How to be a blood donor in Croatia

Who can be a blood donor

Every person with good general health and is a Croatian citizen can be a blood donor:

  • Age: From 18 to 65 years, up to 60 years of age if blood is given for the first time
  • Body weight: above 55 kg, proportional height.
  • Body temperature: up to 37 ° C.
  • Blood pressure: systolic 100 to 180 mm Hg, diastolic 60 to 110 mm Hg.
  • Pulse: 50 to 100 beats per minute.
  • Hemoglobin: Men 135 g / L, Women 125 g / L.
  • In Croatia, male blood donors can give blood up to four times a year, with a gap of three months between donations. Female blood donors are allowed to give blood up to 3 times a year, with a four-month gap between donations.

Who is not allowed to donate blood

  • About 10% of the donors are refused during the examination. They can be temporarily or permanently denied. The reason for rejection is always the risk of taking blood for the donor’s health or the risk of blood products for the patient’s health.
  • Blood donors shouldn’t be people who could damage their own health or their blood could endanger the health of the patient.
  • Blood donors shouldn’t be people:
    • Who have less than 50 kg
    • Who have symptoms of colds or just do not feel good
    • View the full list of diseases that disqualify someone from blood donation
    • Who have changes in the skin (infections, rash, fungal diseases,…)
    • Who have too high or too low blood pressure
    • Who are under therapy or have been under at least 7 days of antibiotic therapy
    • Who are in the regular monthly cycle (for women)
    • Who had removed teeth or had minor dental surgeries in previous 7 days
    • Who had their skin pierced or tattooed in the last 6 months
    • Who have recently arrived in Croatia
  • The rejected donors will receive an explanation of reasons for not being able to give blood.

How to donate blood

Providing blood is a simple procedure. Your health is important for this and therefore every blood donation involves checking your health status.

  • Blood Iron Check – fast method, from the droplet of blood obtained with a slight sting in the finger pad.
  • A short talk with a doctor – checking your current and former health status.
  • Medical examination – includes blood pressure check and heart rate check.
  • The blood donor is comfortably placed on the blood donor bed. An experienced healthcare technician selects a vein in an elbow pad and brings a needle into the vein.
  • The needle is linked to a plastic bag where blood is stored. Blood donation only lasts from 8 to 12 minutes.
  • The donor after the donation has to take a short break with a refreshing and light meal.
  • Overall, donating blood can take about 30 minutes of your time.

Where and when can you donate blood

  • You can donate blood every day at organized blood donation drives as well as in some transfusion centers.
  • Regular blood donation drives are carried out in all major work organizations and local communities.
  • The time and venue of the action are announced through public media (newspapers, radio, TV) and the place of the donations is marked with posters.
  • You can get information about blood donation in other transfusion centers directly at each center.
  • Here is a schedule of current blood drives.

Identification of the blood donor

Before you start the blood donation process, you are asked your osobna iskanica and the following information:

  • Name and surname
  • Birth place
  • OIB
  • Address of residence
  • Place of employment
  • The phone number at home and at work
  • The blood donor book and the number of blood donations you have given.

Rights and benefits

  • Voluntary blood donors in Croatia have the right to a paid leave (1 free day) from work
  • Voluntary blood donors who are insured by HZZO and are men who donated blood more than 35 times or women who donated blood more than 25 times, the supplementary health insurance premium is paid by HZZO
  • Once you reach the threshold of 25 blood donations for women or 35 for men, you can take your blood donation booklet to the HZZO offices and request your free supplementary health insurance. You can do this every year and get free supplementary health insurance for the rest of your life.
  • Regular voluntary blood donors in the city of Zagreb have the right to a free annual public transportation ticket. To qualify, men must have donated blood 30 and more times and women 20 times or more.
    • This right is exercised in the City Office for Health (Draškovićeva 15). You’ll need the following documentation:
      • Certificate from the Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine (Petrova 3) on the number of donations
      • If you are employed – Confirmation from your employer confirming that they do not pay for the transport
      • If you are unemployed – Certificate from the Croatian Employment Service
      • If you are retired – Pension Solution or Notification of Receipt of Documentation at the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute)
      • Personal ID copy (both sides)
    • The above documentation is enclosed with the completed ‘Request for Exercise Rights‘.

Foreign citizens cannot currently donate blood within Croatia.

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.

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8 thoughts on “How to be a blood donor in Croatia

  1. Jonah
    September 6, 2018 @ 7:06 am

    I would love to donate blood here. However being British and being in the UK during the mad cow phase, they will not except my blood at all. I spoke to a friend, who is a Doctor here, to see if there was a test I could take to prove I was ok.
    His reply was “There is a test, but it involves taking slices of brain whilst you are on the autopsy table”. Armed with this information I have decided to opt out of this test. Shame.


    • Expat in Croatia
      September 18, 2018 @ 2:58 pm

      Hi Jonah,

      Yeahhhhhh, maybe don’t let them slice open your brain. It is unfortunate that mad cow disease eliminates an entire region of possible donors, but c’est la vie.




  2. Mikael Buzare
    September 6, 2018 @ 9:51 am


    It seems that your article is not valid anymore or never was.
    I’m French and freshly settled in Zagreb. As regulate blood donator I’ve contact the HZTM and got the following reply:
    Unfortunately, only Croatian citizen can donates in Croatia. A new law is underway but for now it is like it is.
    I’ve then contact the HCK ( Croatian Red Cross) and I’m waiting for their feedback.



    • Expat in Croatia
      September 18, 2018 @ 2:57 pm

      Hi Mikael,

      Thank you for the comment. Croatian citizens and long-term residents can donate blood. The last paragraph touches on this, but I admit, it is vaguely worded so I’ve updated the post to be crystal clear on this front. If you have only freshly settled in Zagreb, then you’ll need to wait a few years before you can try again.

      Thank you for being an attempted blood donor!




      • Rico Peeters
        October 20, 2020 @ 7:26 pm

        We have the same experience here in Sv Filip i Jakov. We have a temp residence card and wanted to donate but got refused because we were no citizens.
        We have passport from Hungary and the Netherlands.


        • Expat in Croatia
          October 21, 2020 @ 7:17 am

          Hi Rico,

          Yep, sadly only citizens can donate blood. It is such a shame.




  3. ioana
    November 20, 2018 @ 6:39 pm

    hello, is there a special reason that maybe people need to know if the blood donor has or have ever been medicated for a mental condition. or if stress levels are too high to induce changes in the blood quality? And how long does this take to return to normal?


    • Expat in Croatia
      December 11, 2018 @ 12:45 pm

      Hi Ioana,

      I do not know the reasons. I recommend speaking with your general doctor to clarify.




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