All types of available visas for entry into Croatia: Guide for 2024

Tourists in Zagreb, Croatia
Tourists in Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 25.1.2023.

When entering Croatia as a non-resident, some nationalities can enter without a visa, and some nationalities require a visa. For those that require a visa to enter Croatia, it must be obtained abroad before entry. Croatia does not have a visa-on-arrival program.

If you’re unsure if a visa is required for you to enter Croatia, you can check the latest rules for your nationality here. Depending on the purpose of your stay in Croatia, the type of visa may vary.

As of 1 January 2023, Croatia is a member of Schengen and applies the Schengen acquis. The validity of a visa depends on the circumstances of the travel, but it can’t be longer than 5 years.

The time spent in Croatia is added to the time spent in other Schengen member states. Third-country nationals may stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-days period regardless of whether they are required a visa or not.

This post is strictly for third-country citizens who require a visa to enter Croatia. If you are interested in a long-term residence permit, find those options here.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

All types of available visas for entry into Croatia

What is a Croatian visa?

In Croatia, a visa serves as permission for:

  • Intended stay in Croatia for up to 90 days in a period of 180 days
  • Transit through Croatia for up to 90 days in a period of 180 days
  • Transit through the international transit area of airports in Croatia

The approved visa will be added to a valid travel document. If using a passport, a sticker will be placed on one of the pages. In exceptional cases, due to humanitarian reasons or national interest, or if a passport isn’t valid, a visa is issued on paper.

A visa is NOT the same as a residence permit. A residence permit is strictly for a long-term stay past 30 to 90 days, depending on the term of your entry visa.

[Read: Difference between getting a visa and a residence permit in Croatia; Types of residence permits]

Types of Croatian visas

Croatia issues the following types of visas:

  • Short-term Schengen visas
    • A visa – air-transit visa
    • C visa – short-stay visa
  • Long term nacionalna visa (national visa)
    • D visa

#1 Air-transit visa – A visa

An air-transit visa (A visa) is called zrakoplovno-tranzitna viza or viza A in Croatian.

The A visa is issued to third-country citizens for one or more passes through the international transit area of an airport in Croatia.

Foreigners who don’t leave the international transit area or plane during their intermediate landings at the airport in Croatia usually don’t need a visa. However, citizens of certain countries are required to possess an A visa.

The validity period of an A visa is up to 6 months plus an additional period of 15 days.

#2 Short-stay visa – C visa

A short-stay visa (C visa) is called kratkotrajna viza or viza C in Croatian.

A C visa is issued for a planned stay on the national territory of Schengen members for a duration not exceeding 90 days in any period of 180 days.

C visa is issued for one, two, or more entries into Croatia for the purpose of:

  • Transit
  • Tourist stay
  • Business stay
  • Personal stay
  • Other stays

You can calculate the permitted number of days of stay in Schengen here and here.

The validity period of a C visa is up to 5 years. It depends on the circumstances of your travel to Croatia. The validity period includes an additional period of 15 days.

#3 Long-stay visa – D visa

A long-stay visa (D visa) is called dugotrajna viza or viza D in Croatian.

If you are a third-country citizen who was granted a temporary stay or a work permit before arriving in Croatia and you need a short-term visa to enter Croatia, you will get a D visa. It is issued for one or more entries into Croatia.

The validity period of a D visa is up to 6 months. The start date of the validity period cannot be earlier than the start date of the validity period of a granted temporary stay or work permit. D visa allows you to stay in Croatia for up to 30 days.

[Read: How to apply for a work permit in Croatia]

Third-country citizens who don’t need a Croatian visa

Visa-free travel

Some third-country nationalities can travel visa-free to Croatia, regardless of their purpose of travel. Examples of countries that can travel visa-free to Croatia include:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • European Union member states
  • Israel
  • Malaysia
  • Peru
  • United States

However, some nationalities require a visa to enter Croatia. Examples are:

  • China
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Thailand

If you’re unsure if a visa is required for your nationality, check the latest rules here.

Exemptions from Croatian visa

Some third-country citizens with certain documents issued by another Schengen member state are exempt from getting a Croatian visa, even if their nationality requires a visa to enter Croatia.

Valid documents include:

  • Unique visa (C visa) valid for the territory of all Schengen member states for two or more entries
  • Visas with limited territorial validity (LTV visa) in certain Schengen member states (but not all Schengen states) for two or more entries
  • Long-term visas (D visa) for a stay longer than 90 days, issued by a Schengen member state
  • Residence permits issued by one of the Schengen member states

Foreigners who possess one of the above-mentioned documents don’t need a Croatian visa for a stay that does not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period. Essentially, these documents serve as an equivalent to a Croatian visa. Their validity period must cover the duration of transit or stay in Croatia.

Third-country citizens with visas and residence permits from Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania must now have a valid Schengen visa (C visa) or Croatian national visa (D visa) to enter Croatia.

Family members of EU/EEA citizens

If you are a third-country citizen who requires a visa to enter Croatia AND a family member of a citizen of an EU/EEA member state, you can get a visa at the Croatian border or the border of another EU/EEA member state.

At the border, you must show:

  • Passport
  • Proof that you are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen
  • Proof that you are joining or accompanying an EU/EEA citizen
    • For example, proof that the EU/EEA citizen lives in the country you are trying to enter

How to apply for a Croatian short-term visa

If you need a short-stay visa, you should submit the request no earlier than 6 months before and no later than 15 days before your intended travel to Croatia. Seafarers should submit their request no earlier than 9 months before their travel.

Your application for a Croatian visa will be solved within 15 days from the day of submitting the request. This deadline may be prolonged up to 45 days due to justified reasons.

Which documents are required to apply for a Croatian short-stay visa?

Here is the mandatory documentation:

  • Valid travel document/passport
    • Validity period must be at least 3 months longer than the date you intend to leave the Schengen area or the date you intend to leave on the occasion of the last trip in the case of multiple trips
    • It must be issued in the last 10 years
    • It must contain at least 2 blank pages where the visa can be placed
  • 35×40 mm photo in accordance with ICAO standards
  • Proof of valid travel medical insurance valid for Schengen area – view details here
  • Proof of paid visa fee – view details here
  • Proof of paid service fee if the application is submitted at VFS Global visa center
  • Documents that prove the purpose of stay
    • Letter of guarantee for private visits – view details here
      • Form for natural persons (i.e. people) is available here
      • Form for legal entities (i.e. organizations, institutions, businesses, etc.) is available here
  • Means of subsistence during your stay in Croatia and for the return to your home country or travel to another third country
  • Means of travel and intention to return to your home country or the possibility of entry into another third country (non-EU/EEU)
  • Booked accommodation
  • Application form – below are forms in different languages:

The list of travel documents Croatia recognizes as valid for crossing the state border and entering a visa is available here.

When applying online, you will complete the application form via an online app.

Application for Schengen visa
Application for Croatian Schengen visa

Where to apply for a Croatian short-stay visa?

The Schengen visa application is submitted at the embassy or consulate of the Schengen area member state, which is the main destination of the trip. If the main destination of the trip is Croatia, it must be submitted to Croatian ones.

#1 At Croatian embassy/consulate/VFS visa center

You can apply for a Croatian visa at:

  • Competent Croatian embassy or consulate or VFS Global visa center in your home country
  • Nearest Croatian embassy or consulate or VFS Global visa center if Croatia doesn’t have one in your foreign country

If you are prevented from coming in person, someone else can submit the request instead of you. However, you will have to show up in person to pick up your visa. Legal representatives can submit requests for minor persons or persons without legal capacity.

If you apply for a Croatian visa for the first time, your fingerprints will be taken.

A list of all Croatian embassies and consulates abroad is available here.

A list of all Croatian VFS visa centers is available here.

#2 Online

It is also possible to submit a request for a Croatian visa online here.

The online application form is available in Croatian, English, Albanian, Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

After submission, you must provide the Croatian embassy/consulate/VFS visa center with a printed version of your completed application form and the required documentation. This is also possible to do through an accredited travel agency.

In addition to applying for a Croatian visa, you can also check your application status on this page.

#3 EXCEPTION: At the Croatian border

In extraordinary and justified cases, when you cannot apply for a Croatian visa in advance but you have documents proving urgent reasons for entering Croatia, the police at the Croatian border may issue you a short-term visa. Justified cases include unforeseen and immediate urgent reasons for entering Croatia.

At Croatian borders, it is possible to get only a visa for:

  • One entry of up to 15 days
  • Transit
  • Transit to seafarers

To get this visa, you must meet these requirements:

  • You have a valid travel document, i.e. a passport
  • You have justified the purpose of your urgent travel
  • You have enough means of subsistence during your stay in Croatia and return to your home country or for travel to another third country
  • Your return to the country of origin or residence or transit is declared safe
  • You are not banned from entering and staying in Croatia
  • You are not a threat to Croatian public order, national security, or public health
  • You paid a visa fee in the amount of 60 euro.

A list of Croatian border crossings that issue Croatian visas is available here.

Administrative fees

Here are all possible costs:

  • Short-stay visa fee charged at the time of application – 80 euro or 85,33 USD
  • Storing of the original Letter of Guarantee at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – 18.58 euro or 19,82 USD
  • Complaint against a decision declining the application, annulling, or abolishing a visa – 42,47 euro or 45,30 USD
  • Complaint against declining extension and/or duration of the stay granted based on the visa issued – 42,47 euro or 45,30 USD

The following groups are exempt from paying costs:

  • Family members of Croatian citizens (spouses and children)
  • Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries
  • Children up to 12
  • Owners of diplomatic and service passports on official travel
  • Students, postgraduate students, and accompanying teachers who come for the purpose of schooling, study, and professional training
  • Visiting teachers and associates at higher education institutions who participate in study programs
  • Researchers coming to research according to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 September 2005
  • Foreign researchers who are guests at scientific organizations, work on scientific research and participate in study programs
  • Representatives of non-profit organizations up to the age of 25, who attend seminars, conferences, sport, cultural, or educational events organized by non-profit organizations

How to apply for a Croatian long-term D visa

If you need a long-stay visa, you should submit the request no earlier than 2 months before and no later than two months after the start date of the validity period of your granted temporary stay or work permit.

What are the requirements to apply for a Croatian long-stay D visa?

Here is the mandatory documentation:

  • Valid travel document/passport
    • Validity period must be at least 3 months longer from the validity of the temporary residence or residence and work permit
    • It must be issued in the last 10 years
    • It must contain at least 2 blank pages where the visa can be placed
  • 35×40 mm photo in accordance with ICAO standards
  • Proof of valid travel medical insurance valid for Schengen area – view details here
  • Proof of paid visa fee – view details here
  • Proof of paid service fee if the application is submitted at VFS Global visa center
  • Proof of approved temporary residence or issued work and residence permit
  • Proof of means of travel
  • Booked accommodation
  • Application form – below are forms in different languages:

The list of travel documents Croatia recognizes as valid for crossing the state border and entering a visa is available here.

Where to apply for a Croatian long-stay D visa?

You can apply for a Croatian long-stay visa at the Croatian embassy, consulate, or VFS visa center outside of Croatia or online. You must show up in person. After you get your visa, you will pick it up at the same embassy/consulate.

Detailed information on where to apply is already described in this section about short-term visas – the same applies to long-term visas.

Administrative fees

Below are all possible costs:

  • Short-stay visa fee charged at the time of application – 93 euro or 99,19 USD
  • Storing of the original Letter of Guarantee at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – 18.58 euro or 19,82 USD
  • Complaint against a decision declining the application, annulling, or abolishing a visa – 42,47 euro or 45,30 USD
  • Complaint against declining extension and/or duration of the stay granted based on the visa issued – 42,47 euro or 45,30 USD

The following groups are exempt from paying administrative costs:

  • Children up to 12
  • Third-county nationals being granted residence for the purpose of family reunification with a Croatian citizen (spouse, children)
  • Third-country nationals being granted residence for the purpose of
    • Secondary education
    • Study – view guide here
    • Research
    • Humanitarian reason – view guide here

Penalties for overstaying a tourist visa

According to the Law on Foreigners, third-country citizens who illegally stay in Croatia may be fined a penalty between 60 and 920 euros. This includes third-country citizens who don’t have a valid permit for temporary stay, long-term stay, or permanent stay.

However, for seriously egregious overstays (like, years), jail time is on the table.

If you have any questions about the Croatian visa system, you can send an e-mail to vize@mvep.hr.

Note: We’ve explained all available types of visas for third-country citizens in this post. However, before you apply for a visa, it is recommended to contact the competent Croatian embassy or consulate abroad. They will provide you with additional information and the latest changes if any.


Sources:
Vize by gov.hr
Treba li vam viza? by MUP
Pregled viznog sustava by MVEP
Putne isprave za članove obitelji koji nisu državljani države članice EU-a by europa.eu
Visa requirements overview by MVEP
Dokumentacija uz zahtjev by MVEP
Izdavanje vize na granici by e-Građani

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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