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

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This post has been verified with an immigration lawyer and the ministry handling immigration.
Fashionable Croatian woman walking in Zagreb
The city of Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 23.8.2023.

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 citizens of the Europski gospodarski prostor – EGP (European Economic Area – EEA) and citizens of the Swiss Confederation. The EEA includes citizens 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 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 citizen 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 citizenship.

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 citizens 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 citizen 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 no later than 8 days following the expiration of your stay. If you don’t register within this period, you may be charged a fine.

Once approved for residence, you will be issued a registration certificate and eventually boravišna iskaznica 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 citizenship. 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; you can download it here
  • Copy of valid identity card or passport – if a passport is not in English, you must have a copy officially translated into Croatian
  • Registered address in Croatia – view a guide here
  • 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

[Read: How to apply for temporary residence in Croatia based on family reunification]

#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

[Read: How to obtain a life partnership for same-sex couples in Croatia]

#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. You can learn more about registering your Croatian address here.

Statement of funds

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

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.

Here is a guide on showing proof of financial means that includes the current minimums for what you need to show you have to support yourself, depending on your situation.

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) – view a guide here
  • Croatian state health insurance from HZZO – view a guide here
  • 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 – view a guide here

#1 You have health insurance in your home country

If you are an EEA/EU citizen with 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 citizen, 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.

[Read: How to get travel insurance in Croatia (putno), which you can use to apply for residence]

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. View our guide on dopunsko here.

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 EU/EEA citizens (and Croats) can sign up for Croatian state health insurance]

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 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 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. All possible administrative costs for this procedure are available here.

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 becoming a Croatian temporary resident?

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

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

Here is a guide on transitioning from temporary to long-term residence for EU/EEA citizens.

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 Croatian 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 the 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.

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: 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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