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FAQs
 

American Citizen Service        

  1. How does the Affordable Care Act affect U.S. citizens living overseas?
  2. I need to renew my passport. How do I apply for a passport renewal?
  3. I need more space in my passport. How to get extra passport pages added?
  4. I need a copy of a U.S. vital statistics record. How do I obtain a copy?
  5. How can I get a U.S. vital statistic record authenticated to be presented to Polish authorities?
  6. How can I get a Polish vital statistic record, diploma, or other official document authenticated?
  7. How can I have my U.S. high school diploma recognized in Poland if I want to study at a Polish university?
  8. I am an American citizen and my Polish relatives/friends/acquaintances were refused a nonimmigrant visa. Why?
  9. Can I take my dog or cat to the United States? What papers are needed?
  10. I would like to look for my family’s roots in Poland. How can I perform genealogical research in Poland and can the Embassy help me with my search?
  11. What is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and how can I sign up for it?
  12. I want to get married in Poland. The Polish authorities require evidence that I am free to marry. How do I obtain such evidence?
  13. Can I drive with my U.S. driver's license in Poland?
  14. I believe I have been a victim of an Internet scam. What should I do?

How does the Affordable Care Act affect U.S. citizens living overseas?

A: Please see this website for more information: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/legal-matters/benefits.html

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I need to renew my passport. How do I apply for a passport renewal?

A: To renew your U.S. passport, you need to set up an appointment online and come with your current passport to the American Citizen Services section of the Embassy or Consulate. Contact information for ACS, Warsaw and ACS, Krakow is available here.  

If you are applying for a new passport or any changes in the passport of a child 16 years old or younger, both parents should be present along with the child. The fee for passport renewal for adults is $110 ($105 for children) or the equivalent in Polish currency, payable in cash, or by credit card. Please note that we do not accept payment by check. More information on renewals and passport issues is available here.

Important! Effective immediately, the US Embassy in Warsaw and Consulate General in Krakow are unable to accept credit cards for any service until further notice.  For consular services rendered at the Embassy, payment must be in the form of U.S. Dollars in cash or Polish Zloty in cash.  Non-immigrant visa Machine Readable Visa application fee services continue to be paid via the payment options described on www.ustraveldocs.com, and are unaffected by this issue. We hope to be able to reinstate payment by credit as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause in the meantime.

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I need more space in my passport. How to get extra passport pages added?

A: Instructions for adding additional visa pages to a U.S. passport are available here.

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I need a copy of a U.S. vital statistic record. How do I obtain a copy?

A: According to bilateral agreements between the United States and Poland, personal requests for assistance in locating birth, marriage or death certificates in the U.S. should be directed to the nearest Polish Consulate, if you are a Polish Citizen. If you are an American citizen, you may send your request directly to the Vital Statistics Office. The locations of Polish Consulates are available at: http://www.waszyngton.msz.gov.pl/en/. Fees for this service may be paid in Poland through the nearest Polish Office of Vital Statistics.

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How can I get a U.S. vital statistic record, diploma, or other official document authenticated to be presented to Polish authorities?

A: Information on how to obtain a Hague apostille on public documents issued in the United States is available on the Department of State website.

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How can I have my U.S. high school diploma recognized in Poland if I want to study at a Polish university?

A: You should contact the voivodship educational authorities (“Kuratorium Oswiaty”) in the Polish voivodship where you plan to attend university for detailed information on the process of recognition of your U.S. high school diploma. 

Generally speaking, you will have to present your diploma certified by means of a Hague apostille (see instruction above) and a letter stating that your U.S. diploma would allow you to enter a college or university in the United States.  Such a letter can be issued by the Polish Embassy or Polish Consulate in the United States or by the State Board of Education in the state from which you graduated high school. The U.S. Embassy in Poland does not have the authority to issue any letters or certificates or to provide any notarial services related to confirmation of U.S. academic credentials.

For more information on authentication of American academic credentials for use abroad please see: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/legal-matters/academic-credentials.html.

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How can I get a Polish vital statistic record, diploma, or other official document authenticated?

A: The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents came into force in Poland on August 14, 2005. As of that date, the Embassy terminated the procedure of legalization/authentication of public documents executed in Poland for legal use in the United States with exception of certain administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs operations.

Polish public documents (e.g. court records, vital statistics documents) for use in the United States are certified by the Legalization Department of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs by means of an apostille. The document with affixed apostille does not require any further authentication by the Embassy. In order to obtain an apostille on a Polish public document please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Al. Szucha 21, Warsaw, tel. 22 523 9463 or 22 523 9128.

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I am an American citizen and my Polish relatives/friends/acquaintances were refused a nonimmigrant visa. Why?

A: In accordance with the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), applicants for nonimmigrant visas are refused on several possible grounds. Refusals under Section 214(b) of the INA are the most common. According to Section 214(b), consular officers must presume that every applicant for a nonimmigrant visa is an intending immigrant until the applicant convinces the interviewing consular officer otherwise. Section 291 of the INA places the burden of proof of entitlement to nonimmigrant status on the applicant. Applicants for student, business or tourist visas must convince the consular officer that they plan to travel to the United States solely for those purposes, and that they have permanent residences abroad that they do not intend to abandon. No specific criteria exist for issuance of a visa. When deciding whether to issue a visa, consular officers look at a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the stability of the applicant’s socio-economic situation, their previous travel record and the logic of their proposed travel plans. A visa refusal under section 214(b) is not permanent, and a previously denied applicant may choose to reapply at a later date. However, the consular officer’s decision is unlikely to change unless the applicant’s situation has changed as well. Therefore, we recommend that applicants wait at least a year before reapplying after a visa denial, unless there is a compelling reason for an earlier reapplication.

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Can I take my dog or cat to the United States? What papers are needed?

A: Dogs and cats must be free of evidence of diseases that could be communicable to humans. A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet dogs into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies greater than or equal to 30 days prior to entry into the United States. This certificate should identify the dog, show the date of vaccination, the date it expires (there are one-year and three-year vaccinations), and be signed by a licensed veterinarian. If the certificate does not have an expiration date, CBP will accept it as long as the dog was vaccinated 12 months or less before coming to the United States. For more information on bringing pets to the U.S. please refer to the CBP website. You may also wish to refer to the information on Polish customs regulations.  

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l'd like to look for my family’s roots in Poland. How can I perform genealogical research in Poland and can the Embassy help me with my search?

A: The Embassy is unable to perform genealogical research. Genealogical research in Poland is performed by Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych (Central Office of the National Archives), ul. Rakowiecka 2D, 00-517 Warszawa, Poland, telephone: (48) (22) 565-4600. To request assistance, please write a letter to the Archives and include the following information: first and last name of the family members (include the original spelling if the names have been changed), date of births and deaths, religion at birth, dates and places of marriages, and names of spouses. If records exist, the Archives will ask you to make a preliminary payment of approximately $30.00. Information about original name spellings is often contained in immigration records, available at the Polish American Congress, or in the Library of Congress at 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C., 20540, telephone: (202) 707-5000. For more information on genealogical research you may also wish to refer to the USCIS History and Genealogy website.

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I want to get married in Poland. The Polish authorities require evidence that I am free to marry. How do I obtain such evidence?

We can issue you a letter in English and Polish explaining that such evidence from the U.S. federal government is not available. You can use this letter to apply to be released from the requirement of presenting a certification of ability to marry. In order to obtain this letter please send an email to the American Citizen Services to ascwarsaw@state.gov with your full name, U.S. passport number and address in Poland where you would like us to send the letter.

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Can I drive with my U.S. driver's license in Poland?

A: In order to drive in Poland, American citizens must have either an international driving permit or a Polish national driver’s license: a U.S. State driver's license without an IDP is insufficient. For more information please visit Driving in Poland on our website.

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If you have a question that is not answered here, or for more useful information for American Citizens, please visit the American Citizen Services page