How to get residency by opening a business

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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.

How to get residency in Croatia by opening a company

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

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

Once you open the company, 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 work and 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 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 minimum wage for directors
  • 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. Before you can hire a non-EU national, you must first check with the unemployment office to see if there is a Croatian looking for the same job that qualifies. If there is not, then you can proceed with hiring the third-country applicant.

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, 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 minimum wage
  • 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, 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!

Need help opening your company or getting residency?

We recommend that everyone use a lawyer when applying for residency in Croatia. It also makes opening a company A LOT easier for those who don’t speak Croatian. Lawyers have connections, are able to skip common roadblocks and can identify any risks with your residency application. In addition, it is rare that the police (who handle immigration) or the notaries (required to open a company) will speak English to you.

Our Expat in Croatia lawyer network can review your situation and determine a plan specifically for you, all in English. They can handle opening your company as well as your residency application from beginning to end. This service includes:

  • Personalized consulting on your specific situation
  • Confirming latest immigration requirements for your nationality and basis
  • Assistance with putting together necessary documents
  • Preparation of articles of incorporation
  • Accompanying you to the notary to sign incorporation paperwork
  • Filing of incorporation paperwork
  • All communication with the police on your behalf
  • Assembly, submission and monitoring of your application
  • Answering questions and assisting you throughout the process

To consult with an immigration lawyer, please complete the form below and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.

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22 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?




    • 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.




      • 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


        • 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.




  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! 🙂

    Lithuanian 🙂


    • 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.




    August 18, 2018 @ 8:32 am


    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.


  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


  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,


    • 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.




  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?


    • 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!




  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!


  8. Harshil Parvadia
    December 6, 2019 @ 9:53 am

    Hi I’m from India. Planning to start up a business in Croatia in tourism sector or any other opportunity. Thinking to invest in Croatia. So need some guidelines. Thanks in advance.


    • Expat in Croatia
      December 10, 2019 @ 3:24 pm

      Hi Harshil,

      Can you be more specific with what you are looking for?




  9. Jack
    January 17, 2020 @ 5:45 pm

    Hi Sara,

    My wife and I with 2 our school children planing to move from USA to Croatia. Can you provide us some contact details to get info on school requirements for no citizens, health insurance, and how to obtain permanent stay visa…?




    • Expat in Croatia
      January 20, 2020 @ 1:42 pm

      Hi Jack,

      We are working on a post right now about how to enroll foreign children in school. If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll be updated once we publish that post. Regarding how to stay here legally, I recommend reading this post.




  10. Dax Nayyar
    February 7, 2020 @ 9:07 am

    Hi, Thanks for sharing nice information!!

    I am from India, I have a Sole Proprietor Travel Company here and currently planning to open a business in the EU area and with some research, I have empathized my efforts to Croatia as it seems to be the main industry in the country. Now being non-EU person is it easy to get residency to operate a business or its bit tricky? Thanks


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