How children of Croatians can register their citizenship: Guide for 2021

This post has been verified with an immigration lawyer and the ministry that handles citizenship.
Request Croatian citizenship for your kid
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UPDATED: 6/7/2021

There are many paths to Croatian citizenship, one of which is based on lineage. If you have a Croatian ancestor, there are a couple ways you may be able to obtain citizenship. One is based on Croatian parents, and the other is based on relatives further back in your family tree.

Children of Croatian parents, in some cases, can register their citizenship rather than apply for it. This is a faster and cheaper process. Given that the current wait time for a full application can take as long as 2 years for the government to process, registration is more favorable if you qualify.

In this post, we’ll explain:

Let’s get started…

What is the difference between registering citizenship and applying for citizenship?

When registering Croatian citizenship, you are asking for something you are already entitled to. You have a birthright to citizenship based on origin.

The process of applying is for those who are using lineage or some other reason as their basis for gaining citizenship. In terms of lineage, a full application is required for grandchildren, great grandchildren, spouses and adopted children, to name a few examples.

If you need to apply for citizenship, here is a post that explains the requirements and process.

If you are unsure if you qualify for citizenship, find out right now by clicking here.

Who qualifies to register for Croatian citizenship?

If you were born after October 8, 1991 AND at least one of your parents was a Croatian citizen at the time of your birth AND you are younger than 21, then you qualify to register your citizenship.

If you were born after October 8, 1991 AND at least one of your parents was a Croatian citizen at the time of your birth AND you are older than 21, then you qualify to register your citizenship before December 31, 2021.

If you were born between January 8, 1977 and October 8, 1991 AND both parents were Croatian citizens at the time of your birth, then you qualify to register your citizenship before December 31, 2021.

If you do not fall into any of the above categories or you parents did not gain citizenship until after you were born, then you must apply for citizenship. To find out how you can apply for citizenship, click here.

How can I register for Croatian citizenship?

Step #1 Prepare your application

Your application to register your citizenship must include the following:

  • Completed application – Download it here
  • A copy of your birth certificate (apostilled/legalized then officially translated and notarized)
  • A copy of your marriage certificate, if you are married (apostilled/legalized then officially translated and notarized)
  • A copy of your passport (notarized)
  • Government-issued document that states when you were granted foreign citizenship, like an equivalent to a domovnica (Some countries like the US do not have a domovnica-equivalent, in which case you must provide explanation that this document doesn’t exist and state when you became a foreign citizen.)
  • Copies of birth certificates for both parents, even if one is foreign (apostilled/legalized then officially translated and notarized)
  • Domovnica or certificate of registration for your parent whom had Croatian citizenship at the time of your birth
  • Any additional proof of former your Croatian parent’s life in Yugoslavia like a working book, military book, or old passport (this is preferred, but optional)

If you are unfamiliar with apostille, notarization and translation, please read our guide on how to prepare foreign documents for use with the Croatian government here.

If you need help gathering birth records, domovnica, or certificate of registration from the Croatian government, we can help! Click here to get assistance.

Step #2 File your application

You must register for citizenship in the country of your residence. If you live outside Croatia, you must file your application to register citizenship at the closest Croatian consulate or embassy to your residence.

If you live within Croatia, then you can register your citizenship at the closest administrative police station to you.

Take the entire application with all required attachments and submit it in person. While it will not take nearly as long as an application for citizenship, it will take some time.

What else do I need to know?

When putting together your documents, make sure:

  • Apostille are less than 6 months old
  • Any documents issued by the Republic of Croatia are less than 6 months old

How can I get help with my registration for citizenship?

The hardest part of your registration for citizenship will be getting all of the documents together. The documents like domovnica, birth records and certificate of registration are especially challenging to get a hold of if living outside Croatia.

Many consulates and embassies are either closed or currently have limited hours, so it is best to get these kinds of documents directly from Croatia.

We have a team of expat-vetted immigration lawyers that specialize in citizenship. They all speak great English and can dig up the documents you need for your application.

They can also help with translation and notarization of your foreign government documents. The cost for translation and notarization that will meet the requirements is substantially lower in Croatia than in foreign countries.

If you’d like help gathering documents for your citizenship registration, complete the below form. Once we hear from you, we’ll connect you with an expert.

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.

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22 thoughts on “How children of Croatians can register their citizenship: Guide for 2021

  1. Grace
    September 29, 2020 @ 5:28 pm

    Hi there — I am trying to figure out if I qualify for citizenship through lineage. My father was born on the Dalmatian coast in the former Yugoslavia in 1937. He emigrated to American but kept his Yugoslav citizenship, and was still a Yugoslav citizen when I was born in NY in 1970. When Yugoslavia was dissolved in the 1990s, he became an American citizen. My father would like to spend his remaining years in his hometown and I would like to accompany him, but would prefer to do so as a dual citizen of Croatia and the US. Based on your knowledge, do you think that I have enough qualifications to apply? Thanks!


    • Expat in Croatia
      October 6, 2020 @ 8:29 am

      Hi Grace,

      Based on what you’ve shared, it sounds like you qualify to apply for Croatian citizenship. If you want further assistance with your citizenship, feel free to contact me.




  2. Mr T
    September 29, 2020 @ 7:26 pm

    Hi Sara,
    I believe you also need to write a CV as part of your submission. You may also need a potvrda stating that you are not registered in Book of Citizens.
    Thanks for a great website.


    • Expat in Croatia
      January 12, 2021 @ 11:10 am

      Hi Mr. T,

      A CV biography is only needed when applying for citizenship. It is not needed when requesting citizenship.




  3. Grace
    September 29, 2020 @ 11:10 pm

    Hi Sara, If my father was born in Croatian when it was Yugoslavia, and was still a Yugoslav citizen when I was born (in the U.S.), can I apply for dual Croatian/U.S. citizenship? Thanks!


    • Expat in Croatia
      October 2, 2020 @ 8:27 am

      Hi Grace,

      Based on what you’ve shared, then yes you can apply for citizenship. However, it’s not as simple as that. There are a few other factors to consider. If you email me, I can ask a bit more about your situation and better advise you on your options.




  4. Eric Ritosa
    November 9, 2020 @ 1:22 am

    Hello, I understand with the new rules effective January 1, 2020 that application process for citizenship through lineage. Do you have any insight if there is a benefit to apply directly in Croatia vs. through a consulate? I typically spend about ~1month each summer in Croatia. I’m wondering if the process would be expedited if I would apply in person while I’m there?


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 10, 2020 @ 10:46 am

      Hi Eric,

      Only residents of Croatia can apply for citizenship within Croatia, starting January 1, 2020. This means you’ll need to apply at the embassy or consulate closest to your place of residence. It cannot be done while on vacation in Croatia.




  5. Nicole
    November 11, 2020 @ 3:07 am

    Hi, do you know if the process of requesting citizenship has changed at all due to the pandemic? I would be applying from the USA, if that affects anything.


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 17, 2020 @ 11:27 am

      Hi Nicole,

      The only changes have been to the operating hours of the embassies or consulates and apostilles. The hours are now more limited, especially in the US. Some US consulates are extending the validity of apostilles they will accept to 1 year instead of 6 months, but you must confirm this with your particular consulate.




  6. Sasha
    November 19, 2020 @ 9:02 am

    Hello there,

    If both grandparents on my mother’s side were Croatian and came to the US in the earlier 1900s, and my mother was born in the US (she has never tried to get citizenship) could I try to apply thru lineage.
    Thank you


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 24, 2020 @ 12:07 pm

      Hi Sasha,

      Yes, based on these details you would qualify to apply based on Article 11 as long as your grandparents never relinquished their Croatian citizenship. If you need any help with your application, feel free to contact me.




  7. Carleen Vrdoljak Wallington
    January 12, 2021 @ 11:46 pm

    Dobro Dan,
    I am a Croatian Canadian that is in the process of requesting Croatian Citizenship (I was born there and can trace my roots back 4 generations).
    My concern is that there are only two Croatian Embassy in Canada (both on the East end of the Country), and I live in the western prairie provinces.
    Based on the Citizen Act, I would be required to apply in person. I am hoping that there is some way easier to this process than to have me fly across the country, especially during Covid, as travel is not recommended.
    Thanks in advance for your help.


    • Expat in Croatia
      January 26, 2021 @ 10:14 am

      Hi Carleen,

      You’ll need to work this out with the Croatian embassies in Canada. They will most likely require that you visit the embassy in person.




  8. Erik Voppler
    February 3, 2021 @ 1:37 am

    Do I need to get proof of a clear criminal record as well? Everywhere I read it says you need to get a Police Clearance Certificate as well.


    • Expat in Croatia
      February 4, 2021 @ 9:40 am

      Hi Erik,

      If you are APPLYING for citizenship, you need to provide a background check. This isn’t needed if you are REQUESTING citizenship.




  9. Rob
    February 12, 2021 @ 11:12 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Both grandparents on my mother’s side were from Croatia, my Grandfather was from Tugare near Split and I still have relatives there. Do I qualify to apply for citizenship, or is it parents-only?



    • Expat in Croatia
      February 16, 2021 @ 12:18 pm

      Hi Rob,

      If your grandparents left Croatia to permanently emigrated abroad and never gave up their citizenship, then yes you do. If you’d like assistance with preparation of your application, you may contact me here.




  10. Kat
    June 16, 2021 @ 6:30 pm

    Hi Both if my parent were born in Zadar croatia and emigrated in the 50s. Retaining Croatian citizenship.
    My father retired to croatia early 2000 until his passing
    I was born 63 in Australia and would like to get citizenship – do I qualify as I was born earlier than the 70s


  11. Ana Franov
    September 21, 2021 @ 9:15 pm

    Hello — I am trying to get citizenship for my 3 year old son born in the US. I was born in the US and got my Croatian citizenship in 2018 and my husband is not Croatian. I was told that I need my marriage certificate in order to get my son’s citizenship. It was not enough that my husband comes with me to sign to the embassy to state that he is in agreement. I already have my son’s long birth certificate with apostille seal and translated. Thanks!


    • Marija Tkalec
      September 22, 2021 @ 4:26 pm

      Hi Ana,

      The embassy is probably asking you for proof that shows that you as a parent are a Croatian national. If they told you that you must enclose this document, include it in your application.

      Also, this article contains a lot of information (hope it helps):

      Good luck,


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