How EU/EEA citizens can apply for long-term residency in Croatia: Guide for 2024

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UPDATED: 12.10.2023. Citizens of EU/EEA Member States have the right to Croatian residence. Once they continuously have temporary residence in Croatia for five years, they can apply for long-term residence. While EU/EEA citizens have exactly the same rights as Croatian citizens according to the European Union treaties, some perks still come with long-term residence. To better understand the rights that come with long-term residence, read this post. In this post, we cover: The facts are these…

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How EU/EEA citizens can apply for long-term residency in Croatia

Who qualifies to apply for long-term residence in Croatia

EU/EEA citizens who qualify for long-term Croatian residence

EU/EEA citizens have the right to apply for long-term residence after five years of continuous legal temporary residence in the Republic of Croatia. [Read: How EU citizens can get temporary residence in Croatia] Cases that do not break continuous residence are:
  • Absence of up to six months a year
  • Continuous absence of up to six months due to justified reasons such as:
    • Pregnancy
    • Childbirth
    • Serious illness
    • Study
    • Vocational training
    • Referral to work in another country
  • Absence due to military service

Exceptions for EU/EEA citizens applying for Croatian long-term residence

There are some exceptions when EU/EEA citizens have the right to apply for long-term residence in Croatia under different conditions. Possible scenarios are:
  • Child who lives in Croatia whose parent has been granted long-term residence at the time of the child’s birth, with the consent of the other parent
  • Child who lives in Croatia whose parent has been granted long-term residence in Croatia at the time of the child’s birth, and the other parent is unknown, died, was declared dead, deprived of parental care, or deprived of legal capacity in relation to parental care
  • Worker or self-employed person who has ceased to work and who has the conditions for an old-age pension in Croatia or is retired early, has been employed in Croatia for at least the previous 12 months, and has resided in Croatia for more than three years
  • Worker or self-employed person who has ceased to work in Croatia due to long-term incapacity for work and has resided continuously in Croatia for more than two years
  • Worker or self-employed person who has ceased to work in Croatia due to long-term incapacity for work resulting from an injury at work or an occupational disease, based on which they obtained a full or partial disability pension in Croatia, regardless of the length of stay in Croatia
  • Worker or self-employed person employed in another EU/EEA Member State after three years of continuous employment and residence in Croatia, retains residence in Croatia, and returns to Croatia every day or at least once a week
[Read: Types of businesses in Croatia] The continuity of residence can be proved by any document accepted in Croatia’s administrative proceedings. The continuity ends with an executive decision on expulsion.

How EU/EEA citizens can apply for long-term residence in Croatia

Step #1 Contact MUP

To apply for long-term residence, you must visit the MUP administration office according to the address of your Croatian residence. Our advice is to call them before the visit. Each MUP administrative office may have different rules and working hours. Some may require an appointment, and others may even allow applying for long-term residence via email. If you call them and ask for a service desk for foreigners called šalter za strance, they will give you the latest information on what to do. [Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]

Step #2 Collect documents

The most important thing to do is to prepare your application for Croatian long-term residence according to the requirements. You must enclose:
  • Filled in application form Obrazac 3b – view it here
  • Copy of an ID card or a passport (for EU/EEA citizens)
In addition, you will have to show your original ID card or passport to the MUP administrative worker. After inspecting the original, they will certify their copies. If you need help during the process, contact us, and we will connect you to a vetted immigration lawyer. Learn more about our lawyer’s network all across Croatia here. We can also hook you up with our professional assistant if you fill out this form, who can accompany you to the police and translate on your behalf.

Step #3 Apply for residence

After you are done with the preparation, visit the MUP administrative office according to the place of your Croatian temporary residence. View a list of MUP administrative stations here. Submit your application to the police through the foreigner’s desk. They will let you know if you need to enclose additional documents. From now on, your only job is to wait for their answer PATIENTLY.

Step #4 Get a residence card

Once granted long-term residence in Croatia, you’ll need a new residence card called boravišna iskaznica. To get it, visit the same MUP administrative office where you applied for residence. They will provide you with an official decision on your long-term residence, and then you can submit a request for the residence card. You must enclose:
  • Filled in application form Obrazac 5b
  • 30×35 mm color photography
Show your ID card or passport to the MUP administrative worker, and they will confirm your identity. You’ll also need to provide your signature and fingerprints. All possible administrative costs for this procedure are available here. Costs can be paid via a payment slip that MUP will provide or via internet banking. A payment slip can be paid at FINA, Hrvatska pošta, or Croatian bank. Payment information is available here. [Read: How to pay bills in Croatia] After you submit the request, MUP will give you a confirmation of a temporary residence permit (usually, a white card). Once your residence card is ready, you must pick it up in person at MUP in exchange for the white card. EU/EEA citizens get a residence card with a validity period of 10 years as proof of their long-term residence in Croatia.

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Step #5 Enjoy Croatia

Hooray! After several years of temporary residence in Croatia, you are finally granted long-term residence. You can now be gone from Croatia for more extended periods and no longer have to apply for residence. It’s only a matter of keeping up to date on your card’s validity. [Read: Restrictions on travel while you have legal residence in Croatia]

When can your Croatian long-term residence terminate?

There are only a few cases when a long-term residence of EU/EEA citizens will terminate. Long-term residence terminates if:
  • Person is forbidden to enter and stay in Croatia
  • Person resided outside of Croatia for more than 2 years continuously
  • Person cancels their long-term stay in Croatia
The decision on the termination of long-term residence is issued by the Ministry through the competent police administration/MUP station.

View our other EU/EEA residence articles


Sources: Residence and work of citizens of EEA member states and their family members Law on citizens of member states of the European Economic Area and their family members Rules on Entry and Stay in Croatia for citizens of European Economic Area Member States and members of their families Residence card

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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