How EU nationals can get temporary residence in Croatia

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Since Croatia is an EU member nation, EU nationals are entitled to live and work within Croatia and therefore can apply for legal temporary residence.

For the purposes of this post, when we say “EU Nationals”, we are referring to nationals of the Europski gospodarski prostor – EGP (European Economic Area – EEA) and nationals of the Swiss Confederation. The EEA includes nationals of the European Union and of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein.

If you’re a UK national, hop over to this post written just for you.

For EU Nationals, there are two types of residence:

  • Kratkotrajni boravak (Short-term residence)
  • Privremeni boravak (Temporary residence)

How to apply for temporary residence as an EU national

Image by Mateusz Kamiński

Short-term residence e.g. travel visa

If you are a national of an EEA country member, you have the right to stay in Croatia for up to 90 days without registering with the police or the need for an official residence permit. This period starts from the date you arrive in Croatia.

In this case, you must possess a passport or identity card issued by your country of nationality. The good news is that you don’t have to register your short-term residence. Having a passport or an identity card will be enough. However it is important to note that you will need to present your passport or national ID card if a police offer requests it. If you cannot produce it, you may be fined 200 kn.

Temporary residence

Any residence longer than 90 days requires a temporary residence permit. If you are a national of any EU national, you can get a temporary residence for:

  1. Work purposes
  2. Studying or vocational training purposes
  3. Just because

If you plan to stay in Croatia for more than 90 days, you must apply for temporary residence within 8 days of the expiration of the short-term residence period. If you don’t register within the 8-day period, you may be charged a fine in the amount of 200 kn.

You can apply for temporary residence at the administrative police station closest to your place of residence. It’s important to note that of everyone who comes to Croatia to live, you will have a strong advantage.

Below we list all the documentation needed when applying for temporary residence according to the reason for your stay.

1. Temporary residence for work purposes

The documentation needed to apply for temporary residence on the basis of work includes:

2. Temporary residence for the purpose of study or vocational training

The documentation needed to apply for the temporary residence on the basis of study is:

3. Temporary residence  “just because”

I say that you can apply for temporary residence “just because” as technically EU nationals do not need a reason like work, study or family reunification to live and work in Croatia, since Croatia is a member nation. As long as you provide the required information, you can gain residence.

The documentation needed to apply for the temporary residence is:

Image by Barry McGee

Statement of funds

As an EU national, you are not required to be employed within Croatia. You only need to show that you have enough funds to support yourself. There are two options for how to cover this requirement:

  • Show (3) payment stubs from your employer in Croatia (if applicable)
  • Show that you have enough money in a Croatian bank account to support you and whomever is with you for (1) year

Here are the current minimums for what you need to show you have to support yourself depending on your situation.

If showing funds on a bank account, request a statement from the bank to show the balance once it is deposited. Tell the bank that the statement will be provided to MUP. You only need to keep this money on your bank account for the duration of your application process. After which, you can move it back to where it came from, if you so choose.

For more information on setting up a Croatian bank account, read this post.

Proof of valid health care

You are required to have health insurance to gain residence in Croatia. If you are employed by a Croatian employer, then they will pay for your healthcare. If you are financially independent, or your income comes from abroad, then you will need to have an insurance policy.

There are two situations that Croatia will accept for your health care requirement IF you are not employed by a Croatian company.

  • You have state health insurance in your home country
  • You have state health insurance in Croatia through HZZO

1. You have health insurance in your home country

If you are an EPG or EU national AND already have state health insurance from your home country, you are entitled to keep this policy. You will need to show proof of this health care in your home country to the police when applying for temporary residence. You don’t have to exchange your health care for Croatian health care if you are an EPG national, although you can if you want to.

It is important to note that you can only use your state health insurance from your home country in Croatia for urgent care. For routine health care, you must return to your home country for it to be covered.

If you decide to change your healthcare, you will need to first discontinue your health care in your home country. Once cancelled, request proof from your home country that you no longer have state health care. You’ll need to show this proof to HZZO within Croatia to sign up for a state policy here.

2. You don’t have health insurance in your home country

If you don’t have health insurance in your home country, you must apply for Croatian health insurance within 8 days of obtaining temporary residence although it is not unusual that the police will require you to sign up for a policy BEFORE approving your residency application.

If they want you to have health insurance before your application is approved, in many cases travel insurance will cover this requirement.

State health insurance will cost approximately 560 kn monthly per person. This amount changes from year to year based on average salaries. It is also recommended that you sign up for dopunsko supplement, which eliminates any out of pocket costs.

Go to the HZZO administration office nearest to your address in Croatia. You’ll need the following documents to apply for state health insurance:

  • HZZO’s application form (You will get it at HZZO’s administration office)
  • National ID or Passport
  • A certificate which states that you don’t have health insurance in your EU/EEA home country
  • Optional: HZZO’s application form for your family member’s health insurance (if you need it for your family member too)

What’s next?

Once your temporary residence is approved, the police will notify you by phone. Go into the police station where you applied and present your passport. They will have you sign some stuff, take your fingerprints, and ask you to pay the fee for your boravišna iskaznica (residence card), which costs 79,50 kn. This fee cannot be paid at the police station.

You’ll be provided a payment slip, which you’ll need to pay at a bank or post office. Once paid, bring proof of payment back to the police station. Here is detailed info on how to pay invoices.

After you submit proof of payment, they will give you a white card that serves as proof of your residency until your residence card is ready. DO NOT LOSE THIS WHITE CARD. You will need it to pick up your official ID. It takes 3 weeks for them to make your card, usually to the day.

Bring the white card back after 3 weeks and pick up your new residence card. Your temporary residence card will be valid for 5 years, after which you will qualify to apply for permanent residence.

Need help with your residency application?

While not required, we recommend that every non-Croatian speaker use a lawyer when applying for residency in Croatia. Lawyers have connections within immigration, are able to skip common roadblocks and can identify any risks with your application. In addition, it is rare that the police (who handle immigration) will speak English to applicants.

Our expat-vetted legal experts can review your situation and handle your residency application from beginning to end. This service includes:

  • Personalized consulting on your specific situation
  • Confirming latest immigration requirements for your nationality and basis
  • Assistance with putting together necessary documents
  • All communication with the police on your behalf
  • Assembly, submission and monitoring of your application
  • Answering questions and assisting you throughout the process

To consult with an immigration lawyer, please complete the form below and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.

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4 thoughts on “How EU nationals can get temporary residence in Croatia

  1. Ray
    December 3, 2019 @ 9:16 pm

    Thank you Marija, this could be of great benefit to us.


  2. Joel
    February 15, 2020 @ 11:25 am

    I’m a non EU citizen can I bring my family when I’m coming to study masters in Croatia?


    • Expat in Croatia
      February 17, 2020 @ 1:15 pm

      Hi Joel,

      With a student permit, you cannot bring your spouse and children until after 2 years.




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