Temporary residence for spouses and children of EU nationals

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EU nationals are entitled to live and work in Croatia, since Croatia is an EU member nation. When an EU national moves to Croatia and registers as a resident, they are allowed to bring their spouse and children even if they are not EU citizens.

When we say “EU Nationals”, we are referring to nationals of the Europski gospodarski prostor – EGP (European Economic Area – EEA) and nationals of the Swiss Confederation. The EEA includes nationals of the European Union and of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein. Third-country or non-EU nationals refers to anyone with nationality outside of the EU/EEA area.

In this post, we will outline how the non-EU spouses and children of EU nationals can apply for temporary residence in Croatia so that they can stay beyond the standard 90-day free travel period. If you are an EU national and your spouse and/or children are also EU nationals, then they are entitled to residency on their own in which case this post is a better fit for you and your family.

This post is only for spouses and children of EU nationals who themselves are not from the EU, but are third-country nationals.

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How to apply for temporary residence in Croatia as a non-EU spouse of an EU national

Before you can start your application as the spouse of an EU national, your EU national spouse must first apply and be approved for temporary residency in Croatia. Below are instructions on how EU nationals can apply for temporary residence.

Once their residence permit is approved, then you can begin your application. You can apply for residence at the closest administrative police station to your registered address.

To apply, you will need to provide:

  • A completed application form (provided by the police)
  • A copy of a valid identity card or a passport
  • OIB identification number
  • Registered address where you will reside with your spouse
  • A marriage certificate (apostilled, translated into Croatian and notarized)
  • Proof of financial means (more details on this below)
  • Valid healthcare (more details on this below)
  • Passport photo, 30x35mm

How to apply for temporary residence in Croatia as a non-EU child of an EU national

Before you can start on an application for your non-EU child, the EU national parent must first apply and be approved for temporary residency in Croatia. Below are instructions on how EU nationals can apply for temporary residence.

Once their residence permit is approved, then the child’s application can proceed at the same administrative police station where you did your application.

To apply, you will need to provide the following for each non-EU child:

  • A completed application form (provided by the police)
  • A copy of a valid identity card or a passport
  • A birth certificate (apostilled, translated into Croatian and notarized)
  • OIB identification number
  • Registered address where your child will reside with you
  • Proof of financial means (more details on this below)
  • Valid healthcare (more details on this below)

Proof of financial means

To live in Croatia, you  must prove you can financially support yourself and your dependents e.g. spouse and children, if applicable. There are two options for how to cover this requirement:

  • Show (3) payment stubs from your employer in Croatia (if applicable)
  • Show that you have enough money in a Croatian bank account to support you and whomever is with you for (1) year

The minimum amount that a single individual must have per month is net 990 kn. For a two-member family, this amount is increased by 25% (990 kn + 1.237,50 kn = 2.227,50 kn) per month. For every additional family member, the amount increases an additional 990 kn per month.

If you have a Croatian salary, then your monthly net income must exceed this threshold. If you are putting money on a bank account, then you’ll need a minimum of 990 kn x 12 months = 11.880 kn.

Once you deposit this money into a Croatian bank account, request a statement from the bank to show this balance. Tell the bank that the statement will be provided to the policija. You only need to keep this money on your bank account for the duration of your application process. After which, you can move it back to where it came from, if you so choose.

For more information on setting up a Croatian bank account, read this post.

If you’re reading this, then the primary EU national has already gone through this so this requirement would have already been covered with their initial application.

Proof of valid health care

All residents in Croatia are required to have a valid state health care policy to gain residence. If you or your spouse are employed by a Croatian employer, then they will cover the cost of healthcare as part of the salary. If your family is financially independent, or your income comes from abroad, then you will need to have an insurance policy.

There are two situations that Croatia will accept for your health care requirement IF neither you nor your spouse are employed by a Croatian company.

  • You have state health insurance in your home country
  • You have state health insurance in Croatia through HZZO

1. You have health insurance in your home country

If you have state health insurance from the EPG nation that you are coming from, you are entitled to keep this policy. You will need to show proof of your valid health care from the country where you have permanent residence to the police when applying for temporary residence. You don’t have to exchange your health care for Croatian health care, although you can if you want to.

If you decide to change your healthcare, you will need to first discontinue your health care in your home country. Get proof from your home country that you no longer have state health care and then go to HZZO within Croatia to sign up for a state policy.

2. You don’t have health insurance in your home country

If you don’t have health insurance in your previous EU home country, you must apply for Croatian health insurance within 8 days of obtaining a temporary residence although it is not unusual that the police will require you to sign up for a policy BEFORE approving your residency application.

State health insurance will cost approximately 560 kn monthly per person. This amount changes from year to year based on average salaries. It is also recommended that you sign up for dopunsko supplement, which eliminates any out of pocket costs and is especially recommended if you have kids.

Go to the HZZO administration office nearest to your address in Croatia. You’ll need the following documents to apply for state health insurance:

  • HZZO’s application form for family members, as presumably your EU spouse has already signed up for a policy (HZZO will provide you with this form)
  • National ID or passport
  • A certificate which states that you don’t have health insurance in your EU/EEA home country

What’s next?

Once your temporary residence is approved, the police will notify you by phone so make you provide a phone number. They usually ask for one, but not always.

Go into the police station where you applied and present your passport and your child’s passport, if applicable. They will have you sign some documents, take your fingerprints, and ask that you pay a fee for your boravišna iskaznica (residence card), which costs 79,50 kn. This fee cannot be paid at the police station.

You’ll be provided a payment slip, which you’ll need to pay at a bank or post office. Once paid, bring proof of payment back to the police station. Here is detailed info on how to pay invoices, such as this.

After you submit proof of payment, they will give you a white card that serves as proof of your residency until your residence card is ready. DO NOT LOSE THIS WHITE CARD. You will need it to pick up your official ID. It takes three weeks for them to make your card, usually to the day.

Bring the white card back after three weeks and pick up your brand new residence card. The temporary residence card for children and spouses of EU nationals will be valid for 5 years, after which you will qualify to apply for permanent residence.

Are you the spouse of an EU national with temporary residence in Croatia? What was your experience like?

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