Croatian Citizenship by Descent – What 2020’s Amendment Means

Lauren Simmonds



January the 8th, 2020 – I’m back once again with another article attempting to turn the confusing and boring law in Croatia into something (somewhat) readable. Having covered residence, citizenship by descent, citizenship by marriage, naturalisation, special interest to Croatia and much more, I thought I’d explain what the new amendments on the Croatian Citizenship Act actually mean to us mere mortals.

Last year, one of the articles I linked above (how to obtain Croatian citizenship by descent/determining Croatian citizenship) mentioned what was then an upcoming amendment to the Croatian Citizenship Act, due in January 2020. That change has now come into effect.

What does it actually mean?

Last year, the Croatian Parliament put forward a motion to amend the appropriate piece of legislation, which was accepted, these alterations then officially came into force on January the 1st, 2020. 

The amendment states that the right to Croatian citizenship through parentage (descent/origin/ethnicity) has been extended past the age of 21.

You can apply for citizenship under Article 4 of the Croatian Citizenship Act if:

1) At least one of your parents was a Croatian citizen at the time of your birth.

2) At least one of your parents was a Croatian citizen at the time of your birth and you were born in the Republic of Croatia.

3) One of your parents was a Croatian citizen at the time of your birth and the citizenship of your other parent was either not known or they were stateless, and you were born outside of Croatia.

4) You can acquire Croatian citizenship by descent if you were born in another country to one parent who held Croatian citizenship at the time of your birth, and you were registered as a Croatian citizen before you reached the age of 18 (legal adulthood), either in Croatia or abroad. This can also apply if you move to Croatia, or if you wouldn’t be automatically entitled to the citizenship of any other country otherwise.

Which one of these laws has been amended, and how does it affect me?

Number 4 of the above bullet points has been amended. This means that the right to apply for Croatian citizenship by descent (origin/ethnicity) is now available to individuals born outside of the Republic of Croatia who are over the age of 21.

The individual in question must still have one parent who was a Croatian citizen at the time of their birth if they submit an application for entry into the register (of births) of Croatian citizens within the next two years.

The Ministry of the Interior (MUP) would still have to determine that there are no legal obstacles standing in the way of the process for acquisition of Croatian citizenship in this case.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more on Croatian citizenship.


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