The front cover of a contemporary Polish biometric passport
|Date first issued||1 January 2006|
|Type of document||Passport|
|Eligibility requirements||Polish citizenship|
|Expiration||5 years for children aged 0–13, 10 years for people aged 13+, 1 year for emergency travel documents|
|Cost||140 zł (adult) / 30 zł (under 13) / free (over 70)|
Polish passport is an international travel document issued to nationals of Poland, and may also serve as proof of Polish citizenship. Besides enabling the bearer to travel internationally and serving as indication of Polish citizenship, the passport facilitates the process of securing assistance from Polish consular officials abroad or other European Union member states in case a Polish consular is absent, if needed.
According to the 2014 Visa Restrictions Index, Polish citizens can visit 157 countries without a visa or with a visa granted on arrival. Polish citizens can live and work in any country within the EU as a result of the right of free movement and residence granted in Article 21 of the EU Treaty.
Every Polish citizen is also a citizen of the European Union. The passport, along with the national identity card allows for free rights of movement and residence in any of the states of the European Union and European Economic Area.
Issuance and validity
The passports are issued by the Ministry of the Interior and applications are filed voivodeship offices which have a passport office. Passports issued since mid-2006 are of a biometric variety, and valid for ten years. The blue cover passports issued up until 2001 and burgundy-cover passports (issued up until 2006) remain valid until their state expiry dates, however their lack of biometric features inherently means that they have slightly different visa restrictions for travel abroad as they are considered to have insufficient security features by some nations, such as Canada (allows visa-free access only for Polish citizens in possession of a biometric passport).
Full Polish passports are issued for a period of ten years, whilst those issued to minors are valid up to an initial maximum of five years.
Temporary passports are issued for a period of one year.
Previous and current passport designs
The Polish passport from today is much different from those that appeared after World War One, following the creation of the Second Polish Republic. The passports began to appear around 1920 and were of simple paper, design and quality. These lasted until around 1929 when hard covered blue-jacket passports where designed and printed on good quality water marked paper. These blue passports were used through World War Two and were continued to be issued to Polish refugees after the war from Polish consulates in foreign countries until at least 1947.
During the years of the Peoples Republic of Poland, 1952 to 1989, another design was adopted consisting of the Polish, French and Russian languages.
There are currently three designs of Polish passports in use. One design contains biometric data and the inscription EUROPEAN UNION in Polish on the cover (introduced in 2006), and two without those features: one with a red cover (issued 2001–2006) and one with a navy-blue cover (issued prior to 2001). Passports of the old designs retain their validity until the expiration date but are no longer issued.
The two more recent designs are trilingual and written in Polish, English, and French. The oldest of the three designs is additionally written in Russian with the exception of the page with personal data which is only bilingual (Polish and English).
Physical appearance and data contained
The Polish passports issued since 2006 are burgundy, with the words "UNIA EUROPEJSKA" (EUROPEAN UNION) and "RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA" (REPUBLIC OF POLAND) inscribed at the top of the front cover. The Polish white eagle is emblazoned in the centre of the cover, and below this the words "PASZPORT", "PASSPORT" and "PASSEPORT" are to be found. The Polish passport has the standard biometric symbol emblazoned below the final set of text denoting the document as a passport, and uses the standard European Union design. Diplomatic passports are also burgundy in colour and of essentially the same design, but the French, English and Polish translations of the word 'passport' are replaced with those for 'diplomatic passport'; "PASZPORT DYPLOMATYCZNY", "DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT" and "PASSEPORT DIPLOMATIQUE".
Temporary passports have the words "PASZPORT TYMCZASOWY", "TEMPORARY PASSPORT", and "PASSEPORT TEMPORAIRE" on the front cover and contain 16 pages. They do not bear the biometric passport logo.
The statement in a Polish passport declares in Polish, English, and French:
- THE AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND HEREBY KINDLY REQUEST ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN TO PROVIDE THE BEARER OF THIS PASSPORT WITH ALL ASSISTANCE THAT MAY BE DEEMED NECESSARY WHILE ABROAD.
The Polish statement for which is:
- WŁADZE RZECZYPOSPOLITEJ POLSKIEJ ZWRACAJĄ SIĘ Z UPRZEJMĄ PROŚBĄ DO WSZYSTKICH, KTÓRYCH MOŻE TO DOTYCZYĆ, O OKAZANE POSIADACZOM TEGO PASZPORTU WSZELKIEJ POMOCY, JAKA MOŻE OKAZAĆ SIĘ NIEZBĘDNA W CZASIE POBYTU ZA GRANICĄ.
Identity information page
The Polish Passport includes the following data:
- Photo of Passport Holder
- Type (P)
- Code (POL)
- Passport No.
- 1. Surname
- 2. Given Names
- 3. Nationality (POLSKIE POLISH POLONAISE)
- 4. Date of Birth
- 5. Personal Id. No.
- 6. Sex
- 7. Place of Birth
- 8. Date of Issue
- 9. Authority
- 10. Date of Expiry
- 11. Holder's Signature
The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone starting with P<POL.
On a temporary passport, this identification information is on a visa-like sticker affixed to page 2. The sticker has a serial number printed below the date of expiry and above the Machine Readable Zone; the sticker's serial number is also noted on page 3. The sticker does not include space for the holder's signature. Instead, the holder signs the temporary passport on page 16.
The biometric passports contain an RFID chip containing the passport's printed data in a digital format along with the photograph in a JPEG format along with a digital key to verify that the data contained is authentic and has not been tampered with. The data in the chip can only be accessed after using the printed codes on the lower part of the passport's personal data page. The European Union requires fingerprint data to be stored on the member state's passports at latest in June 2009. Poland already complies with this European act on collecting identity data, and, since 2006, requires passport applicants to provide fingerprint scans and other information relating to facial features when applying for a new passport.
The data page/information page is printed in Polish, English and French, whilst translation of this information into other official languages of the European Union can be found elsewhere in the document. The passport also contains two pages reserved for official notifications which are typically only recorded in Polish.
Visa free travel
Visa requirements for Polish citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Poland. In 2014, Polish citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 157 countries and territories, ranking the Polish passport 14th in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.
- Polish nationality law
- List of passports
- Visa requirements for Polish citizens
- Passports of the European Union
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