Background checks for third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA citizens)

Background check for Croatia
Image by TheDigitalArtist

UPDATED: 27/09/2021

The new Law on Foreigners (called “Zakon o strancima”) valid from 2021 includes changes to the application process for temporary residence of third-country nationals. One of these changes is a criminal background check, which is a brand new requirement. If you are applying for Croatian citizenship, you’ll also need to submit a background check, regardless of nationality.

In Croatian, this criminal background check is called “Uvjerenje da se ne vodi kazneni postupak”. This document will serve as proof that you haven’t been convicted of criminal (felony) offenses.

This is stated in Article 59 of the Law:

(1) Državljaninu treće zemlje odobrit će se privremeni boravak ako:

  1. uz zahtjev za odobrenje prvog privremenog boravka priloži dokaz da nije pravomoćno osuđen za kaznena djela iz matične države ili države u kojoj je boravio duže od godine dana neposredno prije dolaska u Republiku Hrvatsku, osim ako je upućeni radnik odnosno student, istraživač ili osoba premještena unutar društva koja se koristi mobilnošću iz druge države članice EGP-a.

Which translates as:

(1) A third-country national shall be granted temporary residence if:

  1. together with the request for approval of the first temporary residence encloses a proof that they have not been convicted of criminal offenses from their home country or the country where they resided for more than one year before arriving in the Republic of Croatia, unless if the person is a worker or student, researcher or person transferred within a company using mobility from another EEA Member State.

The new Law on Foreigners is available here.

In this post, we will cover:

The facts are these…

Who must have a background check

The background check is MANDATORY for adult non-EU foreigners in 3 situations:

  • When a third-country national applies for temporary residence for the first time
  • When a third-country national applies for residence even after holding residence already, if the residence is non-continuous
  • When anyone applies for citizenship, regardless of their nationality

This applies to students and family members of Croatian/EU/EEA citizens who are third-country nationals as well. However, background checks are NOT MANDATORY for children under the age of 18 or for EU nationals.

[Read: How non-EU family members of EU/EEA nationals can get temporary residence in Croatia]

A background check is also not required for third-country nationals who are permanent residents of EU/EEA Member States since they have already been “vetted” by the EU/EEA Member State where they already have permanent residence. [Read: How EEA permanent residents can get temporary residence in Croatia]

Where to get a criminal background check

You must provide a background check from your country of nationality. If you lived in another country for at least 1 year prior to coming to Croatia, then it should be issued by your last country of residence.

The validity of foreign background checks in Croatia is 3-6 months depending on the country of issue. The validity period/date is determined according to the date when a background check is apostilled or legalized. Background checks issued by the United States are valid for up to 3 months, for example.

If you are not sure where you can get this document, check with the competent state institution in your country. You can probably ask the police for help and they will provide you with information on where to go.

In most countries, background checks can be provided by both government and private institutions. We made a list of the government and private institutions which are in charge of the issuance of the background checks in the top 10 countries that traffic our site.

For each institution, we’ve provided:

    • Name of the institution
    • Whether it is private or government
    • Application method (in person or online)
    • Processing time after the submission of the request
    • Whether fingerprints are required or not
    • Background check costs
  • Link to official page

**Please note that we do not endorse or recommend any of the private companies listed below. We are merely providing them for reference. It is vital that you check out any company before you send them your personal documents.**

We hope that this information will help you save time. Jump to your country at the links below:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Malaysia
  4. North Macedonia
  5. Philippines
  6. Russia
  7. Serbia
  8. South Africa
  9. United Kingdom
  10. United States of America

#1 Australia

Australian Federal Police – government institution
Application method: Via post or online
Processing time: 1-15 days
Fingerprints: Depending on the type
Costs: 42-139 AUD
Web site

Checked – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 1-15 business day
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 49-69 AUD
Web site

Veritas Check – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 15-20 days
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 98 AUD
Web site

#2 Canada

Royal Canadian Mounted Police – government institution
Application method: In person or online (if you live abroad)
Processing time: 3/120 business days
Fingerprints: Yes (circumstantial)
Costs: 25 CAD + local fees
Web site

C5 ID – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Within hours
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 39.90 CAD
Web site

Canadian Fingerprint Agency – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 3-120 business days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 226 CAD
Web site

Commissionaires – private institution
Application method: In person or online
Processing time: 15 minutes
Fingerprints: Depending on the type of document
Costs: 55 CAD + taxes
Web site

National Pardon Centre – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 3-10 business days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 25 CAD
Web site

Triton – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 1 hour
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 59 CAD
Web site

Verifications Canada – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 3-120 days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 25 CAD
Web site

VFS.GLOBAL – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 3 business days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 25 CAD
Web site

#3 Malaysia

Royal Malaysian Police – government institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Not available
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 20 RM
Web site

#4 North Macedonia

Municipal court – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: 7 days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: Not available
Web site

#5 Philippines

National Police Clearance – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: 1 day
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 160 PHP
Web site

#6 Russia

Information Centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – government institution
Application method: In person or online
Processing time: 3-5 weeks
Fingerprints: No
Costs: Varies
Web site

#7 Serbia

Ministry of Internal Affairs – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: One week
Fingerprints: No
Costs: Varies
Web site

#8 South Africa

South African Police service – government institution
Application method: In person or online
Processing time: 10-15 working days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 150 ZAR
Web site

Apostil.co.za – private institution
Application method: Courier service
Processing time: 5-30 days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 2.775-6.350 ZAR
Web site

South African Police Clearance – private institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: 5-7 working days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 150 RAND
Web site

Visa Logistics – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 5-7 days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 2.500 ZAR
Web site

#9 United Kingdom

Acro Criminal Records office – government institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 12 business days/4 business days (delivery depends on cost)
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 55/95 GBP
Web site

GOV.UK – government institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Up to 14 days
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 23 GBP
Web site

CRB direct – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 7-14 days
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 65 GBP
Web site

DBS check online – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 2-7 days
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 78 GBP
Web site

Disclosure services – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 3-5 working days
Fingerprints: No
Costs: 42,20 GBP
Web site

#10 United States of America

For the FBI background check, you must provide fingerprints (ink or digital). It was near impossible to get fingerprints taken in Croatia for this purpose. Recently, we launched a petition to request that the US Embassy start offering this service to US citizens.

In September 2021, one of our lawyers at Expat in Croatia made an official request to MUP asking them to offer fingerprinting as a service to US citizens who need them for their background checks. MUP responded and has given all administrative police stations in Croatia directions to offer fingerprinting as a service. Now, you can just walk in and go to the foreigners’ desk called “šalter za strance”.

So far, we can confirm that Split and Zagreb have already started doing this. As we all know, every police station is different and moves at its own speed. [Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]
Our understanding is that South African citizens need fingerprints for their background checks as well. We do not know if this is only an offer for Americans or not. If you also need prints, it is worth going to your police station and asking.

FBI – government institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 3-5 business days
Fingerprints required: Yes
Costs: 18 USD
Web site

Accurate Biometrics – private institution
Application method: In person or online
Processing time: Within 24 hours
Fingerprints required: Yes
Costs: –
Web site

Biometrics4All – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Within hours
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 47 USD
Web site

IDVetting – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 2-5 business days
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 80 USD
Web site

National Background Check inc. – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 2-3 days/24 hours
Fingerprints: Yes
Costs: 50-100 USD
Web site

What to do after you obtain your background check

After you get your background check, you must prepare it for use within Croatia. This involves two steps. [Read: How to prepare your foreign documents for use in Croatia]

#1 Apostille/Legalization

All documents issued by foreign governments must be apostilled or legalized for use within Croatia. This is a method of verifying a document by the issuing government, so it can be used outside of the country.

Countries that are members of the Hague Convention are exempt from the full legalization of documents which means that an apostille of the document is enough. A full list of countries that are members of the Hague Convention is available here.

[Read: Apostille versus full legalization of government documents]

Below is a list of institutions that are in charge of the apostille and legalization of background checks in each of the 10 countries mentioned in the previous section.

For each institution, we’ve provided:

  • Name of the institution
  • Whether it is private or government
  • Application method (in person or online)
  • Processing time after the submission of the request
  • Apostille/legalization costs
  • Link to official page

**Please note that we do not endorse or recommend any of the private companies listed below. We are merely providing them for reference. It is vital that you check out any company before you send them your personal documents.**

Jump to your country at the links below:

  1. Australia (apostille)
  2. Canada (legalization)
  3. Malaysia (legalization)
  4. North Macedonia (apostille)
  5. Philippines (apostille)
  6. Russia (apostille)
  7. Serbia (apostille)
  8. South Africa (apostille)
  9. United Kingdom (apostille)
  10. United States of America (apostille)

#1 Australia

Australian Government; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – government institution
Application method: In person or via registered post
Processing time: Varies
Costs: 85 AUD
Web site

#2 Canada

Global Affairs Canada Authentication Sector – government institution
Application method: In person, by mail, or courier
Processing time: 15-20 days
Costs: None
Web site

Legalization service center – private institution
Application method: In person or by mail
Processing time: Less than 15-20 days
Costs: Not available
Web site

ALSC – private institution
Application method: Not available
Processing time: 3-10 days
Costs: 250-300 $
Web site

International Documents Canada – private institution
Application method: In person, by email
Processing time: ~15 business days
Costs: Not available
Web site

#3 Malaysia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: Not available
Costs: Not available
Web site

#4 North Macedonia

Ministry of Justice – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: Not available
Costs: Not available
Web site

Schmidt & Schmidt – private institution
Application method: Not available
Processing time: ~14 days
Costs: ~250€
Web site

#5 Philippines

Department of Foreign Affairs – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: Not available
Costs: 100 – 200 Php
Web site

#6 Russia

Ministry of Justice – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: Not available
Costs: Not available
Web site

SayBay – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 1-45 days
Costs: Not available
Web site

Apostille Today – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: ~11 days
Costs: 220 USD
Web site

#7 Serbia

Ministry of Justice – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: Not available
Costs: Not available
Web site

Osnovni sud u Beogradu – government institution
Application method: In person
Processing time: Immediately
Costs: ~500 – ~2000 RDS
Web site

#8 South Africa

DIRCO – government institution
Application method: In person or via email
Processing time: 2-3 weeks
Costs: free of charge
Web site

Easy apostille – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 5-7 working days
Costs: 550 R
Web site

MFLA – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Not available
Costs: Not available
Web site

DOC Assist – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: ~3 working days
Costs: Not available
Web site

Apostille South Africa – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 5-7 working days
Costs: Not available
Web site

#9 United Kingdom

Legalistion Office – government institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Up to 10 working days
Costs: 30 GBP + courier fees
Web site

Visa Central – private institution
Application method: Online or via email
Processing time: Not available
Costs: 53 GBP – 70 GBP
Web site

Apostille UK – private institution
Application method: Online or email
Processing time: 1-9 days
Costs: 59 GBP – 178 GBP
Web site

Apostille of The Hague – private institution
Application method: Online or via post
Processing time: 1-2 days
Costs: 54 GBP
Web site

Apostille service – private institution
Application method: Online or via post
Processing time: 1-2 days
Costs: 54 GBP
Web site

#10 United States of America

The US has two levels of an apostille.

If your document was issued by a state, then it can be apostilled by the Secretary of State in the state that issued it. This applies to marriage, death, and birth certificates.

If your document was issued by the federal government, it must be apostilled by the Department of State. This applies to FBI identity history summaries (background checks).

Below, we have provided the federal government apostille information, plus private institutions. For state government apostille, just google YOUR STATE + SECRETARY OF STATE + APOSTILLE.

Office of Authentications – government institution
Application method: Mail only
Processing time: varies
Costs: 20 USD
Web site

One Source Process – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 1-14 days
Costs: 150 USD – 695 USD
Web site

Global Apostille – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Not available
Costs: ~130 USD
Web site

US Authentication Services – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: 2-3 business days
Costs: 65 USD
Web site

International Apostille Services – private institution
Application method: Online
Processing time: Not available
Costs: Not available
Web site

#2 Official translation

Once you have the apostilled/legalized background check, it needs to be officially translated into Croatian. This can be done by any official translator within Croatia. They will translate both the apostille and the background check itself. If you need a recommendation, contact us.

You’re done!

After finishing all of these steps, you can submit your background check to the Croatian government as part of your residence application.

View other temporary residence posts

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

Sharing is Caring:

26 thoughts on “Background checks for third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA citizens)

  1. Shabi
    March 21, 2021 @ 10:49 am

    Madam, is bank statement need for applying employment work visa.

    {reply}

  2. Anthony
    March 24, 2021 @ 7:57 pm

    What is the turn-around-time for receiving a FBI Background Check back after fingerprints are received?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 25, 2021 @ 11:44 pm

      HI Anthony,

      With Covid, it’s a little less predictable. They have been estimating 3-5 weeks. You can use a private service to expedite it.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  3. Chad Pringle
    March 30, 2021 @ 11:32 am

    Great resource of information, thanks. My family and I have lived in Croatia since September of 2019 and we are now applying for our second temporary residency. I will be applying for residency by signing a work contract today with a Croatian company.

    Will I need a background check? Will my wife need one as well? And if so, does it need to be a FBI background check or one from my home state or county back in Texas?

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      April 6, 2021 @ 3:32 pm

      Hi Chad,

      thank you for your comment! Since you and your family are applying for your second temporary residency, you won’t need a background check. Background check is mandatory for third-country nationals who apply for temporary residence in Croatia for the first time.

      Regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

      • AB
        August 20, 2021 @ 2:11 pm

        Hi Marija, thanks a ton of curating all this information and for actively answering queries. Your website is a godsend tool for navigating Croatian bureaucracy.

        My spouse is a Croatian national. I applied for temporary stay in 2016 and lived in Croatia, for an year, with my family. We are visiting again for a year now in 2021. Would my temporary stay application, this year, be considered a second application or first one?

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          September 1, 2021 @ 9:11 am

          Hi AB,

          Thanks for reading! Your application would be considered your second.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  4. Steve
    April 21, 2021 @ 7:32 pm

    Where should the completed FBI background check be Apostilled? Would it be the state in which the private institution is located if using one of them? Also for how long is the completed background check valid for application submission if you have any idea? Thank you very much.

    {reply}

  5. john
    June 6, 2021 @ 7:09 am

    can people with criminal record apply for student visa/temporary residence ?

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      June 25, 2021 @ 4:27 pm

      Hi John,

      The background check must be clean.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  6. Benjamin Metzger
    June 8, 2021 @ 12:16 pm

    Do you know if the Massachusetts CORI is good for entry into Croatia? No fingerprints are required

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      July 1, 2021 @ 6:09 pm

      Hi Benjamin,

      If this is a legal background check provider in your country, then it should work!

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  7. Aniket
    June 8, 2021 @ 9:05 pm

    Hi,

    I was living in Sweden till Dec, 2020 and came back to India. Now my work permit process for Croatia has started? Do I need to get an Apsotille from Sweden as well?

    Thanks & Regards,
    Aniket Rathi

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      July 1, 2021 @ 6:23 pm

      Hi Aniket,

      You should be able to enclose only the background check from India. However, the smartest would be to reconfirm this with MUP (Croatian police). You can send them an email to [email protected].

      Hope this helps,
      Marija

      {reply}

  8. Sam
    June 13, 2021 @ 3:33 am

    Is there anything in one’s background that could lead to denial of residence visa for a spouse of Croatian citizen?

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      June 21, 2021 @ 5:13 pm

      Hi Sam,

      Background check serves as proof that a person hasn’t been convicted of criminal (felony) offenses. If your spouse is “clean”, then everything should be okay.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  9. Brownrygg
    September 6, 2021 @ 5:29 am

    Great article! Any idea what kind of background check is needed for China? Apparently there are 3 different kinds that can be obtained: 1. Issued by the Public Security Bureau and notarized by the notary public office. 2. Issued by the Public Security Bureau and notarized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 3. Issued by the Public Security Bureau and notarized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Croatian Embassy.

    Thanks for all you do!

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 10, 2021 @ 4:21 pm

      Hi Brownrygg,

      It sounds that the one from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be the most relevant one. However, it would be best to check with the Ministry if they officially legalize documents for foreign use.

      Warg regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  10. Brownrygg
    September 7, 2021 @ 3:30 am

    Hello, thank you for the helpful information.

    China can provide 3 different types of legalization for non-criminal record.

    1. From the China notary office.
    2. From the Foreign Affairs of China Ministry.
    3. From Foreign Affairs of China Ministry & the Croatian embassy in China.

    Do you all know which one they will accept? I can’t find the information anywhere on MUP.

    Thanks.

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 10, 2021 @ 4:11 pm

      Hi Brownrygg,

      It sounds that the one from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be the most relevant one. However, it would be best to check with the Ministry if they officially legalize documents for foreign use.

      Warg regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  11. Nada
    September 10, 2021 @ 6:27 pm

    In case it is of use to anyone, my boyfriend and I both needed to get the Apostille stamped US FBI background checks while we were already here in Croatia, and we were SUCCESSFUL, so here is what we did.

    We both filled out the request on the FBI website and indicated that we would send in physical fingerprints. We printed out the fingerprinting form from the FBI website and carefully read all the fingerprinting instructions several times. For the physical fingerprints, we worked with the notary Maja Peris (whose office is in Arena Centar in Novi Zagreb). Ms. Peris has you fingerprint yourself in front of her, and she verifies your identity via your passport. She will keep one copy of your fingerprints for your records, and have you keep one, so I recommend bringing at least 3 copies of the form (so you can scrap one if you make a mistake.)

    The FBI seems to be very particular that you can see all the individual ridges of the fingerprints, and that you do your best to roll from nail to nail. So my advice when you’re fingerprinting yourself is to roll on the fingerprinting pad, then give a quick shake of your hand to dry it very slightly, and then exhale and calmly, smoothly, confidently do the rolling. Don’t press too hard, because you will make a blot. I found it easier to stand to do this but my boyfriend found it easier to sit with the paper centered.

    After we got the copies, I made the mistake of sending mine through the regular post, so when my boyfriend did this, he used UPS instead.

    I fingerprinted myself on July 20, and mailed the same day. The FBI acknowledged receipt on August 13, almost a month later, (yikes!!) and sent me the electronic copy of my clean record on the same day. I submitted my request for Apostille on August 13 via the service onesourceprocess.com using the electronic copy, and they submitted to the US State Department the same day. I received the electronic copy of the Apostille on September 10, nearly a month later. In my boyfriend’s case, the documents only took UPS a few days to deliver, and the FBI acknowledged receipt about a week after we sent them. So I think the real limiting factor here is the State Department Apostille process. It looks like the least amount of time you can expect this to take is about a month, which is significant if you’re here on a 90-day tourist visa!

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 15, 2021 @ 4:52 pm

      Dear Nada,

      We are amazed by your comment! Thanks a bunch of times for sharing your experience with us and our readers. We appreciate it. I am glad that everything went smoothly.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  12. Brannon
    September 23, 2021 @ 4:40 pm

    Marija,
    We had Van Kappel Security Services take our fingerprints and submit them to the FBI. Several people indicated that sometimes the FBI will reject the fingerprint cards if not from an accredited agency (if submitting from outside the country). Also, they will not accept fingerprint scans from outside the country. Van Kappel did the fingerprints professionally, filled out all the paperwork, and sent the cards to the FBI for 95 euro per person plus FedEx. The downside is that they are in Huizen, Netherlands – upside, we had a great weekend in Amsterdam!
    https://www.vkss.nl/vingerafdrukservice/
    Ilse indicated she will come to Croatia, but you’d have to cover her expenses. But, if there are a group that could do this all at the same time, you’d save money.

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 23, 2021 @ 5:07 pm

      Hi Brannon,

      Thanks for sharing this information with us and our readers, we really appreciate it! 🙂 Yes, fingerprints must be taken by a legal company. However, fingerprints can now be taken in Croatian MUP police stations as well which is excellent news. We’ve updated our article with the latest information, check out.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

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