How to obtain Croatian citizenship?
This article contains reduced and simplified information about obtaining Croatian citizenship, presented in a way so that most Croatian Americans can understand the procedure for obtaining Croatian citizenship. For complete information, please read “The Croatian Citizenship Act” (Official Gazette no. 53/91, 70/91, 28/92, 113/93-Constitutional Court decision, 4/94 and 130/11) that regulates Croatian citizenship issues.
STEP 1: Please check if eligible for the application!
There are two major groups of eligible applicants:
- Croatian emigrants, born in Croatia (within Croatian borders as today), and their descendants up to the third degree.
- People not born in Croatia (e.g. Bosnia-Herzegovina), but belong to Croatian ethnicity.
- Children of Croatian citizens (under 18, if one parent was Croatian citizen when the child was born). The only document needed for them is the item No. 1 in “Step 2”, and both parents should sign the following application: ly/CroatianCitizenshipChildren
Spouses of Croatian emigrants can also apply for Croatian citizenship, while spouses of an applicants based on Croatian ethnicity can only get their citizenship if they live in Croatia for five years. Croatia does NOT grant citizenship based on investment or the ownership of a property in Croatia.
STEP 2: Get all necessary documents!
The following documents are essential:
- Birth (and Marriage) Certificates, certified with the Apostille Seal/Cover Page from a State Secretary office in the state where it was issued. You can get it by directly from the State Secretary Office by mail. You can find the relevant office on Google, e.g. “Apostille Office State of California”. Once verified with the apostille, the document should be officially translated into Croatian. Find your closest translator at: atanet.org (American Translators Association).
- Criminal records check not older than 6 months, issued by the relevant authority (e.g. FBI, Justice Department or a county sheriff’s department; printed online-report is NOT acceptable, as it should be signed and sealed). This document needs to be translated into Croatian as well (same as 1, translation only, NO apostille).
- Biography written in Croatian, as a short essay describing your motivation stating some reasons why you are applying for citizenship (e.g. preserving Croatian tradition and values, possibility of moving back to Croatia one day, studying or doing business in Croatia and/or EU)
- Family Tree with marked direct line from the initial immigrant(s) from Croatia to you, including all available birth and marriage certificates of your ancestors in the marked line.
- Written recommendation (in Croatian) of a Croatian community, association or a club, describing the ways in which you have been promoting Croatia abroad or preserving Croatian heritage.
- Documented evidence of Croatian ethnicity from your Croatian ancestor or yourself (School transcripts, work papers etc., any official document issued before 1990 which stated that the person is of Croatian nationality). These documents are mainly needed for Croats who were born in Bosnia- Herzegovina, Montenegro or Serbia (Vojvodina) and their descends.
STEP 3: Fill out the Application Form!
- Download the Application Form online: ly/CroatianCitizenshipApp
- Print it and fill out by a non-erasable pen in CAPITAL LETTERS please. All answers MUST be in Croatian only, and please be careful to use European format for dates (DD.MM.YYYY.)
- Most Americans perceive nationality and citizenship as same, but in Europe we understand nationality more as an ancestry/ethnicity. Therefore, when applying for Croatian citizenship in most cases you are expected to answer “Hrvatica” or “Hrvat” in the Question No. 9.
STEP 4: Apply in person!
You can apply in person at our office in Los Angeles (Croatian Consulate, 11766 Wilshire Blvd. #1250, Los Angeles, CA 90025) or during our consular days in California (Los Altos, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, San Pedro), Texas (Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antoni, San Marcos), Arizona (Phoenix), Washington (Seattle), Colorado (Denver), Kansas (Kansas City)…
The complete list of our consular days and locations is available online: bit.ly/ConsularDays
You will need to bring the following:
- Application Form (NOT SIGNED) as you will have to sign it in front of the Consul.
- All documents from STEP TWO.
- A valid American Passport (or from another country) and a valid Driver License (or another picture ID). Your name must exactly match your birth (or marriage) certificate!
- A Check or Money Order (NO cash, NO credit cards) of $235.- to “Croatian Consulate“
STEP 5: Pass a Short Answer Test!
The applicant needs to submit the application in person along with a Short Answer Test (if younger than 60) in front of the Croatian Consul. The test is about the applicant’s knowledge of the Croatian history, culture and language. You can see all 100 publicly available questions here: bit.ly/CroatianCitizenshipTestThere are 15 questions in the test (out of the 100 listed publicly) and 10 correct answers are needed to pass the test.
Thank you for your consideration of becoming a Croatian Citizen!