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Registration of Foreign Birth Certificate in Poland Posted by on Nov 18, 2009 in Culture

Today we have a guest post by our favorite guest blogger, Barbara, about how to register your foreign birth certificate in Poland. All explained very clearly step by step in an easy to follow manner. This process is very important if you are planning to confirm your Polish citizenship.

So, read on and take notes (or simply print this entry).

And Barb – thank you so much for this!!!

Anna recently inquired about the status of my confirmation of Polish citizenship application (potwierdzenie posiadania obywatelstwa polskiego). I told her that it was probably going to take another 6 to 8 months before my case would be concluded. I chose to engage a lawyer in Warsaw to act on my behalf and to submit the required paperwork and applications directly.

While in Poland this summer, I decided to move ahead with an intermediate step in the passport application process: the (successful) registration of my foreign birth certificate (umiejscowienie zagranicznego aktu urodzenia) in the Office of Vital Statistics (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) in Warsaw.

People that were born abroad and currently live abroad have their applications handled by the USC office in Warsaw:
Urząd Stanu Cywilnego – Warszawa Śródmieście
Adres: ul. Andersa 5,
00-281 Warszawa

tel.: 022 227 40 00,
fax: 022 227 40 06

The registration of foreign birth certificates can obviously be handled by any Polish consulate. The consular requirements vary slightly by nation (check details with your relevant consulate), but generally involve:

  • i) submitting an original certified birth certificate (“extended or long form”);
  • ii) ensuring that the original document:
  1. a) bears an Apostille stamp, where applicable (Anna’s comment – I can’t stress enough how important this Apostille bit is!!! without it your documents may turn out to be totally useless), or
  2. b) undergoes “legalization” by the Consul verifying the authenticity of the underlying documents;
  • iii) translating the document into Polish by a sworn translator;
  • iv) having the Polish consulate officially certify (urzędowo poświadczone) the accuracy of each page of the translation;
  • v) filling out the appropriate form (wniosek) and
  • vi) paying the associated fees (opłaty)—about three times the amount charged in PL. Note: payment by credit card is not accepted. Also, your original U.S./Canadian/UK document is NOT returned.

Et voila, three original copies of your Polish birth certificate (polski akt urodzenia) will be available for pick up at the consulate in about 3 months time.

Now, before folks begin to protest that they didn’t have to follow the above process, I counter with the incredibly useful phrase “co kraj, to obyczaj”. You will find the above process described on most Polish consulate websites… just for fun let’s call them “requirements”. The execution of said requirements can vary… A LOT. This is Poland after all. There may even be requirements that are rigidly adhered to that are not even listed anywhere. Repeat after me: “this is Poland after all” (catchy mantra, isn’t it?).

Alternatively, you can do this in person or have a permanent Polish resident act as your proxy; with proper “certified” authorization (za pośrednictwem osoby upoważnionej). Close family members do not require a power of attorney (pełnomocnictwo). (Anna’s comment – sometimes, however, they may – it all depends on what pani urzędniczka decides on any given day, my dad needed pełnomocnictwo to pick up my marriage certificate.)

In Poland, the process is as follows:
Translation:

Your original birth certificate MUST be translated by a “sworn translator” (tłumacz przysięgły). Your original is attached to the translation and you must sign the translator’s official log book. Translation fees come out to about 100 . Easy step. (Anna’s comment – translate your documents AFTER they’ve been confirmed with the Apostille thingie, otherwise the translation may not be accepted!)

Direct Submission:

The Warsaw USC office is new, spacious and well organized. Upon entry, get a number from one of the interactive kiosks (touch the description beside number 10 on the display to get a ticket). Plant yourself in a chair in front of office 10 and wait/watch for your number to be called. When called into the office, present your documents and fill out the required form. The pleasant clerk (urzędniczka) will help you with the form. She will ask you who will pick up your certificate in 30 days time (the documents cannot be mailed). If you can’t pick it up in person, you can designate a person to do it for you (name, address, phone number required) for a small fee. She will instruct you to step next door (office 11) and pay the necessary fee in cash. The fee is 50 + an additional 8 if you have designated another person for pick up.
Et voila, in 30 days time your three original short-form certificates will be ready for pick up. This step went very smoothly for me.

Anna’s comment – the above process applies to adults, in her next post Barb will explain how it works for those under the age of 18.

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Comments:

  1. Basia:

    Small Correction: for consular assisted applications, the translation does not have to be executed by a sworn translator (although it is better if it is, because you can avoid the expensive step of having the consulate officially certify the translation).

    Note: the system of Apostille does not apply to all countries. It is necessary in the U.S., but is not necessary/unavailable in Canada (replaced by direct “legalization” at the consulate).

  2. Anna Ikeda:

    Basia, I added that bit about sworn translations for the consular process, because I know people whose documents have been rejected by the consul because of that. If there is no system of sworn translators in your country, then the consulate may have a list of “approved” translators they use for such purposes, or then may agree to accept a non-sworn translation and then certify its authenticity. Or in some cases, the consulate may actually do the translation in-house and then charge you an arm and a leg for it.

    So, basically, like you said, co kraj to obyczaj. 😉

  3. basia:

    Anna,
    You’re absolutely right of course. I would hate to leave the impression that the rules/requirements are strictly followed, enforced, practiced…:)

    I think you have to approach the situation with the attitude that anything can happen. And be pleasantly surpised when everything goes smoothly.

  4. Isabelle:

    Would you be able to recommend a lawyer that could assist me in confirming my Polish citizenship and obtaining a Polish passport? Thank you.

  5. Basia:

    Hi Isabelle:

    I would be happy to offer two recommendations for Warsaw based lawyers: both were on my “short” list during my due diligence.

    I don’t want to break/bend any rules by posting that information in a public way.

    Anna<can you provide me with Isabelle’s e-mail or provide her with mine so we can talk directly?

    Thanks

  6. Isabelle:

    Anna, I would be OK with you sharing my email with Basia. Thanks so much to both of you.

  7. Mary:

    would i be able to get the name of that attorney in poland as well. thanks!

  8. Michelle:

    Hi Anna,

    How would I approach this from Australia?

    I have already received a confirmation of citizenship via my grandparents.

    I obviously cannot go to Poland at this time, and have no family or connections in Poland.

    Also, will I REALLY lose my original Australian birth certificate to Poland?

    Many Thanks
    Michelle

  9. basia:

    Hi Michelle:
    “lose my original Australian birth certificate”?
    Here in Canada, I just ordered a certified copy of my long form birth certificate from the appropriate government agency.
    I obviously had it translated as per blog entry above and attached both to the appropriate form.
    You will NOT receive your Australian birth certificate back.

    If in doubt about the steps, visit the Polish consulate nearest you in OZ. They will obviously do this service for you, but you will pay for the privilege.
    regards

  10. Henry:

    Anna, could you ask Basia to contact me directly with her recommended attorneys in Warsaw?

  11. Javier:

    Hi Basia,

    I also would like contact information for such lawyers. I am from Argentina and recently got my confirmation.

    Thank you!

  12. Kate:

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for sharing this information – it is really useful!

    I am planning to go to Warsaw next week to register my birth in person. Do you know if I can register my brother’s birth as well – without him being there? He lives in Australia and I am in London, hence me planning to register both our births in person.

    Also, what do you mean by signing the sworn translator’s official log book? I have been dealing with my translator through email and post so I am not sure about being able to sign a log book…?

    If anyone does need a sworn translator, I can recommend one in London. The Polish Consulate in London appear to be happy with the sworn translations that I have given them. The translator asks you to scan documents, email them to her and then she translates them, attaches the scans and posts them to you (with her official stamp on all documents, etc). Anna – Feel free to email me if anyone enquires after her.

    Thanks,

    Kate

  13. Livia:

    I don’t know if you can help me… my father in law emigrated to Venezuela many years ago. We are now in the process of obtaining citizenship (Poland), and one of the requirements is the bithcertificate of the Polish citizen (in this case, my father in law). Unfortunately, he died some years ago and we don’t have it. Do you know what we could do to obtain it.

  14. Kate:

    Hi,

    I went to Warsaw last week to register my birth and thought I would update based on my experience. The instructions were really helpful – thank you!

    The machine that issues tickets has now changed and does not have number options. I just followed words similar to “register” and “metryka urodzenia” for birth certifcate. Sure enough, I was called to Desk 10.

    The lady wouldn’t help me because she didn’t speak English and I can’t speak Polish. She asked a colleague to explain that they don’t have English speakers in their office to assist (even though he clearly spoke English) and that I was unable to do anything unless I had a Polish speaker with me to translate and fill in the appropriate forms.

    I was quite upset, having spent 250 pounds going there just to register my birth. Luckily for me, a Polish-American woman, who was there on her own personal matters, overheard the conversation and intercepted me as I was leaving the building. She offered me some help and came to my rescue, of which I was extremely grateful!

    There was one short form to fill out and they also took copies of my Australian passport. I had to make a declaration (in Polish) on the copy of my passport saying that I gave permission for them to keep a copy of it on their file. I also had my Polish Citizenship certificate (which she did ask for and took a copy of) and my Australian birth certificate (which she kept and I won’t see again), as well as a sworn translation of it. Once all the paperwork was done I then had to go to the room next door to pay the 50zl.

    I also lodged documents for my brother, but because I didn’t have a copy of his passport, I have to take a copy with me when I return to collect the Polish birth certificates (I have asked him to get a JP to verify it against the original, which I will translate…just in case!!). He had written a letter giving me permission to lodge it for him (and I had it sworn translated). He hadn’t said I could collect it for him (!) so she said I also need another letter of permission from him to say I can collect it. So…if you lodge documents for others, make sure their letter says that you can lodge it and also pick it up for them!!

    It will be ready in one month. When I return I have been told that I need to take a Polish speaker again as there will be more forms to fill out. I know someone who frequents Warsaw, so she may assist. Either that or I will ask for some help at the hotel I plan on staying at again.

    Anyway, it was a successful outcome but be prepared for some minor bridges to overcome.

    Good luck!

  15. Carroll:

    I would appreciate having the names of the lawyers in Warsaw who could help in the confirmation of Polish citizenship application, please.

  16. Carroll:

    Does anyone know of a good translator or person who lives in Canada (Vancouver prefered) who can assist me in the process of Confirming polish citizenship?
    My mother was born in Poland in 1920 and immigrated to Canada in 1930. I have her original birth certificate, plus the passport of her mother (with my mom listed in it) when they came to Canada). I have my mom’s Canadian citizenship papers. Does anyone know if my mom should first seek confirmation, then I apply for a passport once that is confirmed or should I apply on my own behalf? I was born in Canada.

  17. Ania:

    Hello,
    This is all very great information. Does anyone know if this can only be done in Warsaw or can it also be done in Krakow?

    Thank you,
    Ania

  18. Kate:

    Hi,

    I just thought I would update my earlier post about my experience registering my birth at the office in Warsaw.

    I returned yesterday to collect my Polish birth certificate as well as my brother’s (seven weeks after lodging it at the office in Warsaw).

    I went to the office with a Polish speaker and it was very straightforward. I received three copies of each birth certificate and another document that is used when you need to request more copies of your birth certificate.

    All went according to plan and we were in and out within ten minutes!

    Today I have lodged applications for a PESEL number and my passport. One of the three birth certificates was kept by the Consulate as part of my application.

    Good luck!

  19. Tess:

    I am planning to go to Warsaw this week and need to get my OZ birth certificate translated…does anyone have contact details for a translator there? I am hoping to do it and apply for my PESEL number in order to renew my passport which expires in mid Jan…is it feasible to do this in one working day?

    Also, what are the opening hours of the USC office?

    Many thanks in anticipation of any advice

    Tess

  20. JOANA ESA AKAI:

    Dear Sir/Madam, lam JOANA ESA AKAI born on the 07-05-1990 in poland my mother lost my birth certificate when she was moving to holland in 1990 and l was a baby at that time so l need a help for my new birth certificate the office where my birth was registered in poland. please my father and mother assylum under the red cross in poland in 1990 and my father die when l was a baby. please l need your urgent help about this matters

  21. christine hill:

    I would like to trace my father’s family in poland. We do not have a birth certificate for him. His name was Wladyslaw Andra Pawlina born 21 march 1915. His father was also Wladyslaw and his mother teresa. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. Many thanks. Chris hill

  22. David:

    I would also like the Poland lawyers to manage application

    Thanks

    David

  23. Yvonne:

    Hi my boyfriend is from Poland and we live in Limerick city I’m irish myself but he needs his birth cert and can’t get a hold of it as both of his parents are passed away when he was a young boy and he hasn’t any family over In Poland could ye help us get his birthcert sent to his present address

  24. Translate Birth Certificate:

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  26. Saraphinah:

    Hello there I need your help am Kenyan and my husband is polish living in uk. His planning to go there next week to register our marriage certificate but am not sure what we exactly need as I sent him my passport and birth certificate.
    Can you help me with the sample or format of writing a letter to the appropriate office to request for registration and how long does it take to get your certificate ready as am planning to travel in mid January 2017.
    Thank you

  27. liam:

    hello could any one tell me how long it takes to register foregin birth certificate in poland through a lawyer in poland and what are the requirements