The current roll and form of the Croatian right to citizenship is the result of the particular situation of the right to citizenship in former Yugoslavia, of the ethnic-national policies for the determination of the Croatian people in the 1990s and of the liberalization and EU-harmonization since 2000. From this constellation, only rights and provisions which are partially difficult to understand yet have serious consequences are derived.
The core of the current right to citizenship is referenced in the Croatian Constitution of 12 December 1990 and the Citizenship Act of 6 October 1991. Both the Constitution and Citizenship Act
International pressure, international treaties signed by Croatia, self-discretion in the complex situation when dealing with different status groups, a general democratization of Croatia and the pending goal of EU-membership have provided for clear liberalizations. Pragmatic solutions for the minorities were searched for and new rights were granted them. Today, as mentioned, the Citizenship Act of 1991 is authoritative together with its amendments. It continues to favor ethnic Croatians and their descendants (Article 3 and 11) but provides standard procedures for the nationalization of foreign citizens of non-Croatian descent (Article 8). Article 16 should also be pointed out, which allows people of Croatian ancestry living abroad to apply for Croatian citizenship. This is also relevant because through this means, along with the EU-membership of Croatia in 2013, about 500,000 people will become EU-citizens who do not live within the Croatian territory. This pertains to not only Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in other parts of the world, but also to around 200,000 Serbs who fled or emigrated from Croatia but kept their Croatian citizenship.
The data on the awarding of Croatian citizenship clearly shows that this process is also ethno-nationally characterized and has relatively little to do with international migration or a constitutional or social integration. The Croatian Ministry of the Interior counted a total of 1,111,705 naturalizations between the nation's founding in 1991 and 2010, among whom 834,732 applicants for Croatian citizenship indicated Bosnia-Herzegovina as their place of birth. At the time of application, 678,918 people had citizenship of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which they were not required to give up if they received citizenship as ethnic Croatians (just like all ethnic Croatians who are not requested to give up their old citizenship). Other groups among the applicants include those with Serbian citizenship (80,512) and with Macedonian citizenship (12,688).