How to set up a Croatian company online using START: Guide for 2022

Image by Christina Morillo

If you’re thinking about starting your own business in Croatia (and you’re a citizen), we’ve got some great news for you. At the end of 2019, the Croatian government launched a web application called START that will make opening a business infinitely easier, cheaper, and faster.

Up until late 2019, starting a business was an expensive, time consuming hassle involving notaries, lots of paperwork in triplicate, and a variety of government agency visits. For foreigners, this process can be especially confusing and frustrating since many of those agencies will not speak English to you.

In this post, we will introduce the START application including:

  1. Who can use START
  2. What is START
  3. Types of businesses you can open
  4. Available services
  5. Advantages of the application
  6. What you need to use the application
  7. How to use START
  8. Who to contact in case of an issue

Who can use START?

At this time, only companies with at least one Croatian citizen as a founder can use START. The person who registers the company through START must be a citizen.

What is the START application?

The START application is an information system that allows citizens to start a private business online. START integrates multiple steps, procedures, institutions, and banks into one online process. Your company will be registered within 3 to 5 days.

This tool will reduce administrative procedures by up to 30% and drastically reduce your overall start up costs.

Which business types can be launched using START?

Using the START application, you may open three types of businesses:

What services are available?

The START application includes the following services:

  1. Registration of j.d.o.o. and d.o.o. companies in the Court Register
  2. Registration of trade business in the Trade Register
  3. Registration in the Registry of Business Entities (Croatian Bureau of Statistics)
  4. Registration in the Registry of Taxpayers and VAT Registry, and/or registration of VAT ID Number (Tax Administration)
  5. Request for opening transaction accounts (banks)
  6. Registration in the HZMO (Croatian Pension Insurance Institute)
  7. Electronic payment of fees and company’s initial capital

It is important to note that at this time, you cannot use START for singular services such as registering for a VAT number. You can only use the START services as part of opening a business.

What are START’s advantages?

Here are some of the most important advantages of START:

  • You can launch a business remotely and online – Now you can skip the exhausting running around from one institution to another. You can do it by yourself without lawyers, notaries, or partners.
  • You can do all the necessary work in only one step – Instead of the existing manual 7 steps, now you can launch a business in only one step. All processes, procedures, institutions, and banks are connected through one electronic form.
  • Automated data entry – After you enter the application, the system collects your personal data via your OIB and automatically fills out the form with data connected to your OIB. You only need to enter the data unavailable to public services through OIB. Once you enter it, all the e-forms will be automatically filled out.
  • Shorter launching period – Your business will be launched in 3 to 5 days. Requests given electronically have priority over written physical requests.
  • Lower costs – A notary public is no longer needed. Instead, an electronic signature is used. The court fee is reduced by 50%. Plus, you don’t need to walk around the city and spend money on gas, bus tickets or documents in triplicate.
  • Everything is digital and linked – Electronic documents created through system communicate with all the necessary institutions. These documents are digitally signed and verified.
  • 24/7 availability – You can use the application whenever you want.

Set up Croatian company online using START
Image by Republika Hrvatska

What do you need to START?

To use the system, you must have:

  • A certificate with your digital signature (osobna iskaznica with a chip or FINA’s FinaCertRDC)
  • A valid credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard or Maestro)
  • An active e-Građani user account for all members of the process

To get started, open up the START application here.

How to use the system

Here are user manuals for the system, depending on which type of business you plan to open:

  • User manual for launching a trade business via START application can be downloaded here.
  • User manual for launching a j.d.o.o or d.o.o. via START application can be downloaded here.

What if I have a problem with the application?

If you need any help using the application, contact FINA’s customer care.

Toll free phone: 0800 0080

Email: [email protected]

Working hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 7:30  – 22:00
  • Saturday: 8:00 – 13:00

More information on opening a business

For detailed information on opening and closing a business that is specific to each type of business, check out our guides below:

Have you used START? What was your experience like?

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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