Croatia is very proud of its strong academic tradition. Some of its universities are the oldest in South-East Europe.
There are 49 higher education institutions in Croatia, including 10 universities (8 public and 2 private), 15 polytechnic (11 public and 4 private) and 24 schools of professional higher education (3 public, 21 private).
Croatia is a member of the Bologna process. All programs of study in Croatia are aligned with this structure.
Enrolling to a higher education institution in Croatia is not limited only to students who speak Croatian or are from Croatia. There are a variety of education programs available for international students who do not know Croatian and do not have the intention to learn it. Medical studies is one of the most prominent programs and is taught in English.
Studying in Croatia as an EU National
Full-time students from EU Member States are entitled to access the same education as the students of the Republic of Croatia. The right to access to education implies the right to pay the same amount of tuition paid by students of the Republic of Croatia. Regular EU students also have the right to subsidized food just as students of Croatia.
Studying in Croatia as a non-EU national
Non-EU nationals may enroll in higher education within Croatia according to the quota set for foreigners and must pay the tuition fees as dictated by the respective institution.
Students can also study in Croatia as part of the Erasmus+ program at the European Union level, or within the framework of the CEEPUS regional student exchange program. Exchange opportunities like these are part of the European Union’s Mobility Agency and Programs.
Qualifications to Study in Croatia
There are two types of qualifications recognized in Croatia:
- Academic recognition
- Professional recognition
Academic recognition is for those wanting to further their education in Croatia. Professional recognition is for those hoping to gain employment in Croatia post-education.
All higher education institutions that accept international students usually have an office dedicated to working with foreign applicants. Prospective students should contact this office at their selected institution well before applying in order to obtain the necessary requirements for acceptance.
If a student earns a degree in Croatia, they will need to find out if it will be recognized in the country where they intend to live and work after graduation.
Scholarships and Financial Subsistence
In order to study at Croatian higher education institutions, international students must prove they have sufficient financial means for the duration of their study in Croatia, either from personal sources and/or scholarships.
To prove financial means from personal sources, usually the police will require that you open a Croatian bank account and deposit a specific amount of kuna into the account as part of your residence permit application.
Currently, the majority of Croatian higher education institutions do not offer any scholarships or financial aid to international students.
The scholarships are offered through bilateral and university bilateral agreements and through programs such as Erasmus and CEEPUS administered by the Agency for Mobility and EU programs.
If English is not your first language, then you will need to show that your English language skills are at a high enough level to succeed in your studies.
How to Get a Student Residence Permit
International students are not allowed to attend classes at a Croatian university until they have procured a temporary residence permit. Application for a residence permit is based on your term of study within Croatia.
Students of certain countries (China, Cuba, Egypt, The Russian Federation etc.) will need to procure an entry visa to Republic Croatia (visa C) in addition to procuring a temporary residence permit. These visas need to be requested in advance at the diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia in the foreign national’s home country. The list of consulates as well as which countries fall under entry visa regimen system can be found here.
Where to submit your temporary residence permit application
- At a diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia in the foreign national’s home country
- At the administrative police department located in the jurisdiction where you plan to study
When to submit your residence permit application
- Students submitting an application to the diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia in their home country should do so prior to their scheduled arrival in Croatia.
- Students submitting the application to the appropriate police department or police station in Croatia should do so upon entering Croatia during their short-term stay.
- (1) Color photograph 35×45 mm
- Valid passport
- Proof of secured housing
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of sufficient funds to support
- Proof of admittance to a higher education institution in Croatia
- Completed application (form provided by the police)
A fee of 500 kuna will need to be paid to receive your student residence permit. Foreign students (or professors and researchers) that have acquired scholarships from the Agency for Mobility and EU Programs are exempt from paying this fee but they are still required to pay for the cost of the issuance of the residence card in the amount of 240 kuna and the duty stamp fee of 20 kuna.
The usual duration of the student residence permit is usually one year or it can be tied to the academic year. A student who studies full time in Croatia must renew the permit each year. Begin the process of renewal at least 30 days in advance (but up to 60 days in advance is recommended).
Can your family come with you to Croatia?
If you have been accepted to a Croatian institution AND have received a residence permit, your immediate family (spouse and children) may join you in Croatia. They will also need to apply for temporary residency as well, only after your permit has been approved.
If you are a minor child studying in Croatia, you may bring your parents to Croatia. In this case, your family may apply for residency under “Family Reunification”.
More Resources on Studying in Croatia
Further resources related higher education institutions, programs, and enrollment procedures in Croatia are available on the Study in Croatia portal.
Have you studied in Croatia? How was your experience?