"Passport trap" is the name used by Polonia to refer to the policy initiated by the government of Poland in the late 1990's to demand a Polish passport from departing citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia whose Polish ancestry was evident through a Polish-sounding last name.
Many citizens of Canada and Australia, who needed a visa to travel to Poland until 2006, were subjected to a variant of this policy, "passport extorsion", where a visa was refused for them and they could not travel to Poland at all until they obtain a Polish passport.
Comments found on the InternetEdit
- New Cold War Kitsch: We Were So Young, So Naive, So Idiotic!, Alexander Zaitchik and Mark Ames
Ah, dear old Sikorski, that champion of freedom! Lucas assumes none of his readers will know that when he was Poland's deputy foreign minister in the late 90s, Sikorski set up a scheme to trap visiting expat Poles into staying in Poland via the "passport trap," one of the creepiest neo-Soviet programs ever devised in post-Communist Eastern Europe.
- Spot The Alpha Roissy in DC
I don’t care if Sikorski is “Alpha,” he’s a nasty schmuck who is in urgent need of having his inflated ego popped:
From 1998 to 2001 he served as deputy minister of foreign affairs in the Jerzy Buzek government. During the latter appointment, Sikorski became notorious in the Polish expatriate community, Polonia, for designing and promoting a particularly strict policy regarding Polonia’s citizenship status in Poland.  As a result of that policy, Poland refused to recognize the acquired citizenships of Polish emigrants, including hundreds of thousands of recent refugees from Communism and their children, and insisted that they be subject to all obligations of Polish citizenship, while at the same time making it impossible to renounce such citizenship because of an extremely cumbersome administrative procedure. This policy became known as the “passport trap” because it was mainly implemented as harassment of departing travellers (primarily citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia) who were prevented from leaving Poland until they obtain a Polish passport.
What a pr*ck.
- Atlantic Eye: Radek Sikorski's patriotism Marc S. Ellenbogen
Radek Sikorski is a complicated and intelligent man – a man who does not suffer fools gladly. In early 2000, he engendered the wrath of the Polish expatriate community for promoting a particularly strict policy regarding citizenship status in Poland. He has since distanced himself from some of its more controversial points.
- Dual citizenship in Europe: from nationhood to societal integration, Thomas Faist, p.164, Ashgate Publishing, 2007, ISBN: 0754649148, 9780754649144
The way the law has been implemented in Poland has given rise to a de facto policy concerning dual citizenship. In this respect, public debate seems to have played an important role. For example, media discussion on one practical aspect of de iure acceptance of dual citizenship, the so-called 'passport trap', appears to have influenced the de facto policy. The 'passport trap' refers to the bureaucratic difficulties encountered by Polonia members upon arrival in Poland due to the requirement that no Polish citizen may use a foreign passport when in Poland. Protests from Polonia in the media concerning the 'unacceptable' treatment of its members at the Polish borders stimulated government representatives to take part in a public discussion on this problem. Although this discussion did not effect changes in Polish law, it did influence de facto policies toward dual citizens. The scope of change is difficult to judge, but as a consequence of the media discussion, border guards received instructions recommending 'very careful' treatment of people with several passports.