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


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. 


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


Children of naturalized citizens are eligible for citizenship as well.

By International Agreement


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.

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