Cultural Musings

I’m officially a Polish citizen

I feel weird recently. Weirdly assimilated.

My blog has always been about my daily struggles in Poland. Things I don’t understand. Things I understand but I can’t accept. Things I think are ridiculous or just plain bizarre. Nowadays, I still feel those differences, but it’s not so extreme anymore. It’s not so much me vs them like it always felt. Now I am one of them.

How I feel being a Polish citizen

I picked up my first dowód osobisty last week and it’s such a relief. No more karta pobytu struggles! No more Urząd Wojewódzki! The thought that I probably never have to go there again is SO good. If you’ve ever had to deal with it, you know exactly how I feel. No more people looking at my karta pobytu and struggling to find my birth date or PESEL. No more cops showing up at my house asking me questions about my mental health. Finally!

That’s not to say there aren’t still mini struggles. Sometimes I still have doubts when speaking Polish and make loads of mistakes obviously, but not in the way I used to. Sometimes I just can’t say exactly what I want in a nice way, but mostly I can manage perfectly fine stress-free. Sometimes I have my husband call a doctor to describe some issues if it’s a subject area I’ve never navigated before. But mostly I just go about things on a daily basis without thinking 10 steps ahead. What’s interesting is recently I needed to make a call in English and that actually stressed me because I haven’t done it in so long. I was actually thinking about what I would say before making the call. That’s effing weird.

I think after nearly 11 years, 2 kids, a house, a business, learning a language, I actually feel kinda assimilated? How is that possible? Things just feel normal. It seems like there’s not much left to go through here that I haven’t experienced.

Why did I want to become a Polish citizen?

One of my neighbors couldn’t believe that it was important to me to become a citizen. A citizen of Poland? What for? People are so quick to rag on Poland (particularly if they’re Polish), but what they don’t realize is just how important it is to me. I actually cried when I got the decision in the mail. I’ve made my life here and to me it just felt like the natural kind of last step in the process of putting down roots. If you choose to live in a place, and you know you’re going to stay there, doesn’t it make your life easier to be a citizen? Especially nowadays when you could have travel/border issues. And not only because of the bureaucracy, but somehow in my head it makes me feel calmer. Like I don’t have to worry something is going to happen and I’ll be treated like less. Now I just have explain why I don’t speak Polish perfectly even though I’m a citizen ?

So what are the other benefits of being a Polish citizen?

  1. I can vote. I’ve always wanted to be able to vote here. I mean if you live in a place, pay taxes, etc. it seems like you should be able to have some say matters that go on there.
  2. I don’t have to deal with getting a karta pobytu ever again in my life. No other comment necessary.
  3. I don’t have to get permission to buy land in Poland. I had an issue with this previously, and it’s not something I want to deal with again.
  4. Bragging rights. Maybe it sounds ridiculous but I mean it is cool in my opinion!

Now I just have to work on my passport (no more non-EU line at the airport woop!) and that’ll be it! I’m traveling to Florida in January, so it seems like it could be useful to have. At least I won’t have to worry.

Next step? Live like a normal person in Poland ? Or at least try.

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  • Reply Kinga 12 November 2021 at 10:48

    This is big! Gratulacje!

  • Reply Ben 13 November 2021 at 13:08

    Congratulations!! I’m waiting for the letter confirming my citizenship.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 14 November 2021 at 13:20

      Ohh exciting! Let me know when you get it 🙂

  • Reply Bob 13 November 2021 at 18:00

    Hi – now that you are a Polish citizen did you have to renounce your American citizenship? Also, how has it affected your tax/voting status etc.



    • Reply Leah Morawiec 14 November 2021 at 13:23

      Hey Bob – actually, no, that’s not a requirement. Tax situation is exactly the same – have to file in both countries but just pay in Poland. And as for voting – as far as I know I can vote in both countries but not 100% on that. Any idea?

      • Reply Leo 18 November 2021 at 11:14

        Yep you should be able to do that easily

  • Reply Piotr 14 November 2021 at 22:41

    Congratulations! Did you have any kind of ceremony and any kind of an oath? Did you need to take another exam of Polish language after getting a permanent residence permit?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 15 November 2021 at 08:17

      No ceremony or anything 🙂 They just send you confirmation in the mail. I had to take the B1 Polish exam in order to apply for citizenship, but it looks like for permanent residence/long-term EU residence you also need it now. I have a whole post about that adventure!

      • Reply Piotr 15 November 2021 at 21:40

        Ohh, I’m supersized that B1 is enough for a Polish citizenship.
        Btw, you can now proudly say “Civis Polonus sum” 😛

  • Reply Ron Ti 22 November 2021 at 17:30


    Please don’t write ( your post of 15 November) : ” it looks like for permanent residence/long-term EU residence you also need it now”

    That’s incorrect- I just looked it up and passing language exam at B1 is NOT a requirement for a permenent residence card. Looked up= looked up in several current websites.

    So unless you have more current information, this is what would be called ‘hear say’. It would worry me if I had read that, but of course it is up to each person to update themselves about the regulations-and reassure themselves!

    Having said that the rules vary according to nationality. Those turning up to B1 language exams will find that ( if they are lucky enough to find a spare place) that 99% of attendees are from UKR and BYL.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 22 November 2021 at 18:07

      Well, one of my friends is doing the long-term EU residence, which is essentially permanent residence – that’s what I had as well – and it is required for that. Pobyt stały is only for children and partners of citizens it would seem. And on,, you can find this info as to the requirements:

      1. Posiada źródło stabilnego i regularnego dochodu wystarczającego na pokrycie kosztów utrzymania siebie i członków rodziny pozostających na jego utrzymaniu;
      2. Posiada ubezpieczenie zdrowotne w rozumieniu ustawy z dnia 27 sierpnia 2004 r. o świadczeniach opieki zdrowotnej finansowanych ze środków publicznych lub potwierdzenie pokrycia przez ubezpieczyciela kosztów leczenia na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej.
      3. Posiada potwierdzoną znajomość języka polskiego.

      So, ok, if you’re getting technical, then you’re right, but I don’t think most people really understand the difference between the two to that extent.

  • Reply Ala 2 December 2021 at 09:06

    Congratulations! Gratulacje! 🙂

  • Reply Witek 6 December 2021 at 21:03

    Did your husband become a US citizen? That’s probably easier to do.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 6 December 2021 at 21:04

      No, actually, he can’t. He’s never lived in America. We could get him a green card but we don’t live there, so it doesn’t make much sense. Now he doesn’t even need a visa to visit, so it’s basically no big deal.

      • Reply Witek 6 December 2021 at 21:34

        Ah ok, you’re right. Forget about the living-there part.

        You ever thought about moving back for a year or some extended time? We’ve thought about it for the kids to get them to better their English… just easier said than done… not sure if we’ll ever pull it off.

        • Reply Leah Morawiec 7 December 2021 at 08:46

          I thought maybe sending the kids for an exchange to high school… my kids are 2 and 4 haha… but I’m not sure it’s worth it for them. I’m afraid to send them to high school in America frankly.

          • Witek 9 December 2021 at 14:47

            Same here… no high school. I’m thinking 5th or 6th grade would be ideal.

  • Reply Marcin 6 January 2022 at 22:41

    Congratulations on your Polish citizenship! And thank you for still having faith in this country, even more than most native Poles have. This is still a great place to live, even if about half of the society seems to be, putting it mildly, obnoxious (but the other half tries to compensate it). I believe the current ultra-conservative regime is only a short-term misfortune from the perspective of history, and then, as a counterreaction, Poland will follow the path of Ireland – the country that shook off the burden of its conservative heritage. The attitude of many young people proves it is possible in the future.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 7 January 2022 at 07:56

      Thank you, Marcin! Gosh I know… I really hope so too. It’s getting intense and I don’t know how much worse it can get… I’m scared to even wonder.

  • Reply stephen william earl 13 March 2022 at 16:26

    Congratulations Leah, a Polish citizen! My wife is Polish and we live in England but she wants to move back but now the war is ongoing in Ukraine we are not so sure but it won’t be for a few years anyway so hope things are back to normal by then?

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