Croatia is fast becoming a hot spot for destination weddings with beautiful cities and islands attracting young lovers from all around the world. Today, we are looking at the legalities of getting married in Croatia and it’s always great to start with the good news that yes, it is very possible to arrange a legal wedding ceremony in Croatia. Here is our FAB Guide on processes, procedures and documentation required for getting married in Croatia.

✈ There is no official residency requirement for civil ceremonies in Croatia, although you will be required to make an appointment to meet with the Maticar (Registrar) at the local town hall a few days before the wedding takes place.

✈ Catholic and Orthodox faiths are the two main religions in Croatia and your only realistic options for a religious wedding ceremony in Croatia. Religious ceremonies are not legally binding in Croatia and can only be performed with proof marriage by civil ceremony in Croatia or from home.

✈  Minimum Age Requirement is 18.

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Civil ceremonies can take place in locations that have been approved by the Croatian authorities so as well as the registry office, it is possible to get married in hotels, places of interest, outdoors – even on a boat! Civil ceremonies are generally performed in Croatian by the local Maticar (civil officer) so if neither bride nor groom speak Croatian, they will have to engage the services of a court appointed translator at their own expense. The U.S embassy in Croatia’s website keeps a good record of translators and can be found here. Before you start gathering your documentation, here are some facts that you should be aware of.

✈ Applying for specific documents in your own country might require you to submit items like your birth certificate and passports so bear this in mind when you are figuring our your timelines and making travel arrangements.

✈ Documents cannot be more than 90 days old on your wedding date so make sure you time your request for certified copies of long form birth certificates and other documentation required accordingly.

✈ All documentation needs to be with the local town hall where you wish to be married no less than 30 days before your wedding date.

✈ So for example, if your wedding date is July 1st, your documents must be with the town hall by June 1st at the latest. The documents must not be older than 90 days so they will have to have been issued after April 2nd.

✈ Photocopies and scans of documents will not be accepted. Original documents need to be submitted and these won’t be returned so make sure you contact your local authority to get genuine copies of legal documents.

✈ Certificates and official documentation (both general and specific) must hold and Apostille Stamp.

✈ All documents must be translated into Croatian.

✈ Passports must be valid for one year after the wedding date.

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General Process for All Nationalities

Establish where the nearest registry office is to where you want to get married. You can find a list of areas here but you will need to get acquainted with your regions. For example, it was quite difficult to find the office in Hvar until I realised that it was hiding under SPLITSKO-DALMATINSKA ŽUPANIJA. Other popular regions for a wedding are Split, Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Patience and google translate majorly required!

You will need to contact them directly and outline the ceremony venue you have in mind and your preferred wedding date. It goes without saying that this is one reason why you should hire a local wedding planner as communicating is going to be difficult.

It’s a good idea to be aware of the documentation you require (see below) before you make contact first. It will allow you to double check with them that you have everything in order. You will also need to confirm the date you need to meet with them in person before the wedding date to finalise paperwork.

Once you confirm the wedding date, make sure you mark down the 30th day before your wedding in a calendar to ensure you have your paperwork posted over on time. Obviously, we recommend that this is not done on the 30th day and that it should arrive at their office well in advance of this deadline. Remember that documents need to be a maximum of 90 days old or less on the day of your wedding.

A translator is required at the wedding if you do not speak Croatian. A list of translators can be found here.

On arrival in Croatia, you will need to meet with the town hall on your agreed appointment date to go through your paperwork but at this stage everything should be in order.

For residents of Ireland, UK, USA, Canada and Australia, your marriage license will be issued in English after the wedding and will be recognised in your home country.

General Documentation Required by All Nationalities

1 ✈ Valid passports

2 ✈ Photocopies of picture pages on passports

3 ✈ Official, Long Form, signed Birth Certificates

4 ✈ Photocopies of the picture page of the passports for your two witnesses, listing their name, address and occupation

5 ✈ Divorce Decree (if appropriate)

6 ✈ Deed Poll (if appropriate)

7 ✈ Death Certificate (if appropriate)

8 ✈Parents’ Consent if either party is under 18

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Specific Requirements by Nationality

For Irish Citizens

Irish citizens must also complete a statutory declaration called a “Certificate de coutume”. To do this, you must complete the appropriate MP1 FormMP2A Form and the appropriate form relating to your marital status found here. When you receive the Certificate de Costume, if must be verified with an Apostille Stamp and must not be older than three months when received by the Croatian Authorities. For more information, check out this link.

For UK Citizens

UK citizens must obtain a Certificate of No Impediment by Giving Notice, or “Publishing the Banns” at a local registry office. This must be done no more than six months before your wedding date. The Certificate of No Impediment will be issued to you 23 days after you have given notice the registry office.

The Certificate of No Impediment must have an Apostille Stamp and not be older than 3 months when received by the Croatian Authorities.

For American Citizens

Before attending the town hall for their preliminary meeting in advance of their wedding, American citizens who haven’t obtained a Sworn Statement in the U.S will also need to make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb to obtain this document. The sworn statement basically states that the person in question is an American citizen, that he/she is free to marry, and that the marriage contracted in Croatia will be regarded as valid by U.S. authorities. This statement needs to be made in the presence of a US consular officer either in Zagreb on arrival, or in the States, prior to travelling to Croatia. If it is made in the States, then the document needs to be brought to Croatia for the wedding. The cost is normally around $50.

The Sworn Statement either obtained in the States or in Zagreb will then need to be brought to the Consular Section of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to be authenticated. The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is located at Petreticev trg 2, 10000 Zagreb. The contact number for the Ministry is +385-1-4599-410. The government fee (biljeg) is 60 kunas (approximately $10).

For Canadian Citizens

Canadians must pay attention to legalising their birth certificates as it needs to be done twice, first at the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then at the Croatian Embassy in Canada, in Ottawa between 60 and 45 days of the wedding in Croatia. Canadian citizens must also obtain a Sworn Affidavit stating that there is no impediment to a marriage. The sworn statement must be made infront of a solicitor or at the Canadian Embassy where you are resident.

For Australian Citizens

A Certificate of No Impediment from the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia and a Certificate of Single Status carried out by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages with a return result of “No Record.”

Apostille Stamps are required for these additional documents and they must not be older 3 months when received by the Croatian Authorities.

Religious Ceremonies

75% of Croatians are Catholic, 20% are Orthodox and the other 5% makes up the rest. With this in mind, it’s difficult to arrange a non-Catholic ceremony and in any case, a religious ceremony is not legally binding. Arranging a Catholic ceremony for after your civil ceremony is the same though as for other countries. You will need to first make contact with your local parish priest. It is also worth knowing the local churches in Croatia as your own priest will have to make contact with them. You will still need to have your pre-marriage course completed and special permission from the bishop but your local priest will be able to guide you through this process.

So that’s it – our guide on how to get married in Croatia. Hopefully it has shed some light on where it is you should start. We will see you back here later for some more destination wedding inspiration!

All images by Sarah Falugo via Fly Away Bride

3 Responses

  1. Nicol

    hi myself and my partner are flying out to Croatia on the 19th of May 2015 we would like to meet up with a wedding coordinator when we are there to discuss options and prices. Look forward to hearing from you many thanks Nicol

  2. Louise

    Thanks for such a great article. We are going to get married in Croatia and I have just learned so much here.


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