Croatian citizenship and identity card

At last, a day of celebration!  After the long five years it took for me to obtain my Croatian citizenship, it only took another seven months to obtain my ‘Osobna Kartha’ (I.D. Card).  The day has finally come and I am now “legal.”

The saga begins in March 2008 when I was informed that citizenship would take a short six months to one year process and was promised to be painless. Hah! Famous last words!

I hired an attorney, Branka, who worked tirelessly on my behalf.  She sent all the required papers, notarized and properly completed to the appropriate government official in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital.  During the first few months she received a few requests for more data, which was forwarded quickly.  I had the mandatory interview by the local police department which consisted of questions regarding my income and assets. It was very short and easy.  My last question to the interviewer was ‘How soon will I hear from the proper authorities?  I can still picture his smile and gentle tone, ‘Very soon’.  After waiting six months and hearing nothing I began to ponder what was the definition of ‘very soon’?

A year passed, my frustration growing leaps and bounds, I began to make weekly visits to my attorney’s office.  Branka also began monthly faxes inquiring my status.  For three years she never received one response!  My stress was showing; I had countless a nightmares of being deported or incarcerated.  I realized I was an ‘illegal alien.’  Although Branka assured me that my residency here was not a problem, she also had become bewildered by the long wait.

It was a cold wet day in November 2012 when a letter arrived from my attorney.  I remember ripping the soggy envelope open in great anticipation of good news, only to see it was not my official notification.  Someone in Zagreb finally had looked at my application and had questions about my legal name.  It appeared that my official birth certificate was different from my passport and I was expected to clear up the discrepancy in two weeks.  After three years of waiting, I was very upset but proceeded to obtain the requested (demanded) documentation.

At the time of my birth my parents had not yet selected my name and it was shown on my birth certificate as ‘baby girl Sosa.’  An addendum was added a few weeks later which gave my name as Caroline Sosa. I was baptized Caroline Ann Sosa sometime later and when I applied for my first passport in 1954, my baptismal record had sufficed.  Now, I needed more documentation, which required everything translated into Croatian. It took more than the two weeks they requested, but it got done as quickly as possible.

At last early July 2012 my official Croatian citizenship document arrived in the mail.  Plain blue envelope, no fanfare, no welcome letter but at this point all I wanted was that document and I could shoot off my own figurative fireworks.

Once I had the Croatian citizen document I assumed it was all that was needed to obtain my identity card.  Little did I surmise the bumpy road would continue! I needed to supply even more documentation.  Since I rent my small apartment, I had to request documentation from my landlord including a notarized lease and his original title deed to the apartment. Thank goodness he was cooperative and acted on it almost immediately. Once again I needed to bring my US passport, original birth certificate and my FBI letter showing I have no criminal past with an Apostle Seal.  All my documents had to be translated again by a designated attorney and photocopied.

Like worker bees everywhere, the woman at the local police station failed to do her job accurately and never gave me the entire list of required documents on my first visit.  Once my preliminary application had been made I was advised that the police would make an unannounced visit to my home to verify that I am indeed living at the address.   It took another four visits to the police station, each time presenting additional paperwork, because a complete list was never given. I always tried to be polite but finally actually started to cry. What more could they want? I finally got the complete list and was able to meet all the requirements.

Ultimately, seven months later I had met all their demands.  Yesterday the worker bee began to fill out more papers with the same old questions: birth date country of birth, parent’s names, and address and phone numbers.  I could not help but wonder where this was leading again! But finally, it was over and she issued me a temporary ID card! The permanent card should be ready for me to pick up in about three weeks. Oh yes, she added, “bring my US passport to verify my identity.”  Whatever!

26 thoughts on “Croatian citizenship and identity card

    • It was with all your assistance in helping me through the last part. Thank you is not enough.

  1. gosh, talk about Croatian bureaucracy…. 😉 sounds like Italian one … 🙂

      • no, I can assure you, Italy can be the same, or worse.
        a few years back my sister in law (Argentinian by birth) wanted to get Italian citizenship as she’d been living in Italy for many years. All paperwork done and couriered from Argentina , translated professionally at great cost, Apostilled, notarized etc just like yours. Cost her a fortune. Sent it to Rome for processing. She then waited and waited and waited, just like you. And called and wrote and contacted them. After 3 years they told her all her precious paperwork had been lost, can she please do it all again?…. she was crying. Luckily via some friends of friends someone knew someone in high places, who helped her out and she needed less papers the second time. In Italy is always who you know, how high they are in the chain of command. The higher, the better, Mr Berlusconi is a very good example…. 😦 sorry state of affairs… 😦

        • This post is a very short version of total picture. Now that it is over I finally can feel free again.

          • excellent news. There is always light at the end of a (long) tunnel…. 🙂

  2. Oh my God! I am so sorry to read about your ordeal … what a nightmare! Nothing has changed … they are as sloppy as ever those bureaucrats! I would of thought they have improved since I left, but no … shame!

    Having said all that I am glad you got the citizenship, after all you are Croatian by your heritage and now also officially!

    Take Care,

    • Nothing has changed, it is the same old bureaucracy dating back to 1950.

      • At last. Congratulations! A similar situation for UK friends of ours. Many years of angst and tears and after six years threw the towel in and returned to the UK. I can’t see Croatia changing any time soon. It is very much who you know and who owes you. Not to mention of course the Blue Envelope

  3. Governments are the same everywhere. Mouth-breathing pencil-pushers trying to justify their very existence by making every transation as difficult and time consuming as possible.
    Let’s be honest–if they were thorough and efficient on a daily basis with their work, they’d be asked to leave because they were making their co-workers look lazy.

  4. My bad–I was so busy with my bureaucratic rant I forgot to congratulate you on your achievements. I know they were quite frustrating to obtain and caused you a great deal of angst to complete, so kudos to you for achieving your dream.
    Now you can turn your attention to decreasing the number of cruisers in port during the season!

    • Thank you, it was a tough journey with far too many obstacles. I have been working on how to get the powers to understand that quality rather than quantity cruisers is a better option. Another work in progress!

  5. Congratulations Caroline. I think your middle name should be changed from Ann to Perseverance! Glad it’s finally over and am enjoying your posts. Regards.

  6. Carol,
    Congratulations!!! Yikes and I thought 2 years was a lot of time. Glad you hung in there!

  7. My wife and I just went through a similar ordeal in Canada. It took twenty-two months, and we’d already been here for thirteen years. Again and again, they asked for documentation, proof of residence — all the hoops we had jumped through in order to become permanent residents, and to renew that status several times. We became Canadian citizens exactly one month ago, and now have dual US-Canadian citizenship. It’s a maddening process while you’re in the middle of it, but I’m glad we all made it through. Congratulations!

    • Congratulations on your dual status. The only word which comes to mind is perseverance, which should be added to our new identity cards.

  8. I started my paperwork at the embassy on July 2009, the embassy sent my papers 3 years later to Zagreb, still waiting….

  9. We are US and my wife applied for Croatian citizenship based on ancestry (her two paternal grandparents). The consulate returned the materials once because we needed to show that her g-parents actually spoke Croatian when they arrived in the US, and returned the materials a second time because her translated paperwork was in Serbian and not Croatian (or so they said). The first translator was pretty upset with what he called a false distinction. It will be 2 years this November since the app was accepted; still waiting. We called recently and they said that Zagreb is processing a half-million applications right now. Everyone wants to be Croatian!

  10. I applied for Croatian citizenship in the Perth Consulate Australia, the process took about a year and a half to be approved under section 11. My father emigrated to Australia about 1960. Surprisingly my passport only took 2 weeks to arrive once I lodged at consulate which leads me to believe that it was made at the consulate and not in Croatia having been quick

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