Raised in Sydney, Australia. Croatian roots. Cybersecurity expert. You may be wondering how a man with the said background has all the necessary tools to help you claim Polish citizenship in a way that’s streamlined and stress-free.
Allow me to introduce Nik Kraljević. When it comes to getting dual citizenship, Nik has been there, done that in a major way. In 2021, he became a Croatian citizen himself.
In 2022, Nik made use of technical background to build a Croatian Citizenship app to speed up the process for those with a Croatian background to apply for Croatian citizenship. Hence, CitizenHR became the flagship product of his startup, Societates Civis.
Just days before the launch of a similar app – CitizenPL – to help those with Polish roots and connections claim Polish citizenship, I interviewed Nik to find out how and why he shifted his focus to Making Polish Citizenship Simple.
1. Before we get into the nitty gritty of your Polish citizenship app, can you reveal all about your background?
“ Well, I was born and raised in Australia. I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney.
My connection with Croatia has always been there in some way, shape or form. Both my parents and grandparents were extremely patriotic. I remember getting involved in all sorts of Croatian activities at weekends. I may have taken my heritage and background for granted. When I think about it, I do have two identities – Australian and Croatian – and it gives me so many perspectives and possibilities.
As for my professional background, I’ve spent the last eleven years or so working in cybersecurity. I’ve done a lot of work for Australian companies in a wide range of fields.
I’ve also been involved in several entrepreneurial pursuits on the side, mostly in app development. This all circles back to my younger years I suppose. My dad had a background in technology. He was the one that passed on the technology bug to me. I went on to do a computer science degree at university.”
2. CitizenPL follows on from CitizenHR – an app which makes obtaining Croatian citizenship cheaper and easier. Can you explain what inspired you to set up the Croatian online network, Pleme, and indeed CitizenHR?
“ Well, the very first online network and social media app for Croatian people and all those interested in Croatia was released in November 2019. I called it Pleme – a Croatian word which means “tribe” or “clan”.
Why did I develop Pleme? I think the first reason was to bring the Croatian community closer together. Does social networking really have to revolve around the big players like Facebook? I think I saw a gap in the market in the sense that the Croatian diaspora and people of Croatian descent would like to be able to interact better – to basically just network and share information with each other.
When it comes to the citizenship app, CitizenHR, I’d gone through the process of verifying my Croatian citizenship by descent in 2021. It dawned on me that there was a lot of scope to make the process of applying for citizenship much easier. With my background in tech and development, I built the first version of CitizenHR in just a few months.
I really wanted to assist prospective Croatian citizens find comprehensible guidelines on the various paths to citizenship. The user interface is very friendly and easy on the eye. When applicants have completed a short questionnaire, they’re basically ready for citizenship. It takes a little less than ten minutes to calculate their status and eligibility for citizenship.
In a nutshell, we have a citizenship calculator where you tick some boxes and fill out some fields with basic information about yourself. To simplify the process, many of the questions are multiple choice. You’ll then find out what documents you need, who you should talk to, and where your nearest embassy or consulate is.
I’d like to mention one more thing. It occurred to me that if I have a kid down the track, I want them to have as many options as possible with regard to where they can live and work.
So we have now moved on to helping the many people out there with Polish roots claim Polish citizenship. It’s a very exciting time for us.”
3. So CitizenPL has been a natural progression from CitizenHR then? Presumably, you didn’t encounter any issues in the development phase of the app or getting your head around Polish citizenship law?
“ CitizenHR and CitizenPL have a lot in common in terms of the interface and how they were developed. The slogans for CitizenPL are broadly the same as for CitizenHR. One – making Polish citizenship simple. Two – CitizenPL makes obtaining Polish Citizenship cheaper and easier for our users for free. The app does exactly what it says on the tin.
I have to say that Polish citizenship law is a lot easier to navigate than Croatian citizenship law. Croatia has some pretty strict rules about who may and may not apply for citizenship. Politics and patriotism still have an influence. For instance, if your ancestor left Croatia for another state within the former Yugoslavia, then their descendants no longer have the right to claim Croatian citizenship.
My team and I carried out some rather extensive research into Polish citizenship law and we were left with one conclusion – Polish citizenship law does not exist to make the lives of today’s generation with Polish roots difficult. In fact, it’s quite the opposite case. Poland seems to be a little bit more organised than some of the other countries we’ve looked into.”
4. What are the key features of CitizenPL?
“ As with CitizenHR, CitizenPL offers streamlined guidance – a step-by-step roadmap when it comes to the Polish citizenship application process.
Based on how users of the app filled out the questionnaire, they are offered various paths to pursue to claim Polish citizenship. These are via presidential grant, descent, lineage, naturalisation, marriage and re-admission for those who may be able to reclaim previously held Polish citizenship.
So let’s say a user clicks on ‘lineage’, they may be informed that not all of their documents are good to go. They’ll then be recommended to contact one of our experts before contacting their nearest Consulate or Embassy.
Just a point on the experts actually. We’ve got a good mix. We have genealogists from all around the world. We have lawyers. There are professional immigration consultants and translators. We also have partners who can carry out all necessary services for someone to claim Polish citizenship. You can never have too many of these experts. The plan is to expand, expand, expand.”
5. Are there any other reasons why CitizenPL stands out from the crowd?
“ Well, we also need to consider the price point. Getting citizenship can be rather expensive. One of our main goals for people who want to claim Polish citizenship is to substantially cut the cost. Our model is a competitive one as our partners compete with each other for a person’s citizenship application.
One other thing worth mentioning is that we constantly monitor Polish citizenship law to make sure our users and clients understand what the regulations are and which experts they can receive assistance from for specific tasks.
Finally, CitizenPL is not only a citizenship app. Users can also make travel arrangements, such as booking flights and accommodation, or organise weddings in Poland. We have teamed up with a number of well-established travel and wedding partners.”
Final Thoughts – Steve’s view:
If you believe you have a right to claim Polish citizenship but have never really been able or inspired to get your head around Polish citizenship law and the documents required to support your application, CitizenPL can put an end to all your umming and ahhing.
CitizenPL is a victory for the common sense of the creator, Nik Kraljević. The app makes getting Polish citizenship simple by cutting out masses of red tape and putting you in touch with experts who will be with you every step of the way when it comes to getting your Polish passport.
A canny creation indeed. I wish I had thought of it myself.