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How EU/EEA citizens can get temporary residence in Croatia: Guide for 2023

This post has been verified with an immigration lawyer and the ministry handling immigration.

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UPDATED: 28/09/2022

Since Croatia is an EU member nation, EU/EEA citizens are entitled to live and work within Croatia. This gives them the right to apply for legal temporary residence.

For the purposes of this post, when we say “EU/EEA citizens”, 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, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

If you are a British citizen, hop over to this post written just for you.

In this post, we will cover:

The facts are these…

How EU/EEA citizens can apply for temporary residence in Croatia

Types of temporary residence for EU/EEA citizens in Croatia

For EU/EEA citizens, there are two types of temporary residence in Croatia:

  • Kratkotrajni boravak (short-term residence) – for up to 90 days
  • Privremeni boravak (temporary residence) – for longer than 90 days

Short-term residence for EU/EEA citizens (tourist visa)

If you are a national of an EU/EEA country member, you have the right to stay in Croatia for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days as long as you are not a burden to the Croatian welfare system. 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.

It is important to note that you will need to present your passport or national ID card, another public document with your photo, or boravišna iskaznica (residence card) if a police officer requests it. If you cannot produce it, you may be fined.

EU/EEA nationals who stay up to 90 days in Croatia do not have to register their short-term stay at the police. However, their landlords (tourist accommodation facilities) must register their tourist addresses.

[Read: How tourists are registered with the police]

Temporary residence for EU/EEA citizens

Any residence longer than 90 days requires a residence permit. If you are a national of any EU/EEA country, you can get a temporary residence based on:

  • Work purposes (worker, self-employment, referred worker)
  • Studying or vocational training purposes
  • Family reunification purposes
  • Life partnership purposes
  • Other purposes

As long as you provide the required information, and you have financial means and health insurance for yourself and your family members, you can be approved for legal residence for up to 10 years.

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

Once approved for residence, you will be issued a registration certificate and eventually boravišna iskaznica (residence card) at your request.

EU/EEA citizens do not have the right to apply for temporary residence if:

  • They are a threat to public order or national security of the Republic of Croatia
  • They have a ban on entry and residence in the Republic of Croatia

How EU/EEA citizens can apply for temporary residence in Croatia

Step #1 Contact the police station

You can apply for temporary residence at the administrative police station closest to your place of residence. The police station is called Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova or MUP for short. This is the ministry that handles immigration.

[Read: All the Croatian government ministries and what they do]

Here is a full list of the administrative police stations that handle immigration. At this police station, there will be a service desk specifically for foreigners called Šalter za strance. Some police stations may require that you make an appointment in advance or submit your application over email.

Once you make first contact with the police, tell them that you want to apply for temporary residence based on your EU/EEA nationality. They will provide you with the latest list of requirements.

Step #2 Prepare your application

The requirements can vary a little depending on your situation. Below is a list of the requirements for everybody, as well as those that are specific to a particular situation.

Mandatory requirements for all EU/EEA citizens:

  • Completed application form called Obrazac 1b – provided by the police, but you can also download it here
  • Copy of valid identity card or passport – if a passport is not in English, then you must have a copy officially translated into Croatian
  • Registered address in Croatia
  • 30 x 35mm passport photo – if you’d like to get a residence card

Additional requirements depending on your situation:

1. Work purposes

  • Proof of employment (if you are working for a Croatian company or were sent to Croatia to work by a company within the EU/EEA)
    • Employment contract
    • Certificate of employment from an employer
  • Proof that you are a self-employed person
    • Excerpt from the trade register
    • Excerpt from the court register
  • Proof that you are a posted worker called Potvrda A1 (A1 certificate) – workers from Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Denmark, or the Swiss Confederation can submit salary receipts instead of Potvrda A1

2. Studying or vocational training purposes

  • Proof of studying or vocational training
    • Proof of study
    • Proof of vocational training
    • Proof of student exchange
    • Proof of youth mobility program
    • Proof of student practice in Croatia
  • Proof of valid health care
  • Statement of funds showing that you have enough money to support yourself and your family

3. Family reunification purposes

  • Proof that you are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen – apostilled/legalized and officially translated if issued by a foreign government
    • Birth certificate
    • Decision of adoption
    • Marriage certificate, not older than 6 months
  • Proof that you are dependent on a family member of an EU/EEA citizen due to your financial/social status or health condition

4. Life partnership

  • Proof of valid health care
  • Proof that you are a life partner or informal life partner of an EU/EEA citizen, such as a Certificate of free marital status, not older than 6 months

5. Other purposes

  • Proof of valid health care
  • Statement of funds showing that you have enough money to support yourself and your family

Now, I’ll go over a few of these requirements in greater detail.

Registered address

Everyone in Croatia must have an address that is registered with the police. To register their address, EU/EEA citizens can provide one of the following:

  • Certificate of ownership
  • Purchase contract
  • Notarized rental contract
  • Landlord statement submitted through e-Građani

[Read: e-Građani (e-Citizens) – Online portal for Croatian government services]

If your rental contract is not notarized, the owner will need to give their consent at MUP by signing the application form.

If your landlord statement is not notarized, then the owner will need to provide you with a confirmation from the tax office that the contract has been registered with them.

You can learn more about registering your Croatian address here.

Statement of funds

As an EU/EEA national, you are not required to be employed within Croatia. You may only need to show that you have enough funds to support yourself.

As proof, you may provide:

  • Pension statement
  • Bank account statement
  • Tax statement

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, you can use a Croatian bank account or a foreign bank account in most cases. Some MUP offices will only let you show the funds on a Croatian bank account.

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 your own insurance policy.

Proof of health insurance may include:

  • European health insurance card (EHIC)
  • Croatian state health insurance from HZZO
  • Bolesnički list (proof of illness) from HZZO
  • Certificate of a foreign health insurance provider
  • Proof prescribed by an international social security agreement
  • Private health insurance

1. You have health insurance in your home country

If you are an EEA/EU citizen 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 to the police when applying for temporary residence. Usually, this is done with your EHIC card.

[Read: What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)]

You don’t have to exchange your health care for Croatian health care if you are an EU/EEA 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 healthcare in your home country. Once canceled, 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.

The cost of state health insurance changes from year to year based on average salaries, but you can always see the latest amount here. It is also recommended that you sign up for dopunsko supplement, which eliminates most out-of-pocket costs and gives you access to more meds.

[Read: What is “dopunsko” and why you should have this health insurance]

To sign up, 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
    • Certificate that states you don’t have health insurance in your EU/EEA home country
    • Proof that you were insured for the previous 12 months
    • Optional: HZZO’s application form for your family member’s health insurance (if you need it for your family member too)

When signing up for HZZO, you’ll be asked to prove that you were insured for the previous 12 months. If you were not insured for the previous 12 months, then you must pay 12 months of back pay. However, if you were insured 7 out of the 12 previous months, you’ll only need to pay 5 months of back pay.

[Read: How to sign up for state health insurance in Croatia]

Step #3 Submit your application

Contact MUP by phone or email to request an appointment. Bring all of your documents as noted above to the appointment. You’ll be provided with the application at that time that you can fill out. It is possible that they will allow you to submit the full application over email. You’ll need to check with your local station for their procedure, as it varies.

MUP will review all of your documents to confirm you’ve met the requirements. If you have, they will accept your application. If not, they will ask you for something else. Be prepared to be asked for something else, especially if it’s seemingly meaningless or redundant.

If your application was accepted, make sure you provide a Croatian phone number. This is how the police will communicate with you about your application.

And now you wait…

The time to process your application can vary depending on a variety of factors, but usually, it’s 2 weeks or less for EU/EEA citizens. It is best that you do not leave Croatia while your application is in process in case of the police contact you for more information.

Step #4 Get the registration certificate

Once approved, you’ll be notified either by a blue envelope to your address, a phone call to you, or a phone call to your lawyer (if you’re using one).

You will be issued a registration certificate called Potvrda o prijavi privremenog boravka free of charge. This is proof of your residence. DO NOT LOSE IT.

If you want, you can also get boravišna iskaznica (residence card). However, you are not obliged to obtain it.

If you want to get a boravišna iskaznica, return to the police station with your passport photos. You’ll have to pay the administrative fee of 100 kuna.

MUP will provide you with a payment slip, which you’ll need to pay at a bank or post office. Alternatively, you may pay by internet banking – view more information here. Once paid, bring proof of payment back to the police station. Here is detailed info on how to pay invoices.

A residence card is issued for up to 5 years or shorter if you plan to stay in Croatia shorter.

Step #5 Celebrate!

Hooray! You’re legal!

What’s next?

After being a temporary resident of Croatia for 5 years, you will qualify to apply for permanent residence. Make sure you start preparing for your permanent application at least 2 months before your temporary residence permit expires.

Our guide on how EU/EEA citizens can apply for permanent residency in Croatia is available here.

Here is a guide on transitioning from temporary to permanent residence.

Additional tips about applying for a Croatian Residence Permit

  • Be nice. If you get an attitude with the police, they have the discretion to make it as difficult for you as possible.
  • Do not go to the police between the hours of 11:00 and 13:00, if you can avoid it. Chances of you coming when they are at lunch or on a smoke break or grumpy because they’ve yet to have a smoke break or lunch are high. For the best results, go in the morning around 8:00 or 9:00.

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.


Sources:
Biometric residence permit by MUP
Boravak i rad državljana država članica EGP-a i članova njihovih obitelji
Stay and work of EEA nationals and their family members by MUP
Zakon o državljanima država članica Europskog gospodarskog prostora i članovima njihovih obitelji
Pravilnik o ulasku i boravku u Republici Hrvatskoj državljana država članica Europskog gospodarskog prostora i članova njihovih obitelji

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. It is important to understand that Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change and each personal case is individual and different rules may apply. 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.

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