How to apply for Croatian citizenship (hrvatsko državljanstvo): Guide for 2023
Croatian citizenship is an elusive golden goose reserved predominantly for those with Croatian heritage, those who married into a heritage, and those who have invested a substantial amount of time living in Croatia.
In this post, we cover:
- Who qualifies for Croatian citizenship
- How to apply for Croatian citizenship
- What to do after granting Croatian citizenship
- How to get help with your citizenship application
The facts are these…
How to apply for Croatian citizenship – hrvatsko državljanstvo
Who qualifies to apply for Croatian citizenship?
To apply for citizenship in Croatia, you must prove that you have a claim according to the Croatian citizenship act. You may make a valid claim based on the following situations:
- Origin (Articles 4 and 5)
- Descent (Article 11)
- Naturalization (Article 8)
- Marriage (Articles 10 and 11)
- Special interest to Croatia (Article 12)
- Re-admission (Article 15)
- Member of Croatian people (Article 16)
- International treaties
If you don’t have a valid claim, you are not a candidate for applying for Croatian citizenship.
Zakon o hrvatskom državljanstvu (Croatian citizenship act) is available here.
Download the full Croatian citizenship act in English here.
Valid bases for applying for Croatian citizenship
Let’s go through each individual claim included in the Croatian citizenship act in detail. In addition, we provide excerpts from the law itself that apply in each situation.
Croatian citizenship based on origin (Articles 4 and 5)
The following groups of people may apply for or request Croatian citizenship on the grounds of origin:
- People born abroad, with at least one parent that was a citizen at the time of their birth and had their birth registered with an embassy, consulate, or matični ured before the age of 21.
- People born abroad after October 18, 1991 to a parent that was a Croatian citizen at the time of their birth who are under 21 years of age
- Children born and/or found within Croatia without knowing their parents. They will be considered Croatian if their true origin is not established before they turn 14 years of age.
- People born in Croatia with at least one Croatian parent, but only if they apply for Croatian citizenship before they turn 18 years of age.
- People born abroad and adopted by two Croatian parents.
[Read: How to register a new child in Croatia]
To get step-by-step instructions on how to register for citizenship as the child of a Croatian, view this post.
Please note: From January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022, it was possible for older children of Croatians to register. This deadline has now passed, so they must now apply for citizenship under Article 11. View guide for Article 11 here.
If you do not qualify based on the above condition or your parents did not gain citizenship until after you were born, then you must apply for citizenship under Article 11. To find out how you can apply for citizenship, click here.
The excerpts from the Law on citizenship regarding origin are as follows:
Članak 4. (NN 102/19)
Podrijetlom stječe hrvatsko državljanstvo dijete:
1. čija su oba roditelja u trenutku njegova rođenja hrvatski državljani;
2. čiji je jedan od roditelja u trenutku rođenja djeteta hrvatski državljanin, a dijete je rođeno u Republici Hrvatskoj;
3. stranog državljanstva ili bez državljanstva kojeg su prema odredbama posebnog zakona posvojili hrvatski državljani.
Članak 5. (NN 102/19)
Podrijetlom stječe hrvatsko državljanstvo osoba rođena u inozemstvu, čiji je jedan roditelj u trenutku njezina rođenja hrvatski državljanin, ako do navršene 21. godine života bude prijavljena u diplomatskoj misiji ili konzularnom uredu Republike Hrvatske u inozemstvu ili u matičnom uredu u Republici Hrvatskoj radi upisa u evidenciju kao hrvatski državljanin.
Podrijetlom stječe hrvatsko državljanstvo i osoba starija od 21. godine života, rođena u inozemstvu čiji je jedan roditelj u trenutku njezina rođenja hrvatski državljanin, ako u roku od dvije godine od dana stupanja na snagu ovoga Zakona podnese zahtjev za upis u evidenciju hrvatskih državljana, a Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova prethodno utvrdi da ne postoje zapreke iz članka 8. stavka 1. točke 5. ovoga Zakona.
Osoba rođena u inozemstvu, čiji je jedan roditelj u trenutku njezina rođenja hrvatski državljanin, a ne udovoljava pretpostavci iz stavka 1. ovoga članka, stječe hrvatsko državljanstvo ako bi ostala bez državljanstva.
which translates to…
Article 4 (Official Gazette 102/19)
A child acquires Croatian citizenship by origin:
- both of whose parents are Croatian citizens at the time of his birth;
- one of whose parents is a Croatian citizen at the time of the child’s birth, and the child was born in the Republic of Croatia;
- of foreign citizenship or without citizenship adopted by Croatian citizens according to the provisions of a special law.
Article 5 (Official Gazette 102/19)
A person born abroad, one of whose parents is a Croatian citizen at the time of birth, acquires Croatian citizenship by origin, if by the age of 21 they are registered at a diplomatic mission or consular office of the Republic of Croatia abroad or at a registry office in the Republic of Croatia for registration. as a Croatian citizen.
A person older than 21 years of age, born abroad, whose one parent is a Croatian citizen at the time of birth, acquires Croatian citizenship by origin if, within two years from the date of entry into force of this Act, he submits a request for registration in the records of Croatian citizens, and The Ministry of the Interior previously determines that there are no obstacles from Article 8, Paragraph 1, Point 5 of this Act.
A person born abroad, whose one parent is a Croatian citizen at the time of his birth, and who does not meet the presumption from paragraph 1 of this article, acquires Croatian citizenship if he would remain stateless.
Croatian citizenship based on descent (Article 11)
Croatian emigrants and their descendants in a straight line (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) and the spouses of those descendants, in certain situations, may apply for Croatian citizenship.
The requirement to take the language and culture tests is no longer required for those applying based on lineage starting January 1, 2020.
There are exceptions:
- If the ancestor (or Croatian emigrant spouse) left Croatia at any point and moved to another country within Yugoslavia or former Yugoslavia, then their descendants (or spouses) cannot apply for Croatian nationality
- If the ancestor (or Croatian emigrant spouse) left Croatia after October 8, 1991, then their descendants (or spouses) cannot apply for nationality
View our detailed guide on applying based on descent here.
The excerpts from the law on citizenship regarding lineage are as follows:
Članak 11. (NN 102/19)
Iseljenik i njegovi potomci mogu prirođenjem steći hrvatsko državljanstvo iako ne udovoljavaju pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točaka 2. – 4. ovoga Zakona.
Stranac koji je u braku s osobom iz stavka 1. ovoga članka može steći hrvatsko državljanstvo iako ne udovoljava pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točaka 2. – 4. ovoga Zakona.
Iseljenik iz stavka 1. ovoga članka je osoba koja se prije 8. listopada 1991. godine iselila s područja Republike Hrvatske u namjeri da u inozemstvu stalno živi.
Iznimno, iseljenik iz stavka 1. ovoga članka je i pripadnik hrvatskog naroda koji se iselio s prostora u sastavu bivših država u kojima se, u vrijeme iseljenja, nalazilo i područje današnje Republike Hrvatske.
Iseljenikom se ne smatra osoba koja je iselila s područja Republike Hrvatske na temelju međunarodnog ugovora ili se odrekla hrvatskog državljanstva, osoba koja je promijenila prebivalište u druge države koje su u to vrijeme bile u sastavu državne zajednice kojoj je pripadala i Republika Hrvatska te osoba koja je iselila s područja Republike Hrvatske, a nije imala bivše hrvatsko republičko državljanstvo, odnosno zavičajnost na području Republike Hrvatske.
which translates to…
Article 11 (Official Gazette 102/19)
An emigrant and his descendants can acquire Croatian citizenship by birth even if they do not meet the requirements of Article 8, Paragraph 1, Items 2-4 of this Act.
A foreigner who is married to a person referred to in paragraph 1 of this article may acquire Croatian citizenship even if he does not meet the requirements of article 8, paragraph 1, points 2-4 of this Act.
An emigrant from paragraph 1 of this article is a person who moved out of the territory of the Republic of Croatia before October 8, 1991 with the intention of permanently living abroad.
Exceptionally, the emigrant referred to in paragraph 1 of this article is also a member of the Croatian nation who emigrated from the territory of the former states in which, at the time of emigration, the territory of the present Republic of Croatia was also located.
An emigrant is not considered a person who has moved out of the territory of the Republic of Croatia on the basis of an international agreement or has renounced Croatian citizenship, a person who has changed his residence to other states that at that time were part of the state union to which the Republic of Croatia also belonged, and a person who emigrated from the territory of the Republic of Croatia, and did not have former Croatian citizenship, i.e., citizenship in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.
Croatian citizenship based on naturalization (Article 8)
According to the Croatian citizenship act, foreigners that fulfill the following conditions may apply for Croatian citizenship if:
- They are older than 18
- They no longer hold their foreign nationality or have submitted evidence that they will be released from their foreign nationality if they are granted Croatian citizenship
- They have resided in Croatia continuously for 8 years and hold the status of a permanent resident
- They passed a test of the Croatian language and culture (unless they are older than 60)
- From their behavior can be inferred that they respect the Croatian legal order and customs
[Read: How third-country citizens can apply for permanent residency in Croatia]
Underage children can be granted Croatian citizenship based on naturalization if:
- Both of their parents are being granted citizenship based on naturalization
- Only one of their parents is being granted citizenship based on naturalization AND the child is living in Croatia and has valid permanent residency
- Only one of their parents is being granted citizenship based on naturalization AND the other parent has no citizenship, or citizenship is unknown – even if the child lives abroad
The excerpts from the law on citizenship regarding naturalization are as follows:
Članak 8. (NN 102/19)
Prirođenjem može steći hrvatsko državljanstvo stranac koji je podnio zahtjev za primanje u hrvatsko državljanstvo ako udovoljava ovim pretpostavkama:
1. da je navršio 18 godina života;
2. da ima otpust iz stranog državljanstva ili da podnese dokaz da će otpust dobiti ako bude primljen u hrvatsko državljanstvo;
3. da živi u Republici Hrvatskoj s prijavljenim boravkom 8 godina neprekidno do podnošenja zahtjeva i ima odobren status stranca na stalnom boravku;
4. da poznaje hrvatski jezik i latinično pismo, hrvatsku kulturu i društveno uređenje;
5. da poštuje pravni poredak Republike Hrvatske, da je podmirio dospjela javna davanja te da ne postoje sigurnosne zapreke za njegov primitak u hrvatsko državljanstvo.
Smatrat će se da je udovoljeno pretpostavci iz točke 2. stavka 1. ovoga članka, ako je zahtjev podnijela osoba koja je bez državljanstva ili koja će ga prema zakonu zemlje čiji je državljanin izgubiti samim prirođenjem.
Ako strana država ne dopušta otpust ili za otpust postavlja pretpostavke kojima se ne može udovoljiti, dovoljna je izjava osobe koja je podnijela zahtjev da se pod pretpostavkom stjecanja hrvatskog državljanstva odriče stranog državljanstva.
Ispunjenje pretpostavke iz stavka 1. točke 4. ovoga članka, utvrđuje se provjerom poznavanja hrvatskog jezika i latiničnog pisma, kulture i društvenog uređenja.
Osobe starije od 60 godina ne moraju ispunjavati pretpostavke iz stavka 1. točke 4. ovoga članka.
Strancu koji je podnio zahtjev za primitak u hrvatsko državljanstvo, a u trenutku podnošenja zahtjeva nema otpust iz stranog državljanstva ili nema dokaz da će otpust dobiti ako bude primljen u hrvatsko državljanstvo, može se izdati zajamčenje primitka u hrvatsko državljanstvo ako udovoljava ostalim pretpostavkama iz članka 8., stavka 1., ovoga zakona.
Zajamčenje se izdaje s rokom važenja od dvije godine.
which translates to…
Article 8 (Official Gazette 102/19)
A foreigner who has applied for Croatian citizenship can acquire Croatian citizenship by birth if he meets the following conditions:
- that he has reached the age of 18;
- that he has a release from foreign citizenship or submits proof that he will receive a release if he is admitted to Croatian citizenship;
- that he lives in the Republic of Croatia with a registered residence for 8 years continuously until the application is submitted and has an approved status of foreigner on permanent residence;
- to know the Croatian language and Latin script, Croatian culture and social order;
- that he respects the legal order of the Republic of Croatia, that he has settled the due public duties and that there are no security obstacles for his admission to Croatian citizenship.
It will be considered that the presumption from point 2, paragraph 1 of this article has been met, if the request was submitted by a person who is stateless or who, according to the law of the country of which he is a citizen, will lose it by naturalization.
If the foreign country does not allow release or sets conditions for release that cannot be met, the statement of the person who submitted the request that he renounces foreign citizenship under the assumption of acquiring Croatian citizenship is sufficient.
Fulfillment of the assumption from paragraph 1 point 4 of this article is determined by checking the knowledge of the Croatian language and the Latin alphabet, culture and social organization.
Persons over the age of 60 do not have to meet the requirements from paragraph 1, point 4 of this article.
A foreigner who has submitted an application for admission to Croatian citizenship, and at the time of submitting the application does not have a release from foreign citizenship or does not have proof that he will receive a release if he is admitted to Croatian citizenship, a guarantee of admission to Croatian citizenship can be issued if he meets the other assumptions from Article 8. , paragraph 1 of this law.
The guarantee is issued with a validity period of two years.
Croatian citizenship based on marriage to Croatian national (Articles 10 and 11)
Spouses of Croatian citizens who hold permanent residence in Croatia may apply for Croatian nationality based on Article 10. The primary requirements are having a permanent residence and respecting the legal order and customs in the Republic of Croatia.
[Read: How non-EU/EEA spouses of Croatians can apply for residence]
If a Croatian descendant living abroad wishes to apply for Croatian nationality based on lineage, their spouse may also apply for citizenship without holding residence in Croatia. They may apply at the same time as the Croatian descendant, or later once their spouse has already obtained nationality.
If a Croatian born in Croatia moved abroad, their spouse could qualify to apply for Croatian citizenship under Article 11 without holding permanent residence only if the Croatian emigrant left Croatia before October 8, 1991.
[Read: How to get married in Croatia]
The excerpt from the law on citizenship regarding marriage is as follows:
Stranac koji je u braku s hrvatskim državljaninom i kojem je odobren stalni boravak i živi na području Republike Hrvatske, može prirođenjem steći hrvatsko državljanstvo iako ne udovoljava pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točaka 1-4. ovoga zakona.
which translates to…
A foreigner who is married to a Croatian citizen and who has been granted permanent residence and lives in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, can acquire Croatian citizenship by birth even if he does not meet the requirements from Article 8, paragraph 1, items 1-4. of this law.
According to the Same-Sex Life Partnership Act, a person in a same-sex life partnership with a Croatian citizen can acquire Croatian citizenship under the same conditions as a person married to a Croatian citizen.
The excerpt from the law is as follows:
Osoba koja je u životnom partnerstvu s hrvatskim državljaninom može steći hrvatsko državljanstvo pod istim uvjetima kao i osoba koja je u braku s hrvatskim državljaninom.
which translates to…
A person who is in a life partnership with a Croatian citizen can acquire Croatian citizenship under the same conditions as a person who is married to a Croatian citizen.
[Read: How to obtain a life partnership for same-sex couples in Croatia]
Croatian citizenship based on special interest to Croatia (Article 12)
Foreign nationals whose Croatian citizenship would be a benefit to the Republic of Croatia may apply for citizenship through naturalization. However, they must show through behavior that they respect the legal order and customs of Croatia and prove they have lived in Croatia with legal residence for at least 1 year.
[Read: How third-country (non-EU/EEA) citizens can apply for temporary residency in Croatia]
Their spouse can then apply for residency based on family reunification.
[Read: How to apply for temporary residence in Croatia based on family reunification]
The Ministry of the Interior and any other relevant ministries are in charge of deciding whether the person applying for citizenship based on special interest to the Republic of Croatia has a valid claim to it due to their capabilities or knowledge.
We have a detailed guide on applying based on special interest here.
The excerpt from the law on citizenship regarding special interest applications is as follows:
Članak 12. (NN 102/19)
Stranac čije bi primanje u hrvatsko državljanstvo predstavljalo interes za Republiku Hrvatsku, može prirođenjem steći hrvatsko državljanstvo iako ne udovoljava pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točaka 1. -4. ovoga zakona.
Hrvatsko državljanstvo može steći i bračni drug osobe iz stavka 1. ovoga članka koja je stekla hrvatsko državljanstvo, iako ne udovoljava pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točaka 1-4. ovoga zakona, ako godinu dana živi u Republici Hrvatskoj s odobrenim boravkom.
Na zahtjev Ministarstva unutarnjih poslova, nadležno ministarstvo odnosno središnji državni ured daje obrazloženo mišljenje iz kojeg nedvojbeno proizlazi postojanje interesa Republike Hrvatske za primitak u hrvatsko državljanstvo stranca iz stavka 1. ovoga članka.
which translates to…
Article 12 (Official Gazette 102/19)
A foreigner whose admission to Croatian citizenship would be in the interest of the Republic of Croatia may acquire Croatian citizenship by birth even though he does not meet the requirements from Article 8, paragraph 1, points 1-4. of this law.
Croatian citizenship can also be acquired by the spouse of a person from paragraph 1 of this article who has acquired Croatian citizenship, even though he does not meet the requirements from article 8, paragraph 1, points 1-4. of this law, if he lives in the Republic of Croatia with an approved residence permit for one year.
At the request of the Ministry of the Interior, the competent ministry or the central state office gives a reasoned opinion from which the existence of the Republic of Croatia’s interest in the admission to Croatian citizenship of a foreigner referred to in paragraph 1 of this article is undoubtedly derived.
Re-admission to Croatian Citizenship (Article 15)
A person who at some point had Croatian nationality, but had asked to be released from it to become a citizen of some other country, can request to be granted Croatian citizenship again.
[Read: How to relinquish Croatian nationality]
To qualify, they must show they respect the legal order and customs in the Republic of Croatia AND have valid residency in Croatia at the time of application.
The excerpt from the law on citizenship regarding re-admission is as follows:
Hrvatski državljanin koji je tražio i ishodio otpust iz hrvatskog državljanstva radi stjecanja kojeg stranog državljanstva, što mu je kao pretpostavka za obavljanje kakvog poziva ili djelatnosti postavila strana država u kojoj ima prebivalište, može ponovo steći hrvatsko državljanstvo iako ne udovoljava pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točaka 1.-4. ovoga zakona te živi u Republici Hrvatskoj i ima odobren boravak.
which translates to…
A Croatian citizen who requested and obtained a release from Croatian citizenship in order to acquire a foreign citizenship, which was set as a prerequisite for performing a certain profession or activity by the foreign country in which he resides, may reacquire Croatian citizenship even if he does not meet the prerequisites from Article 8 paragraph 1. items 1.-4. of this law and lives in the Republic of Croatia and has an approved residence permit.
Croatian citizenship for members of Croatian people (Article 16)
People who do not have Croatian nationality but had at some point in their life stated in some type of legal document that they feel an affiliation to Croatian people, or they can prove that they were active in the protection of rights and the promotion of the interests of the Croatian people and/or they have participated in Croatian cultural, scientific and sports associations abroad can also request Croatian citizenship.
Like all of the above cases, they must show they respect the legal order and customs.
View our guide on applying based on being a member of the Croatian people here.
The excerpt from the law on citizenship regarding being a member of the Croatian people is as follows:
Članak 16. (NN 102/19)
Pripadnik hrvatskog naroda koji nema prebivalište u Republici Hrvatskoj, može steći hrvatsko državljanstvo ako udovoljava pretpostavkama iz članka 8. stavka 1. točke 5. ovoga Zakona.
Pripadnost hrvatskom narodu utvrđuje se ranijim deklariranjem te pripadnosti u pravnom prometu, navođenjem te pripadnosti u pojedinim javnim ispravama, zaštitom prava i promicanjem interesa hrvatskog naroda i aktivnim sudjelovanjem u hrvatskim kulturnim, znanstvenim i sportskim udrugama u inozemstvu.
Iznimno od stavka 2. ovoga članka, dokaze o pripadnosti hrvatskom narodu ne mora priložiti osoba za čije je roditelje nesporno utvrđena pripadnost hrvatskom narodu.
which translates to…
Article 16 (Official Gazette 102/19)
A member of the Croatian nation who does not have a residence in the Republic of Croatia may acquire Croatian citizenship if he meets the requirements of Article 8, Paragraph 1, Point 5 of this Act.
Belonging to the Croatian nation is established by earlier declaration of that affiliation in legal transactions, stating that affiliation in certain public documents, protecting the rights and promoting the interests of the Croatian people, and active participation in Croatian cultural, scientific and sports associations abroad.
As an exception to paragraph 2 of this article, evidence of belonging to the Croatian nation does not have to be submitted by a person whose parents have been undisputedly established as belonging to the Croatian nation.
Croatian citizenship based on international treaties
The Croatian citizenship act allows the possibility for the question of Croatian citizenship to be regulated on the basis of international treaties. However, at the time that this article was written, no such agreement was mentioned in the law.
How to apply for Croatian citizenship
Step #1 Identify your claim
The very first step to applying for Croatian citizenship is identifying your claim. Your claim determines which documents and information you must provide as part of your application.
If you’d like to view all of the possible claims, click here.
If you’re unsure if you qualify for citizenship, you can find out in less than 60 seconds here.
Step #2 Prepare your application
Once you’ve identified which claim makes sense for your situation, you can start putting together your application. Each claim requires different documentation.
Below is a comprehensive list of the common requirements and the ones that would apply to specific scenarios.
Everyone must provide:
- Completed application form depending on your scenario:
- Application for the acquisition of Croatian citizenship by the birth of an adult – download form Obrazac 1 here
- Application for the acquisition of Croatian citizenship by the birth of an adult and a child/children – download form Obrazac 2 here
- Application for the acquisition of Croatian citizenship by the birth of a child/children – download form Obrazac 3 here
- Your biography with supporting documentation, including the reasons for applying, written in Croatian
- Your birth certificate (original, apostilled, officially translated if it is a foreign birth certificate) – if you are born in Croatia, a birth certificate isn’t required
- Proof of nationality, such as a verified copy of a passport or an ID card, or domovnica equivalent
- Background check issued by your country of nationality proving you have not been criminally prosecuted, not older than six months (original, apostilled, officially translated)
- Valid identity document with a visible photo (with a copy apostilled, officially translated)
[Read: Background checks and fingerprints for third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA citizens)]
Depending on your claim, you may also need to provide:
- Marriage certificate, if applying based on marriage (original, apostilled, officially translated if married outside Croatia) – if the marriage is solemnized in Croatia or entered into the Croatian marriage register, a marriage certificate isn’t required
- Proof that you have passed the Croatian language and culture test if naturalizing
- Proof of lineage
- Proof is anything that shows your ancestor was a citizen, like domovnica or birth certificate. You also need to show all documents that connect you to that ancestor. For example, if your grandparent was Croatian, you need to provide their birth certificate, your parent’s birth certificate, and your birth certificate, as that makes the connection. If you need help locating a birth certificate, contact us.
- Proof of when your ancestor left Croatia (if applicable)
- Proof of emigration from the territory of the Republic of Croatia (for emigrants)
- Proof of relation to the emigrant (for descendants of emigrants)
- Proof that you provide a benefit to the Republic of Croatia if applying based on special interest
- Proof of residence, if naturalizing or applying based on special interest, member of Croatian people, or readmission
- Proof that you have advocated for the interests of Croatian people if applying based on member of the Croatian people:
- Proof of their previous declaration of nationality in legal transactions (originals or certified copies of employment records, certificates, military records, student’s courses and grade books, extracts from the birth register, extracts from the marriage register, etc.)
- Proof of protecting the rights and promoting the interests of the Croatian people
- Proof of active participation in Croatian cultural, science, and sports organisations abroad
- Children of members of Croatian people enclose proof of parents’ declaration of nationality
[Read: All about the Croatian citizenship test]
For children under the age of 18, you also need:
- Excerpt from the birth register (if they are born outside Croatia)
- Proof on citizenship
- Written consent of the other parent
Please note that ALL foreign public documents MUST be originals that are apostilled and officially translated into the Croatian language unless other rules are specified by bilateral and multilateral international agreements. Read more about the apostille and full legalization of documents here.
[Read: How to prepare your foreign documents for use in Croatia]
If you’d like help preparing your application to ensure you meet all requirements and have the best chance of acceptance, click here.
Step #3 File your application
The application for the acquisition of Croatian citizenship must be submitted in person in the country of your residence. This change was effective as of January 1, 2020. Prior to this time, non-residents could apply from within Croatia.
If you live outside of Croatia, you must apply at the closest consulate or embassy to your residence. View a list of Croatian consulates and embassies in the world here.
If you hold legal residence within Croatia, you can apply at the administrative police station closest to your place of residence.
[Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]
If the applicant is a disabled person, the claim may be filed by their legal representative or authorized proxy.
The application process for citizenship can take a significant amount of time, especially if you are a third-party national applying based on residency and not marriage. Expect to wait a minimum of two years or more.
The fees vary depending on where you apply. Each consulate and embassy have its own fees.
If applying in Croatia, you may pay a symbolic administrative fee when submitting the application. If your request is granted, you must pay 139,36 euros to get Rješenje if you applied in Croatia.
Payment information is available here. An official will help you to fill in additional information on the slip.
Consular and embassy fees could vary slightly.
Step #4 Get other documents
Once approved, you will receive a document called Rješenje o primitku u hrvatsko državljanstvo (Decision on the admission to Croatian citizenship). It is the formal decision that you have been approved for Croatian citizenship.
After getting this decision, there are still some additional steps to take to get your identity documents if you so choose.
Below is a list of the identity documents you can request in the order that you can request them.
The document called domovnica proves the new status of a Croatian citizen. It can be acquired at any registrar’s office in Croatia.
[Read: How to get proof of citizenship (domovnica)]
#2 Birth certificate
This is your official birth record. All Croatian citizens have a birth certificate, even if they were not born in Croatia.
[Read: How to get a copy of a birth certificate]
After you have your domovnica and birth certificate, you can apply for a Croatian passport.
[Read: How to apply for a Croatian passport]
#4 Osobna iskaznica
Osobna iskaznica is a Croatian national ID. If you live abroad, you don’t really need this. However, you can get one if you want.
You can use this ID card to travel within the EU/EEA without your passport. It also gains you access to additional services through the e-Građani system.
[Read: How to apply for a national ID card (osobna iskaznica)]
Our vetted lawyers can help get all of these documents for you once you’ve been granted nationality. Just contact us for help.
Once the Ministry of the Interior delivers a positive decision, you become a Croatian citizen. After this, you are entered into the Register of Citizens at the competent registrar’s office.
[Read: All the Croatian government ministries and what they do]
Need help with your Croatian citizenship application?
Interested in applying for Croatian citizenship but not sure where to start? We can point you in the right direction.
Our expat-vetted lawyer network can take care of your application from beginning to end. We have excellent English-speaking lawyers across the country that specialize in citizenship and are in constant communication with the ministry. These are the same lawyers who help us vet all of our information on this site. Learn how we built this network here.
You do not have to live in Croatia to take advantage of this service.
For one flat rate, they can:
- Validate your claim (which includes confirming if you qualify and checking the citizenship status of your relative)
- Prepare a plan specific to your case to ensure you have the best chance of approval
- Target possible red flags and prepare solutions
- Collect birth records in Croatia (new copies are required)
- Confirm exact requirements with your embassy or consulate and coordinate with them on your behalf
- Provide guidance on preparing a successful CV biography (and coordinating translation into Croatian)
- Prepare your family tree
- Prepare supporting documentation
- Coordinate translations for foreign documents, as needed
- Assist with any issues or questions that arise after submission. They are with you throughout the process from start to approval.
As part of this service, you’ll have a dedicated Expat in Croatia caseworker who will follow up periodically to ensure you’re getting everything you need. You’ll also be able to reach out to them as well if any issues arise.
Having Expat in Croatia and our lawyer network on your side will give you the best shot at approval. It takes 1-2 years on average for applications to be processed, so best not to risk denial. This is nationality, after all, and obtaining nationality is a big deal.
View reviews from people who have used our services for citizenship here or jump to this section to view the last 20 reviews.
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View our other citizenship posts
- 11 things to know before applying for Croatian citizenship
- All about the Croatian citizenship test
- Croatian Central State Office for Croats Abroad
- How children of Croatians can register their citizenship
- How members of the Croatian people can apply for Croatian citizenship
- How to apply for Croatian citizenship based on naturalization if you are an EU/EEA citizen
- How to apply for citizenship based on descent
- How to get proof of citizenship (domovnica)
- How to relinquish Croatian nationality
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.