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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • LEGAL AFFAIRS

  • Table of Contents
    1. Apostille
    2. Child Support
    3. Vital Records Retrieval
    4. Divorce
    5. Marriage at the Consulate General
    6. Recognition of Paternity
    7. Forename and surname change
    8. National Criminal Register
    9. Transportation of arms and ammunitions

     


    1. APOSTILLE
    On August 14th 2005, the Republic of Poland joined the international Convention (concluded on October 5th 1961 in the Hague) abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents by diplomatic representatives and consular officers. By now more than 100 countries have ratified the Convention, including almost every Member State of the European Union, as well as the United States of America, Russia and Israel.
    Therefore, under the Convention, Polish Consular Offices will not accept the following documents to be legalized:
    1. Judiciary documents (e.g. divorce records, adoption documents etc.)
    2. administrative documents (e.g. certificates of birth, certificates of marriage)
    3. notarized documents
    4. official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity

    The aforementioned American documents will be considered legal in Poland on the basis of the certification that the Convention calls the ‘Apostille’.

    The issuing procedures and requirements for the Apostilles vary in individual states. Therefore, the Consulate strongly encourages to ask individual state offices for information in order to avoid possible mistakes and the waste of time. We would also like to inform you that the Consulate General still authenticates documents: signatures, translations and copies of the original documents.

     

    2. CHILD SUPPORT
    Information on maintenance claims against person living within the United States of America.

    The basis for pursuing maintenance claims:

    The Republic of Poland and the United States have not signed any convention concerning maintenance issues. Accordingly, the United Nations drafted the New York Convention of  June 20th , 1956 on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance. Poland ratified this Convention and therefore is one of its parties. The U.S. did not adhere to the Convention; therefore, the procedures laid down in the Convention cannot be applied.
    In September 1988, on the basis of the American Association of Child Support  conference in New Orleans on the enforcement of American Courts’ judgments on child support  cases, Polish Minister of Justice adopted a declaration (with focus on reciprocity principle) on recognition of foreign judgments in child support  cases. As an answer to this declaration, several Departments of Justice (see states below) adopted the declaration (with focus on reciprocity principle as well) on recognition of Polish judgments on child support  cases. It is, however, necessary to mention that application procedures described later may also apply in case of the states which did not adopt this declaration.   
     Therefore, the Minister of Justice of Poland assigned the task of accepting the child support applications to the Presidents  Judges of the Regional Courts as of 15 November 1988.  
    Application procedures
    The recovery of maintenance from the person living within the United States of America concerns only child support applications. In exceptional cases, the Court may order spouse maintenance provided that this application was submitted with the child support application.
    In case when a child out of wedlock applies for the maintenance, it is necessary to submit Court’s decision on paternity establishment or recognition of paternity . According to the American law, child support  can be ordered on the basis of a notary declaration filed by the child’s mother under penalty of perjury stating the truthfulness of the Defendant’s paternity. The Court, however, may reject such a declaration if it is not confirmed by the Defendant. Therefore, the Court’s decision on paternity establishment is necessary.
    The application may include the eligible persons’ request for ordering current and overdue maintenance payments, including benefits from Child Support  Fund which can be claimed for in a separate application. An appropriate  department of Social Insurance Company (ZUS) should be indicated.
    As to the form of application and additional documentation, it is necessary to address the Regional Court which the child is subjected to. Having completed the application, the Regional Court sends it directly to the appropriate State Court in the U.S.

    Proceedings
    Having analyzed the motion for recognition  of the judgment issued by a  Polish court, an American State Court registers it and sends a notice to the defendant (obligor). After the American State Court issues a proof of acknowledgement about acquainting with the contents, this decision can be considered a judgment issued by the American Court with all the legal consequences for the defendant (obligor). This also means that the defendant  is granted the rights to defend and appeal. Therefore, it is impossible both for District Courts in Poland and Consulates of Poland to determine the exact time by which the claim will be processed, i.e. when the child support  will be paid.

     Although the problem of legalizing the Polish Courts’ decisions on adoption cases concerning obligors living within the U.S. seems to have been solved, the procedures of enforcement may vary in different   states. The child maintenance is enforced by the Child Support Services located in every state. We strongly encourage to contact them in case of any questions or problems.
    The states that adopted the declaration (with focus on reciprocity principle as well) on recognition of Polish Courts’ judgments on maintenance cases:

    Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

     

    3. VITAL RECORDS RETRIEVAL

    The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles regrets to inform you that under the newly enacted Consular Law, it will no longer be able to provide assistance in retrieving vital statistics records from Poland for official purposes.

    If you wish to obtain a vital record from Poland, please contact directly the proper Office of Vital Records in Poland.

    The list of Offices of Vital Records in several towns/cities can be located at: http://www.usc.pl/zasieg

     

    4. DIVORCE
    THE RECOGNITION OF A JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE GRANTED BY A COURT IN THE UNITED STATES
    Judgment of divorce may be submitted:
    • before a Regional Court personally
    • by a permanent resident of Poland. In this case it is required to submit a notarized  power of attorney to 1) bring an application on recognizing judgment of divorce on behalf of the principal 2) represent them before Court.
    Judgment of divorce issued before  July 1st 2009
     
     Judgment of divorce issued before July 1st  2009 should be submitted in a Regional Court having jurisdiction over the seat of the party or applicant; if this is not possible, the application should be submitted before the Regional Court of the capital city of Warsaw.  For a foreign judgment to be recognized, it is necessary to submit:
    • application
    • the original judgment of divorce with its translation and Apostille
    • Certificate of Non-Appeal with its translation and Apostille
    • the copy of applicant’s Polish passport
    • personal data of a Proxy in Poland
    • original certificate of marriage (if registered in Poland)
    OR the copy of American certificate of marriage with its translation
    the applicant’s (or former spouse) statement  granting a consent to recognize the judgment. The signature of the former spouse shall be authenticated by a notary public


      OR guardian for an absent person when the applicant does not know the address of the party to the proceeding (kurator dla nieobecnego)


    Judgment of divorce after 1 July 2009
     
    Judgment of divorce issued afterJuly 1st  2009 is recognized by the virtue of law. The following documents should be submitted in the Bureau of Civil Records that issued the marriage certificate :
     
    • application
    • original judgment of divorce with its translation and Apostille
    • Certificate of Non-Appeal with its translation and Apostille
    • personal data of a Proxy in Poland POBIERZ pełnomocnictwo do doręczeń
    • the copy of the marriage certificate (if the marriage was registered in Poland)
    OR the application and documents needed to register foreign certificate of marriage

     

    5. MARRIAGE AT THE CONSULATE GENERAL
    The marriage in the Consulate can be solemnized only between Polish Nationals. To perform marriage at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, the following documents are required:

    • Birth certificates of both spouses; dissolution or annulment of marriage (if married before) e.g. certificate of marriage with annotations about divorce, spouse’s certificate of death
    • Polish passport or ID
    • both witnesses’ copy of proof of identity
    • fee (THE TABLE OF CONSULAR FEES) which includes written assurances ("Zapewnienie") that there are no reasons why the marriage should not be solemnized; a statement concerning  name after marriage; drafting a protocol of marriage; transfer of documents to the country and delivery of the documents to the spouses.
    The date of marriage can be set only after 30 days after assuring that there are no obstacles  why the marriage should not be contracted,  The assurances shall be made personally in the Consulate. Witnesses should be present only during the ceremony.

     

    6. RECOGNITION OF PATERNITY

    Pursuant to Article 73 of the Polish Family and Guardianship Code, there are legal procedures of recognizing paternity. If it is not presumed that mother’s spouse is the child’s father or if mother’s spouse  had the paternity denied by the court, the paternity can be recognized either through a procedure or by virtue of decision of a competent Family Court. The biological father  cannot recognize the paternity if proceedings of the establishment of paternity are pending. Paternity towards the child older than 18 cannot be recognized. However, paternity towards the nasciturus can be recognized.
    If at least one of the parents is a Polish national , biological father should issue an appropriate statement before the Consul and in this way paternity can be recognized.
    The child’s mother should grant consent to recognize paternity immediately after the fact of the recognition. If the mother is not present while the biological father is making statement before the Consul, she should grant consent to recognize paternity  within next 3 months before the Consul or the Head  of the Bureau of Vital  Records. While making a statement of  recognition of paternity , parents both decide about the child’s last name.

    Required documents:

     1. The mother who has already been in matrimony should submit:
    a. A marriage certificate with annotation about the divorce OR legally binding decision of a Court about separation (for women who stay in separation)
    b. A marriage certificate with annotation about annulment OR transcript of final and legally binding decision of a Court in this regard
    c. Shortened transcript of death certificate of the spouse (for widows)
    d. Shortened transcript of marriage certificate with annotation about separation or legally binding decision of a Court on separation (for women who stay in separation);

    2. final and legally binding decision about the denial of paternity in case when father’s name was included in the child’s birth certificate indicating him as the spouse of the mother BUT not as the biological father of the child;
    3. in case of recognizing nasciturus, the mother should provide a dating scan;
    4.full transcript of the recognized child’s certificate of birth;
    5.available for inspection: parents/father’s proof of identity.

     

    7. FORENAME AND SURNAME CHANGE
    • A  Polish national  can submit a written application for a name change to the Head  of the Bureau of Vital Records that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s last place of residence in Poland. If the place of residence is not determined, the application should be submitted to the Head of the Bureau of Vital Records for the capital city of Warsaw. Person living abroad can submit the application through Consulate General of the Republic of Poland.
    According to the law:
    • the change of forename includes the change for a different forename or the change of spelling;
    • the change of surname includes the change for another surname or the change of spelling; as well the change concerning inflection (female or male inflection);
    • a spouse and an ancestor of the applicant can be considered a family member;
    A person’s name can be changed if:
    • previous name is disparaging;
    • the applicant has been using a different name for many years;
    • forename or surname was illegally changed;
    • the applicant uses a name that is legal according to domestic law of the country in which the applicant lives and of which s/he is a citizen.

    The change of surname is impossible when the applicant wants to change it for a historic one, for a  name of an outstanding merit for the cultural, political, social or military activity (the exceptional case is when the applicant is related to the family bearing the abovementioned type of name).


    Children before the age of 18 are subject to all surname changes made by their parents. If one parent changes his/her surname and then wants his/her children to bear it, s/he should have the other parent’s consent. If the child attained the age of 13, s/he has to grant consent for the change of his/her name.

    Required documents that should be submitted to the Consulate:
    • wniosek [application]
    • full transcript of Birth Certificate
    • full transcript of Marriage Certificate
    • full transcripts of minor child’s birth certificate IF s/he is subject to surname change made by their parents
    • valid Polish passport
    • if the name was changed by virtue of legally binding judgment within the United States – the transcript of the judgment is issued by the Clerk of the Court as well as its translation into Polish
    • other documents justifying the change of the name

    ATTENTION: All foreign documents should be translated into Polish
    FEES:
    • FEE for transferring of the application to the appropriate Head of the Bureau of Vital Records and delivering the decision - (table of consular fees)
    • FEE for authentication of translations (table of consular fees)
    Legal basis: Act of 17 October 2008 on the change of name (Journal of Laws, No. 220, item 1414)

     

    8. National Criminal Register

    Pursuant to the Act on National Criminal Register, every person and collective entity has the right to know if his/her personal data is included in the National Criminal Register, as well as to obtain all information concerning the interested party or collective entity. Information from the National Criminal Register (including a certificate of clean criminal record) can be obtained at:
    • Information Office of the National Criminal Register
    • Information Points of the National Criminal Register located in common courts throughout the territory of Poland (list available: www.msz.gov.pl)


    To get more information please visit the website of the Department of Justice: www.ms.gov.pl   -> National registers -> National Criminal Register
    (http://bip.ms.gov.pl/pl/rejestry-i-ewidencje/krajowy-rejestr-karny/)

     The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles regrets to inform you that under the newly enacted Consular Law, it will no longer be able to provide assistance in retrieving criminal record from Poland for official purposes.

    9. Transportation of arms and ammunitions
    General information
    Rules concerning arms and ammunitions transportation from abroad and transportation through the Republic of Poland are included in the Act of 21 May 1999 on Arms and Munitions (Journal of Laws of 19 June 1999, No. 53, item 549). Pursuant to the Article 4 the term “arms” includes:
    1. firearms, including combat firearms, hunting guns, arms for sport shooting, gas pistols, blank firing guns, flare guns;
    2. pneumatic weapons,
    3. incapacitating gas propellants,
    4. tools and devices that can be hazardous to people’s life:
    • cold steel weapons such as:
    • blades hidden in items that do not look like weapon;
    • knuckle-dusters and nunchaku;
    • truncheons with heavy and hard finishing material on top or with an insertion made of this type of material;
    • truncheons made of wood or other heavy material reminding a baseball bat;
    • bowstring weapon, e.g. crossbows;
    • Electroshock weapons.

    Transportation of arms and ammunitions to Poland and through Poland is possible only on the basis of a certificate issued by a Consul of the Republic of Poland. These rules apply both to Polish citizens and foreigners.
    On the basis of aforementioned Act and upon the request of eligible parties, the Consul shall issue following types of certificates:
     
    Certificate entitling to transport arms and ammunitions through the Republic of Poland

     Pursuant to Article 34 of the Act on Arms and Munitions, transport of arms and ammunitions through the Republic of Poland is possible on the basis of a certificate issued by a Consul of the Republic of Poland. Person for whom the certificate is issued should be ready to show it to the Border Guard to get a stamp that confirms the crossing of the border.
    The arms license is not required in case of the citizens of the Member States of the European Union who have the European Firearm Pass.


     Certificate entitling Polish Citizens to transport arms and ammunitions to the Republic of Poland for personal use

    Pursuant to Article 34 of the Act on Arms and Munitions, Polish Citizens who want to transport arms and ammunitions to the Republic of Poland for personal use are required to obtain a special certificate issued by a Consul of the Republic of Poland.
     
    Polish citizens (whose permanent place of residence is Poland) willing to transport arms and ammunitions for personal use, are obliged to submit a written statement to the competent customs authority. The forms are available at the competent Customs Office. The forms include questions about personal data that will facilitate to immediately identify both the transporting person and the transported arms and ammunitions.

    In case when the aforementioned person does not have a arms license, s/he is obliged to deposit guns and ammunitions at the competent Customs Office; additionally within 14 days from the day when arms and ammunitions were transported to Poland, the aforementioned person should apply to the competent Police authorities for the firearms license. All the fees concerning deposit should be covered by the interested person.
     
     Certificate entitling to import guns and ammunitions to the Republic of Poland and to export it abroad. 
    Under the Act on arms and ammunitions, Polish nationals living abroad and foreigners have the right to import and export arms and ammunitions. Prior to importing arms, it is required to obtained a certificate issued by the competent Consul of the Republic of Poland. The following persons entitled to import and export guns and ammunitions:
    • Foreigners or Polish nationals living abroad permanently or visiting Poland for the sake of hunting events (hunters, who import arms for the sake of hunting, have the right to import and export no more than 100 pieces of ammunition for each weapon). The gun-shot license is not required in case of the citizens of the Member States of the European Union that have the European Firearm Pass and in case when the imported guns and ammunitions are included in the European Firearm Pass as well as in case when the person is able to state the reason of his/her trip. People for whom the certificate is issued should be ready to show it to the Border Guard to get a stamp that confirms the crossing of the border.

    • Foreigners or Polish citizens who live abroad permanently or visit Poland for the sake of sport events or training courses whose regulations require the use of arms and ammunitions. The invitations must be confirmed by the competent Provincial Police Commander. The gun-shot license is not required in case of the citizens of the Member States of the European Union who have the European Firearm Pass and in case when the imported guns and ammunitions are included in the European Firearm Pass as well as in case when the person is able to state the reason of his/her trip.

    • Foreigners or Polish citizens living abroad permanently who want to import flare guns (if they are a part of board ships and aircraft. The gun-shot license is not required in case of the citizens of the Member States of the European Union who have the European Firearm Pass and in case when the imported arms and ammunitions are included in the European Firearm Pass as well as in case when the person is able to state the reason of his/her trip.

    • the members of diplomatic missions, consular officers and persons equal to them on the basis of international agreements, person for whom arms and ammunitions are an indispensable to fulfill their duties connected with security of the diplomatic missions and consular offices of the foreign states, representative offices of international organizations, members of official foreign delegations as well as other reasons based on international agreements and the reciprocity principle.
    The certificate is an equivalent of arms license and entitles to export arms and ammunitions within 30 days from the day on which arms were imported to Poland. While the certificate is valid, it is legal to buy ammunitions.

     People for whom the certificate is issued should be ready to show it to the Border Guard to get a stamp that confirms the crossing of the border.
    Application
    The transportation of the arms and munitions application  through the Republic of Poland shall contain:
    • surname, forename, place of birth, address of the person responsible for the arms;
    • description of the arms and ammunitions/
    arms: type, name, caliber, year of production, serial number, other identification features, number of magazines
    ammunition: type, caliber, quantity
    • the date of the trip to Poland and the place where the border was crossed;
    • the date of departure from Poland and the place where the border was crossed;
    • means of transportation;
    • address while staying in Poland.
     
    Documents permitting to be in possession of arms license and a confirmation of buying arms, e.g. a receipt, invoice, deed of donation  shall be attached to the application.
    The consular fee may be found in the Table of consular fees.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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