Captain’s Blessing: How to Renew an ID in Croatia When You’re Half a World Away

Total Croatia News

At this point, we’re more than used to the mind-boggling intricacies of Croatian bureaucracy… but it never fails to amaze.

A Croatian seafarer who’s currently working abroad reached out to to report a problem that might seem incredulous to foreigners, but somehow, comes as no surprise to anyone living in this beautiful country of ours.

He and his partner attempted to renew the ID of their 8 year-old daughter. As anyone who ever stepped into a Croatian public office very well knows, a normal situation like this turns into a problem as soon as you reach the counter and talk to the clerk. There’s 90% chance you’ll hit a wall called ‘you need one more document for this’ (the notorious fali vam još jedan papir), and even if by some miracle you manage to turn in all the required documentation on the first try, another problem might be looming just around the corner.

Here’s what the man’s statement says:

“It’s easy for him, he’s a seafarer a.k.a. how to renew a child’s ID from the other side of the world

While I was talking to my better half on WhatsApp a couple of days ago, making plans to take our offspring on a winter holiday once I’m back home, she, responsible as she is, checked the documents and realised that our little girl (8) needed to have her ID card renewed.

She went to turn in a renewal request, when a nice lady behind the counter warns her that she would not be able to collect the new ID herself, but that the other parent needs to do it – the dad, which is me in this case. Along the way, she hands her an A4 paper containing a power of attorney form, to make me, the dad, able to transfer power of attorney to her, the mom, so she could collect the ID in a couple of days. Power of attorney on a white paper, the letters pale as my Third Engineer when our ship is getting tossed by swells. Seems the printer was just running out of ink.

So she takes the form, obviously written by that same Third Engineer who can’t speak Croatian ‘cause he’s Filipino. I’m pretty sure she rolled her eyes at that very moment. She turns around to walk out, when the lady calls her back to the counter and tells her that, you know, I can’t send this from my own email address, but that it needs to be sent by the captain instead. Does the captain need to sign the power of attorney as well? No no, he just needs to sign the email. Wait a minute, what does the captain have to do with my kid and her ID card? Ma’am, I told you everything, I don’t see where the problem is.

She leaves, question marks floating above her head. By this point, I’m 100% certain she rolled her eyes, probably even followed it with a snarky remark.

Nothing much to be done – print out the power of attorney, fill in the form, sign it, and go to the captain to ask him to send it from his official email address. As the captain in question is an American, I had to explain in English why I need that and what exactly it is. He pretended to understand me, said ‘damn’, and pointed to the computer, saying I could do whatever I want.

So I wrote it. In English.

I’m pretty sure this will all drag on until they find a translator.

Zeus Faber”


We’ve heard about ship captains serving as marriage officiants, but giving their blessing for ID renewal? As stated above, Croatian bureaucracy never fails to amaze.


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