How to exchange a foreign driver’s license for a Croatian one: Guide for 2024

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UPDATED: 20.5.2024.

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

The rules for exchanging a foreign driver’s license for a Croatian one vary depending on whether you have a driver’s license from an EU/EEA member state or a third country (non-EU/EEA member state).

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Exchanging foreign driver’s licenses in Croatia

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 EU/EEA member state. Europski gospodarski prostor – EGP (European Economic Area – EEA) is an international agreement that enables the extension of the European Union’s single market to non-EU member parties.

EEA was founded in 1994 to create a single market that enables the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. It was created to enable participation in the single market to country members of EFTA without joining the EU.

EEA includes:

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

You can exchange your foreign license at most administrative police stations in Croatia. However, since not all administrative police stations can make this change, you might need to come to Zagreb to do this exchange if you are coming from a smaller town. In Zagreb, you must go to Heinzelova 98 as they do not process exchanges at their main office at Petrinjska 30.

Learn how to find administrative police stations in Croatia here. If you want to learn how to take an autoškola (driving school) in Croatia, hop over to this post.

[Read: How to get a driver’s license in Croatia]

How to exchange an EU/EEA driver’s license for a Croatian one

In Croatia, you may drive using a driver’s license issued by a member of the EU/EEA until its expiration date. Exchanging the EU/EEA driver’s license for the Croatian driver’s license isn’t mandatory.

After your EU/EEA 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.

However, after you get a temporary or permanent stay in Croatia, you can immediately replace your EU/EEA driver’s license with a Croatian one if you want.

View our residence guides:

To exchange your EU/EEA driver’s license for a Croatian license, you must go to an administrative police station in Croatia. A list of MUP administrative police stations in Croatia is available here.

You must provide:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence in Croatia
  • Foreign driver’s license issued in an EU/EEA country
  • 35×45 mm photo
  • Proof of payment for the procedure

All administrative costs associated with this procedure are available here, and the payment information is available here. Instructions on how to make this payment are available here.

How to exchange a non-EU/EEA driver’s license for a Croatian one

If your driver’s license was issued in a third-country country that is not a member of the EU/EEA, 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 driver’s license with a Croatian driver’s license.

You can see the excerpt from the law below:

(1) Stranac kojem je odobren privremeni ili stalni boravak u Republici Hrvatskoj i hrvatski državljanin koji se iz inozemstva vrati u Republiku Hrvatsku, a i osoblje diplomatskih i konzularnih predstavništava i misija stranih država i predstavništava međunarodnih organizacija u Republici Hrvatskoj, stranih trgovinskih, prometnih, kulturnih i drugih predstavništava te stranih dopisništava, mogu upravljati motornim vozilima na osnovi važeće inozemne vozačke dozvole za vrijeme do godinu dana od dana ulaska u Republiku Hrvatsku.

This translates to…

A foreigner granted temporary or permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia and a Croatian citizen returning to the Republic of Croatia from abroad, as well as staff of diplomatic and consular missions and missions of foreign countries and missions of international organizations in the Republic of Croatia, foreign trade, transport, cultural and other missions and foreign bureaus, may operate motor vehicles on the basis of a valid foreign driver’s license for up to one year from the date of entry into the Republic of Croatia.

However, after you get a temporary or permanent stay in Croatia, you can replace your foreign driver’s license with a Croatian one once you have lived in Croatia for at least 185 days.

View our residence guides:

If you continue to drive with a foreign non-EU/EEA license after a year, your license isn’t considered valid in Croatia anymore. It is the same as if you’re driving without a driver’s license.

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.

[Read: How to take driving school (autoškola)]

To exchange your non-EU/EEA driver’s license, you must go to an administrative police station in Croatia. A list of MUP administrative police stations in Croatia is available here.

You must provide:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence in Croatia
  • Foreign driver’s license issued in a third country
  • Translation of a foreign driver’s license if driving categories and a validation period aren’t clear (if more than 6 months have expired)
  • Medical certificate stating driving capability (not older than 6 months)
  • 35×45 mm photo
  • Proof of payment for the procedure

Uvjerenje o zdravstvenoj sposobnosti za upravljanje vozilama (Medical certificate stating driving capability) can be issued by health centers and private policlinics that perform the activity of Medicina rada/sporta (occupational medicine and occupational/sports medicine) specialists in private practice.

All administrative costs associated with this procedure are available here, and the payment information is available here. Instructions on how to make this payment are available here.

How professional drivers can exchange driver licenses in Croatia

Professional drivers who are Croatian citizens or foreign citizens employed by Croatian companies must have Svjedodžba o stečenim početnim kvalifikacijama (Certificate of Initial Qualifications) or the Svjedodžba o periodičkoj izobrazbi (Certificate of Periodic Training) if they drive vehicles requiring a category C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, or DE license.

A driver’s qualification card issued in another EU member state is recognized in Croatia. However, third-country citizens must prove they have initial qualifications and periodic training with a Certificate for drivers from third countries (the so-called pink certificate). It is issued by the Ministarstvo mora, prometa i infrastrukture (Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure) based on the request of the employer where the driver is employed.

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

The police department responsible for issuing driver’s licenses will add kod 95 (code 95) to the license based on these certificates. This process involves issuing a new driver’s license with the code 95 marked on the back.

The documents required for code 95 to be added to your driver’s license are:

  • Copy of a driver’s license
  • Copy of an identity card
  • Certificate of professional training for those who obtained a C category license after September 10, 2009

Note: A foreign driver’s license for D1 or D category motor vehicles will not be recognized for people under 24, 21 for the C category, and 18 for the C1 and B categories.

Additional tips on exchanging driver’s licenses in Croatia

If you are trading in your driver’s license, you must surrender your foreign license when picking up your Croatian license. You cannot have both. All visible categories in your current foreign driving license will be transferred to a new Croatian license.

[Read: Vehicle and driver’s license categories in Croatia]

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 Croatian 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.

[Read: How to apply for a Croatian passport]

View our other driving posts

Frequently asked questions

How do I exchange my foreign driving license in Croatia?

It is an easy process that differs slightly depending on which country you are from. If you are from an EU/EEA country, the process is easier, and you can drive with your valid driver’s license until its expiration. If you are from a third country, you must request your driver’s license to be exchanged once your first year of residency expires in Croatia. Learn about both processes here.

Can I drive in Croatia with a foreign license?

If you are from an EU/EEA country, you can drive with your driver’s license until its expiration. However, if your driver’s license was issued by a non-EU country, you must exchange it after a year.

Is it hard to get a driver’s license in Croatia?

It depends on what you consider hard, but there is a process very similar to the process of other EU countries. Once you finish driving school, you can apply for a driver’s license. Any Croatian administrative police station will accept your request. View our guide on getting a driver’s license in Croatia here.

Can I drive in Croatia with a US license?

Yes, you can drive in Croatia with your US driver’s license for up to a year. After a year passes, you must request the issuing of a Croatian driver’s license.

Can I drive in Croatia with a UK driving license?

Your UK driver’s license is valid for up to a year when driving in Croatia. An international driving permit is not required.


Sources: 
Zamjena vozačke dozvole by MUP
Vozačka dozvola by MUP
Pravilnik o vozačkim dozvolama

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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