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:

  • You are the owner of the business and need a residence permit as a non-EU national
  • You are the owner of the business and you want to bring in a non-EU foreigner to work for you who needs a residence permit

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 a  T.O., 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 t.o.) 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 Policija 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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Expat in Croatia

Sara is an American expat based in Split. After globetrotting between New York, Amsterdam and California, she moved to Croatia in 2012. Sara's blog Expat in Croatia is a guide for foreigners living and traveling in Croatia.