How to apply for a national ID card (osobna iskaznica): Guide for 2023
If you plan to apply for a national ID card for the first time, you’re probably wondering where to start.
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
- Croatian citizenship
- Date of birth
- Residence status
In this post, we cover:
- Electronic ID card
- Who can apply for an ID card
- Where to apply for an ID card
- How to apply for an ID card
- Renewal and changes of personal data
- Travel with a national ID card
- What to do if you lose an ID card
The facts are these…
How to apply for a national ID card (osobna iskaznica)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
- All types of available visas for entry into Croatia
- Available visas and residence permits for Croatia
- How to apply for a Croatian passport
- How to get a copy of a birth certificate
- How to apply for a work permit in Croatia
- How to get Croatian proof of citizenship (domovnica)
- Residence permit process: Getting your national ID card
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.