Croatian citizenship by descent

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Croatian citizenship by descent

How to Apply for Citizenship by Descent in 2022: A Guide

Croatia Passport CoverThere are several ways to obtain Croatian citizenship. Croatian citizenship through descent entails acquiring citizenship based on the number of blood relations or, more accurately, lineages. The TLDR for Croatian citizenship by descent is that there is no limit to the amount of generations your ancestors date back to being Croatian citizens.

This is a stark difference when compared to other countries in the European Union, that usually only offer citizenship by descent up until the third generation.

Foreigners seeking Croatian citizenship by ancestry must follow a few restrictions and processes and can they acquire Croatian citizenship on the basis of:

  • Origins/Lineage
  • Naturalization
  • Marriage
  • Re-admission
  • a member of the Croatian people
  • International agreements

This tutorial is entirely focused on how someone can petition for Croatian citizenship based on ancestry and how to obtain a Croatian passport.

Starting with Croatian citizenship by descent

Croatia Coat of ArmsCroatian citizenship through descent entails acquiring citizenship based on the number of blood relations or, more accurately, lineages.

In other words, foreign nationals who find or are aware that they have Croatian relatives may petition for Croatian citizenship.

People with Croatian ancestors, such as parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents, are excellent candidates for citizenship, and the following procedures must be followed:

  • Establish family links, documents such as birth certificates are required.
  • The Ministry of Interior of Croatia is in charge of overseeing the process of getting Croatian citizenship by descent. The institution examines the documents submitted by the candidates.
  • If the given documents are accepted, the candidates will receive a favourable decision on their citizenship.
  • The declaration of Croatian citizenship by descent is then mentioned in the Book of Births at the person registration office.
  • After obtaining citizenship, the respective candidates receive a new birth certificate, which they can use to apply for ID and a passport.

The Croatian Citizenship Act specifies the requirements for foreigners to apply for and gain Croatian citizenship by descent.

The rules are straightforward, beginning with the need that applicants demonstrate Croatian ancestry. What is significant is that, beginning in 2020, the legislation states that there is no generation limit, as is common in other countries.

As a result, the ancestor line is followed until its existence is established.

Article 11 of the Croatian Citizenship Act

When seeking for citizenship, you must specify which article of the Croatian Citizenship Act you are applying under. For example, if you’re applying on the basis of marriage, Article 10 is most likely what you’ll require. Article 11 applies if you are applying on the basis of descent.

This article describes all of the criteria and conditions that the ministry takes into account while reviewing your application.

Who is eligible to apply for Croatian citizenship based on ancestry?

To be eligible to apply based on descent, you must have a Croatian ancestor who is directly related to you and left Croatia permanently to move overseas. This can be a parent, grandparent, great grandparent, or other relative as long as they are a Croatian emigrant.

If they returned to Croatia or never left, they are not considered emigrants, thus Article 11 does not apply to them. There is no limit to how many generations you can go back as of January 1, 2020, as long as you can show the relationship and their emigration outside.


If you are the child of a Croatian citizen, there are some circumstances in which you can register for citizenship rather than apply. This is a simpler and faster method. These are the circumstances:

  • 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 under the age of 21, you are eligible.
  • 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 over the age of 21, you are eligible to register as a Croatian citizen before January 1, 2023. (the deadline was prolonged in November 2021).
  • If you were born between January 8, 1977, and October 8, 1991, and both of your parents were Croatian citizens at the time of your birth, you are eligible to register for Croatian citizenship before January 1, 2023. (the deadline was prolonged in November 2021).
  • If you meet the following criteria and want to register your citizenship, go here for a more detailed guidance.

If none of these scenarios apply to you, you must apply through descent in accordance with Article 11.


The spouses of foreign nationals who have earned Croatian citizenship by descent may likewise seek for citizenship, according to the Croatian Citizenship Act. The same is true for people who qualify for Croatian citizenship by descent and intend to apply for it.

Spouses of persons who qualify to apply under Article 11 or who have earned citizenship under Article 11 may apply under this article without meeting any residency criteria (Article 10).

We’ll illustrate with a few of examples:

  • If you are married to someone who obtained Croatian nationality under Article 11, you can seek for citizenship under that provision.
  • If you are married to someone who qualifies for Croatian nationality under Article 11, you can apply for citizenship under Article 11 AFTER they are granted nationality.

Croatia Country Landscape Photo

What are the risks of being rejected the Croatian nationality?

Article 11 may exclude a person from applying for Croatian citizenship for a variety of reasons.

  1. If your ancestor left Croatia to move to another country inside Yugoslavia (or ex-Yugoslavia), all descendants lose their claim to citizenship based on descent.
  2. If your ancestor departed Croatia after October 8, 1991, all descendants lose the right to citizenship based on descent.

In actuality, the ministry has also discriminated against those whose ancestors left Croatia to settle in another European country, particularly Eastern Europe. This is against the law, which means you can sue if you are denied citizenship for this reason.

If you are disqualified for any of these reasons, you may apply under Article 16 instead. For this path, you must demonstrate your ties to the Croatian people.

If you have a claim under Article 11, proceed to the following section…

How to Apply for Croatian Citizenship Through Ancestry

Step #1 Verify your claim.

Before you begin the process of acquiring Croatian citizenship, you must first authenticate your claim. If you’re not confident in your claim, you could squander a lot of time and money.

Because this is a lengthy and hard process, it is best to double-check all of the details if you are unsure whether you qualify. We can assist you if you are unsure whether you qualify. Please contact us using the form below, and we will assist you in determining whether you have a claim.

The best way to confirm your claim is to obtain your ancestor’s birth certificate in Croatia. It will be difficult to apply for citizenship under Article 11 without that birth certificate.

We can assist you in locating and acquiring a birth certificate in Croatia. Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get you started.

Step 2: Start the application.

Preparing your application is the most difficult element of the procedure. It entails gathering documentation from both Croatia and your home nation, which can be time-consuming.

You must supply:

  • Completed application form – one of the following, depending on your situation:
  • Obrazac 1 – For adult applicants – Download here
  • Obrazac 2 – For adults working with children – Click here to download.
  • Obrazac 3 – For minors under the age of 18 who are applying but their parents are not – Download here
  • Biography, including your motivation for applying and ties to Croatia (written in Croatian)
  • Your original birth certificate (original, apostilled, officially translated if it is a foreign birth certificate)
  • Your Croatian ancestor’s birth certificate (must be a new copy)
  • Birth certificates of any relatives who are related to this ancestor, if any (original, apostilled, officially translated if it is a foreign birth certificate)

Notarized evidence of nationality, such as:

  • a passport photocopy
  • ID card photocopy
  • Domovnica equal copy
  • Background check from your country of nationality (or where you lived in the last 12 months) demonstrating you have not been legally charged during the last 6 months (original, apostilled, officially translated) [Read: Background checks for foreign nationals]
  • Identity document copy with visible photo (notarized and translated if not in English)
  • Marriage certificate (original, apostilled, and formally translated if married outside of Croatia) [Learn how to marry in Croatia with at least one foreign partner]
  • The family tree

Evidence that your ancestor moved permanently abroad, such as:

  • Shipping Manifest
  • Arrival at the port
  • Death Certificate
  • Anything else that depicts your relative’s life in Croatia prior to their departure

You must additionally supply the following for children under the age of 18.

  • Birth certificate (original, apostilled, officially translated if it is a foreign birth certificate)
  • Citizenship documentation
  • The other parent’s written permission

Depending on the competent institution, gathering all required papers can take some time. If you require assistance in preparing your application, we may refer you to a vetted immigration lawyer who specializes in citizenship who can draft the application on your behalf and make it as strong as possible. They may make sure your application is correct and thorough, which increases your chances of approval. To get started, fill out this form.

ALL foreign official documents issued outside of Croatia MUST be originals. Unless other norms are set by bilateral and multilateral international agreements, they must be legalized/apostilled and legally translated into Croatian.

Step 3: Submit your application.

After you have gathered all of the necessary papers, it is time to submit your application for Croatian citizenship. You must submit your application in person in your home country (or nearest to your country of residence).

If you have legal residence in Croatia, you may apply at the nearest MUP administrative police station to your home. [Read more about how to locate administrative police stations in Croatia]

If you live outside of Croatia, you must apply at the Croatian consulate or embassy nearest to your foreign residency. A list of Croatian consulates and embassies located outside of Croatia may be found here.

If you are disabled, a legal agent or approved proxy can submit the application on your behalf.

Step #4: Waiting

If you’re wondering how long the process will take, ready yourself with patience. The entire process of obtaining Croatian citizenship can take two or more years, especially if you apply from abroad.

The more complete your application, the easier the government will find it to process. Take great care before submitting your application. If the ministry does not know how to process your application, it will not be processed. It will gather dust, and they will never make a decision.

If your application is incomplete, they will contact you and request additional documentation. You want to avoid that given the length of this procedure.

Step #5 Obtain the decision

If MUP approves your application, you will be given a positive decision called “Rjeenje o primitku u hrvatsko dravljanstvo,” which translates as “Decision on entrance to Croatian citizenship.”

Your Croatian citizenship begins the day you receive this ruling. You are now a legitimate Croatian citizen as of that day.

Hooray! Congratulations on obtaining Croatian citizenship!

If you are denied, you will be given a choice.

If you believe your application was rejected without justification, you have 30 days after receiving a negative decision to file a complaint (alba) with MUP. A complaint must be filed with the administrative court.

When you receive your verdict, you’ll be required to pay an administrative fee. This charge varies according on whether you received a favorable or unfavorable decision.

A affirmative choice (Rjeenje) costs 1.050 kuna. If your application for Croatian citizenship is denied, the charge for a negative ruling is 35 kuna.

Step #5: Take a solemn oath

After receiving your Croatian citizenship by ancestry, you must swear a formal oath known as “sveana prisega.” MUP will inform you about the formal oath-taking procedure.

Step #6: Apply for additional Croatian documentation.

After becoming a Croatian citizen, you can apply for the following Croatian documents in the following order:

  1. Domovnica – This document verifies your Croatian citizenship. [Read: Obtaining Proof of Citizenship]
  2. Birth certificate – This document serves as an official record of a person’s birth. [Learn how to obtain a copy of a birth certificate]
  3. Osobna iskaznica – This is a national identification card [Read: How to Apply for a Croatian ID Card]

Croatian citizenship can be demonstrated by:

  • Croatian identification card
  • Croatian identity card
  • Military identification card
  • Domovnica

Choosing Croatia for a New Beginning

Croatia is among the countries with the best living and working circumstances. While some people wish to create a business in this country to take advantage of the favorable development conditions, others prefer to live and work here or retire here to reap the benefits of this economically and politically stable country.

Here are some population and immigration statistics for Croatia:

  • In 2019, Croatia registered over 40,000 immigrants.
  • In Croatia, almost 57% of the population lives in cities.
  • Croatia has a population of around 0.05% of the world’s population.
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