Every vistor to Croatia is required to register their stay with the police. If you stay in a hotel or an official apartment, the owner or caretaker handles this for you (which is why they ask for your passport).
Naturally, this isn't enforced for people who are staying with friends or camping. Don't worry, you aren't going to get thrown in jail for not registering during a vacation.
However, it is critical to register with the Policija (Croatian police) if you intend to stay longer than the obligatory 90 days. Registering with the police is the first step to attaining legal residency.
When should I register?
As soon as you arrive if you intend to stay longer than 90 days.
Where do I go to register?
To register, go to the main police station in the city where you'll be staying i.e. where your address of residence is. In smaller cities, there may only be one police station so it will be easy to find. In larger cities, there will be several. When searching for a station, the Policija goes by the abbreviation MUP. Upon arrival, ask for the desk that handles residency for internationals.
What do I need to bring with me?
If you are registered BEFORE your 90 days are up, you'll need to bring your passport and a certified copy of your lease. If your lease isn't certified, your landlord (or whomever is renting to you) may need to join you at the police station to register you.
If you are registered AFTER your 90 days are up, you'll need to have already started your visa application process to be allowed to register. This is why it is critical to register as soon as you arrive in Croatia.
Is there a form?
Yes. The police will provide you with a registration form to fill out. See below for the registration form.
Once you fill out the form and provide your documents, the police officer will give you a stamped copy of the registration form back for your records. Keep this supremely safe. You'll need to provide this as your proof of address and proof of residency until you get your visa, even with the police. You'll also need this document to open a bank account.
How often do I have to register?
Until you are approved for a visa, you'll need to update your registration every 90 to 180 days. The length may vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and your nationality. European nationals are given preference.
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