Then using my code (received with the confirmation email) I got my ticket from the ticket machine.

The consul was really nice, understanding how nervous are people during the interview, but she was conversing quite fast. Approximate duration of the interview is 15–20 minutes. I was asked the following questions:

  • National Anthem of Poland (telling by heart, not singing);
  • Christmas traditions: 12 dishes and why 12 of them, Chrismas songs, the process of sharing a special wafer when exchanging Christmas greetings, and so on;
  • The reason I applied for Karta Polaka;
  • Public Holidays (dates, history);
  • My favourite historical person;
  • What are the main three symbols of Poland (National Anthem of Polan, Flag and Coat of arms of Poland).

I answered all of them. After the interview, the consul said that I have to check their final decision after April 12 using phone numbers provided on their website.

Białystok

Step 7. Grab your Pole’s Card

Before doing anything in Poland you have to start with a bowl of Żurek (a traditional Polish soup made with zur, a fermented rye mixture made by leaving rye flour and water — along with a garlic clove if you’re feeling fancy — in a jar on the counter for several days and then pouring it into your broth).

Żurek

After getting positive feedback on the phone in April the only thing remaining was to go back to Białystok to take the Card. So, after a bowl of Żurek, I was ready to grab my Karta Polaka. This time you don’t need to book an appointment in advance. I just entered the Polish Consulate Office, choose “Receiving Karta Polaka” on the ticket machine and got my Card. Yep, it was that easy! 😃

Karta Polaka

As you can see from the picture above, it is valid for 10 years from the date of its issuance. That’s all.

Hope your journey with getting Karta Polaka will be successful!

Pani Kristina 😺
UX/UI Designer & Marketing Consultant at Kristina.Marketing 🎯
Co-Founder at Alioned Agency 🔥

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Kristina Volchek

Senior Product Designer, Design Mentor & Career Coach @Kristi.Digital