LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE IN CROATIA

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE IN CROATIA

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE IN CROATIA

 

So, you have decided on having your destination wedding in Croatia? Congratulations!

Before you start compiling your mood boards, going dress shopping and picking out the flowers for the reception tables, there are some legalities that need to be worked out.

Let us guide you through one of the most important (and the least interesting) things on your checklist – finding out the legal requirements for getting married in Croatia. There are 4 types of ceremony a couple can have, each with their own legal requirements, and we go through each of them in more detail below.

CIVIL CEREMONY

Civil ceremony is a legally binding wedding ceremony performed by a registrar (we call them “matičar“ in Croatian) either in the registrar’s office or at a location of your choosing. In the Republic of Croatia, foreign citizens can have a legally binding wedding ceremony, and they must meet the same legal requirements for marriage as Croatian nationals.

In order to get legally married, foreign citizens must provide:

  • ·  birth certificate issued in the country of birth in accordance with international treaties and conventions with translation into Croatian, issued no more than 90 days prior to the wedding
  • ·    certificate of free marriage status issued in accordance with international treaties and conventions with translation into Croatia
  • ·     confirmation that there is no obstacle to the marriage of a foreign national in the Republic of Croatia and that the marriage will be recognized in the country of which he or she is a national with translation into Croatian (this certificate may be an integral part of the certificate of free marital status)
  • ·      identification document (with picture)
  • ·      proof of citizenship (passport)
  • ·      (depending on the registrar’s office) copies of ID cards or passports for both witnesses
  •  

All of the above documents must bear an Apostille stamp and be translated into Croatian language by a certified translator. The Apostille stamp is the verification or
legalization of public documents used in international legal transactions.

All documentation must be submitted to your selected registrar’s office 30 to 45 days prior to your wedding taking place.

The total amount of expenses that the bride and groom are required to pay to the registrar’s office is HRK 210 in administrative fees for drawing up the record of the application for marriage and for the very act of marriage before the registrar.

Should you wish to marry outside the premises of the registrar’s office, you must pay a special fee. Its height depends on the distance of the ceremony venue from the office, the time of the ceremony, if the ceremony is due to take place on a Sunday, holiday or a non-working day.

Another thing to keep in mind, if both or only one of the partners are foreign nationals, you will need an interpreter at the wedding. If one of the partners or both speaks and understands English, it is enough to have an English interpreter as they are much better represented in Croatia.

 

legal requirements
Photo by Getulio Moraes via Unsplash

RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

Couples that wish to have a religious ceremony can do so before an official of a religious community who has legal relations with the Republic of Croatia. Most common type of religious ceremony in Croatia is Catholic ceremony.

The registrar’s office closest to the religious ceremony venue is responsible for issuing a Certificate of fulfilment of the prerequisites for marriage. In order to receive this certificate all of the same documents need to be presented as for a civil ceremony.

The following documents should be brought to the wedding parish:

  • ·   A baptismal certificate, not older than 6 months (proof that one was baptized and of a free state, meaning that he/she had not made a church marriage before)

  • ·    Birth certificate (valid for a non-baptized party)
  • ·    Certificate of attendance of the Engagement or Pre-marriage course
  • ·    Permission to get married outside of your local parish
  • ·    Certificate of fulfilment of prerequisites for marriage if not legally married / Marriage certificate if already legally married (both issued by the registrar)

To get married in a religious form, an administrative fee of HRK 70 for drawing up the record of the application for marriage will need to be paid to the registrar’s office, as well as HRK 20 for the issue of the Certificate of fulfilment of the prerequisites for marriage in religious form (certificates are issued in 2 copies).

Depending on the parish you choose, its location and its prices, you will need to set aside between HRK 200 and HRK 400 for the religious ceremony.

SYMBOLIC CEREMONY

Couples often choose to get legally married in their own country and have a symbolic ceremony at their destination wedding. This is a great alternative as symbolic ceremonies are fully customizable and can be tailor made to suit the couples’ personalities. The length of the ceremony can be as short or as long as the couple wishes, ceremony text can be altered and it can even be officiated by a friend or family member.

There is no legal paperwork required so it is much less of a hassle as well as being a cheaper option! Only a symbolic marriage certificate is signed at the ceremony, so keep in mind that this type of ceremony is not legally binding.

The average cost of a symbolic wedding in Croatia, if done by a professional celebrant, is between €250 and €350 .

legal requirements
Photo via Pexels

SAME SEX MARRIAGE

As of yet, same sex marriage has not been legalized in the Republic of Croatia. But fear not, as we love our LGBTQ weddings and these can be organized in the form of life partnership! A life partnership is a community of two people of the same sex, made in front of the registrar and in the presence of two witnesses.

For a life partnership to have legal effects and be valid, the following conditions must be met:

  • ·       the persons who intend to enter into a life partnership are of the same sex

  • ·        the persons have declared their agreement to enter into a life partnership
  • ·        the persons who intend to enter into a life partnership are over the age of 18
  • ·        the life partnership was made before the registrar

The documentation required from foreign citizens for entering into a life partnership is the same as for entering a civil marriage:

  • · birth certificate issued in the country of birth in accordance with international treaties and conventions with translation into Croatian, issued no more than 90 days prior to the wedding
  • ·  confirmation that they are not in a partnership or marriage issued in the country of which they are nationals and issued in accordance with international treaties and conventions with translation into Croatian
  • ·   identification document (with picture)
  • ·   proof of citizenship (passport)
  • ·  (depending on the registrar’s office) copies of ID cards or passports for both witnesses 

All of the above documents must bear an Apostille stamp and be translated into Croatian language by a certified translator. The registrar may require other documents exceptionally, depending on individual cases.

The expenses associated with this type of ceremony are the same as when having a civil ceremony.

If an LGBTQ couple is from a country where same sex marriage is legal and they still wish to get married in Croatia, we would warmly recommend getting legally married in your home country and having a symbolic ceremony in Croatia.

And that concludes it, the ins and outs of all legalities associated with getting married in “lijepa naša“ (meaning “our beautiful“– how we call our country). Hopefully this post was helpful to you and we answered all of your questions regarding legal requirements of marriage in Croatia. More information on this subject is available on the website of the Ministry of Public Administration of Croatia and for ideas regarding your wedding day check out the Inspiration tab on our blog!

Happy planning!

Chantal Holik

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