How to get a temporary residence permit based on property: Guide for 2024

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This post has been verified with an immigration lawyer and the ministry that handles immigration.
Omiš, Croatia
Properties in Omiš, Croatia

UPDATED: 20.11.2023.

If you’d like to live in Croatia for up to a year and are able to buy a property, getting residence based on property may be the right choice for you. This permit works exceptionally well for retired people wishing to have a European home base.

For those who are not European, the options to live in Croatia long-term are limited, and you can view all of them here. If you want to buy a property in Croatia, view this guide.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to get a temporary residence permit in Croatia based on property

How do I know a Croatian residence permit based on property exists

Under Article 57 of the Zakon o strancima (Foreigner’s Act), there is a list of conditions under which a non-EU/EEA (third-country) citizen can get temporary residence in Croatia. The law states:

(1) Privremeni boravak odobrava se državljaninu treće zemlje koji namjerava boraviti ili boravi u Republici Hrvatskoj u svrhu:

10. u druge svrhe

(4) Zahtjev za reguliranje privremenog boravka u druge svrhe ili svrhu boravka digitalnih nomada državljanin treće zemlje može podnijeti nakon isteka roka od šest mjeseci od isteka važenja privremenog boravka koji je bio odobren u druge svrhe ili svrhu boravka digitalnih nomada.

Which translates to…

(1) Temporary residence is granted to a citizen of a third country who intends to reside or resides in the Republic of Croatia for the purpose of:

10. for other purposes

(4) A citizen of a third country may submit a request to regulate temporary residence for other purposes or the purpose of digital nomads’ residence after the expiration of a period of six months from the expiration of the validity of the temporary residence that was approved for other purposes or the purpose of digital nomads’ residence.

“Other purposes” is a catch-all for various residence programs offered at the discretion of the police, who handle immigration. Getting residence based on ownership of property is one of those programs. View the Law on Foreigners here.

What do you need to know about a permit based on Croatian property

This is what you need to know about getting a residence permit based on real estate:

  • You can only get temporary residence for one year
  • You cannot work in Croatia
  • It is not renewable (meaning you can’t do it back-to-back), but you can again apply for it
  • Property must be zoned residential, and you must live in it
  • There is no minimum purchase price to qualify
  • If you’re married, you both need to be listed as owners
  • Not everyone can purchase property in Croatia. See if you qualify here.

Temporary residence based on the ownership of a Croatian property does not count towards permanent residence in Croatia.

How to get a residence permit in Croatia based on property

Application Requirements

The requirements for this type of temporary stay in Croatia are similar to other permits, with one notable difference. First, we’ll list the requirements; then, we’ll go over each one in detail.

These requirements include:

  • Completed application form Obrazac 1a, which the police will provide – view it here
  • Valid passport
  • Criminal background check and certificate of length of stay
  • Valid private/travel health insurance policy (called putno)
  • Certificate of ownership/title deed for real estate in Croatia
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself
  • Passport photo 30×35 mm
  • Application fee

Let’s go through each requirement one by one.

Application form

The application form for the temporary stay will be provided by MUP or a consulate abroad. You can view it here.

Valid passport

Your passport needs to be valid, which means its validity period must be 3 months longer than the validity period of the intended stay. The staff will make a copy of this for your application. Take your passport with you every time you visit them.

If your passport is in a language that is not English, then you need to get a copy of it notarized and translated into Croatian.

[Read: How to apply for a Croatian passport]

OIB identification

An OIB is a human identification number similar to a social security number in the US. OIBs are required for all financial transactions in Croatia. If you own a property, then you already have an OIB.

[Read: How to Get an OIB Croatian Identification Number]

Background checks

Every application for a temporary residence based on property is considered to be a brand-new application, especially if you have left for a certain period. For this type of residence, there are no renewals. You must enclose a background check each time you apply for residence based on property.

Depending on your native country, this is likely easier to obtain while you’re still in your home country rather than once you get to Croatia. If you’re American, they want a federal background check, NOT one from your state. This is done through the FBI, and it involves having your fingerprints taken.

In addition to the background check, it is mandatory to provide a certificate of the length of stay from the same country.

[Read: Background checks and fingerprints for third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA citizens)]

Valid health insurance

To live in Croatia on this permit, you must have state-sponsored national health insurance from HZZO. However, Croatia will not allow you to sign up for a policy with HZZO until after you’ve been approved for a residence permit.

To be approved for the permit, you must first show that you have some other kind of private health insurance. In Croatia, travel insurance is called putno zdravstveno osiguranje, which will also meet this requirement.

[Read: How to get travel insurance in Croatia (putno), which you can use to apply for residence]

Once your permit is approved, you will have 8 days to sign up for health insurance with a local HZZO. You will be required to pay a monthly health insurance premium AND a one-time payment of premiums for the previous year. This 1-year back payment is required for anyone who has not had state health insurance in another EU/EEA member state for the previous 12 months.

[Read: How to sign up for state health insurance in Croatia]

Property ownership

You must provide an ownership certificate from the land registry. The property must be zoned residential, and you must live there.

[Read: How to find property ownership records in Croatia]

If you are married, make sure that both of you are listed as owners with the land registry. Family reunification for spouses cannot be used for this type of permit, which is why it is important that you both are listed as owners. If you have children, both of you must have valid residence permits before your children can be allowed to also get residence permits.

In addition to fulfilling the requirement for residence, it will also be used to register your address. This address will be on your national identification card. Learn how to register or change your address with the Croatian police in this post.

If you have not yet purchased a residential property in Croatia, learn how to buy one here.

Proof of sufficient funds

Since you won’t legally be able to work on this permit, you must prove you can financially support yourself during the permit term. MUP will tell you how much you must have to qualify. The amount can vary based on average salaries for the previous year.

You can find the current minimums and a list of documents you may provide as proof of sufficient funds and how to show them in this post.

Passport photos

Every country requires a different size photo, so it is best to get them in Croatia. Usually, there is at least one shop that does passport photos right next to the police station.

Application fee

All possible administrative costs for this procedure are available here. You won’t pay this at the police station/embassy. They will give you a bill that you take to a nearby bank (normally one they specify) to pay. Then, bring the proof of payment back to the police.

[Read: How to pay bills in Croatia]

How to apply for a property residence permit

Once you own a residential property in Croatia and are listed with the land registry as the owner, you can start your application for residence. Where to apply for this residence permit depends on whether you need or don’t need a visa to enter Croatia. Find out if you need a visa before traveling to Croatia here.

Step #1 Visit MUP or the embassy

If you need a visa to enter Croatia, you must apply at the closest Croatian embassy or consulate outside Croatia.

If you don’t need a visa to enter Croatia, you can apply at the administrative police station closest to your future Croatian residence. Here is a full list. Find the Stranci (Foreigners) desk and let them know you wish to apply for residence based on other purposes.

Step #2 Submit your application

At this time, you must provide:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Completed application form (which they will give you)
  • Your OIB
  • Land registry certificate showing you as the owner
  • Proof of travel health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself

Step #3 Wait patiently

Once your application is accepted for processing, then it’s time to wait.

If the police/embassy decide they need more from you to complete the application or you have been approved, they will either call you, call your lawyer (if you’ve got one), or send you a summons to your address. This summons is usually in a blue envelope, and you must sign for it at delivery.

It can take several weeks to months to get approved.

Step #4 Approved!

Hooray! You’ve been approved. Now what?

Within 8 days from the approval, you must apply for a residence card called biometrijska dozvola boravka. Go to the police station according to your future Croatian address with your passport.

At this time, may need to do several things:

  • Give your fingerprints
  • Give your signature
  • Give your passport photos
  • Pay the fees to MUP

If you applied at MUP, you have to pay the fees. You’ll be given uplatnica (payment slip) or maybe even several of them. Take these to a post office or bank to pay. Keep the receipts and bring them back to the police to show proof of payment. You are expected to do this immediately and return within a few minutes to complete the process.

Here are instructions on how to pay the fees.

After you show proof of payment, you’ll be given a white card that is proof of your approved stay. DO NOT LOSE IT! You will need to turn this card in to get your official residence ID card. The ID card takes 3 weeks (usually on the dot) to be printed.

Step #5 Pick up your residence card

After 3 weeks, return to the police station with the white card you did not lose. Hand it over with your passport. In return, you’ll be given your shiny new residence permit card.

You will need to go through this same application process every year.

More about applying for a residence permit at MUP

  • It is imperative that you have a local Croatian contact number. This is how the police will communicate with you about your application. Learn how to get a Croatian SIM card in our guide on Croatia’s mobile phone providers, which is available here.
  • Do not leave Croatia while your permit is in process. Even better, don’t leave the jurisdiction.
  • If you are denied residence, you only have to pay a small administrative fee instead of the full fee.
  • Be nice. If you get an attitude with the police, they have the discretion to make it as difficult for you as possible.
  • Do not go to the police between the hours of 11:00 and 13:00. Chances of you coming when they are at lunch or on a smoke break or grumpy because they’ve yet to have a smoke break or lunch are high. For the best results, go in the morning around 8:00 or 9:00.

Good luck!

Need help getting residency or finding real estate to buy?

We recommend that everyone use a vetted expert when purchasing a property or applying for residency in Croatia, whether that be an immigration lawyer or real estate agent. It is rare that the police (who handle immigration), property sellers, and government agencies will speak English to you.

It’s just too easy to be taken advantage of as a foreigner in Croatia, especially when a property is involved. Our vetted local experts have connections, are able to skip common roadblocks, can protect your interests, and can identify any risks.

We have expat-vetted immigration lawyers and real estate agents across Croatia who can:

  • Answer all of your property and immigration questions
  • Find property records
  • Clean property titles
  • Help you find the right property
  • Help you purchase a property and represent you during the process
  • Ensure you are not taken advantage of by property sellers
  • Prepare and review contracts
  • Handle your application for residency and represent you during the process
  • Selling a property
  • Engage local contractors and interior designers

To be connected to a vetted immigration lawyer or real estate agent, complete the form below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


View our other temporary residence articles


Sources:
Law on foreigners
Stay of third-country nationals by MUP

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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