How to register a person in the Croatian book of births (Matica rođenih): Guide for 2024

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This post has been verified with matični ured (the Croatian registrar) as well as immigration lawyers.
book of births matica rodenih
Matični ured Črnomerec in Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 25.3.2024.

All Croatian citizens, regardless of whether they were born in Croatia, should have their birth registered with matični ured. Matični ured is the registrar’s office in Croatia that manages a variety of services, including the birth registration of citizens.

When a new child is born to a Croatian citizen or a person is granted Croatian citizenship, they must be registered with the registrar. Once registered, a birth certificate can be generated. As part of registration, the new child or citizen is added to the matica rođenih (Book of births).

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

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What is matica rođenih?

Matica rođenih is a register of all birth certificates managed by the Croatian registrar's office (called 'matični ured'). This register can be loosely translated to a book of births. A person does not have to be born in Croatia to be included in this register, but they must be a Croatian citizen.

How to register the birth of a Croatian national born in Croatia in the Book of births

After a child is born in Croatia, their birth needs to be registered, and then the child can be added to matica rođenih (book of births). First, we’ll go over birth registration and then through requesting the addition to the book of births.

Birth registration at matični ured (registrar’s office)

Birth registration called prijava rođenja must be done within a period of 15 days after the birth.

Children born in a hospital

A child that is born in the hospital or health institution is reported to matični ured (registrar’s office) by the hospital. The hospital contacts the matični ured directly in writing.

Children born outside of a hospital

For children born outside of a hospital, a report can be provided to matični ured by:

  • Father
  • Person in whose apartment the child was born
  • Mother, once she recovers
  • Doctor or a midwife who participated in the birth
  • Person who found out about the birth of the child

In this case, it is necessary to enclose documentation about the birth, including time and place, as well as proof of motherhood.

A list of matični ured offices in Croatia is available here. Pick a county on the right side of the page and find the city that you need. As a rule, you should visit the one closest to your Croatian address.

Registration of the birth to the matica rođenih (book of births)

Parents can register their child to be listed in the book of births in 2 ways:

The deadline for naming the child is 30 days after the day of birth. The child’s surname will be a common surname of the parents. If parents have different surnames, they must decide which surname the child will get – both or only one.

If only one parent comes to the registrar’s office, a written consensual statement on the child’s name is needed (i.e., proof that the other parent agrees with the registration and name).

The birth of a child should be registered within 30 days. If not, matični ured will inform Centar za socijalnu skrb (Center for social welfare), who will then contact the parents.

How to register the birth of a Croatian national born outside of Croatia in the Book of births

For a new child born outside of Croatia to be registered in the matica rođenih, at least one parent must be a Croatian citizen at the time of the birth. The birth of a child should be registered within 30 days.

[Read: How to apply for Croatian citizenship (hrvatsko državljanstvo)]

Registration using permanent address (prebivalište) within Croatia

Registration of Croatian nationals born outside of Croatia is done at the matični ured closest to the citizen’s prebivalište (permanent address) in Croatia. A list of matični ured offices in Croatia is available here (pick a county and then the city).

The child can be registered with written proof from the country where the child was born.

Croatia usually wants some kind of book of births record equivalent. Usually, this refers to a birth certificate. However, the documentation needed varies by country based on conventions and treaties. You will need to check with matični ured on the latest requirements.

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

Registration within Croatia without permanent address (prebivalište)

If the Croatian parent does not have a permanent address called prebivalište in Croatia, then the parent can register their new child at one of the registrar’s offices in Zagreb.

Here are all of the matični ured locations in Zagreb.

Registration outside of Croatia

If the parents cannot travel to Croatia (regardless of whether they have prebivalište or not), a parent can register their child in 3 alternate ways:

  • In the Croatian consular office or embassy abroad – View a list here
  • Via an authorized person called opunomoćenik
  • In written form to matični ured

To register a child born abroad in the matica rođenih, proof of birth from the country where the child is born is needed. Usually, this refers to a birth certificate. However, the documentation needed varies by country based on conventions and treaties. You must check with your local embassy or consulate on the latest requirements.

How to register yourself to the Book of births after being granted Croatian citizenship

People who have been granted Croatian citizenship through the process of applying for Croatian citizenship or requesting Croatian citizenship are entered in the register of citizenship (Knjiga državljana) at the matični ured office automatically.

[Read: How to apply for Croatian citizenship based on descent]

Once registered as a Croatian citizen, you can request your proof of citizenship (domovnica) and to be added to the book of births.

[Read: How to get proof of citizenship (domovnica)]

A new citizen can make these requests at a matični ured office inside of Croatia or at a Croatian embassy or consulate abroad.

This is stated in the Zakon o hrvatskom državljanstvu (Law on Croatian citizenship):

Osobe koje su hrvatsko državljanstvo stekle podrijetlom ili rođenjem na području Republike Hrvatske u evidenciju o državljanstvu upisuju se prilikom upisa u maticu rođenih. Zahtjev za upis u evidenciju može se podnijeti i putem diplomatske misije ili konzularnog ureda Republike Hrvatske u inozemstvu.

which translates to…

Persons who have acquired Croatian citizenship by origin or birth in the territory of the Republic of Croatia shall be entered in the records on citizenship upon registration in the register of births. A request for entry in the records may also be submitted through a diplomatic mission or consular office of the Republic of Croatia abroad.

Documents needed to register in the book of births vary depending on your original nationality, meaning the country of your birth. You will need to provide some kind of proof from the country of your birth similar to registration in the book of births. Additional documents may be needed and can vary from country to country.

You will probably already have these documents on hand, given that you applied for citizenship. When applying for citizenship, it is always preferred to get multiple copies so that you have enough to submit to the different government agencies.

[Read: How to prepare your foreign documents for use in Croatia]

Croatia has signed different conventions with different countries resulting in different rules. It is best to contact the registrar’s office or embassy/consulate according to your home address to check out which documents are required.

After registration in the book of births, you may request your birth certificate.

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

How to get help registering birth or yourself in Matica rođenih

We can help registering the birth of new children as well as new citizens in matica rođenih (book of births). This service can be helpful if you live abroad.

You can skip the embassies entirely by having an authorized person complete registration on your behalf with matični ured in Croatia.

In addition to making the registration for you, they can also request copies of the birth certificate (and domovnica, if they are Croatian citizens).

We can connect you to a trusted and vetted family lawyer who can handle the registration and document request on your behalf. Learn how we built our expat-vetted lawyer network in Croatia here and read the last 20 reviews about our lawyers here.

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.

To get help with birth registration, please complete the form below.

See what our clients have to say about working with us…

View our other registration articles

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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