How to apply for a national ID card (osobna iskaznica): Guide for 2024

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Osobna Iskaznica - Croatian National ID Card
Image by Ministarstvo Uprava

UPDATED: 18.1.2023.

If you plan to apply for a national ID card for the first time, you’re probably wondering where to start.

Before we get started, this post is only for citizens of Croatia. If you are not a citizen of Croatia and need an ID card, you must first apply for residency. Head on over here.

Every person older than 18 with residence in Croatia must possess an ID card. It is called osobna iskaznica or osobna for short. An ID card is legal proof of your

  • Identity
  • Croatian citizenship
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Residence status

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

What is an electronic ID card

In Croatia, new national electronic ID cards were implemented in August 2021. Electronic ID cards include biometric identifiers that refer to face view and fingerprints of both forefingers.

The electronic ID card has a built-in electronic chip that can contain 2 types of electronic certificates:

  • Identification certificate – It is used for electronic confirmation of your identity and electronic services usage. You can use your electronic ID card to access the e-Građani web application.
  • Signature certificate – It is used as the electronic version of your signature. You can use an electronic ID card to verify your documents online.

Electronic ID cards are valid for 5 years from the day of issue. For persons older than 70 years, the validity is 40 years.

Who can apply for the ID card

Every person with Croatian citizenship can get a Croatian ID card. This means that you can get an ID card even if you don’t have a residence in Croatia and live abroad.

[Read: Available visas and residence permits for Croatia]

If you do not live in Croatia but hold citizenship, you may apply for a national ID card using your foreign address. However, your ID card will not serve as proof of residence in this scenario.

Persons with prebivalište in Croatia older than 16 who have permission from the court to get married are now obligated to have ID cards.

Parents are allowed to submit requests and take over ID cards for their children.

Where to apply for an ID card

You must apply for an ID card at the administrative police station closest to your permanent residence address (prebivalište) or to your temporary address (boravište) in Croatia. Embassies and consulates aren’t allowed to issue ID card.

Didn’t know you could have two addresses in Croatia? Yup. That is a thing. Here is an explanation.

  • Prebivalište is your permanent address, where you get communication from the government
  • Boravište is a temporary or occasional address where you may live for 3 or more months, which may include:
    • Where you are staying while you’re away at school
    • Where you are staying abroad
    • Where you are staying while doing temporary work in another city

You are required to register both with the government. However, it is not uncommon to only register the prebivalište.

[Read: Prebivalište or boravište – two addresses that must be registered with the police]

You can find the list of all administrative police stations here and easily find out where you have to go.

Citizens living abroad can go to any police station in Croatia to apply for an ID card.

How to apply for an ID card

Step #1 Collect the documentation

When applying for an osobna, the first step is to collect the required documentation.

You must bring the following documentation with you to the police station.

Proof of payment

All possible administrative costs for this procedure are available here.

Payment can be made in person at a bank, FINA, Hrvatska pošta, or via internet banking. Payment information is available here.

[Read: How to pay bills in Croatia]

Proof of identity

You must enclose one of the following documents that prove your identity:

  • Old ID card
  • Other legal document with a picture
  • Parent’s statement for children without any identity document


The color photography must be of sizes 3,5 cm x 4,5 cm.

There are usually photo shops near each police station where you can pick up some photos in the correct size for around 15 euros. Tell them that you need to take a picture for osobna iskaznica.

If you received a Croatian biometric passport within the last 5 years, you don’t have to enclose your photo. It will be taken from the system. An exception is if your look has drastically changed, and then a new photo will be required.

[Read: How to apply for a Croatian passport]

Signed agreement

When you come to MUP to apply for the ID card, they will give you the contract to sign. It is an agreement on certification services. This is a standard procedure and you don’t have to go anywhere else.

You may find information on this requirement here.

Birth certificate or proof of citizenship

If you don’t have an old Croatian ID card or a Croatian passport and you are not entered into the Croatian book of births, you must provide your foreign excerpt from the book of births or foreign birth certificate.

[Read: How to get a copy of a birth certificate]

Old ID card

If you have a Croatian ID card whose expiration date has expired, you have to bring this old ID card with you. The police will cancel it and then return it to you.

Step #2 Visit MUP

Visit MUP, i.e. administrative police station closest to your residence (prebivalište or boravište). Bring the collected documentation with you. Ask for the desk that is usually called šalter za osobne where you can apply for an ID card.

[Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]

For children, the request for an ID card must be submitted by a parent or a legal representative.

For people without the legal capacity called poslovna nesposobnost, a legal representative can submit the request.

Step #3 Get your ID card

Your national ID card will be ready within:

  • 30 days for the standard procedure
  • 10 days for the accelerated procedure
  • 3 days for the urgent procedure.

You must pick it up within:

  • 120 days from submitting the request for the standard application
  • 100 days for an accelerated procedure
  • 93 days for an urgent procedure

If you don’t pick up your ID card within the defined period, it will be canceled and you will have to submit a new application.

Step #4 Activate the ID card

When you pick up your ID card, you’ll receive an initial password and PIN for its activation. The activation procedure can be done via e-OI web portal.

You must have a smart card reader to activate the card. If your computer does not have an integrated smart card reader, you need to provide an external USB smart card reader. It can be bought at IT stores or postal offices.

[Read: Hrvatska Pošta – Croatian Postal Office]

After logging in, you must change the initial password and install a free software package. The final step is to activate your card and change the initial PIN. After this, your ID card is ready for electronic usage.

More information on the activation of the electronic ID card is available here.

You can find video instructions for electronic ID card activation here.

Step #5 Use the ID card

Your brand new electronic ID card is now ready for use!

Renewal and changes of personal data

If you need to renew your osobna or change the address listed, you must go to your local administrative police stations. These tasks cannot be performed within the e-Građani system.

To pick up your new osobna, you must bring your old osobna to MUP. Otherwise, you won’t get your new osobna iskaznica. MUP will then cancel your old osobna and give you a new one. The process is the same as described in the previous section.

Travel with your national ID card

Croatian citizens can travel using their national ID card within the EU, passport-free, thanks to the biometric chip. National IDs for non-citizens do not include this chip.

What to do if you lose an ID card

If you lose your ID card, suspect abuse or find someone else’s ID card in Croatia, you must report the case to the closest MUP administration office.

If you are outside of Croatia, you can report the case to the closest Croatian embassy or consulate abroad. A list of Croatian missions and consular offices abroad is available here.

Based on the report of disappearance, MUP will declare the ID card invalid and suspense the digital certificates. If the ID card is found within 8 days, certificates will again be available for use. If the ID card is not found within 8 days, certificates are automatically revoked and can no longer be used.

If you are older than 70 and your ID card doesn’t contain digital certificates, you can continue with the use of the ID card if you have found it within 15 days after reporting the case to the police. In this case, you also have to notify the police that you have found your ID card.

View our other legal documentation articles

Osobna iskaznica (eOI)
Upute o proceduri
Nestanak osobne iskaznice

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.

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