How to get married in Croatia

Wedding in Zagreb, Croatia
Wedding in Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 6.12.2023.

Want to get married in Croatia? If you or your intended is Croatian, this post is for you.

There are two options for getting married in Croatia depending on your personal preference:

  • Civil marriage
  • Marriage within the faith (“faith” usually means Catholicism, but all faiths are recognized)

All possible administrative costs for marriage are available here.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Civil Marriages

First, you’ll need to make a few decisions, including:

  • Approximate time and location of your wedding
  • Who will your witnesses be
  • Changes to your last name, if any

Next, visit the Registrar’s Office closest to your registered address in Croatia between 45 and 30 days in advance of your intended wedding date. You will need to declare your intention to be wed. Both future spouses will need to be present. At this time, the administrator will inform you if there are any impediments to your desired date, location, and last name.

Each of you will need to provide the Registrar with specific documents before you can be issued a marriage license. Your intended future Croatian spouse will need to submit:

  • A document that proves their identity
  • A document that proves their citizenship
  • A birth certificate not older than 3 months
  • Certificate of free marital status issued by the court in case birth certificate is older than 3 months

You, if you are non-Croatian, will need to submit:

  • An apostilled original of your birth certificate issued in the country of your birth in accordance with international treaties and conventions and that is notarized and translated into Croatian
  • A certificate of free marital status in accordance with international treaties and conventions and translation into Croatian. (It is best you turn to the embassy of your country of origin for this, as requirements may vary from country to country.)
    • Example: If a US citizen wishes to marry a Croatian, they may obtain the certificate of free marital status by declaring under oath in front of a consular officer and stating that he or she is an American citizen, unmarried, and that marriage in Croatia will be recognized in the United States. You can obtain this document at the United States Embassy in Zagreb with a US passport. The fee must be paid in cash (dollars or euro) or by credit card.
  • A certificate that proves there are no obstacles to the marriage in the Republic of Croatia, and that the marriage will be recognized in the country of your origin, translated into Croatian. (Usually, the certificate that you are not already married in the country of your origin satisfies this requirement as well.)
  • A Certificate or absolute decree for widows/divorcees, if any spouse is a widow/er or divorced they must provide legal government proof of this status. Of course, it must be translated and apostilled/legalized, based on treaties.
  • A document that proves your identity
  • A document that proves your citizenship

In addition, you’ll also need to provide:

  • Copies of the passports for your witnesses
  • Payment of the marriage license fee. This fee covers the compilation of the minutes of the marriage application and the act of marrying before the magistrate.
  • If you do not speak Croatian, you will need to bring an official court translator with you to the Registrar.

Ceremonies for civil marriages are usually performed on the premises of the Registrar’s office. If you wish to be married elsewhere, you must pay an additional sum, determined by the distance of your desired location to the Registrar’s office, the time of marriage, and whether the date you selected falls onto a working day, Sunday, or a holiday.

[Read: How to get married in Croatia (if at least one spouse is a foreigner)]

Getting Married within the Faith

Couples who want to marry within faith will also have to visit the Registrar’s Office.

The same documents required for civil marriages will need to be submitted, but the fee system is somewhat different. The compilation of minutes can be paid with state stamps (or “državni biljezi” in Croatian). purchased in offices of Croatian financial services called “FINA”, in post offices, and on “TISAK” newsstands. Additional state stamps are due for issuance of a confirmation that you fulfill the preconditions for marriage. These administrative fees are available here.

Keep in mind that confirmation on the fulfillment of religious marriage preconditions (e.g. “marriage license”) is valid for three months from the date of issue.

For church marriages, you will also need to sit down with the representative of the religious community that you belong to. The procedures required by your church may vary as well. For example, some priests may insist that the bride and groom undergo an engagement course prior to marriage.

A religious marriage ceremony can only be performed by a religious community official who has regulated legal relations with the Republic of Croatia. Once you are married, it is the duty of the official who performed the ceremony to send your marriage certificate to the appropriate Registrar’s Office.

Same-Sex Couples

Unfortunately, in Croatia “marriage” by law is a union of a man and a woman only. In 2013, there was a national referendum proposed by the conservative association “U ime obitelji”, which fought for this definition of marriage to be entered into the Croatian constitution and relevant laws.

All counties in Croatia voted “Yes”, with the exception of Istra and Primorje-Gorski. (THANK YOU FOR NOT BEING HATEFUL AND IGNORANT!) Since the passing of this referendum, same-sex couples technically are not married as far as the law is concerned, which means same-sex couples cannot marry in Croatia using the above procedures. Same-sex couples can register a life partnership. Here are the details on that.

Residence Permits Based on Marriage

If you are a third-party national (meaning you are not EEA/EU or Swiss) marrying a Croatian, then you may apply for residence in Croatia under the Family Reunification policy. Details on how to apply for this residence permit are here.

Get help with paperwork or wedding planning

Preparing to marry in Croatia is tedious, whether you live in Croatia or are planning a destination wedding. As we’ve explained above, the necessary paperwork can vary depending on your nationalities and the location in Croatia where you wish to marry, and quite frankly, to complicate things more, the requirements can differ between registrar offices.

No need to stress though, let us help you right from the start.  During your 30 minute chat with our wedding expert, we can answer all of your questions, help you sort out exactly what documents you need to provide, guide you on timelines (they can be tricky), connect you with local vendors, and make planning your wedding in Croatia a breeze.

What is the cost?

The cost for this consultation and guidance service is 150 euro VAT included (25% tax mandated by the Croatian government).

What is included?

A 30 minute consulting call with our wedding (and bureaucracy) expert who will give you advice based on your specific situation and needs to help you navigate your Croatian nuptials.

An additional 30 minutes of follow up personal research on whichever point you decide to be of utmost importance. It could be about the destination, the venue, photographer, attire… We will put together a list of vendors specifically for you.  You won’t get a google listing from us – we will call and vet each referral personally before they get added to your list.

As an added bonus, you will also receive a customized Croatian wedding checklist covering all the wedding & bureaucratic “must dos” before you can say “I do”.

Ready to book?

To schedule your personalize session, complete the below form.

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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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