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Citizenship by Descent in Croatia

Updated on Wednesday 13th March 2024

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Croatian Citizenship by Descent
Foreigners wishing to obtain Croatian citizenship by descent must follow a few rules and formalities. Although the process is uncomplicated, it is important to consider the legal assistance provided by one of our immigration lawyers in Croatia. He/she has experience in this field and can handle the required formalities from the very beginning. Find out in this article what are the steps to follow to obtain the desired citizenship. Plus, if you are interested in starting a business in Croatia or obtaining residency by investment, do not hesitate to talk to our experts.
 Quick Facts  
Means to acquire citizenship in Croatia   Through ancestry, birth within Croatian territory, naturalization, in accordance with international treaties

Special requirements to get Croatian citizenship by descent  

The applicant must have a familial connection to at least one Croatian citizen. 

Access to citizenship based on the relation with Croatian grandparents (YES/NO) 

Yes, it is possible to gain Croatian citizenship by descent based on a relation with grandparents or great-grand parents. 

Access to citizenship based on the relation with other Croatian ancestors (YES/NO)   No, it is not possible.
Authority in charge with the issuance of Croatian documents 

Ministry of Interior in Croatia  

Permanent residence requirement 

No, there is no permanent residency requirement to apply for citizenship by descent in Croatia.

Degree of difficulty in obtaining citizenship 

In Croatia, obtaining citizenship by descent is considered the most straightforward method. 

 Requirement to live in Croatia

It is not required to live in Croatia before filing an application for citizenship by descent. 

Possibility to pass on citizenship to descendants (YES/NO) 

Yes, it is possible. 

Possibility to obtain citizenship as a spouse of a Croatian descendant  A notable factor about the Croatian citizenship by descent program is the inclusion of spouses, who are also eligible to acquire citizenship through this program. 
Support in applying for citizenship by descent 

Our team of immigration lawyers in Croatia is well-equipped to provide comprehensive assistance and support throughout the process of acquiring citizenship by descent. 


Croatian Citizenship Act 

Proof of descent  

 Prospective applicants are required to furnish substantial proof of their Croatian lineage, including but not limited to birth certificates and pertinent historical documentation.

Dual citizenship  


Other immigration services   Our services extend beyond assistance in obtaining citizenship by descent. We also provide support for acquiring citizenship through marriage and investment, as well as securing permanent residency in Croatia.


Requirements for Croatian citizenship by descent

Croatian citizenship by descent implies obtaining citizenship based on the degree of family relatives or more precisely lineages. In other words, foreign nationals who discover or know that they have relatives from Croatia can apply for citizenship. People with Croatian ancestors such as parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents are ideal candidates to apply for citizenship, and the following formalities are important:
  • Documents such as birth certificates are required to prove family ties.
  • The Ministry of Interior in Croatia is the institution that oversees the process of obtaining Croatian citizenship by descent. The institution checks the documents brought to their attention by the applicants.
  • If the documents provided are accepted, then the candidates will receive a positive decision for their respective citizenship.
  • Next, the declaration of Croatian citizenship by descent is mentioned by the Book of Births at the office of registration of persons.
  • Once the citizenship is obtained, the respective candidates receive a new birth certificate, with the help of which to apply for ID and passport.
The Croatian Citizenship Act mentions the conditions under which foreigners can apply for and obtain Croatian citizenship by descent. The rules are quite simple and start from the fact that applicants must prove that they have Croatian ancestry. What is important is that, from 2020, the legislation says that there is no generation limit, as is the practice in other countries. Therefore, the ancestor line is followed until its existence is proven.
You can find out more about citizenship by descent from our immigration lawyers in Croatia. They collaborate with the relevant institutions and can provide you with all the necessary support. Plus, if interested in obtaining a Croatian resident permit, do not hesitate to talk to us. Here is an infographic about how to obtain citizenship by descent in Croatia:
5 Conditions to obtain Croatian citizenship by descent

Children and Croatian citizenship by descent

In the case of children born after October 1991 and who have at least one parent of Croatian origin, citizenship process is much easier. They do not have to apply for citizenship but can apply for registration. Here's what you need to do if you qualify for this procedure:
  • Standard forms must be completed with personal data.
  • It is necessary to have legalized and notarized copies of the birth certificate and the marriage certificate (if applicable). Those of the parents are also required, even those of another origin.
  • Document certifying foreign citizenship.
  • Certificate of registration of the parent who had Croatian citizenship at the time the applicant citizen was born.
  • Optionally, other documents such as working or military books can be offered.
Candidates living in Croatia can prepare the application for Croatian citizenship by descent at administrative police stations close to home. Please note that everything related to formalities and documents can be handled by our Croatian lawyers. They have experience in such matters and can represent you if interested in immigration to Croatia. Call us with confidence and discover our legal services. Below is a video presentation that might interest you:


Spouses of Croatians can apply for citizenship

According to the Croatian Citizenship Act, the spouses of foreign nationals who have obtained Croatian citizenship by descent may also apply for citizenship. The same is available for those who qualify for citizenship by descent in Croatia and who are going to apply for this status. We are by your side in your efforts, offering complete legal services.

Knowledge of Croatian language and culture when applying for citizenship

It is very important to specify that when you apply for citizenship by descent in Croatia or through naturalization, you must prove that you know the language and culture of this country. But this does not apply to people over 60 years old. In this situation, you should know that the relevant knowledge can be proven with the help of a questionnaire that can be completed independently by Croatian citizenship applicants.
The test is done in front of an official policy in Croatia. But to be prepared in this regard, we recommend that you contact one of our attorneys in Croatia and they will explain to you what this language and culture test entails, which is required at the time of applying for citizenship. Other exceptions in this case are also people with refugee status in Croatia or those who for various reasons left Croatia but want to regain their Croatian citizenship.

How long does it take to get Croatian citizenship?

Normally, each case is special and treated accordingly. If all the conditions and formalities are met, the process of obtaining Croatian citizenship by descent or through naturalization should not take more than 18 months. It is very important in this case to have specialized assistance available, as our lawyers in Croatia can offer. Our customers can enjoy a fast and uncomplicated process.

Choosing Croatia for a new life

Croatia is one of the countries that offer optimal living and working conditions. While some people want to start a business in this country and take advantage of the good development conditions, others choose to live and work here or to retire and take advantage of the benefits offered by this economically stable country and political.
Here are some statistics on population and immigration to Croatia:
  • According to the statistics provided by the Croatian authorities, in 2022 over 57,972 immigrants were registered in Croatia, while over 46,000 left the country.
    The migration rate in 2023 was -0.494 per 1000 population, which represented a decrease of over 36% compared to 2022.
  • The population of Croatia exceeded 4 million citizens, according to data provided by
  • Over 57% of the population is urban in Croatia.
  • Croatia accounts for about 0.05% of the world's population.

Obtaining the Croatian passport

Once Croatian citizenship is obtained, the passport is also issued, ranked 7th, and considered one of the strongest in the world, according to with this passport, you can travel to 47 countries where an entry visa is issued, while more than 118 countries allow entry without a visa issued in advance.

Why apply for citizenship in Croatia

In 2023, Croatia was ranked 5th as one of the best countries to live in Europe. The excellent quality of life and low cost of living are among the most important aspects that are taken into account by foreigners who want to relocate here, as well as those who want to obtain citizenship.
The comparison was made in this regard with the countries of Western Europe, and Croatia was declared one of the best countries for resettlement. Also, the fact that it is a safe country in Europe, optimal for personal relocation, business, or other purposes, only emphasizes that Croatia is often the choice of those who want to change their lives. As for the benefits that come with Croatian citizenship, here are some of them:
  • the possibility to travel to over 118 countries without a visa,
  • assistance and specialized medical services in any European country,
  • the possibility of having residence in any member country of the European Union,
  • the possibility to buy real estate properties and to invest in this sector in any member country of the European Union,
  • access without restrictions to the educational system in Croatia, as well as in EU countries.
Want to know more about citizenship by descent in Croatia? We invite you to contact our law firm in Croatia and ask for legal help. If you need a digital nomad visa in Croatia, contact us for legal assistance.