How do I become a citizen of Bosnia?

There are several ways to become a Bosnian Citizen. This article will discuss the basics of becoming a Bosnian Citizen.

So you decided you would like to permanently move to Bosnia. There are several ways you can do this.

According to Article IV of the constitution: (English Translation)

Citizenship of BiH is acquired in accordance with the provisions of this law:

  1. descent
  2. birth on the BH territory
  3. adoption
  4. naturalization
  5. international agreement

By Descent

Child born by one or more Bosnian parents if they declare by the age of 23 can become a citizen

By Birth on BH Territory

Stateless child of unknown parents can become a citizen if found on BH territory and has not been given other citizenship by the age of 14

By Adoption

Child under the age of 18 who has been adopted by a Bosnian citizen can become a citizen

By Naturalization

Non-Marriage

An individual who is over the age of 18 who has been in Bosnia for over 8 years can apply to become a citizen.  They most be able to speak one of the official languages of Bosnia (Bosnian, Croatian, or Serbian).  If individuals spend more than 3 of the 8 years in prison they are however not eligible. 

Marriage

An individual married to a Bosnian citizen for 5 years and living in Bosnia for 3 can apply to become a citizen.  

Children

Children of naturalized citizens are eligible for citizenship as well.

By International Agreement

Other

You may also get citizenship if you meet the following conditions:

  1. Are a returning emigrant from Bosnia (With a possible 2 years of residency) 
  2. Are a 1st or 2nd generation descendant of an emigrant
  3. Deemed a person of “particular benefit” to Bosnia 

Losing your Bosnian Citizenship

There are many ways to lose your citizenship:

  1. Voluntary acquisition of another citizenship without a bilateral agreement (86,000 Bosnians have done this as of Oct 31st 2018)
  2. A child losses citizenship when it is adopted outside the country
  3. A child who has left Bosnia and has obtained citizenship of that other country
  4. A citizen of Bosnia joins a foreign military force

The Commision  

To decide on the matters of citizenship a commision is formed appointed by the Council of Ministers and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.  The Commission consists of nine members, two Bosniacs, two Croats, two Serbs as well as three representatives who are not citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina or of a neighbouring country. All members of the Commission are appointed by the Council of Ministers.  The three non-bosnian representatives vote if there is no agreement.

Dual Citizenship

With over half the population of Bosnians living outside of the country the subject of Dual Citizenship is heavily on many of their minds. The US does not have a bilateral agreement but Germany and Denmark do.   
(86,000 Bosnians have renounced their citizenship as of Oct 31st 2018 because a bilateral agreement with their new country could not be reached)
This question will be addressed in later articles as it is a fairly complex subject.

17 thoughts on “How do I become a citizen of Bosnia?

  1. Hello dear

    i am married to a bosnian woman. i have a son 5 years old but we lived 10 years of our marriage in dubai. can i get bosnian citizenship if i apply . i always visit bosnia on schengen or american visa but i never applied for Visa D before. please tell me the procedure

  2. i just got into contact with the BH embassy in ths Netherlands, and they told me, a 40 year old male, that i can only get citizenship if my parents apply for theirs first. I was born in the Netherlands in 1980 with the Yugoslav nationality, my parents changed all our passports out of fear during the war. I was raised Bosnian, I speak rural Bosnian, but I cant attain the nationality. It hurts my soul.. are there any options for me? Thanks in advance for your reply.

  3. My maternal grandfather fled bosnia during war and renounced. Can I still get citizenship wven though neither of my parents are bosnian citizens? I am a citizen of Croatia and USA already and am over 18.

  4. Ja sam drzavljanin Bosne i Hercegovine ali zivim u Tajlandu gdje je moj sin rodjen 31/01/2000. Moja zena je Tajlandjanka.
    Nakon citanja pravila o dobijanju drzavljanstva, shvatio sam da moj sin moze dobiti drzavljanstvo ako podnese zahtjev prije no sto napuni 23 godine.
    Kome treba da se obratimo u vezi aplikacije za drzavljanstvo?

  5. Zdravo,
    Želim bosanski pasoš. Uskoro ću napuniti 18 godina i želio bih nastaviti rodovnicu svog djeda.
    Moj djed je pobjegao iz Jugoslavije.

    Mogu li ga kupiti novcem?

    Imam i holandski i turski pasoš / ličnu kartu.

  6. I was born in Bosnia and moved to the US. I took American citizenship when I was allowed to but could not keep dual citizenship with Bosnia because at that time it was not allowed. Could I apply for Bosnian citizenship now and become a dual citizen?

    1. That is a great question if you as an investor would be “Deemed a person of “particular benefit” to Bosnia” by the 9 person committee. I will need to do a bit more research to find the committee’s contact information to find out more. Stay tuned!!

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