How to Authenticate/Legalise Foreign and Croatian Documents

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Ivica Galovic/PIXSELL
Ivica Galovic/PIXSELL

First things first, why do you need to have certain foreign and Croatian documents authenticated, and what does that even mean?

Authentication is the legalisation of certain documents that Croatia requires to go through that process, such as diplomas, certificates, or public documents such as records.

Let’s say you’re an Indian national and you have documents issued to you officially by the Indian authorities and you need to have them authenticated for use here in Croatia. You’ll need to have the authentication done by the Indian authorities, not the Croatian ones. This is usually done with an official stamp and/or mark such as a signature.

The process of authentication verifies the authenticity of the stamp and/or signature on the document, but not the content the document contains

So, back to being an Indian national with Indian documents which need to be authenticated by the Indian authorities – you’ll need to do this in order to legally use said documents and have them be valid for Croatia. In order to exercise some sort of right that said documents afford you here in Croatia, an apostille stamp will be required from the issuing nation (in this case, India).

What about public Croatian documents?

If you need to have a public document issued by a Croatian authority authenticated, you’ll need to request an apostille stamp from the municipal court in Croatia competent for the territory on which the issuing authority is located.

A German document requires the German authorities, a French document requires the French authorities, a Croatian document requires the Croatian authorities, etc.

The legalisation process for Croatian documents issued to you by the Croatian authorities:

If you have public Croatian documents which require legalisation by the powers that be and you’re abroad, with the intention of exercising a right that document affords you abroad, you’ll need to do the following:

First and foremost, you’ll need to have that document or documents translated by a court interpreter in Croatia.

Then, you’ll need to have it authenticated by the municipal court competent for the territory where the issuing authority is located, as touched on above.

You’ll then have to request legalisation of a judge’s signature and a court stamp from the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration

Last but by no means least, you’ll need to then request legalisation of both the official signature and stamp of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Sound like a headache? It can be. So be prepared to do a bit of running around. If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time in Croatia and dealt with anything remotely administrative, you’ll already be aware of that. With that, I’ll get into the next bit which will likely contribute to any headaches already being suffered. You’ll need to request all of the above by paying a physical visit to the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration. Lucky you.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration authenticates documents for use abroad on:

From Monday to Thursday from 09:00 to 11:00 and then from 13:00 to 15:00.

On Fridays from 09:00 to 12:00.

Are there any countries and their documents which are exempt from this process?

Yes. Thanks to European Union (EU) regulations, more specifically the one which promotes one of the main pillars of the functioning of the bloc – freedom of movement – some countries and some documents are exempt.

Since the year 2019, certain (but not all) public documents and their certified copies issued by an EU member state are exempt from needing to go through the legalisation or authentication process within another EU member state. As stated, this doesn’t mean every single document is exempt, and for some of them, you can ask for what’s known as a multilingual standard form to avoid translation requirements.

You can find the list of countries which have some of their public documents exempt from this requirement by clicking here.


These exemptions only apply to documents and their certified copies issued by an EU member state’s public authorities which are being presented to the public authorities of another EU member state. For example, if you’re a German national with certain German Government-issued documents, and you need those documents in Croatia, you won’t need to have them authenticated or legalised by the use of an apostille.

As stated above, this applies in certain cases only, such as for the establishment of facts like death, birth, marriage, civil partnership, divorce, legal names and so on. More detailed information and other such items can be found by clicking here.

Costs can be accessed by clicking here.


SOURCES: Courts of the Republic of Croatia and the European Justice’s e-Justice portal


For more on moving to and living in Croatia, which covers everything from ferry, pet and parking tips to getting residence, health insurance and a job, make sure to keep an eye out for our dedicated How to Croatia articles in our lifestyle section which are published every Wednesday.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment