How does the Affordable Care Act affect U.S. citizens living overseas?
I need to renew my passport. How do I apply for a passport renewal?
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 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.
I need a copy of a U.S. vital statistics record. How do I obtain a copy?
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.
How can I get a U.S. vital statistic record authenticated to be presented to Polish authorities?
How can I have my U.S. high school diploma recognized in Poland if I want to study at a Polish university?
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.
How can I get a Polish vital statistic record, diploma, or other official document authenticated?
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.
I am an American citizen & my Polish relatives/friends/acquaintances were refused a nonimmigrant visa. Why?
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.
Can I take my dog or cat to the United States? What papers are needed?
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.
I'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?
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.
What is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and how can I sign up for it?
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The Embassy recommends that all American Citizens residing in Poland or visiting the country for more than a short trip should sign up for STEP. You can register online or in person at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or Consulate General in Krakow.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I enroll in STEP?
We encourage all U.S. citizens travelling or residing abroad to notify the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate of their contact information so that, in an emergency, we can contact them to provide important safety and security information, or support during a crisis. We are continually working to improve the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to serve you better. Please feel free to e-mail us with your feedback at CASTEP@state.gov.
- How do I create an account in STEP?
Click on the “Create Account” link and follow the instructions provided. You will be asked to select a username and password. Creating an account allows you to access your travel data at any time, in case you need to modify your trip information. It also allows you to save your personal information so that you don’t need to enter it again if you enroll future trips. The personal information section includes basic information about you and for an emergency contact who is not traveling with you. Once you have created an account, you can view your profile and add trips or overseas residences to send your contact information to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Click on the “Add a Trip” button or “Add a non-US Residence” buttons to add this information. Follow through the pages, and complete as much information as you have available. There are very few required fields, but the more thorough the information, the more quickly we can help you in an emergency.
- How do I enroll a trip without creating an account?
Select “Add Trip” from the menu above, then click “Next” to enter your trip information. Follow through the pages, and complete as much information as you have available. There are very few required fields, but the more thorough the information, the more quickly we can help you in an emergency.
- How can the embassy or consulate assist me while I am abroad?
U.S. consular officers assist Americans who encounter serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties. Although consular officers cannot act as your legal counsel or representative, they can provide the names of local attorneys and doctors, provide loans to destitute Americans, and provide information about dangerous conditions affecting your overseas travel or residence. Consular officers also perform non-emergency services, helping Americans with absentee voting, selective service registration, receiving federal benefits, and providing U.S. tax forms. Consular officers can notarize documents, issue passports, and register American children born abroad. Most embassies and consulates have web sites with more information.
Enrolling through this website is NOT considered proof of U.S. citizenship. If you apply for any American citizen services from the embassy or consulate while abroad, you will be asked by the consular staff to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a U.S. passport or American birth certificate.
- Where do I enroll my trip to the USA?
Please note that Smart Traveler enrollment is intended for U.S. citizens to enroll with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate when traveling or living abroad. If you are not a U.S. citizen and would like to submit your information online to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to receive travel authorization under the Visa Waiver Program for visits to the U.S.A., please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html.
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 email@example.com with your full name, U.S. passport number and address in Poland where you would like us to send the letter.
Can I drive with my U.S. driver's license in Poland?
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.
I believe I have been a victim of an Internet scam. What should I do?
We often receive inquiries from people who suspect that they have been the targets of an Internet fraud scam. Sometimes these people have even been defrauded of large sums of money by Internet contacts they thought were their friends or loved ones overseas. These fraudulent schemes can include lotteries, on-line dating services, inheritance notices, work permits/job offers, bank overpayments, or even make it appear that you are helping a friend in trouble.
Please see these websites for more details about Internet scams, how to avoid becoming a victim and what to do if you think you have been the target of an Internet scam: