Foto: PGP Sisak
Photo: CRP Sisak

A minor member of the Roma national minority A.A.O. was born in 2020, on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, to a father and mother of foreign nationals. The father is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia (registered for the area of ​​the Coordination Administration for Kosovo and Metohia); the mother is a citizen of Northern Macedonia. The father has a regulated permanent residence status and the mother a temporary residence status in the Republic of Croatia. Their marriage took place in Northern Macedonia, and before the birth of the child A.A.O., the family comes to the territory of the Republic of Croatia where they are continuously located to this day.

By birth, father and mother of the child A.A.O. submitted a request for temporary residence in the competent police administration in the Republic of Croatia, and after that a request for permanent residence as the father at the time of birth of the minor A.A.O. had a regulated permanent residence status. After the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia took up the work of this case, it issued a conclusion by which the resolution of both requests is temporarily suspended until the end of the previous issue, i.e. until the subsequent registration of the minor A.A.O. in the books of citizens is done.

The subject of subsequent entry in the books of citizens was not a legal problem, and the father and mother agreed that the subsequent entry would be made following the father’s origin. The decision of the parent to enrol the child by the father’s origin is of an intimate nature, accompanied by the cultural and traditional elements of this family. All this time the child A.A.O. was left without the possibility of regulating health insurance, personal identification number (Croatian OIB) and for that reason did not receive the mandatory vaccine. The procedure of subsequent entry in the books of citizens lasted 18 months.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia on 15 September 2009 passed a Decree on the procedure for determining the fulfilment of the prescribed conditions for the issuance of travel documents for persons from the territory of Kosovo and Metohia. The Decree in question stipulates that the same applies to citizens of the Republic of Serbia who have registered residence in Kosovo and Metohia, as well as to citizens whose citizenship certificates were issued by the authorities of the Republic of Serbia responsible for Kosovo and Metohia, but do not have registered residence.

Thus, for example, the request for subsequent entry in the books of citizens of the Republic of Serbia for A.A.O. submitted for the area of ​​the Coordination Administration for Kosovo and Metohia and the case was resolved for a full 18 months.

Article 67 of the Foreigners Act (OG 133/20), which is in force since 1 January 2021, prescribes the regulation of temporary residence of children born in the Republic of Croatia. The article in question prescribes that the parent or guardian of the child is obliged to report the temporary stay of the child up to the age of three months. The application is not to be accompanied by a travel document or proof of health insurance. Temporary residence may be granted for a period of time for which one parent or guardian of the child has been granted temporary residence, or up to one year if one of the parents or guardian is a third-country national with long-term residence or permanent residence.

For comparison, the same Act that was in force in 2020 in Article 51 prescribed the regulation of temporary residence of children born in the Republic of Croatia. It did not contain a paragraph on travel document and health insurance, while Article 52 of that act stipulated that if the applicant did not have one during the first submission of the application, he/she was obliged to enclose it with the application for extension of temporary residence. Furthermore, Article 259 of that act regulates the termination of initiated proceedings in such a way that the proceedings initiated under this law will be completed in accordance with its provisions.

The legal interpretation concluded that there was no legal basis for the conditionality of the travel document in the first application for a temporary residence permit in the case of A.A.O. Especially because both parents had a regulated status at the time of birth. Let us add that in this case the assistance of the Ombudsperson for Children was also requested, who in her address to the Ministry of the Interior stated, among other things:

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires Member States to recognize all the rights of every child in their jurisdiction, that any decision concerning the child must be in his or her best interests and that the child has the right not to be separated from his or her parents. This can only be achieved if the child is allowed to follow the residence status of his parents. ”

We hold that in this case the competent Police Administration should have taken into account the length of the procedure, which it must have known when it comes to citizens registered for the area of ​​the Coordination Administration of Kosovo and Metohia, because it took 18 months to request subsequent entry in the register of citizens be resolved. It is clear here that the Republic of Croatia cannot influence the legislation of other countries and the course of proceedings, but it can certainly take measures to avoid cases of underage children of unregulated status produced by the state itself. Secondly, this is a legal understanding of the competent police administration that is not identical to other police administrations, which means that the first temporary stay in such a case would be granted.

It is especially worth noting that the case of A.A.O. would not have been resolved even within 18 months had it not been provided with comprehensive free legal aid by CRP Sisak, including the payment of all fees to obtain all necessary documents. During the resolution of this case, the support of colleagues from abroad was provided in order to speed up the entire procedure, and in the end, the case was successfully completed.

Finally, in 2021, CRP Sisak records a completely new case, but with identical content, which was also positively ended with the intervention of CRP Sisak as a provider of free legal aid, but in a somewhat shorter period.


In Sisak, September 29, 2021

CRP Sisak

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