TN 32 (07-06)

GN 00307.442 Evidence From Croatia

A. Background

1. General

In the late 1940s, the Yugoslavian Government passed laws for the centralization of recordkeeping in the civil authorities. Religious institutions were required to send their records (or copies) to the civil authorities where they were copied. Those religious and civil records that survived WW II were the basis for the civil recordkeeping system in that country.

Where there were no civil or religious records, the law permitted the establishment of records based on other evidence, including the statements of third parties. In many cases, however, records were not established until the person needed a record.

Generally, these records were retained by the former Yugoslavian republics (i.e., Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia) after they proclaimed their independence.

2. Certifications of Civil Records

Two forms are used by the authorities to issue certifications. One is a multi-lingual form, similar to that used in western Europe, designed to be sent abroad. The other is designed primarily for internal use and is often submitted with claims.

Neither form contains a space for the recordation date; however, the second form contains a “Supplementary Registrations and Remarks” section at the bottom in which reconstructed records are supposed to be identified.

B. Policy

1. Civil Records

Civil records are generally the best evidence of births, marriages and deaths that occurred in Croatia.

SSA assumes that civil records issued before 1941 are reliable and accepts them at face value.

SSA does not assume all civil records for events the occurred prior to 1949 were established at least by 1949.

If a civil record was established in the 1940s based on a religious record, SSA does not obtain the actual date of recordation unless:

  • there is other evidence that disagrees materially, or

  • the claimant insists that other evidence shows the correct information.

2. Recordation Dates on Civil Records

Except as provided in GN 00307.442B.1., SSA assumes that the year of the register from which the information was taken is the year in which the event was recorded unless:

  • There is an indication that the record is a delayed registration; or

  • The document shows that the event occurred in a former republic other than Croatia.

In evaluating multi-lingual certification forms, SSA assumes that the last two digits of the entry number (shown in the upper right-hand corner with the name of the town/village/city maintaining the records) refer to the year of the register from which the information was taken.

3. Religious Records

SSA assumes that religious records issued before 1941 are reliable and accepts them at face value.

Religious records of evidence of age, marriage and death are of high probative value. Religious records of birth or baptism can be requested when the civil record of age was based on other evidence or was established after age 5 for persons born after 1950.

NOTE: Religious certifications are acceptable for Social Security purposes even though they may not have any legal value in Croatia.

C. Procedure

Ask the claimant to submit a civil record. Evaluate it in accordance with GN00307.442B.1. and GN 00307.442B.2.

Ask the Foreign Service post (FSP) (as explained in GN 00904.220) to contact the civil authorities and determine the date and basis on which the record was established if there is a question about the recordation date of a civil record.

D. Process

The FSP contacts the civil authorities and documents the response with either a letter from the authorities or a report of the contact.

1. The Record Was Based on a Civil Record Made at or Near the Date of the Event

The FSP takes no further action.

2. The Record Was Established in the 1940s Based on a Religious Record

The FSP takes no further action. The actual recordation date is not secured unless there is other evidence that disagrees materially and the claimant insists the other evidence shows the correct date of the event.

3. The Record Was Established After the Initial Compilation of Civil Records in That Area and Was Based on a Religious Record

The FSP determines why the entry was made after the initial compilation. Any further action depends on this response. For example, if the authorities state that the person was not in the list sent initially by the religious authorities, the FSP determines when the religious record was made.

4. The Record Was Based on Other Evidence

The FSP determines the nature of the evidence and includes this information in the report to the requesting office. If it cannot get a copy of the evidence, this information will also be included in the response.

If the claimant lives in the FSP’s service area and states that there is a

religious record made before age 5, the FSP asks him/her to get either a religious record or a statement from the religious authorities that none can be issued.

If the religious authorities will not issue either document, the FSP gets a statement from the claimant showing he/she tried to get a religious record and why one was refused.

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GN 00307.442 - Evidence From Croatia - 07/10/2006
Batch run: 08/20/2018