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Acquiring Croatian citizenship for foreigners

This article addresses the procedure for acquiring citizenship for persons who do not have some form of connection with the Republic of Croatia (such as belonging to the Croatian folks).

Acquisition of citizenship is regulated by the Law on Croatian Citizenship, and according to this law citizenship can be acquired in 4 ways:

  1. by origin
  2. by being born on the territory of the Republic of Croatia
  3. by naturalization
  4. under international agreements

A person who is not a member of the Croatian folks, an expatriate or a descendant of the expatriate may acquire Croatian citizenship by naturalization.

A foreigner who has applied for admission to Croatian citizenship by naturalization can acquire Croatian citizenship if he fulfills the following requirements:

  1. that he is 18 years of age;
  2. that he has a release from foreign citizenship or that he submits proof that he will receive a release if he is admitted to Croatian citizenship;
  3. that he lives in the Republic of Croatia with a registered residence for 8 years continuously until the application is submitted and has been granted the status of a foreigner on permanent residence;
  4. that he is familiar with the Croatian language and Latin script, Croatian culture and social order;
  5. that he respects the legal order of the Republic of Croatia, that he has paid the public contributions due and that there are no security barriers to his receipt into Croatian citizenship.

Regarding the conditions referred to in point 4, they are determined by a proficiency check in the Croatian language, Latin script and culture and social order, which you can read more about below.

A foreigner who has applied for admission to Croatian citizenship and at the time of application does not have a release from foreign citizenship or has no proof that he will receive a realase if he is admitted to Croatian citizenship, can be issued a guarantee of receipt into Croatian citizenship (valid for two years) if he fulfills other conditions.

If a foreigner is married to a Croatian citizen and has been granted a permanent residence and lives in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, he may acquire citizenship without meeting the conditions under Nos. 1 to 4. A foreigner whose admission to Croatian citizenship represents interest to the Republic of Croatia does not have to meet them as well.
The application for citizenship is submitted to the police department or police station personally, on the form and with the attachments to the form prescribed by the rulebook, according to the place of temporary or permanent residence granted, and Croatian citizenship is considered to have been acquired by naturalization, starting from the day the person was handed the decision on receipt into Croatian citizenship, when also the solemn oath is required.

Rulebook on the manner of demonstrating knowledge of the Croatian language and Latin script, Croatian culture and social order in the procedures for acquiring Croatian citizenship

Regarding the conditions for obtaining citizenship, it is necessary to clarify in more detail how the foreigner demonstrates knowledge of language, script, culture and social order. Knowledge of the Croatian language and Latin script can be proved by: a certificate of passing the examination of the Croatian language and Latin script at a higher education institution, a secondary school institution or an adult education institution, which, upon the approval of the ministry responsible for education, carry out programs in Croatian language; a certificate of completed primary, secondary or higher education in the Republic of Croatia, or a certificate from a foreign educational institution confirming that the education has been completed according to the program in Croatian language; or a certificate of completion of a course of at least B1 proficiency in Croatian language. It is expected that persons who live in the territory of the Republic of Croatia for 8 years will reach a certain level of knowledge of Croatian language, which would be sufficient to prove the knowledge of Croatian language and Latin script.

Knowledge of Croatian culture and social order is proven by completing a questionnaire. This questionnaire consists of 15 questions from various fields, determined by a random selection of an official. It is considered that a foreigner has proven his knowledge of the Croatian culture and social order of the Republic of Croatia by answering correctly to at least 10 questions from the questionnaire.

An integral part of the aforementioned Rulebook is an annex containing 100 questions, which are used to test the knowledge of Croatian culture and social order, which are filled in by foreigners when applying for Croatian citizenship. So, out of a possible 100 questions, a person answers 15 at random, of which he must answer correctly at 10 of them. It is advisable to contact a lawyer for any further inquiries regarding citizenship.