How children of Croatians can register their citizenship: Guide for 2024

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This post has been verified with an immigration lawyer and the ministry that handles citizenship.
Flags of Croatia and the city of Zagreb
Flags of Croatia and the city of Zagreb

UPDATED: 17.2.2023.

There are many paths to Croatian citizenship, one of which is based on lineage. If you have a Croatian ancestor, there are a couple of 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 under a certain condition can register their citizenship rather than apply for it. 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 cover:

The facts are these…

How to register for Croatian citizenship if you are a child of a Croatian

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

When registering for Croatian citizenship, you ask 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.

View our guide on applying for Croatian citizenship based on descent here.

View our guide on applying for Croatian citizenship based on naturalization for EU/EEA citizens here.

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.

Please note: From January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022, it was possible for older children of Croatians to register. This deadline has now passed, so they must now apply for citizenship under Article 11. View guide for Article 11 here.

If you do not qualify based on the above condition or your parents did not gain citizenship until after you were born, then you must apply for citizenship under Article 11. To find out how you can apply for citizenship, click here.

How can I register for Croatian citizenship?

#1 Collect the documentation

The application to register your citizenship must include the following:

  • Completed application form – Download it here
  • Copy of your birth certificate (apostilled/legalized and officially translated)
  • Copy of your marriage certificate, if you are married (apostilled/legalized and officially translated)
  • Copy of your passport
  • Government-issued document that states when you were granted foreign citizenship, like an equivalent to domovnica (proof of citizenship) – Some countries like the US do not have a domovnica-equivalent, in which case you must provide an explanation that this document does not exist and state when you became a foreign citizen.
  • Copies of birth certificates for both parents, even if one is foreign (apostilled/legalized and officially translated)
  • Domovnica or certificate of registration for your parent who 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)

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

Read about the apostille and full legalization of the government’s document here.

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

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

#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. A list of all Croatian consulates and embassies outside of Croatia is available here.

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

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

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.

Need help with your Croatian citizenship application?

Interested in applying for Croatian citizenship but not sure where to start? We can point you in the right direction.

Our expat-vetted lawyer network can take care of your application from beginning to end. We have excellent English-speaking lawyers across the country that specialize in citizenship and are in constant communication with the ministry. These are the same lawyers who help us vet all of our information on this site. Learn how we built this network here.

You do not have to live in Croatia to take advantage of this service.

For one flat rate, they can:

  • Validate your claim (which includes confirming if you qualify and checking the citizenship status of your relative)
  • Prepare a plan specific to your case to ensure you have the best chance of approval
  • Target possible red flags and prepare solutions
  • Collect birth records in Croatia (new copies are required)
  • Confirm exact requirements with your embassy or consulate and coordinate with them on your behalf
  • Provide guidance on preparing a successful CV biography (and coordinating translation into Croatian)
  • Prepare your family tree
  • Prepare supporting documentation
  • Coordinate translations for foreign documents, as needed
  • Assist with any issues or questions that arise after submission. They are with you throughout the process from start to approval.

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.

Having Expat in Croatia and our lawyer network on your side will give you the best shot at approval. It takes 1-2 years on average for applications to be processed, so best not to risk denial. This is nationality, after all, and obtaining nationality is a big deal.

View reviews from people who have used our services for citizenship here or jump to this section to see the last 20 who used our lawyers for citizenship.

To get help with your application for citizenship, complete the form below, and will match you with an expert.

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

View our other citizenship 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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