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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » March 12, 2008
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ID Cards for Ethnic Poles
March 12, 2008   
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The government is to introduce special identity documents in the first half of this year that will offer privileges to ethnic Poles without Polish citizenship who live in former Soviet republics. The document, called the Polish Card, will take the form of a plastic ID card with personal data.

The exact number of people eligible for the card is difficult to determine, the government says. The law introducing the Polish Card was adopted in 2007. At the time, the number of people expected to apply for the card in the program's first year was estimated at several hundred thousand, while the ultimate number was expected to exceed 1 million.

The Polish Card offers privileges to Poles living in former Soviet republics which do not recognize dual citizenship.

The privileges include reimbursement for expenses incurred in buying Schengen visas, access to Polish schools and universities, public transportation discounts, easier access to grants and scholarships, and the right to work and run a business in Poland.

The Polish Card will be issued by Polish consuls and will be valid for 10 years, extendible on request. The cards will be printed in Warsaw and sent to Polish consulates abroad. They will resemble credit cards and have security features to prevent forgery. They will also feature the holder's photograph and signature, personal data, expiration date and a six-digit number. Those applying for a Polish Card are required to have at least some knowledge of Polish, and must prove that at least one of their parents or grandparents or two great grandparents were Polish, or present a certificate from a Polish organization in their country stating that they are active in promoting the Polish language and culture.
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