How to get residency by opening a business

As stated in several other posts like this one and this one, I have recommended that you do not open a business in Croatia for the sole purpose of getting a residence permit. It’s a bureaucracy-rampant money pit nightmare and, frankly, is not really worth it.

If you’re reading this post, you don’t qualify for any of these permit schemes or perhaps you truly do want to open a legit business in Croatia.

To get temporary residency in Croatia through your business, you first need to open the business. Here are resources on how to open each type of business:

Please note, that you can’t get a residence permit through opening an udruga.

Once you open the business, you can begin the application for a residence permit. There are two situations under which you may apply for residence through a business:

Let’s start with the most common situation.

You are a business owner and need a residence permit

If you are the business owner and require a residence permit in Croatia because you are a non-EU national, there are a handful of requirements you must meet to get a permit for yourself.

For the owner of an obrt, D.O.O. or J.D.O.O., to gain residence you must:

  • invest at least 200.000 kn (for d.o.o. and j.d.o.o.) or 300.000 kn (for obrt) in the business (treated as “start up capital”), which can be used for business expenses
  • hire at least 3 Croatian nationals full time
  • hire yourself as an employee and pay yourself a gross salary that meets or exceeds the average gross salary in the Republic of Croatia in the previous year (the police will give you the baseline)
    • As of January 2019, this amount is 6.100 kuna per month if you are the owner/director of the business.
  • ensure that your business does not operate at a loss
  • submit proof of payment of tax debts and contributions in the Republic of Croatia.

You are a business owner and want to hire a non-EU national who needs a permit

If you wish to hire a non-EU national that does not already have legal residence in Croatia, you may hire foreign nationals. Croatia allows a certain number of non-EU foreigners to be hired each year. You can find the latest quotas for each industry here.

When you find and hire an foreign employee, the will need to apply for a work permit. Here are the details on how the employee you have hired can apply for a work permit.

If you want to hire a non-EU national that is outside of the industry quota, then your business must meet these requirements:

  • invest at least 100.000 kn in the business
  • hire at least 3 Croatian nationals full time
  • pay the employee a gross salary that meets or exceeds the average gross salary in the Republic of Croatia in the previous year
  • ensure that your business does not operate with a loss
  • submit proof of payment of tax debts and contributions in the Republic of Croatia.

Other Important Considerations

  • If applying for a permit as the owner of a company, you cannot get approved for residency until all of the above criterion are met and proven to the MUP (Policija).
  • If you want to hire multiple foreign nationals outside of the quota, for both the owner and an additional employee for example, note that the above requirements are per permit. So double the requirements for two permits, triple for three permits, and so on.
  • To fill the requirement of hiring 3 Croatian nationals full time, you may also hire part time nationals as long as they add up to 3 full time employees.

In Conclusion

Don’t do it!

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16 thoughts on “How to get residency by opening a business

  1. Hamid Pishkar
    July 1, 2018 @ 11:57 am

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for this informativ article.

    What would the minimu salary be for the 3 fulltime employees in order to get aproved for this program?

    Br,

    Hamid

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      July 7, 2018 @ 11:29 am

      Hi Hamid,

      Thank you for the question!

      It would likely be a minimum of 2000 kuna net per month, but the final amount would need to be confirmed by the police. Usually the lowest salary is changed year to year based on cost of living changes. Also note that this amount is net. With gross, it will be near double with taxes, pension and health insurance contributions.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • himanshu
        June 10, 2019 @ 7:29 am

        hi sara himanshu here
        i want to know how much investment i need for PR and can I open supermarket or any store there as per rules ?
        i want to open store pls suggest me how to I ? I am ready to invest pls guide me

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          June 13, 2019 @ 8:44 am

          Hi Himanshu,

          I’m not familiar with the costs to open a supermarket. I do know that there are permits needed for everything, so I can only assume that there will be special rules for opening a supermarket.

          There is information regarding opening and operating a business here.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  2. Lithuanian
    July 30, 2018 @ 2:20 am

    Dear, Sara,

    can you help me, please, to understand, if the rules for opening a company and for getting the residence for EU members and for non EU members are the same, or not?

    I am from EU and info in this article bit shocked me (that I need to “invest at least 200,000 kn in the business”). Hope it is just for non EU citizens…

    Thank you for your will to help people! You are doing great work! 🙂

    L.P.,
    Lithuanian 🙂

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 4, 2018 @ 11:54 am

      Hi Lithuanian,

      Thanks for following!

      Those costs for for third-party non-EU nationals. It is less expensive for EU member.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  3. HARIHARAN
    August 18, 2018 @ 8:32 am

    Hi,

    I am from India and would like to know about starting business in Croatia. And also advice in choosing business line. I think about export business from India.

    {reply}

  4. anura dissanayake
    August 29, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

    dear sir iam ragitnig from srilanka i laike to open new busness croatiya can mi send all ditail pls

    {reply}

  5. E. B. Kilincaslan
    October 29, 2018 @ 2:38 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for your kind time and answering all the questions.
    I am an Architect who lives outside of EU and planing on opening a branch office in Croatia.

    I have an Architecture and Construction company outside of EU and would like to open a branch office at the min cost as possible. I was wondering if the requirements are the same for a branch office circumstances. From their website I recently saw it costs 20,000 K to start the office and the details are depends on the company action. I am little confused now about the difference between opening a branch office or settle in a new company.

    Could you possible help me to understand the differences ?

    Best Regards,

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      October 30, 2018 @ 2:53 pm

      Hi EB,

      I do not know the differences between opening a regular company and a branch office. I recommend consulting a lawyer. If you email me, I can recommend one.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  6. Danielle
    November 29, 2018 @ 5:02 am

    Hi Sara,

    I’m a Canadian that is looking to move to Croatia within the next two years. My father is Croatian and I’m going to get my Croatian citizenship. With getting my citizenship would that change the rules in regards to opening a business? I think I’ve read that the initial investment would be lower, but would I still have to hire 3 Croatians full time or does that rule change because I’m a Croatian? Thanks so much. Hvala

    Also, since you’ve been there since 2012, can you tell me if you spoke ANY Croatian before living there or if you slowly learnt while there and integrating? Are you fluent now or how long has it taken you to get fluent?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 11, 2018 @ 12:38 pm

      Hi Danielle,

      Once you are a citizen, you will no longer be required to hire 3 Croatians. Your initial start up capital will also be substantially less (only 10 kn if setting up a j.d.o.o.).

      I did not speak any Croatia prior to coming to Croatia, and even then did not speak much the first year at all. I slowly learned on my own for the first 4 years. For the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve been seeing a tutor every week, which has exponentially increased my fluency level. I’m not at all fluent, but I am conversational. This is a challenging language and from my perspective, it takes practicing every day to improve.

      Good luck!

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  7. Catherine Islankina
    September 14, 2019 @ 10:17 pm

    Dear Sara,
    Thank you for the informative messages.
    Is there any chance to get a residency permit in Croatia for a freelancer? I am a teacher, work via Skype, would not like to establish a compnany (too much expenses), nor get hired. Besides, I can prove regular income from my homecountry (work part-time as a teacher).

    Thank you in advance!
    Regards,
    Catherine

    {reply}

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