How to prepare civil status documents for a family member’s residence permit application?

Under the procedure for granting a residence permit for a temporary stay on the grounds of family reunification, the application and documents are submitted to the relevant provincial office by a family member residing in Poland, although some of the documents must be prepared and sent by a person residing abroad. Furthermore, some of them require proof of conformity with the originals at the Polish embassy.

The greatest challenge is posed by civil status documents (marriage and birth certificates), as they must be formally certified by a consul of the Republic of Poland or/and by the authorities of the country of origin of a person residing outside Poland. This means that the family member residing abroad must ensure that they are properly prepared.

Depending on the country from which the document originates, there are two possibilities for certifying civil status records: apostille or legalisation.

  1. Apostille

    Should the country of origin of the person you wish to reunite with in Poland be a signatory to the Hague Convention – the so-called “Apostille Convention” – it is sufficient that a seal – a clause so called apostille – is placed on the document. It constitutes an authentication of a document drawn up in a particular country and allows it to be used legally in another country.

    Such a certificate is issued by the competent authority of the country from which the document originates – depending on the country, this is most often the equivalent of the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Ministry of Justice (please ascertain the exact authority/office in your country).

  2. Legalisation of documents

    If the relevant country is not a party to the Apostille Convention, a person intending to come to Poland must have his/her civil status documentation legalised.

    This procedure involves first having the document authenticated by the relevant authority of your country (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and then additionally legalised at the Polish embassy by a Polish consul.

    Once the appropriate seals have been obtained in one of the above-mentioned forms, the completed documents must be sent to Poland.

    Once they arrive in Poland, civil status documents must additionally be translated by a Polish sworn translator.

Transcription of the documents

Another option is for the document to be entered in the Polish civil status books in a transcription procedure. This will be particularly beneficial if you encounter difficulties in legalising a document or obtaining an apostille (the civil registry office will only ask for a legalised document if it has doubts about the authenticity of the document). For the purpose of transcription, it is necessary to visit any civil registry office (there is no regionalisation according to place of residence) with the original document and its sworn translation; the procedure should be completed within 30 days.

Further information

In the process of collecting documents for a temporary residence, most of them have to be prepared by the applicant (person residing in Poland) – these include, for example, a tenancy agreement, documents confirming the source of income and other similar ones.

However, it should be remembered that a person planning to join his/her family member also have to prepare and send a number of documents to Poland. When preparing for a compulsory visit to the Polish consulate to have your passport stamped, it is advisable to complete these in order to make the procedure easier for yourself and the consul.

Recommendations vary from consulate to consulate (it is advisable to email or call before your visit), but in principle we advise you to prepare and take with you to the appointment:

  • a completed and printed application for a temporary residence permit, signed by a family member residing in Poland (NOTE! find out HERE about signing such an application);
  • a travel document (passport) and a copy of it – on the copy the consul will certify (against payment) the conformity of the travel document with the original;
  • an authorisation to submit an application for temporary residence by a family member residing in Poland (signed by the person accompanying him/her);
  • civil status documents (originals) – in the case of spouses, marriage certificate, in the case of children, birth certificates.

! NOTE ! In order to increase the chances that your visit to the consulate will be successful, preferably make sure by phone or e-mail in advance what documents are required, as the rules vary from country to country. Be sure to ask about the applicable fees.