Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Would you give up your citizenship?

I've been going through the mandatory five year process of acquiring permanent residence in Croatia. Every year, I've renewed my visa. Last month I passed a language test. Turns out, my last obstacle will be passing a culture test I wasn't aware of until a few days ago. My knowledge of the Croatian constitution, amendments and laws will be the difference between attaining residence and having to go through the whole five year process again.

Despite the bureaucratic inconvenience that would be, a phone call with a friend caused a bigger discomfort to situate itself in my psyche. See, attaining residence would allow me to apply for Croatian citizenship in a year. My wife and three kids already have dual citizenship. In my thinking, in another year I could become the bi-cultured individual I'd always dreamed of becoming. That's just a half joke. There's something about the idea of dual citizenship that nudges the ego up a notch.

But then my friend told me that unless I'm Croat by descent (like my wife) or was born here (like all three of my kids), the Croatian authorities would require me to cough up my American citizenship before I could become Croatian.

So what if I did it? What if I actually pass the test, go through the whole process of becoming a Croatian citizen and give up my American citizenship? What would the implications be?

Those aren't necessarily rhetorical questions.

It's an interesting thought. Of course, I may not have to think about it for another five years. 


Tracy said...

Interesting... never heard of having to give up one citizenship to get another, but me not hearing about it doesn't mean much. The thought of giving up my US citizenship hasn't ever crossed my mind. Did they tell you why they might require it?

Hamlton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Filip said...

If you really wouldn't have to renounce the American citizenship I would say go for it.
Do you now have to pay taxes to the US (despite residing abroad)? That's the only positive thing I see in giving up your citizenship.
Having the citizenship of the country of one's residence is a big advantage, however, I would never renounce my citizenship if required.
Btw, I don't think Croatia forbids non-single nationality.

Patrick Galeski said...

Hi Jeremy, I have almost the same situation as you. I'm a Canadian citizen, with no blood ties to Croatia, living in Varazdin. I have a wife and a daughter (Croatians of course) and I have been living here for 6 years.

In my opinion, try to go for dual citizenship. It will make travel, residency issues, and a whole lot of things go away. At the same time, I would check with the IRS and see what they say about changing your citizenship status. Taxes suck. I did the same with the Canadian authorities about taxes. There should be a 1-800 number you can call through Skype so that you can talk to an IRS rep.

In my case, I will apply for permanent residency in Croatia. There is now a questionnaire (cultural test) that needs to be completed. It is in Croatian, and I am wondering if anyone has taken it. It is 15 questions, multiple choice. Jeremy, did you take the test?
Patrick Galeski

Anonymous said...

You need to answer 15 of 100 questions correctly - Not all are multiple choice. Some are complete the sentences..

Anonymous said...

It covers the structure of the government - knowledge of historical sites, landmarks, sporting events and literary figures as well as historical dates of importance and knowledge of the National Anthem. All the questions may be found online. Learning the answers is fairly simple - the internet is wonderful for finding information

Elizabeth said...

Same here in Russia. For certain reasons I prefer U.S. citizenship, but God leads me down surprising paths sometimes. We didn't get our son a Russian passport, either. Just had a bad feeling about it.

lori said...

I collected all the answers and passed the test. I have written an iPhone/iPad flashcard app to help others study. More info on the website: