How to Obtain Croatian Citizenship

Croatian citizenship is largely based on having Croatian ancestors.
Croatian citizenship is largely based on having Croatian ancestors. (Image: Dubrovnik, Croatia image by greatgunns from

Croatia is a difficult country to emigrate to if you do not read and understand Croatian, as there are a number of forms that are required that are only available in Croatian. The laws pertaining to Croatian citizenship are difficult to navigate; they were put in place in the wake of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, and have many different provisions for the various states of citizenship that refugees may be in.

Determine your background as a Croatian descendant. This can apply to you if: both parents are Croatian citizens; one parent is a citizen and you were born in Croatia; one parent is a citizen, the other parent is stateless and you were born abroad; one parent is a citizen, the other is a foreign citizen and you were born abroad and registered as a resident of Croatia; you would be left stateless; or, finally, if you were adopted by Croatian citizens.

Determine if you were born on Croatian soil if both of your parents are stateless. This is an option for people under age 14, but your citizenship will be revoked at age 14 if your parents are found to have foreign citizenship.

Follow the naturalization process if you have no Croatian heritage. This requires you to renounce all other citizenship, have lived in Croatia for at least five years, be at least 18 years old, be familiar with the Croatian alphabet and language, and demonstrate respect for Croatian culture, customs and laws.

A facilitated naturalization process is available to those with five years of Croatian residence and who have demonstrated respect for Croatian law and culture.

Marry a Croatian citizen. Along with displaying respect for Croatian laws and culture, this is among the easiest routes to Croatian citizenship.

Show proof of emigration from Croatia. A clause in Croatian law exists that allows Croatian emigrants and their spouses to become citizens. There is no specific clause that allows for descendants of emigrants to become citizens, though you may be granted citizenship if you can show official documentation that links you to the emigrant.

Become a vital member of Croatian society. The ministry can deem your citizenship to be in the best interest of the Republic of Croatia, although the law does not state exactly what this entails.

Provide a written statement that you consider yourself to be a Croatian citizen and respect the laws and culture of the Republic of Croatia without residing in the country. This is a vague clause that will likely be evaluated by the Ministry of the Interior.

Tips & Warnings

  • If and when Croatia joins the European Union, their immigration laws will be subject to change.

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