Croatian diaspora from all over the world are increasingly wanting to apply for citizenship. Their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were Croatian, so they want to apply for citizenship based on their family roots. In some cases, they know their ancestor was Croatian but lack the proof, mainly a birth certificate (called “rodni list” in Croatian) or maybe they don’t even know where they were born.
Maybe you have a grandfather who was born in 1912 on Vis and you’d like to locate his birth certificate. Or perhaps you’re a Croatian with Croatian parents born in Canada. In this case, you’re not registered in the registry of births.
In this post, we’ll address who can request a birth certificate, how to locate a birth certificate and where to get a copy.
Who can get a Croatian birth certificate?
Any person born in Croatia, any Croatian citizen born abroad or any person granted Croatian citizenship can have a birth certificate. This birth document is released according to the written data from Matica rođenih. Matica rođenih is a book which contains information about all the people born in the Republic of Croatia.
Each new child born in Croatia is automatically added to this registry. If you are granted Croatian citizenship later in life, you must request to be added to the registry of births.
Before you can request your own birth certificate, you must first have proof of citizenship called “domovnica”. If you do not have this already, here is a post about how to get it. If you already have proof of nationality, then you can go ahead with requesting a copy of the certificate using the below instructions.
If you need to find someone else’s birth certificate, that can be a bit trickier. We’ll go over all of the options below.
How to get a copy of a birth certificate
The process to get a birth certificate varies depending on your situation.
#1 You need your own birth certificate
If you are not yet registered in Matica rođenih
In this case, your first step is to register yourself in the Matica rođenih (book of births) BEFORE you can request your birth certificate. New registrations in the Matica rođenih can only be done within Croatia at Matični ured (Registrar’s office). You will need your domovnica for this process.
If you are not physically in Croatia, we can connect you to an expat-vetted lawyer who can register you in Matica rođenih. Contact us for a referral using the form at the bottom of this page to be connected with one.
Once you are registered in the book of births, you can request a copy of your birth certificate.
If you are already registered in Matica rođenih
If you are already registered in Matica rođenih, then you can proceed with requesting a birth certificate. You can do this in the following ways:
The request for the birth certificate can be initiated by:
- Yourself personally
- A person authorized by the owner of the birth certificate, with permission certified by a notary (called “javni bilježnik”)
The cost for a copy is 20 kuna.
#2 You have a Croatian relative and need their birth certificate
If your relative is alive
To get the birth certificate of a relative that is still alive, you have to prove the lineage between you and your family member. As evidence, you can show your passport and birth certificate assuming all ancestors connecting you with the relative are already registered in Matica rođenih. Alternatively, your relative can give you notarized authorization to get a copy of their birth certificate.
After you get authorization, you can purchase the certificate at Matični ured in Croatia or in Croatian Consular office abroad.
If your relative is deceased
If your relative is dead and you need his/her birth certificate, it can be purchased at Matični ured in Croatia or at a Croatian Consular office abroad.
To prove you have a right to it, you must show proof of your family connection to the relative that is supported by Matica rođenih records and you will need to explain your purpose for requesting the birth certificate. A valid purpose is applying for citizenship based on lineage. You can purchase the certificate personally or via person authorized by the notary public.
If you need help finding a birth certificate for a Croatian relative so that you can apply for citizenship, contact us using the below form and we will connect you with a vetted legal expert who can take care of it for you.
If you need help finding the birth certificate for yourself or a Croatian relative, our expat-vetted lawyer network can take care of it for you. We have connections throughout the country, so we can best match you with a legal expert close to your birthplace or the birthplace of your relative.
This is best suited for those living abroad who cannot come to Croatia to research, locate and request a birth certificate. In some situations, births are only listed in church records, which requires a bit of digging to find the records.
A vetted Croatian lawyer can:
- Research where your relative was born
- Determine if you or your relative is listed in the Matica rođenih (book of births)
- Register you in Matica rođenih so you can get your birth certificate
- Locate birth records not registered in Matica rođenih (like those documented in church records)
- Request a birth certificate on your behalf in person
If you’re planning to apply for Croatian citizenship, they can also help you apply. To get help locating a birth certificate, 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.