How EU/EEA citizens can transition from Croatian temporary to long-term residence: Guide for 2024

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Komiža city on the island of Vis

PUBLISHED: 22.5.2023.

EU/EEA citizens can apply for long-term residence after 5 years of continuous temporary residence in Croatia. Some can apply even before under more favorable conditions.

The term “EU/EEA citizens” refers to citizens of the Europski gospodarski prostor – EGP (European Economic Area – EEA) and Swiss Confederation. The EEA includes the whole of the EU, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

As an EU/EEA citizen, you can apply for Croatian temporary residence on five different bases. Once granted, the government will issue you a residence card for up to 10 years.

Due to this, most likely, you will have to apply for a temporary stay only once before applying for a long-term one. Whatever your case is, you must not break your temporary stay – it must be continuous to qualify for a long-term stay.

EU/EEA citizens who are considering to apply for long-term residence in Croatia should examine this guide. A guide for third-country (non-EU/EEA) citizens is available here.

If you are getting close to fulfilling the requirements for long-term residence, you are in the right place.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to transition from temporary to long-term residence in Croatia as an EU/EEA citizen

Benefits for EU/EEA citizens with Croatian long-term residence

If you are not sure what perks Croatian long-term residency brings, we assure you it makes your life in Croatia much easier.

As a long-term resident, you:

  • Do not have to apply for Croatian residence ever again
  • Can live in Croatia long term
  • Can travel outside of Croatia for longer periods without losing residence – read about traveling restrictions here
  • Are step closer to qualifying for Croatian citizenship – view our citizenship guide here
  • Can get certain additional benefits

[Read: Rights of permanent residents in Croatia]

In addition, a residence card for long-term stay is issued for a period of 10 years. After that, you only need to renew the ID card.

When can EU/EEA citizens transit to long-term stay in Croatia?

You qualify to apply for long-term residence after 5 years of continued temporary residence, which is counted beginning with the start date of your first temporary residence permit (boravišna iskaznica) – not the date when you arrived in Croatia.

However, there are several exceptions when EU/EEA citizens have the right to apply for long-term residence in Croatia under different conditions. You can view these scenarios in this post.

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What is the difference between long-term and permanent residence?

According to the Croatian law, EU/EEA citizens can get a long-term residence in Croatia, not a permanent residence. Only spouses of Croatians and certain other groups can be granted Croatian permanent residence.

Visiting MUP before applying for long-term residence in Croatia

As your five-year period of temporary residence ends, prepare to visit MUP. Although you can’t apply for long-term residence before your temporary permit expires, we highly recommend (re)connecting with MUP.

When it comes to temporary residence, you must visit MUP two months before the expiry date of your current residence. Then you apply for a new temporary residence. However, you can apply for long-term residence the day AFTER your temporary permit expires.

Regardless of this restriction, asking MUP about the latest requirements is wise. Visit them at least two months before you apply for long-term residence. You can never know if some important law amendments have lately changed.

Although it should be easier to collect documents for EU/EEA citizens than for third-country citizens, it still takes time. In addition, some requirements may change depending on your personal case, so it is clever NOT TO WAIT until the last minute.

What does the long-term stay application process look like in Croatia?

MUP will give you a personal case worker when applying for long-term residency. You will probably meet them in the MUP office. So, this time you won’t cooperate with the foreigners’ desk called šalter za strance, which was the case when applying for temporary residence.

Working with a case worker has many perks compared to working with a random staff at the foreigners’ desk. Since you work with one specific person, they will have the opportunity to get you to know better and examine your application in detail. In addition, you can contact them directly at their personal phone number if you need anything else.

Remember, there is a big chance your case worker does not speak English. If so, you can ask someone to accompany you at MUP as translation support.

The safest thing is to get a lawyer representing you at the police to avoid miscommunication. If you’d like to hire an expat-vetted lawyer, contact us, and we will connect you with one from our personal lawyer’s network.

How can EU/EEA citizens transit from Croatian temporary to long-term stay

The key factor for granting long-term residence in Croatia is to be kind and patient. Croatian bureaucracy is complicated and heavy, and the application process may take a while. Have some understanding, and it will pay off.

[Read: The most important lesson you need to learn about living in Croatia]

Follow the guidelines below for a successful transition from temporary to long-term residence.

#1 Examine the process

A good starting point is to get familiar with the process of applying for long-term residence. We have a detailed guide written specifically for citizens of EU/EEA member states available here. Read it carefully to be sure you understand the basics.

#2 Inform at the police

Our recommendation is to visit MUP two months before your current temporary residence permit expires. Tell them you need a list of requirements for long-term residence application. Read about the visit to the police here.

[Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]

#3 Collect the documentation

It may take some time until you collect the required documentation. You can view a list of documents required to apply for long-term residence in this post.

#4 Apply for residence

You can apply for long-term residence one day after your temporary residence expires. Bring the documents required for applying for permanent. Your caseworker will most probably review your application immediately. If all works, your permanent residence will be granted.

If you hire a lawyer, they will ensure the process is efficient and eliminate misunderstandings. In addition, they can translate your conversation at MUP. If you want to connect with a vetted lawyer, contact us.

#5 Get the solution

If your long-term residency application is approved, the Croatian government will issue you an official decision on a long-term residency. It states you have been granted stalni boravak (long-term stay).

You must pay administrative fees, make a signature, give fingerprints, and order a new residence ID card. All possible administrative costs for this procedure are available here.

[Read: Residence Permit Process: Getting your national ID card]

#6 Celebrate!

If you haven’t cried yet, now is the time! Congrats, now you can live in Croatia FOREVER! 🙂

What to do after granting long-term residence in Croatia?

After being granted long-term residence in Croatia as an EU/EEA citizen, you must change the status of your mandatory obvezno health insurance. This generally means you must sign up on another basis. You have the same rights to health insurance as Croatian citizens, and they must know you are now a long-term resident.

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

Everyone who does not change their status will receive a Rješenje from HZZO. It is an official statement saying they signed you off from obvezno and that you must change your status.

However, you don’t have to change the status if you have health insurance through your job.

[Read: How to find a job in Croatia]

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View our other EU/EEA residence articles

Zakon o državljanima država članica Europskog gospodarskog prostora i članovima njihovih obitelji
Boravak i rad državljana država članica EGP-a i članova njihovih obitelji by MUP
Pravilnik o ulasku i boravku u Republici Hrvatskoj državljana država članica Europskog gospodarskog prostora i članova njihovih obitelji
Boravišna iskaznica by MUP

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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