Croatia: Update of HRV33282.E of 13 December 1999 on whether an ethnic Croat individual born in Bosnia-Herzegovina holding a valid Croatian passport would be entitled to enter and remain in Croatia with full rights of citizenship
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||8 October 2003|
|Citation / Document Symbol||HRV42025.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Croatia: Update of HRV33282.E of 13 December 1999 on whether an ethnic Croat individual born in Bosnia-Herzegovina holding a valid Croatian passport would be entitled to enter and remain in Croatia with full rights of citizenship , 8 October 2003, HRV42025.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/403dd1f7c.html [accessed 30 September 2014]|
According to Article 29 of the Law on Croatian Citizenship, last amended in 1993 (SEE-RAN 19 May 2003), "citizenship is evidenced by a valid identity card, military identity card or passport" or, if the person lacks these documents, a Certificate of Citizenship (Croatia 1993). Although Croatia modified their travel documents in 2002, older versions remain valid until their expiration date (SEE-RAN 19 May 2003).
Information provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Washington, D.C. on 23 February 2000 and published by the US Bureau for Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), states that the "citizenship granted to ethnic Croats who were not born in, or do not reside in Croatia is in no way a limited form of citizenship" (US 24 Feb. 2000). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) corroborated the Croatian embassy's assertion in a May 2003 report (May 2003, 18). In addition, according to the OSCE, Croatian authorities overseeing refugee returns favoured the naturalization of non-citizen ethnic Croats over non-ethnic Croat individuals who were permanent residents in Croatia before the 1995 Balkan conflict (21 May 2002, 7). Please consult HRV41823.E of 25 August 2003 for further information on the return of Croatian refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia.
One possible factor that may impair Croatian citizens' ease of return to Croatia is the requirement that all citizens be registered in the Register of Citizenship at Municipal Registrar's Offices (SEE-RAN 19 May 2003). The International Aid Network (IAN) noted that registration "regulates all other issues connected to [citizenship] status" and those returning to areas where registry books were lost or destroyed will face greater difficulties (n.d.). The IAN report specifies Drni, Kistanje, Obrovac, Lovibnac, Donji Lapac, Dvor and Glina i Pakrac as particularly affected (n.d.). The UNHCR also noted that the verification of citizenship status has sometimes proven difficult (May 2001, 8). However, for whatever reason that a person is registered, they may apply to a Consular Office if abroad (SEE-RAN 19 May 2003 IAN n.d.) or to a Municipal Registry Office for re-registration (ibid.; Croatia 1993, Art. 27).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
International Aid Network. n.d. "Repatriation."
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). 21 May 2002. Status Report No. 18. "Assessment of Issues Covered by the OSCE Mission to the Republic of Croatia's Mandate Since 12 November 2001." (Global IDP)
Republic of Croatia. 1993. Law on Croatian Citizenship. (Council of Europe)
South East European Refugee Assistance Network (SEE-RAN). 19 May 2003. Nada Mudeka. "Citizenship and Personal Documents in Croatia."
United States. 24 February 2000. Bureau for Citizenship and Immigration Services. "Croatia: Information on Citizenship for Ethnic Croatians." (HRV000001.REF)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). May 2003. The Status of the Croatian Serb Population in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Refugees or Citizens.
_____. May 2001. Cross Border Returns Between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the Context of the Dayton Peace Accords.
Additional Sources Consulted
The Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, Ottawa was unable to reply within the time constraints of this Response
Internet sites, including:
Council of Europe
Norwegian Refugee Council
OSCE Office in Croatia
South East European Refugee Assistance Network
United States, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services