Considering the latest figures about the number of births and deaths in Croatia as well as an ever-increasing immigration wave of Croats to other European countries, maybe the country should think about selling Croatian passports to foreigners.
When it comes to other European countries, Malta is the latest EU member country that has offered foreigners the possibility to obtain Maltese citizenship for money, or to be more precise, 650,000 Euros. On the other hand, countries such as Portugal, Spain and Hungary have imposed foreigners a requirement for acquiring real estate or government bonds in their countries in order to obtain their passports. Which opens the question, how much would a Croatian passport cost?
As far as Croatia is concerned, the current legal solution allows a foreigner to obtain Croatian citizenship based on his/her residence in the country that is longer than eight years, marriage with a Croatian citizen or based on the knowledge of Croatian language. However, a foreigner can apply for and obtain Croatian citizenship even though he/she does not meet these conditions in case the Ministry of the Interior estimates that it is in the interest of the state (as was the case with the world’s chess champion Garry Kasparov and the weightlifter Nikolay Peshalov who represented Croatia at 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games).
The latest data from the Ministry of the Interior shows that over the past four years 175 foreigners acquired Croatian citizenship because it was in the interests of the state.
When it comes to the total number of foreigners who applied for Croatian citizenship in the period from 2013 to 2017, there were 18,772 applications, out of which 14,195 foreigners got a Croatian passport.
Interestingly, the number of foreigners who applied for Croatian citizenship slightly increased when Croatia became an EU member. In the first year of the membership in the European Union, 3,138 foreigners applied for Croatian citizenship. Last year, 4,675 foreigners applied for citizenship.
In numerous attempts to attract foreign investment to Croatia the former Government and the former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović considered the possibility of offering so-called ‘business citizenship’ to foreigners, however, the idea was never realized.