How to exchange a foreign driver’s license for a Croatian one (2021)

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A foreign driver’s license can be exchanged for a Croatian driver’s license (called “vozačka dozvola”) without taking any additional driving exams, in most cases. Before you can exchange a license, you must be a legal resident of Croatia.

You may exchange your foreign license at most administrative police stations in Croatia. In Zagreb in particular, you must go to Heinzelova 98 as they do not process exchanges at their main office at Petrinjska 30.

How to exchange a foreign driver’s license for a Croatian license

What is the EGP?

There are two scenarios under which you can exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Croatian one, depending on whether or not your license is from an EGP member country.

EGP (Europski gospodarski prostor) or EEA (European Economic Area) is an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union‘s single market to non-EU member parties. EGP was founded in 1994 to create a single market that enables a free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. EEA was created to enable participation in the single market to country members of EFTA without joining the EU.

EPG includes these countries:

  • EU countries
    • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK*
  • Non-EU countries
    • Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway

*The UK will not be part of the EU after December 31, 2020. People with UK driver’s licenses are encouraged to exchange their licenses for a Croatian driver’s license by the end of the year to avoid having to take a driver’s test. You can read more about this on the UK government’s web site here.

1. You have a driver’s license from a country that is a member of the EGP

In Croatia, you may drive using a driver’s license issued by a member of the EGP until its expiration date. Exchanging the EGP driver’s license for the Croatian driver’s license isn’t mandatory. After your EGP driver’s license expires, you may extend it at any administrative police station in Croatia. If your license is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can get a new one.

If you want to exchange your EGP driver’s license for a Croatian license, go to an administrative police station and bring these documents:

  1. Proof of identity
  2. Proof of residence in Croatia
  3. Foreign driver’s license issued in a country, which is a member of the EGP
  4. Passport photo (35×45 mm)
  5. A tax stamp of 15 kn or online proof of payment
    1. Payment description: “državne upravne pristojbe”
    2. IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model HR64, poziv na broj 5002-713-[YOUR OIB]
  6. Proof of payment for the procedure
    1. 151 kn for a regular procedure
    2. 200 kn for an accelerated procedure
    3. 450 kn for an urgent procedure
    4. IBAN državnog proračuna HR1210010051863000160, model HR65, poziv na broj 7005-477-[YOUR OIB] — Here are instructions on how to make this payment.

2. You have a driver’s license from a country which is NOT a member of the EGP

If your driver’s license was issued in a foreign country that is not a member of EGP, then you may use your foreign driver’s license for a period of one year after coming to Croatia. After a year, you are required to replace your foreign license for a Croatian license.

If you drive with a foreign non-EGP license after a year, the license isn’t considered valid anymore (in Croatia). It would be the same as if you’re driving without a driver’s license at all.

If your license has been expired for more than 6 months, you cannot exchange it for a Croatian license. In this case, you must enroll in driving school and take the standard procedure to get a Croatian driver’s license. You can read all about driving school here.

To exchange your non-EGP driver’s license, go to an administrative police station and bring these documents:

  1. Proof of identity
  2. Proof of residence in Croatia
  3. Foreign driver’s license issued in a foreign country
  4. A translation of a foreign driver’s license if driving categories and a validation period isn’t clear (if more than 6 months has expired)
  5. Medical certificate stating driving capability (not older than 6 months, more on this below)
  6. Photo (35×45 mm)
  7. A tax stamp of 35 kn or online proof of payment
    1. Payment description: “državne upravne pristojbe”
    2. IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model HR64, poziv na broj 5002-713-[YOUR OIB]
  8. Proof of payment for the procedure
    1. 151 kn for a regular procedure
    2. 200 kn for an accelerated procedure
    3. 450 kn for an urgent procedure
    4. IBAN državnog proračuna HR1210010051863000160, model HR65, poziv na broj 7005-477-[YOUR OIB] — Here are instructions on how to make this payment

Other Important Information

If you are trading in your driver’s license, you must surrender your foreign license at the time of picking up your Croatian license. You cannot have both.

If the date of issue isn’t specified on your current license, you must provide confirmation from the foreign competent authority about the date of issue for every driving category. If you don’t enclose the confirmation, the first date of issue will be taken as the general date of issue.

You don’t need to provide a passport photo if you have already received a biometric passport, an e-identity card, an identity-card with OIB or an e-driver’s license in the past five years from the Republic of Croatia.

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54 thoughts on “How to exchange a foreign driver’s license for a Croatian one (2021)

  1. Anastasia Kingsley
    September 10, 2019 @ 6:37 pm

    Hi Marija,

    What a timely topic. In 2016, I transferred my US driver’s license to a Croatian one. It took me 100€ (about 740 kunas) for the process, which took a couple of months. Like you said in your article, I had to have some tests done, but no driving tests.

    Getting an appointment was tough, and it’s only available in a few places. I was given an eye test and even a psychological test (amazing)! It wasn’t too difficult, just see how a series of shapes change in sequence, I suppose they want to see if you can pick up on subtle changes. I needed to get some paperwork translated and solemnified by a court translator, new photos were taken and fees were paid (tax stamps) for the new license to be processed at the local police station. I had to give my American driver’s license back when I received my Croatian one since it’s “one or the other but not both”.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 11, 2019 @ 11:18 am

      Hi Anastasia,

      Thank you for sharing your experience! You make a good point about having to trade in your American license. I will add that to the post. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  2. Ivan
    September 19, 2019 @ 3:25 pm

    Hi Marija,
    Here’s another variation of the situation. You mention that if you’re exchanging a foreign license for a Croatian one, that you must hand in your foreign license. If instead of exchanging a foreign license, you go through the whole Croatian driving school process and earn your Croatian license independently instead of exchanging for it, do you then get to keep both licenses?

    Or if I request another copy of my foreign license, and for the formality I just hand in one copy in Croatia as a direct exchange to get a Croatian one, and keep the other copy back abroad to use there, am I good to go? I would drive in Croatia only with the Croatian license, and when abroad with the foreign license.

    I have a foreign license now (not European), and am also a Croatian citizen, but have never had any driver’s license in Croatia. I’m in Croatia seasonally, but definitely still need my foreign license for the rest of the year. When in Croatia I only drive a relative’s car, but if I ever want to register my own car, or if I decide to live more of the year in Croatia (say 8 months), I would want a Croatian license, and am wondering what’s the best option. Really, I would need some way to maintain both. Thoughts?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 24, 2019 @ 12:28 pm

      Hi Ivan,

      Those are definitely valid loopholes in the system that would allow you to keep both licenses. As long as you don’t use your foreign license here in Croatia or your Croatian license in your home country, then you should be fine keeping both active.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  3. Paola
    October 2, 2019 @ 6:36 pm

    Process is easy if you want just for car, when you want for motorcycle then things change little bit. I done it and was quite fast. You need to have HZZO head doctor appointed to give you the fit to drive. Then just go to doctor which is authorize by police for making the medical tests. They will make regular check up, as normal routine questions take pressure weight etc, and then you have to pass the Psyco test. Once you get the paper that all is good you go to police, you pay and render your driver license which have to be still valid at the time you request the change to Croatian one, and in the time you ask if normal procedure or urgent in two days you get your driver license valid for 10!years from the date they make you new one. Note: my license was in Spanish and i am from Panama so no EU partner country nothing. I didn’t have to translate nothing. I think this apply for licenses on Vietnamese or Chinese or other hard to read language.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      October 3, 2019 @ 8:39 am

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Paola!

      {reply}

    • Giancarlo
      January 26, 2021 @ 1:11 pm

      Hello Paola, were the exams in Croatian?

      {reply}

  4. Bob
    January 16, 2020 @ 9:56 pm

    Hi (again) Sara,

    I haven’t been able to find a better place to ask you this question, sooooo…

    I’m a Croatian citizen, but only been here a short period and am in the process of establishing permanent residence. I’m thinking seriously about bringing over my car from the US — it’s an “oldtimer” from 1971 if that makes a difference. Do you have any advice/words of wisdom to share?

    {reply}

  5. Andrew
    February 4, 2020 @ 3:21 am

    Do you need to establish residency in Croatia before applying for the license transfer? I live in Italy and was wondering if I can go over and get the Croatian one instead of going through the Italian system.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 7, 2020 @ 2:18 pm

      Hi Andrew,

      You need Croatian residency to get a Croatian driver’s license.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  6. Roxana
    February 7, 2020 @ 10:13 pm

    That is weird, I swap mine driving license and I’m not from EGP country.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 10, 2020 @ 3:18 pm

      Hi Roxana,

      You mentioned that you swapped it years late, which is not what the law says. But as we all know, it doesn’t matter what the law says, it only matters what the person at MUP says. 🙂

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Hillary
        May 18, 2020 @ 7:25 pm

        So if I have been here in Croatia for numerous years and have Croatian citizenship I canNOT swap my US license for a Croatian one since the inital year has long passed (according to the law). But is it worth trying to do it anyway if I catch the right person in the right mood (or one not familiar with this law) at MUP?

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          May 19, 2020 @ 9:29 am

          Hi Hillary,

          Good question! I would give it a try anyways because worst case they say no, but best case they let you exchange it anyways. I have a friend from Chile who exchanged hers after 6 years with no problem. I will attempt to exchange mine after 8 years (yikes!) in the fall after I vote in the US.

          If you try, please let us know how it turned out. 🙂

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  7. Jack
    April 16, 2020 @ 12:00 pm

    I’ve heard that your foreign license must not be expired before changing for a Croatian license. But in this article it says it can be expired but not beyond 6 months. Could you confirm that expired is okay?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      April 20, 2020 @ 11:26 am

      Hi Jack,

      Thanks for the question!

      According to MUP, your foreign license should not be expired for more than 6 months. That being said, it all depends on the person you speak to and what mood they are in. They could decide to give you a hassle if it is expired even if under 6 months, so be prepared for that.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  8. G
    May 18, 2020 @ 12:20 pm

    Hello All, I see many foreigners are commenting, just a quick question, when doing the tests or any documentatio regarding the drivers license do I need to know Croatian?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      May 19, 2020 @ 9:30 am

      Hi G,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Driving school and driver’s tests are all performed in Croatian. You may be able to find a driving teacher that will speak English to you, but the tests will still be in Croatian.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  9. Jack
    May 27, 2020 @ 8:02 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve submitted my application for 1 year permit stay and this process could take about 3 months before I get my permit to stay ID car. Could I submit my application for a Croatian driver’s license during the application process, or do I need to wait for the ID card? I have a document saying the application has been submitted.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 1, 2020 @ 10:32 am

      Hi Jack,

      Thanks for the question!

      You must wait until you have approved residency.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  10. Mathias Udovic
    June 2, 2020 @ 11:06 am

    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for the brilliant article!
    My drivers license is from Brazil and I have Croatian passport. Actually I am living in Ireland. I am planning to go to Croatia in July to change my DL, but I’ve read somewhere in the comments that I must have residence in Croatia. So based on this, won’t I be able to exchange, once I live in Ireland?

    Thank you very much!

    Regards, Mathias

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 3, 2020 @ 1:39 pm

      Hi Mathias,

      Thanks for reading!

      You need to have residence in Croatia to get a Croatian driver’s license.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  11. Andrej
    June 8, 2020 @ 11:32 pm

    Hi, I understand you need Croatian residence to exchange a drivers license, but there are no documents listed above for proof of residence. How is this checked?

    Thank you

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 11, 2020 @ 10:39 am

      Hi Andrej,

      You’ll need to show your Croatia national ID. If you’re a citizen, then it’s your osobna iskanica. If you are not a citizen, you must show your residence permit.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Andrej
        June 14, 2020 @ 11:24 am

        Thanks Sara! Do you know if it’s possible to do it with just a passport?

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          June 16, 2020 @ 9:00 am

          Hi Andrej,

          You must show proof of residence. A national ID card is needed as that proves residence.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  12. karim
    September 9, 2020 @ 4:52 pm

    hello I would really want to thank u for this amazing effort u r putting in to educate us so my question is
    thats my 2nd year here in Croatia with a work permit for 1 year and I wanted to know if I wanna go on a holiday to any country in eu which countries am I eligible to enter with my residence here with out visa hope u got me right
    Best regards

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 14, 2020 @ 11:36 am

      Hi Karim,

      Thanks for reading!

      You must travel on your passport. You will be asked for proof that you live in Croatia as well when entering other EU countries, but you have to use your passport.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  13. Sarah
    September 22, 2020 @ 8:39 pm

    Hello, great information. Do you know much about the drivers licence for UK as they are leaving EU?
    Like our health insurance I believe it will no longer be valid after December 2020 regardless of the expiry date. I understand UK driving licence is valid for a year before changing but do you think it would be best to change before the year is out to avoid the other requirements?

    {reply}

  14. Mina
    September 24, 2020 @ 1:25 pm

    Hello Sara! Do you have any information on how to take an appointment for the medical exam? Thanks!

    {reply}

  15. ALex
    October 13, 2020 @ 9:34 pm

    Hello Sara. How long the regular, accelerated and urgent procedures take?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      October 15, 2020 @ 9:39 am

      Hi Alex,

      Depending on urgency, there are three options:

      • Standard procedure – Ready to pick up in a period of 30 days from submitting the request.
      • Accelerated procedure – Ready to pick up in a period of 3 working days from submitting the request.
      • Urgent procedure – Ready to pick up in a period of 24 hours from submitting the request.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  16. Rahul
    November 12, 2020 @ 12:43 pm

    Hi Sara I want to know that if anybody don’t know Croatian then how it possible please tell me???

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 17, 2020 @ 11:26 am

      Hi Rahul,

      If you don’t speak Croatian, then you can bring a friend who does or hire a lawyer or translator to accompany you to the police. If you need a lawyer or translator, contact me.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  17. Denise
    November 30, 2020 @ 8:30 pm

    I am concerned about the medical exam as I do not have vision in my left eye. Do you think this will prevent me from being able to obtain a license?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 9, 2020 @ 10:58 am

      Hi Denise,

      I’m not sure how this situation would be handled. I recommend contacting a doctor who performs the exam or MUP to ask.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  18. William Booth
    December 3, 2020 @ 3:52 pm

    Hi
    Just two small comments/corrections. We just arrived in Croatia (Nov 2020) and we are going through all the fun paperwork process. For this “exchanging driving license” process, we found two small corrections so far:

    1) in Zagreb you should go to the administrative police station on “Heinzelova 98” (hours: 08h-19h, pon-pet), not the one on “Petrinjska 30”, because the latter doesn’t do driving license exchange (they told us this when we got there)

    2) you cannot exchange your drivers license until you have a residence permit (well, at least i think this is what the lady told me, because she used a lot of croatian words, but the only one i recognised was “boravak” which i think is the type of residence permit you have, either temporary, or permanent)

    Anyway, i hope this helps the next person who might have to do this, and if you have any questions, please contact me.

    Cheers,
    Will

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 9, 2020 @ 11:03 am

      Hi William,

      Thank you for the feedback!

      Yes, it is correct that you must be a resident to exchange a license. I’ve tweaked the post to make sure this is clear right from the top.

      Thanks for the tip about Zagreb. I’ve also added this into the post as well.

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

    • John
      December 10, 2020 @ 7:03 pm

      Hey William, did you already applied for the driving license ? AS a owner of a Blue Card, do you know if the expiring date of the Croatian driving license will be in 10 years or when the blue card expires? Thanks!

      {reply}

  19. LUKA M
    December 5, 2020 @ 3:46 am

    Hello , I have a few questions if somebody can answer and had experience with this
    I travel a lot back and forth between USA to Croatia ,
    according to MUP and if you check USA Embasy web in Croatia , it says if i would exchange my USA driving licence for a Croatian one they would keep the USA licence in MUP , and give it back with a legitimate reson ???? Question is , when back in USA if i go to MV ask for a duplicate do you think my USA driving privelige get’s deleted or suspended somehow by Croatia or US embasy in Zagreb ??? also what do they mean by legitimate reson ???? Is travel back to USA legitamate enough ??? Thanks

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 9, 2020 @ 10:50 am

      Hi Luka,

      Yes, MUP will take your US license. They may or may not send it back to the US. I’ve heard of cases where they have and also where they haven’t. You can exchange it in Croatia, then request a new one in the US (as if you lost it). Then just see what happens. I don’t know what these “legitimate reasons” are that they refer to. My guess is MUP doesn’t even know what they are.

      If I can help further, please let me know. 🙂

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  20. John
    December 10, 2020 @ 3:00 pm

    Hi Sara!

    Thanks a lot for your help here. I was told somewhere that the Croatian driving license is only valid up to the expiration date of the Blue Card (as a foreigner resident). Is it true? Isn’t it valid for 10 years? Do you know how it works? Because I do not know if I am going to make it just for one year up until my blue card is renovated.

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards,

    John

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 16, 2020 @ 2:43 pm

      Hi John,

      This is not a situation I’ve directly dealt with. However, based on my experience with how MUP works, your driver’s license will match the period of time for which you have legal residence.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  21. Giancarlo
    January 26, 2021 @ 1:22 pm

    Hello Sara, just a quick question, when exchanging the driving licence, in my case it is for motorcycle, what does the police do with it? Do they send it back tothe country of origin? Or they just destroy it?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 28, 2021 @ 11:42 am

      Hi Giancarlo,

      Sometimes they send it back, sometimes they destroy it. It’s at the discretion of the MUP station.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  22. Chad
    February 11, 2021 @ 2:08 am

    Hi Sara

    Thanks for all your wonderful posts and information. It is greatly appreciated that you’re helping to light the way for others!

    My question is regards to the medical exam required to exchange a non-EGP licence. I know you said MUP will give you a list of doctors, but I was wondering if you need HZZO to visit them or whether there are doctors on the list that would accept private payment?

    Background info, I will be applying in Zagreb, to exchange a non-EGP licence and I’m an EU resident with health coverage in France. I don’t think it would be worth giving up my French state coverage just yet but would like to exchange my drivers licence for a Croatian sooner rather than later. Do you think it’s possible to see one of the official doctors without having HZZO?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 16, 2021 @ 12:26 pm

      Hi Chad,

      It all depends on the doctor, but yes that should be possible.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Chad
        February 16, 2021 @ 8:12 pm

        Hi Sara

        Thanks for getting back to me!

        Best,
        Chad

        {reply}

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