How to obtain Croatian Citizenship

From the perspective of an American whose father who was born in Croatia.

Yesterday my application for Croatian citizenship was accepted. In addition to passing a written language test, I had all of the correct paperwork translated, signed, and sealed. The process itself wasn’t nearly as hard as it was confusing, so I’m writing out the steps to help my brother, friends, and the nice lady I met at the Consulate yesterday.

right after i passed the test in Sacramento!

Budget

Live Scan background check—$50
Official translation (2 documents)—$70
Apostille seals (2 documents)—$40
Citizenship application — $235
Passport—$110
Passport pictures—$10
Croatian Citizenship app purchase—$10

Total cost ~$525

Timeline

From making the specific intention to submitting my application took about 6 months. My application is now being reviewed and in 6–12 months (although it could take up to three years!), I’ll be able to get my Croatian passport.

On February 3, I attended the Croatian Consular Day in San Francisco, and then put together a plan, working backwards from the date I wanted to submit my application: 
June 9 — submit docs in person in Sacramento and take the test
June 1—print and organize all docs
May 1—start studying for test (I studied a little everyday)
April 20 — submit docs for Apostille seals
April 10 — submit docs for translation
April 1 — get fingerprinted for background check
March 1—write biography and have family help translate

The trickiest part is timing the background check (which has to be <6 months old, and has to be officially translated and Apostille sealed).

Necessary documents

  1. Short Biography written in Croatian (CV and a short paragraph about why you want citizenship).
  2. Application filled out (in all capital letters and European date format DD.MM.YYYY). Note that question #9 should say “Hrvatica” or “Hrvat”.
  3. Original birth (and marriage) certificate, officially translated and Apostille sealed from the state it was issued in.
  4. Background check, officially translated and Apostille sealed.
  5. Copy of U.S. Passport and Driver’s License. Bring in person as well.
  6. Proof of your parent/grandparent Croatian citizenship (I’d recommend going to a Croatian Consular Day and meet with the staff to determine what you’ll need for your family. I needed an updated birth certificate for my dad from Croatia).
  7. Pass a 15-questions test in Croatian on Croatian history, art & culture.
  8. Check or money order.

Resources

Handouts on citizenship from the Croatian Consulate (page 1, page 2). I got these in person on my last visit and they have a lot more detail on the process. (Note: the family tree and recommendation letter are optional. They can help your case but aren’t necessary).

Translation Services. I emailed with Luci directly: Luci Hazdovac, luci@adriatictours.com. They can also take care of Apostille seals, for a fee.

Apostille information for California. A relatively efficient process.

State of California Background Check form. Search “Live Scan near me” to find a location nearby to get fingerprinted. I went to UPS.

All 100 test questions. I used the Croatian Citizenship Test App to study. It crashes a lot and has at least one typo (it’s “košarka”, not “košarkam”) but otherwise great.

Biography requirements. See the bottom of the page.

FB page of Consulate General of Croatia in Los Angeles. It shows where they will be and when so you don’t have to travel as far. Expect to visit in person 2–3 times throughout the process.

**Update: my application was processed and approved in 1 month!**


Good luck if you choose to apply! Živjeli!