Highly-qualified third-country (non-EU/EEA) nationals can apply for an EU Blue Card if they want to work in Croatia. In Croatian, it is called “EU plava karta”.
In Croatia, an EU Blue Card can be issued for a period of up to two years. If you are a holder of an EU Blue Card for a continuous period of at least 5 years, you can apply for permanent residence in Croatia.
In this post, we cover:
- What is an EU Blue Card
- Work on the basis of EU Blue Card
- How to get EU Blue Card in Croatia
- Validity period and extension
- Cancellation of EU Blue Card
- What if you have an EU Blue Card from another EU Member State
- How to get help with your transition to Croatia
The facts are these…
An EU Blue Card is a type of work and stay permit for highly-qualified workers who are also third-country (non-EU/EEA) nationals (e.g. non-EU citizens). It allows them to perform jobs in Croatia for which it was issued for employers with whom the employment was established. It is a permit for both temporary residence and work.
The purpose of the EU Blue Card is to facilitate admission of highly-qualified non-EU citizens into the EU Member States. It also simplifies the procedures and improves the legal status of the non-EU citizens who are already in the European Union.
The EU Blue Card allows its owner to enter, stay, and re-enter where this permit was issued. They can be accompanied by their family members and all of them have the freedom to move within the EU.
A work and stay permit of third-country nationals who are highly-qualified workers is defined by the Pravilnik o boravku i radu visokokvalificiranih državljana trećih država u Republici Hrvatskoj (Rulebook on the residence and work of highly qualified third-country nationals in the Republic of Croatia). It is available here.
An EU Blue Card can be issued without the performance of the labor market test. This means that to get an EU Blue Card, it is not required to apply for the labor market test at HZZ (Croatian Employment Service).
Third-country citizens who are granted an EU Blue Card can only do work for which the card has been issued. Also, they can work only for the employer for which the card has been issued and with whom they have established an employment relationship.
If the employment contract terminates or you no longer meet other requirements for holding the EU Blue Card, you or your employer must notify MUP. This has to be done within 8 days from the day of the change.
Change of employer
If you change employers within the first 2 years of your temporary stay in Croatia, you must notify MUP and submit a request for a new EU Blue Card. This has to be done within 8 days from the day of termination of employment with your first Croatian employer.
If you change the employer after 2 years, you must notify MUP within 8 days from the day of changing the employer. You also have to provide them with your new employment contract. In this case, your EU Blue Card is valid until its expiry date.
The EU Blue Card is intended for third-country nationals who are highly-qualified workers. If you belong to this category, the following instructions are for you.
#1 Collect documents
The first step is to collect the documentation that you must provide with your application.
The standard requirements are:
- Completed application form Obrazac 4a – provided by MUP (view it here)
- Valid passport
- Criminal background check + certificate of the length of stay in a foreign country
- Proof of the purpose of your temporary stay in Croatia
- Proof of financial means
- Employment contract for performing highly qualified work for Croatian employer under their supervision for a period of at least one year concluded with:
- Proof of higher education issued by an institution recognized in the home country
- Other proof of formal qualification
- Proof of meeting the conditions in accordance with special regulations on professional qualification when performing the regulated profession specified in the employment contract
You also have to meet the minimum salary threshold defined by Croatia. One of the items of the employment contract must be data on bruto annual salary. The amount of the salary must be at least 1,5 times the official data on average bruto annual salary in Croatia.
[Read: Minimum wage salaries in Croatia]
Croatian police will provide proof of registration of the company from the employer or a third-country citizen.
#2 Submit application
After the required documentation is collected, the request for the issuance of the EU Blue Card can be submitted. The request can be submitted by yourself personally or your Croatian employer.
You may submit the request at:
- Croatian embassy or consular office abroad – You can find them here
- MUP police administration office according to the address of your Croatian residency – You can find them here
If your employer is going to submit the request, they should go to the MUP police administration office according to the headquarters of their company or your place of work.
#3 Get EU Blue Card
Now you should wait until MUP notifies you about the positive result of your application.
MUP can deny the issuance of the EU Blue Card if:
- You don’t meet the requirements
- You violate the provisions of the Law on foreigners
- Your employer violates labor regulations
[Read: Your right as a worker]
#4 Request biometric residence card
After you are granted an EU Blue Card, you must visit the police station according to the address of your residence and request a biometric residence card. It is called “biometrijska boravišna iskaznica” in Croatian.
To get a residence card, you’ll need to bring:
- 35×45 mm passport photo
- Valid foreign travel document/passport
- Proof of payment of the fees
If you are applying at MUP, the administrative fees are the following:
- Administrative fee for issuing an EU Blue Card – 560 kuna
- Preparation of the biometric residence card – 240 kuna
- Administrative fee for issuing a biometric residence card – 70 kuna
MUP will give you a bill called “uplatnica” that you can pay at the bank, postal office, or FINA. After you pay the fees, you will have to bring them proof of payment.
[Read: How to pay bills in Croatia]
It is also possible to pay the fees online. Instructions are available here.
If you need professional guidance during the application process, contact us. We can connect you with a vetted Croatian immigration lawyer.
In Croatia, an EU Blue Card can be issued for a period of up to two years. If your employment contract is issued for a period shorter than 2 years, the validity period of your EU Blue Card will be issued for the duration of your employment contract increased by an additional three months. However, the employment contract must be issued for a period of at least one year.
If you’d like to extend your existing EU Blue Card, you have to submit a request for an extension. This can be done at the MUP police administrative office according to the place of your temporary address (boravište). It has to be done at least 30 days before the expiry date of your valid EU Blue Card.
If you have submitted a request for an extension of the EU Blue Card before it has expired, you can stay in Croatia until you get a decision on the request.
If you are unemployed for less than 3 months during the validity of your EU Blue Card, your Blue Card will be unaffected.
Your EU Blue Card will be terminated if:
- You didn’t notify MUP about a change of employer
- You work for an employer for which your card is not granted
- You perform activities for which your card is not granted
- You perform activities for which you couldn’t obtain the card
- You have no means of subsistence and you have applied for social assistance
- Conditions on which you granted the card have expired
- You have been continuously unemployed for more than 3 months during the validity of your card
- You were unemployed two or more times during the validity of your card
- You are a danger to public order, national security, or public health
- You are banned from entering or staying in Croatia and staying in Croatia or SIS has issued a warning for your ban on entry or stay
For these reasons of cancellation, you can’t appeal, but you can initiate an administrative dispute.
If you are already a holder of an EU Blue Card of another EU Member State (not Croatia), you can move to Croatia 18 months from the day of the issuance of your card.
After your arrival to Croatia, you must submit a request for a Croatian EU Blue Card according to your temporary address (boravište). The request must be submitted no later than a month after your move to Croatia.
Croatia will allow a stay for you and your family even if another EU Member State has denied issuing their EU Blue Card to you or they have forced you to leave the state. It doesn’t matter whether the validity period of your card has expired or not.
We crafted this post to be as detailed as possible, but sometimes questions still arise because everyone’s situation is different. If you’d like personalized guidance based on your situation, we can help.
Save yourself the time and uncertainty of trying to navigate the ever-changing rules for living in Croatia by scheduling a private chat with me, Sara Dyson, the creator of Expat in Croatia.
I’ve lived in Croatia since 2012 (before the country entered the EU), opened and operated 2 companies, applied for 5 residence permits as a non-EU citizen, and written about Croatia and its bureaucracy extensively since 2013. I am well-versed in what it takes to make Croatia your home, which obstacles to look out for, and how to make as seamless a transition as possible.
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Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.