Getting Citizenship By Descent in Croatia in 2022

Getting Citizenship By Ancestry in Croatia in 2022

Got parents, grandparents or great grandparents hailing from Croatia? In today’s episode, we investigate how you can get Citizenship By Descent in Croatia in 2022…

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Getting Citizenship By Ancestry in Croatia

As many world travelers would know, Croatia is a spectacular destination. The country boasts a diverse mainland, a picturesque archipelago of 1,200 islands, and crystal clear seas. The world-famous coastal town of Dubrovnik is located in Croatia, as is Split, another popular coastal destination.

Many Westerners describe Croatians as “fiercely protective and nationalistic”. It’s practically impossible for a foreigner to become a Croatian citizen through the “regular” naturalization route, which, on paper, should only take living in the country for eight years).

Yet at the same time, Croatia has one of the most generous citizenship by ancestry laws, inviting members of the Croatian diaspora abroad to come back home, or at least to forge stronger ties with their ancestral motherland.

Moreover, thanks to new legislative changes that took effect in 2020, this process has gotten a lot easier, and the country has thus seen a significant spike in ancestry based citizenship applications in 2021. 

Because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a second passport in such a beautiful country?

How the Croatian Citizenship By Ancestry Program works…

The Croatian Citizenship Act governs the rules surrounding nationality (here is the English version).

Let’s start with the situation where one of your parents is a Croatian citizen.

A child acquires Croatian citizenship automatically (by origin):

  • If both parents are Croatian citizens at the time of the child’s birth, OR
  • If one of the parents is a Croatian citizen at the time of the child’s birth, AND the child is born in Croatia.

If you were born outside of Croatia to only one Croatian parent, you can still become a citizen, but you need to take an extra step and do it in a timely manner…

Before you turn 21, you need to register as a Croatian citizen in one of the country’s consulates abroad.

But even if you are older than 21 already, you still have options…

If you were born after October 8, 1991, the latest amendment to the citizenship law allows you to register as a citizen before December 31, 2021, even if you are older than 21 (in which case you’ll have to apply ASAP). 

If none of the above situations apply to you, you can become a Croatian citizen through your descent, as described by Article 11 and Article 16 of the law…

Article 11 — Descendants of a Croatian Emigrant 

To qualify for citizenship under this particular article, you must have a Croatian ancestor born in Croatia. Technically, there is no limit to the number of generations you can refer back to.

But in practice, like in any country, establishing the right paper trail can be hard if your ancestor left Croatia more than, say, a century ago. 

Curiously, another requirement states that your Croatian ancestor should have left Croatia permanently. Your parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc., must have been a “Croatian emigrant”.

You can prove it in multiple ways. Join Sovereign Man: Confidential to discover the various methods for doing this.

Finally, you’ll also need to prove your lineage to your ancestor through applicable marriage, death and birth certificates.

But in some cases, Article 11 will not help you even if your ancestor was a Croatian citizen. 

Similarly, while it’s not written in the law anywhere, you will generally experience an uphill battle applying if your ancestor immigrated to one of the countries that had bumpy relationships with Croatia in the past, such as Turkey.

Article 16 — Connection or belonging to the “Croatian people”

Even if you cannot trace yourself to one of your ancestors who left Croatia, not all is lost. 

Article 16 of the law is much wider in scope, and can still help you.

Under it, it’s enough for your ancestor to be “ethnically” Croatian, regardless of their place of birth. And there are multiple ways of proving that your ancestor was of Croatian ethnicity. 

Join Sovereign Man: Confidential today to learn more about the various ways in which you can prove your Croatian heritage — and discover yet another relatively unknown way of becoming Croatian on the basis of cultural connection to the country…

What is the approximate timeline for applying? 

Our contact on the ground recommends being patient. 

In the last couple of years, a lot of requirements surrounding citizenship by ancestry have become more favorable for the applicants. The language and culture tests, for example, are no longer required under either of these Articles. 

That’s a big deal for members of the diaspora who don’t speak Croatian anymore.

But these provisions have resulted in a flood of new applications. 

The whole process — from submitting your case to the consulate to the final approval in Zagreb — will likely take two years or more.

Additionally, what’s remarkable about Croatian citizenship by ancestry is that besides your children, your spouse also becomes eligible for a passport.

Your spouse may have absolutely no relation to Croatia… They may not speak a word of Croatian, and may have never even visited the country. 

But they can still end up with a Croatian passport – how awesome is that? 

Most citizenship by ancestry programs are not nearly as generous.

The bottom line

The recent changes to Croatia’s citizenship law makes the country an incredible option for obtaining Citizenship by Ancestry. And as an added bonus, new Croatian citizens by descent (and their spouses) get to keep their existing nationality. 

This is a big plus, as the country generally doesn’t permit dual citizenship for people who obtained Croatian citizenship by naturalization. 

But as with all programs of this kind, it’s not guaranteed that the rules won’t change at a moment’s notice. So if you’ve got Croatian roots, make today the day you take action.

Our most recent 74-page SMC Black Paper covers scores of countries offering Citizenship By Ancestry programs in Southern Europe and the Balkans, and covers the Croatian Citizenship By Ancestry Program in detail. 

To gain access to this invaluable resource, join Sovereign Man: Confidential today.

Yours in Freedom, 

Team Sovereign Man 

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About the author

Andre Bothma

About the author

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