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Obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina “citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina” Areas of professional engagement of the law office


Obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Our law office has been specializing in representation in the legal area of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1993. We represent our clients in the procedures of obtaining the BiH citizenship on the entire territory of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of where the procedure is conducted or documents obtained, without the need for the presence of the party in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The legal matter of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, registers and personal name has about a hundred legal sources (conventions, laws, regulations, instructions, decisions).


Citizenship is a special legal relationship, permanent in its nature, which exists between a state and a natural person, that is, its citizen. On the basis of the existence of citizenship as a specific legal relationship, certain rights arise, but also obligations for a natural person. The status of a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a rule, is independent of whether the person is actually in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina or some other state.
Each state prescribes its own rules governing issues of citizenship, and in particular those on which it depends which persons and under what conditions it will consider its citizens, or under what conditions individual persons cease to be its citizens. Thus, the European Convention on Nationality of 1997 stipulates in its Article 3 that each state shall determine by its legal regulations who its citizens are.


The citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is also provided with adequate protection abroad by the Embassy of BiH / Consulate of BiH. Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina is also a Constitutional category, namely Article 7 of the Constitution of BiH also defines “There is citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regulated by the Parliamentary Assembly, and citizenship of each entity, regulated by each entity”, and then the entities’ laws on citizenship were brought and they have repeatedly undergone amendments.


The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina further stipulates “That no person may be arbitrarily deprived of the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Entities or otherwise be left without the citizenship of BiH. No person shall be deprived of the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina on any grounds such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, affiliation with a national minority, property, birth or other statuses.”
In addition, the BiH Constitution stipulates that each entity may issue passports of Bosnia and Herzegovina to its citizens, as determined by the Parliamentary Assembly. Bosnia and Herzegovina may issue passports to its citizens who have not been issued a passport of any of the entities. There will be a central record of all passports issued by the entities and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The area of obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which we represent our clients will be covered in this section.


Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be obtained: by origin, birth on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, adoption by a BiH citizen, through naturalization and through an international agreement.
Pursuant to the old Law on Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which may continue to apply (depending on the birth of the applicant for BiH citizenship), BiH citizenship is obtained: by origin (based on parents), by birth on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: BiH), by naturalization and under international agreements.
The most common example in the practice of using the old Law on Citizenship in obtaining BiH citizenship is based on the applicant’s parents – that is, origin.


Obtaining the BiH citizenship by origin (based on your parents) – on the basis of the old Law on Citizenship of BiH and still valid, and depending on the moment of birth of the applicant for obtaining the BiH citizenship:
Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, 18/92, 11/93, 27/93, 13/94, 15/94 and 26/96 – consolidated text) – still in use today, and refers to the moment of birth of the applicant for citizenship of BiH, obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina is determined as follows:
Article 4: A child obtains the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina by origin:

  1. whose both parents at the time of the child’s birth are citizens of BiH,
  2. whose one parent is a citizen of BiH at the time of the child’s birth, and the child is born in BiH,
  3. whose one parent is a citizen of BiH at the time of the child’s birth, the other is a stateless person, and the child was born abroad,
  4. whose one parent is a citizen of BiH at the time of the child’s birth, the other was a citizen of the former SFRY, and the child was born abroad.

The child of a foreign citizen or a stateless person shall also obtain the BiH citizenship by origin, if it was adopted by BiH citizens in accordance with the provisions of international law with the effect of full adoption.
Article 5: A child born abroad, whose one parent is a citizen of BiH at the time of the child’s birth, obtains the BiH citizenship by origin if he/she is registered by the age of 23 for registration as a citizen of BiH with the competent authority in BiH or abroad or if he/she stays in BiH for a longer period for education.
A child born abroad, whose one parent is a citizen of BiH at the time of the child’s birth, obtains the citizenship of BiH, although he/she does not meet some of the conditions from paragraph 1 of this Article, if he/she would remain stateless.
Article 6: Persons obtaining BiH citizenship according to the provisions of Article 4 and 5 of this Law are considered citizens of BiH from the moment of their birth.
To this way of obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina for BiH authorities it is not relevant which citizenship the applicant for obtaining the BiH citizenship has, or whether he/she has more citizenships, because the person is considered a BiH citizen from birth, and in accordance with Article 6 of the old Law on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Citizenship.


Based on the current Law on Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Obtaining the BiH citizenship by origin is defined by Articles:
Article 6: A child born after the entry into force of the Constitution acquires the citizenship of BiH by origin:

  1. whose both parents were citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child’s birth, regardless of the place of his / her birth;
  2. whose one parent was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child’s birth and the child was born in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  3. whose one parent was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child’s birth, and the child was born abroad, if he/she would otherwise be stateless;
  4. if it was born abroad, and one parent was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child’s birth, provided that by the time he/she turns 23, he/she submits an application for registration of BiH citizenship to the competent authority.

Citizenship of BiH can also be obtained on the basis of: Obtaining of the BiH citizenship by birth on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Article 7: Citizenship of BiH shall be granted to a child born or found in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the entry into force of the Constitution and whose both parents are unknown or of unknown citizenship or stateless, or if the child is stateless.


Obtaining of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of: Adopted children
Article 8: A child under the age of 18 who has been fully adopted by a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the entry into force of the Constitution obtains the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina..


Obtaining the BiH citizenship by naturalization:
Article 9: (1) A foreigner who has submitted an application for obtaining the BiH citizenship may acquire citizenship by naturalization if he/she meets the following conditions: a) that he/she has reached 18 years of age; b) has been granted permanent residence in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for at least three years prior to the submission of the application; c) has sufficient knowledge of the alphabet and language of one of the constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina; d) that he/she has not been imposed a security measure of expulsion of foreigners from the country or a protective measure of removal of foreigners from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the bodies whose legality is established by the Constitution and that this decision is still in force; e) has not been sentenced to serve a sentence for premeditated criminal offenses for more than three years for a period of 8 years from the submission of the request; f) to renounce or otherwise lose their former citizenship before obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, unless the bilateral agreement referred to in Article 14 provides otherwise. Renunciation or loss of previous nationality will not be required if this is not permitted or cannot reasonably be required; g) that no criminal proceedings have been instituted against him/her, unless proof of fulfillment of this condition can reasonably be required; h) does not pose a threat to the security of Bosnia and Herzegovina; i) has a permanent source of income in the amount which provides living or is able to provide reliable evidence of his/her own financial means of subsistence; j) that he/she has settled all tax or other financial obligations; k) to sign a statement accepting the legal system and constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina and l) has a valid guarantee of obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (2) Naturalization shall not be approved, even if the applicant meets the general conditions for naturalization, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that approval of naturalization would endanger the security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and public order and peace, or if naturalization is not in the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina for some other reason determined on the basis of the overall assessment of the applicant’s condition.


Obtaining the Bosnia and Herzegovina citizenship through facilitated naturalization:
Article 10: Spouse of a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina – a foreigner may obtain the citizenship of BiH under the following conditions: a) that the marriage lasted at least five years before the application and that it still lasts at the time of application; b) to renounce or otherwise lose his former citizenship before obtaining the citizenship of BiH, unless otherwise resolved by the bilateral agreement referred to in Article 14. Withdrawal or termination of the previous citizenship is not required if this is not allowed or cannot reasonably be claimed; c) to have an approved permanent residence on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina; d) does not pose a threat to the security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Article 11: (1) A child under the age of 18 whose one parent has obtained BiH citizenship has the right to obtain the BiH citizenship by naturalization if he/she has been granted temporary or permanent residence in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (2) A parent who has the citizenship of BiH may request the acquisition of the citizenship of BiH on behalf of a minor child in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article. If the child is older than 14 years, his/her consent is required.
Article 12: (1) A stateless person and a person who has the status of a refugee may obtain the citizenship of BiH without fulfilling the conditions referred to in Article 9, paragraph (1), item b), c), f), i) and j) only if in the status of a stateless person or refugee he/she has a continuous stay in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for a period of five years prior to the submission of the application. (2) A minor child of a person who has obtained the citizenship of BiH on the basis of paragraph (1) of this Article has the right to obtain the citizenship of BiH without fulfilling the conditions referred to in Article 9, paragraph (1) item a), b), c), f), i) and j), if he/she has a refugee status or is granted temporary residence in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of the length of stay. (3) If the child is older than 14 years, his/her consent is required.
Article 13: (1) The following persons have the right to obtain the BiH citizenship on the basis of an application without fulfilling the conditions referred to in Article 9, paragraph (1), item b) and f).a) emigrants who have returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, b) first and second generation of descendants of the persons mentioned in paragraph (1) who returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, (2) spouse of the person referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article, has the right to obtain the BiH citizenship on the basis of an application without fulfilling the requirements from Article 9, paragraph (1), item b) if requirements from Article 10 items a) and b) are met.
Article 14: A person whose citizenship of BiH, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining the citizenship of another state, has ceased…, may submit a request for re-obtaining of citizenship of BiH, if he/she meets the conditions from Article 9, except the conditions from paragraph (1) item. a) and b), only if he/she has been granted temporary residence in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for at least one year immediately prior to the submission of the application or granted permanent residence.
Article 15: If in individual cases naturalization of a person is deemed of a special benefit for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the person may obtain the BiH citizenship without fulfilling the conditions from Article 9. paragraph (1) item a), b) and f).
Article 16: In all cases where this law prescribes the loss of former citizenship of persons obtaining BiH citizenship, such persons shall be allowed to retain the citizenship of the former state wherever possible by a bilateral agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and that state, approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with Article IV 4. d) of the Constitution.


Obtaining the Bosnia and Herzegovina citizenship for persons who previously had BiH citizenship, but it ceased due to the acquisition of citizenship of another state:
Article 14: “A person whose citizenship of BiH, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining the citizenship of another state, has ceased by the loss of the citizenship, may submit a request for reobtaining of the BiH citizenship, if he/she meets the conditions of Article 9, except for paragraph (1) item a) and b), only if he/she has been granted temporary residence in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for at least one year immediately prior to the application or granted permanent residence.”


Frequently asked questions about obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina


How can I obtain the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina is obtained by origin, birth on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, adoption by a BiH citizen, naturalization, an international agreement.


I am 50 years old. Both parents had the BiH citizenship. Can I obtain the BiH citizenship?
If your parents were citizens of BiH at the time of your birth, regardless of your age, you can properly acquire the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on origin. We can represent you in the case in order to obtain the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


I would like to obtain BiH citizenship again, I had to acquire Croatian citizenship earlier and lost the BiH citizenship.
You can regain the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but you must first obtain a temporary residence on the territory of BiH for at least one year immediately before applying for BiH citizenship or approved permanent residence.


I would like to obtain the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am 25 years old and only one of my parents is a citizen of BiH.
In certain conditions, it is possible to acquire BiH citizenship also in your case, you need to contact us by email to consult whether it is possible for you to carry out the procedure of obtaining the BiH citizenship with certainty.


Which body is competent for obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Decisions on obtaining the BiH citizenship are made by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while in some ways of obtaining the citizenship in BiH, the competent authority is the Municipality - registry office.


If I get the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, do I have to serve my military service?
After acquiring the BiH citizenship, you are not obliged to serve military service because there is no compulsory military service in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Can I obtain the BiH citizenship based on my spouse and how?
You can obtain the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina through your spouse, and it is a matter of acquiring the BiH citizenship through facilitated naturalization. In order to acquire the BiH citizenship on this basis or Article 10 of the Law on Citizenship of BiH, the most important conditions are that the marriage lasted at least 5 years before applying for the BiH citizenship and that the marriage lasts at the time of applying for the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina and you have been granted permanent residence in BiH. Other conditions are prescribed by Article 10 of the Law.


How long does the procedure for obtaining the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina take?
Depending on the legal basis on which the BiH citizenship is obtained, which can be from a few days to several months.


Which body keeps records on the obtaining of BiH citizenship?
Records on the obtaining of the BiH citizenship are kept by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH keeps records on cases of giving its consent to the decisions of the competent entity bodies on naturalization of foreign citizens and on cases of subsequent entry in the registers of births of citizens of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (old Law on Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina).


How do I prove that I am a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Citizenship is proven by a certificate of citizenship of BiH and a certificate of citizenship of the entities or a current passport of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The certificate of citizenship of BiH and entity citizenship are issued by the body that keeps the birth register, i.e. the register of citizens.

 


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