My younger brother has just finished claiming his Polish citizenship. (It's an inherited familial citizenship, not due to any residency, etc.) He is also an American citizen, born and raised, and has an American passport.

What he does not have at this point is a Polish passport or other identification card, just the embassy documentation confirming his citizenship. If he were to travel to the Schengen zone, he would have to do so on his US passport. From the point of view of a border guard, he would be a regular US citizen under the 90/180 rule limits.

If he is unable to get his Polish id and passport before travelling, could he use a combination of his US passport and the embassy documents to show that he is a Polish citizen?


  • "Embassy documents" is kind of vague but I'm not sure what exactly they are; he made it sound like some sort of official declaration of citizenship. They're definitely not photo ID.
  • He does not have a Polish last name, but rather a very obviously Spanish one. He also looks distinctly Latino which has made him nervous that someone might think the documents forgeries.
  • Pretty much the question is if he can evade the 90/180 restriction on the basis of his dual citizenship while not having adequate documentation of said citizenship (eg no Polish passport or national id card).
  • 1
    Why can't he just enter as a tourist with his US pp and then get his Polish documents while in Schengen?
    – mts
    Nov 5, 2016 at 15:32
  • Because he's a lazy bum. :-) I also heard that getting a Polish passport takes a long time, I dont know about the id card. And wouldnt he still run into the problem of having to exit on the US passport? Nov 5, 2016 at 15:35
  • 2
    He ought to get a Polish id or passport. But if he doesn't, any official documents confirming his Polish nationality should allow him to avoid fines or deportation.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2016 at 15:37
  • @pnuts that shouldn't much matter, should it?
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2016 at 16:01
  • 3
    @pnuts In theory, evidence of Polish citizenship should be accepted by any EU country, but in practice a letter or certificate would probably be subject to further verification, and Polish authorities might have an easier time with that. The fact that TIMATIC doesn't list this option of course means that the traveler would need to rely on his US passport to board a commercial flight to the EU.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2016 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


On entry, the 90/180 rule does not matter (yet), one concern is that he must in principle satisfy a number of other requirements (valid purpose, financial means, etc.) which are not relevant for an EU citizen. The interview typically isn't very extensive but it's a concern he would not have as an EU citizen.

During his stay, as an EU citizen he would enjoy a number of rights that cannot possibly be denied because he once entered on a US passport. But, in practice, he might very well need his national ID card or passport at some point (say if he would decide to reside in a country like Germany or the Netherlands, where everybody needs to register with the authorities). But he could still go to Poland and obtain one after entering on a US passport.

On exit, if he stayed longer than 90 days, then proving his EU citizenship becomes relevant, as a US citizen could still be fined on the spot for his overstay. A passport or national ID card is obviously the best way to do that.

  • On entry, the 90/180 rule does of course matter. If the traveler has been in the Schengen area for 90 or more days in the previous 179, he needs to prove his Polish citizenship on entry to show that the rule doesn't apply.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2016 at 16:44
  • @pnuts as long as he can prove Polish citizenship, the absence of a matching exit stamp is unimportant.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2016 at 16:46
  • @phoog Yes, obviously.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 5, 2016 at 16:55
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    @pnuts well if he ever uses his US passport without trying to assert his rights as a Polish citizen then yes, it could of course be a problem. But as a Polish citizen, no, it should not matter.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2016 at 16:57

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