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, they need to be registered with Matični ured. When a person is granted Croatian citizenship, they also need to 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.
What is Matica rođenih?
Matica rođenih is a register of all birth certificates managed by the Croatian registrar (called "Matični ured"). This register can be loosely translated to "book of birth". A person does not have to be born in Croatia to be included in this register, but they must be a citizen.
In this post, we will cover:
- How to register the birth of a Croatian national born inside Croatia
- How to register the birth of a Croatian national born outside Croatia
- How to add yourself to the “Matica rođenih” after being granted Croatian citizenship
- How to get help registering a birth or yourself in the Matica rođenih
Let’s get started…
After a child is born in Croatia, the birth needs to be registered and then the child can be added to Matica rođenih (the book of births). First, we’ll go over birth registration, then requesting the addition to the book of births.
Birth registration to Matični ured (registrar)
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 by the hospital. The hospital contacts the Matični ured (registrar’s office) 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:
- The father
- The person in whose apartment the child was born
- The mother, once when she recovers
- The doctor or a midwife who participated in birth
- The 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.
You can find a list of Matični ured offices 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 address.
Registration of the birth to the Matica rođenih (Book of birth)
Parents can register their child to be listed in the ‘book of birth’ in 2 ways:
- At the closest Matični ured (pick a county and then the city) to their home address (by filling out this form)
- Via eNovorođenče online application (detailed steps are here)
The deadline for naming the child is 30 days after the day of birth. The child’s surname will be a common surname of parents. If parents have different surnames, they must decide about 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.
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.
Registration using prebivalište address within Croatia
Registration of Croatian nationals born outside of Croatia are done at the Matični ured closest to the citizen’s prebivalište address (pick a county and then the city) in Croatia. The child can be registered with written proof from the country where the child was born.
Croatia usually wants some kind of “book of birth” record equivalent. Usually this refers to birth certificate, however the documentation needed varies by country based on conventions and treaties. You will need to check with Matični ured on latest requirements.
Registration within Croatia but without prebivalište address
If the Croatian parent does not have 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 if they have prebivalište or not), a parent can register their child in 3 alternate ways:
- In a Croatian consular office or embassy abroad
- Via an authorized person (called “opunomoćenik”)
- In written form to Matični ured
To register a child born abroad in the Matica rođenih, proof of the birth from the country where the child is born is needed. Usually this refers to birth certificate, however the documentation needed varies by country based on conventions and treaties. You will need to check with your local embassy or consulate on latest requirements.
Persons who have been granted Croatian citizenship through the process of applying or requesting are entered in the register of citizenship (Knjiga državljana) at the Matični ured office automatically. Once registered as a citizen, you can request your domovnica and to be added to the book of birth.
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 birth vary depending on your original nationality, meaning the country of your birth. You will need provide some kind of proof from your country of your birth similar to a 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.
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.
We can help registering the birth of new children as well new citizens in Matica rođenih. This service can be helpful if you live abroad.
Due to the pandemic, embassies and consulates have drastically limited their hours and services. 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. To get help with birth registration, please complete the form below.
Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.