How to get an OIB (personal ID) number

Updated 2010-09-24 11:41

Q: I visit Croatia a lot, and so I keep a bank account here for convenience. I went to draw out some cash recently, but was told I can’t without a special identity number. Before, all I had to do was show my passport and the account passbook. What’s it all about? I’m British, so why do I need a Croatian ID number?

A: The number the bank is asking for is a personal identity number, called 'osobni identifikacijski broj' in Croatian, or OIB (pronounced oh-eeb) for short. This new form of identity number was introduced from 1st January 2009.

Previously, Croatian citizens and foreigners residing in Croatia had an identity number known as 'jedinstveni maticni broj gradjana (JMBG, MBG for short)' which means 'unique registration number'. The main difference between the two is that the JMBG contained personal information such as one's date of birth, whereas the OIB consists of eleven random numbers.

The OIB is needed for all dealings with any kind of officialdom, such as paying taxes and household bills, opening and accessing a bank account, or registering a vehicle. It's been introduced to bring Croatia into line with EU law, to make administration at all levels more efficient, and to prevent corruption.

Foreigners are now legally entitled to buy property and hold bank accounts in Croatia, and the OIB has been applied to them too, regardless of whether they live here. The OIB is now issued as part of the procedures involved in buying property. Foreigners who bought real estate before the OIB came into force have (mostly) been issued with an OIB, although they have to apply to obtain the confirmation document.

Foreigners like yourself who hold a bank account but do not own property in Croatia have to apply for an OIB to be issued. This is a straightforward process which costs nothing. The only complication is that the application form is in Croatian. It is headed 'Zahtjev za odredivanjem i dodjeljivanjem osobnoga identifikacijskog broja', which means 'Request for an OIB to be issued and delivered'. It can be downloaded from - Zakonska osnova (line 5 in the list on the left of the page) - Zahtjev za odredivanje OIB-a (line 3 in the sub-text).

The form is divided into three parts: as an individual you fill in part 1, headed 'fizicka osoba'. If you held a Croatian ID number for any reason, it should be entered into the top line, next to MBG. In the box underneath that, headed 1.1 'Osnovni podaci', meaning 'Basic information', you have to fill in all the spaces which apply to you:

'Ime' = Christian name; 'Prezime' = surname; 'Spol' = sex - you put 'z' if you are female, 'm' if male;

'Rod.prezime' = maiden name, if applicable; 'Datum rodenja' = date of birth; 'Mjesto rodenja' = 'place of birth';

'Drzava rodenja' = 'country of birth'; 'Drzavljanstvo' = 'nationality' (here your entry would be 'britansko') 'Adresa prebivalista' = your (permanent) address.

The second box is headed 1.2 'Podaci o identifikacijskom dokumentu' = Details of identity document. 'Broj osobne iskaznice' = 'ID card number', and only applies if you hold a Croatian ID card.

Under that is 'Broj putovnice' = 'passport number', which you should enter. 'Datum vazenja' requires the passport expiry date, and 'Zemlja izdavanja' is the country of issue, in your case 'Velika Britanija'.

Box 1.3, 'Podaci o roditeljima' is for details about your parents. Presumably yours don't have Croatian ID numbers, so go to line 3: 'Ime' = Christian name, first of your father ('Otac') and then your mother (Majka');

Prezime = surname for each: enter your mother's married name here, her maiden name ('Rod. prezime') goes on the line underneath.

You then go to part 3 'Popis prilozenih isprava' = 'list of supporting documents', which in your case would be a photocopy of the page from your passport showing your photo and personal details. If you had bought property in Croatia prior to the OIB you would also include a photocopy of the contract of sale and the ownership permission issued by the Ministry on Zagreb.

At the bottom of the form, you put your signature under 'Potpis podnositelja zahtjeva'.

The OIB is issued by the Tax Department of the Finance Ministry, which has offices all round Croatia. If you can, take your application to your local office in person, together with your original supporting document(s). The OIB may be issued immediately, otherwise you will be asked for an address to send it to, unless you wish to collect it at a later date.

The OIB document is in two parts: the lower part forms a slip containing your number, which you should detach and keep in your wallet or in a safe place, as it is the official proof of your OIB. The upper part contains a system code (numbers) and explanatory statements:

1. the confirmation slip carries the weight of an official ID;

2. the slip is proof of your OIB;

3. the slip is issued free of charge by the Tax Department;

4. if you lose the original document, you can apply for a duplicate;

5. for all official purposes requiring identification, you can produce the slip or any other official document showing the OIB;

6. the OIB is used for any business activities involving accounts etc;

7. Below is the statement of the OIB (which should be detached along the perforation).Keep the number recorded in a safe place. Even if you lose your original OIB slip, it is often enough just to be able to quote the number, although it's wise to replace the document as quickly as possible, just in case.

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