Ukrainians have been granted 46,000 Pole’s Cards since Poland launched the program in 2008. They may take the lead but Belarusians trail only 4,000: since that time our nationals have received 42,000 Pole’s Cards.
According to the information provided by the Polish MFA, the number of people granted the Pole’s Card in countries east of Poland fell from 25,000 in 2011 to some 20,000 last year. The highest number of applications for the Pole’s Card was submitted to Polish consulates in 2009. The Ministry are not going to make any amendments to the regulations of the document’s awarding.
The Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka) is issued for a ten-year period to former Polish citizens and those who have relatives of Polish descent, even in the fourth generation. Then the validity period can be extended. The Card gives extensive privileges to the holder, such as a free multi-entry visa, 37-percent discount on rail travel in Poland, work permit, public education and health care in Poland, etc. A prospective Card’s holder should possess a basic knowledge of the Polish language.
The remarkable fact is that Belarusian civil servants were banned from having Pole’s Card. Civil service law amendments entered into force on February 11, 2012. The law prohibits civil servants from accepting any privileges, as well as documents granting such benefits, from foreign states based on persons’ political views, religious or national background.