How spouses of Croatians can apply for residence

Want to live in Croatia with your Croatian spouse?

As the spouse of a Croatian citizen, you are entitled to residency in Croatia as long as you meet certain guidelines. Your path to residency will vary, depending on your nationality. The requirements for residency will differ depending on whether you are an EU EEA national or a Swiss citizen or if you are a national from outside the EU (known as a third-country national).

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Let’s go through all of the different scenarios:

Getting Married in Croatia

If you are not yet married, but plan to marry in Croatia, you can find details on how to get married within Croatia here. Once married, you can proceed with your application for residency.

Married Outside of Croatia

If you got married outside of Croatia, but intend to live in Croatia, you will need to register your marriage with the Croatian Registry of Marriages known as “Matica vjenčanih” in Croatian. You and your spouse will need to visit the Registrar’s Office closest to your registered address in Croatia.

You’ll need to provide:

  • A translated and notarized copy of the marriage certificate
  • A copy of your passport (if you are the non-Croatian)
  • Proof of citizenship (if you are the Croatian)

You should already be registered at an address in Croatia before registering your marriage.

How to apply for temporary residency as the spouse of a Croatian

First, prepare for your application by gathering the necessary documents. You’ll need:

  • OIB identification number
  • Health insurance with HZZO
  • Registered address where you reside with your spouse in Croatia
  • Marriage certificate (notarized and translated if married abroad)
  • Passports for both of you, with expiration more than 6 months out
  • Passport photo, 30x35mm
  • Completed application (which the police will give you in person)

Please note that the above list of requirements applies to all non-Croatian spouses, regardless of nationality. There are additional requirements for residency on top of the above list, depending on your nationality, which are listed below.

Applying as an EU EEA national or a Swiss citizen

If you are an EU EEA or Swiss national who is married to a Croatian, you are entitled to residency on your own regardless of your marriage to a Croatian. In addition to the above requirements, you’ll also need to show proof of financial means e.g. how will you support yourself while living in Croatia.

Either a Croatian bank account statement or proof of recurring salary will qualify. There are thresholds you must meet for both, which the police will inform you of depending on the size of your family.

Applying as a Third-Country National

If you are a national from a country outside of the EU/EEA area and are not a Swiss citizen, then you are considered to be a third-country national. Third-country nationals have additional requirements for gaining residency.

Third-country nationals that are spouses are not entitled to residency based on their nationality like EU/EEA nationals or Swiss citizens, so you will need to apply for a temporary stay permit under Family Reunification.

In addition to the requirements already listed above, you’ll also need to bring:

  • A copy of your university transcript
  • A translated and notarized copy of your birth certificate
  • Proof of financial means. For third-country nationals, you and your spouse will need to prove recurring salary that exceeds the minimums for a family of your size. The police will inform you of the threshold for your situation.
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Ready to Apply

Once you have these materials together, go to the administrative police station in the city where you address is registered with your spouse.

Provide all the above materials, as they ask for it. Don’t give them anything they do not ask for. Usually, they will provide you with a list of the latest requirements.

At this time, you’ll need to complete an application form, which will be provided to you at the MUP office. It is not something you need to bring with you, but you can reference this one so you know what to expect.

Once the officer confirms that you have provided all necessary documents, they should ask you for your contact phone number. If they do not ask, make sure you give it to them and that it is written on your application (even though there is not a field for it). This is how you will be notified upon approval of your application.

And now, you wait. How long? It varies, could be a few weeks to months. Don’t get agitated or impatient. It will take as long as it takes. You are legal to stay in Croatia while your application is in process, so there is no reason to get anxious.

You’ll be called back into the MUP once approved. At that time, your fingerprints and signature will be taken. Your application fee will also be due at this time. The MUP officer will give you a payment slip that you’ll take to a nearby bank to pay. Bring the receipt back to MUP to show proof of payment.

In exchange, the police will give you a white card that you will need to present to pick up your residence card, so DO NOT LOSE IT.

You’ll then need to wait another 3 weeks for your residence card to be made. You may or may not be called to pick it up, so good rule of thumb is to go 21 days to the day or after.

What next?

The length of your permit may vary. Some spouses have received 5-year permits and some have received 1-year permits, that must be renewed annually. If you must renew annually, you will not need to re-provide all the same items. Two months prior to your permit’s expiration, return to the police to renew. You’ll need to complete a new form, confirm you still have health insurance and reconfirm your proof of financial funds. Usually that is enough to complete your renewal application.

After 5 years passes, you become eligible to apply for permanent residency. You may read about how to apply for permanent residency here.

Please note that you MUST have a valid permit at all times. This means that you need to go 2 months prior to the expiration of your permit to request an extension of your temporary permit so that you may apply for permanent residency once you hit the 5-year mark as the process for permanent residency takes much longer than temporary residency.

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46 thoughts on “How spouses of Croatians can apply for residence

  1. John Stefanac
    August 27, 2018 @ 2:50 pm

    There are some errors in this process. I am Croatian but my wife is Australian, ie. Third country national.

    She never had to supply a birth certificate or university transcript. And most importantly the residency is only valid for 1 year. She needs to apply for renewal. we just submitted her renewal. Needed to supply same set of documents

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 29, 2018 @ 10:41 am

      Hi John,

      In response to the term of the initial permit, half of the government’s online resources state that a spouse’s permit is valid for 5 years, some say 1 year (per your experience). With regards to on-the-ground experience, I’ve only ever heard of cases where spouses have been given 5-year permits, and yet 3 people commented on this post saying they were given 1-year permits. I’ve updated the post to include a note that it may be either, depending on the situation. Thank you for the feedback!

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  2. Andy Obridge
    September 7, 2018 @ 2:04 pm

    Just two points that maybe you could clarify.
    Regarding HZZO cover. The office in Makarska would not let me apply until after I had my temporary permit. My UK EHIC was enough for both my Temp. permit and to exchange my driving licence. Of course when I had my Temp permit my UKHIC was invalid. I had to get written proof from NHS England I was no longer registered with them.
    Second point regarding the Croatian language test when applying for Permanent residency. I have seen on one MUP website, that I cannot find when I want it, is the age is 60 not 65 to exempt you from this.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 18, 2018 @ 2:53 pm

      Hi Andy,

      Could you clarify your question regarding health insurance?

      Regarding the language test, retired non-working adults over the age of 65 are exempt from the language test.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  3. Alix
    September 26, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

    I’m Syrian nationalty and I’m getting married to a Croatian citizen. We are going to get married overseas not in Croatia. Do we have to visit the embassy of Croatia where we live or need to go to Croatia to do that . And after we get married overseas what do we need to provide the gov with after the marriage?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      October 22, 2018 @ 10:50 am

      Hi Alix,

      You do not need to visit an embassy. Get married as you plan to. Have the marriage certificate apostilled in the country where you get married. Then when you arrive in Croatia, have the certificate translated and notarized. Take it to the Registrar to register your marriage, then you can proceed with applying for residence as the spouse. Here is a link that should help: https://www.expatincroatia.com/get-married-croatia-license/

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  4. Nancy Sebastian-Petrović
    November 6, 2018 @ 4:15 am

    We to Bosnia but my husband is Croatian citizenship.after are married we come back to Croatia.and we have our marriage certificate from Croatia.after we get that i go to Philippines coz my visa is only 3 months.and i need to go back to Philippines.So my passport i will change the status here in Philippines.when documents are done what visa should i apply to go back Croatia.And i have one question? Do i bring my son when i will visit mu husband in Croatia?he is my son before i get married to my husband.he is not his father.I’am a single mom when i married Croatian.can i bring my son to Croatia when i visit my husband there.thank you so much.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 11, 2018 @ 12:59 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      You won’t need to apply for a visa upon return to Croatia. If you plan to live in Croatia with your husband, then you need to apply for residence based on your marriage per the instructions in this post. You will be able to also apply for residence for your son as well.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  5. Penelope Tolj
    November 21, 2018 @ 1:05 pm

    Hi. I have been married to a Croatian for 47years. I am Australian. If I apply for residency do I still book a return ticket and get travel insurance? Can I come back and forwards while waiting for residency?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 11, 2018 @ 12:44 pm

      Hi Penelope,

      It sounds like you will be applying for residency in Croatia. If this is the case, then you don’t need to get a return ticket or travel insurance. You will need to stay in Croatia while you await approval.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Penelope Tolj
        April 29, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

        Thank you Sara for your reply. Just to clarify a point.
        I have applied for extended stay and have a return ticket but I will be returning to Croatia. If in the mean time I pay the Health insurance fee and monthly payments and apply for citizenship before I leave do I have to repay the one year retrospective health fee again? I will continue to pay whole temporarily in Australia.

        {reply}

  6. U123
    November 23, 2018 @ 11:19 pm

    Hello im male 28 after i came in croatia i make Valid our marriage with croatian girl cittizen we make application for premesso since 1 month but
    they still didnt call us what to do and can you make a fast asnwer what to do ?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 11, 2018 @ 12:41 pm

      Be patient. It usually takes a lot longer than 1 month.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  7. Aleenah
    December 13, 2018 @ 8:01 am

    Hello Sara,

    I am American and my fiance is Croatian. We will be getting married in Croatia and once that happens the plan is to have me stay to him in Rijeka, Croatia. My question to you is about the recurring income. Once I finish up my contract in the armed forces I will not have a steady income (outside of the grants I recieve for attending classes for my masters degree) but I will have money in savings. Will I have to find work in Croatia in order to apply for residency if the amount of money he makes from his work is not enough to support us or will I be able to reference my savings or grant money from school as a source of income?
    That bit is a little worrisome. Thank you for your help!

    Respectfully,

    Aleenah

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 10, 2019 @ 3:22 pm

      Hi Aleenah,

      When applying for your permit based on family reunification, you and your spouse must have a combined income according to the amounts in this post. You don’t have to work, but your spouse does.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Dan
        January 19, 2019 @ 11:18 am

        This is not true. As long as you can show proof of resources of a certain amount you’re fine.

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          February 8, 2019 @ 12:02 pm

          Hi Dan,

          Would you share your experience?

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  8. Karlo Kapusta
    January 7, 2019 @ 2:11 pm

    Hi,

    I am Croatian and my fiance is Filipino (Third-Party National) that has a temporary residence (linked to her job) in Dubai. We plan to get married very soon. The way we would like to do it is that after the civil marriage she goes back to Dubai to finish of her contract. After that we would like to start living in Croatia. After the applying for a temporary residence in Croatia (local police station Petrinjska), we understand that she can stay in Croatia until she gets the approval (no matter the visa) but can she travel to other countries in the meantime?

    From my understanding both of us have to “visit the Registrar’s Office closest to our registered address in Croatia between 45 and 30 days in advance of our intended wedding date and both of us will need to be present.”

    Question: as she resides in Dubai and me in Zagreb, her registered address is not in Croatia. Does that change anything?

    “You, if you are non-Croatian, will need to submit:
    An apostilled original of your birth certificate issued in the country of your birth in accordance with international treaties and conventions and that is notarized and translated into Croatian”

    Question: can she get an already apostilled original document from the Philippines and does she have to do it personally or authorize someone to do it?

    Question: What would be the procedure with those documents in Croatia and how long would that take?

    Forever grateful,
    Confused one :o)

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 10, 2019 @ 3:09 pm

      Hi Karlo,

      I replied to your email.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

    • AsianExpat
      February 23, 2019 @ 10:33 pm

      Hi Karlo,
      Your fiancee and I had a lot things in common, we share the same nationality and we hold a residency in GCC region prior to marrying a Croatian citizen. With that being said, I think I can share my own personal experience, from the paperworks up to the wedding ceremony.
      In brief, I’ve travelled to Croatia (Zagreb) from my jobsite (Kuwait) twice with no major setbacks whatsoever and stay up to a month before we married here. During my visit here, we took a side trip to Vienna to visit the Philippine Consulate to obtain one vital document for Filipinos who plan to marry to an EU national, it’s called ROM (Report of Marriage) . I suggest,if you want your fiancee to travel to other EU neighboring countries , let her apply a Schengen visa jnstead of Croatian visa.
      That will allow her to tour around EU hassle-free at VFS.
      Good Luck!

      {reply}

  9. Janice
    January 15, 2019 @ 9:25 pm

    Hi Sara,

    My question is whether being born in Croatia means that you are a citizen or if there are additional requirements that must be met? My husband was born in Zagreb and came to Canada when he was two.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 8, 2019 @ 11:57 am

      Hi Janice,

      I am in the process right now of researching if Croatia offers birthright citizenship. Stay tuned on that.

      That being said, if one of your husband’s parents is Croatian, then he is entitled to citizenship. He can apply at a consulate or in person in Croatia. It will go faster if he applies in Croatia. He’ll need to provide his parent’s domovnica (proof of citizenship).

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  10. Natasha luketić
    January 20, 2019 @ 12:06 am

    Hey Sara,

    So I have my temporary resident and will have to renew in April, the only issue is I work on a ship and will be going shortly after the renewal to work for 7months.

    Do you think it will be an issue??

    Thank you

    Natacha luketić

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 8, 2019 @ 11:52 am

      Hi Natasha,

      It should be fine if you are already renewed, but I recommend speaking to the police about your situation to be safe.

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  11. Dan
    January 20, 2019 @ 6:48 am

    Regarding Aleenah’s question about proof of income for a spouse of a Croatian, there is no law requiring one of the two spouses to work. If you can prove sufficient funds in a joint bank account for example, that is enough. The latest info I can find from the Zakon o Strancima relating to non-EEA spouses of Croatians says:
    Članak 54.
    Državljaninu treće zemlje će se odobriti privremeni boravak ako:
    1. dokaže svrhu privremenog boravka,
    2. ima valjanu putnu ispravu,
    3. ima sredstva za uzdržavanje,
    4. ima zdravstveno osiguranje,
    5. nema zabranu ulaska i boravka u Republici Hrvatskoj,
    6. ne predstavlja opasnost za javni poredak, nacionalnu sigurnost ili javno zdravlje.
    Članak 56.a (NN 69/17)
    (1) Član uže obitelji hrvatskog državljanina iz članka 56. stavka 1. ovoga Zakona za odobrenje privremenog boravka u svrhu spajanja obitelji ne mora ispunjavati uvjet iz članka 54. točke 3. ovoga Zakona.
    (2) Državljanin treće zemlje iz stavka 1. ovoga članka iznimno ne mora ispunjavati uvjet iz članka 54. točke 2. kada se važeća putna isprava ne može pribaviti u diplomatsko-konzularnom predstavništvu strane države u Republici Hrvatskoj, a njegov identitet je moguće nedvojbeno utvrditi na drugi način.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 8, 2019 @ 11:51 am

      Hi Dan,

      Thank you for sharing!

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  12. Maud Lasić
    February 26, 2019 @ 5:25 pm

    Hi!
    I am French, married to a Croatian citizen. I have a permanent permit for a long time now. If I apply for citizenship, could I keep my French one or do I need to choose one or the other?
    Thanks!
    Maud

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 19, 2019 @ 11:08 am

      Hi Maud,

      Spouses of Croatian citizens are able to keep their nationalities. Ultimately, it will be up to the police so I would confirm with them.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  13. Jhonna Popadic
    February 27, 2019 @ 9:33 am

    Hi Sara,

    How I can get residency in Croatia? My husband is Croatian citizen but his living in London in his passport address is in London. When I go in police they say I can’t apply residency there since my husband not living there.

    Please give me some advice.

    Thank you
    Jhonna

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 19, 2019 @ 11:07 am

      Hi Jhonna,

      The police are correct. You and your husband must be registered at the same address in Croatia for you to apply for residency.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Abdel Kebbouche
        August 7, 2019 @ 8:56 am

        Hi there
        I am algerian national resident in uk Married to a croatian over 25 years my wife got her residency through my overstay before joining EU 2013. What’s the chance to apply for citizenship!

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          August 7, 2019 @ 1:49 pm

          Hi Abdel,

          You must live with your wife in Croatia for 8 years before you can apply for citizenship.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  14. Therese
    April 18, 2019 @ 2:22 am

    Hello,

    I am a Filipino, married with a Croatian. We’ve been married for four years already. We got married in the Philippines but we would like to live in Croatia. We would like to know how is the process of registering our marriage and what are
    other requirements. We are going to Croatia at the end of this month and we would to know the information of registering our marriage. Should we do all the registeration in Croatia or to the nearest Croatian Embassy in the Philippines which is Jakarta? Looking forward for your reply. Thank you.

    Best regards,

    Therese

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      April 27, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

      Hi Therese,

      You should visit the Registrar’s office in the jurisdiction where you will be living to register your marriage. You’ll need an apostilled and translated copy of your marriage certificate in addition to your identification (passport/national ID).

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  15. Blessing Nosakhare
    May 30, 2019 @ 7:15 pm

    Good day am a Nigerian and my fiance is a Croatian,I want to apply for a spousal visa and there is no Croatia embassy in my country.Should I apply through vfs or I should go to Croatia embassy in southafrica to apply.I anticipate your prompt response.

    {reply}

  16. Fernanda
    May 31, 2019 @ 9:48 am

    Dear all,

    I was hoping you could help me out with my questions. I am brazilian and currently engaged to a croatian guy but we live in Hungary.

    Would you be able to tell me if, in this scenario, I would be able to live or work in Europe?

    Thanks

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 13, 2019 @ 9:00 am

      Hi Fernanda,

      Since you live in Hungary, you would need to follow the rules in Hungary. You’ll need to speak to immigration where you live so they can inform you on the laws.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  17. Charina Pirkl
    June 3, 2019 @ 8:27 am

    Hi Sara,

    I am a Filipino and married here in Philippines to a Croatian. Currently he is working in Ireland and we want to live together either Croatia or Ireland. My question is, do I need to have a Visa if I want to live with him in Croatia? Ireland? or I just need Residence Permit together with my Philippine passport?

    Please give me some advice.

    Thank you..

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 13, 2019 @ 8:58 am

      Hi Charina,

      To live with him in Croatia, you will need a residence permit. The instructions on this post will help with that.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  18. Soilman
    July 20, 2019 @ 7:39 am

    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for the Valuable information that you’ve provided which I didn’t know about. Here’s my Story. I am a Palestinian carrying a Syrian Travel Document. I am Married to a Croatian Citizen and we have already registered our marriage in Croatia and got the Certificate. We currently live in Dubai. UAE but we’re thinking to move to Croatia soon. Do I have to collect all the documents you mentioned above, in order to apply for a long-term residency visa or is there any simpler way?
    To be honest, the Economical situation in this region is not doing so well, and we are planning to move out for good. This process will need several visits to Croatia before moving. But applying for a tourist visa is taking too long from my Area (1 Month) because the Croatian Embassy is located in Doha -Qatar. What do you advise me to do? In order to have a simpler way to Travel to my spouse’s home country.
    Thanks in Advance

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      July 22, 2019 @ 2:36 pm

      Hi Soilman,

      Unfortunately, there is not an easier way. You must first get a tourist visa to enter Croatia, then you can apply for residency per the requirements in the above post.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  19. Leroy Fernandes
    July 25, 2019 @ 1:21 pm

    Hi Good Day

    I am an Indian citizen just married to a croatian. My wife and me wants to apply for my temporary residence in Croatia , however we plan to work in Ireland. What chances to I have as an Indian spouse to work in Ireland being married to her.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 7, 2019 @ 1:36 pm

      Hi Leroy,

      If you plan to live in Ireland, then you need to speak to Ireland about your right to work.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  20. George Rodgers
    August 12, 2019 @ 11:03 am

    Hello,
    I am retired, British, and married to a Croatian. We recently moved to Zagreb from the Bahamas. Therefore I have no medical cover documents from the UK (they have to be processed in the UK and can take weeks) nor from the Bahamas. I understand that I need to register for O.I.B., then get health insurance (HZZO) before registering my residency application with the police. However, as stated, I have no medical documents other than a national insurance card from the UK. How should I proceed?
    Thank you.

    {reply}

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