If you are not a Croatian citizen and wish to stay in Croatia longer than 90 days (or the tourism period allowed for your nationality), then you’ll need to apply for a long-term residence permit.
There are several types of visas and residence permits available that vary depending on your nationality, heritage and purpose of your stay. If you want to know the difference between a visa and a residence permit, check out this post. If you are only traveling to Croatia for a short period, you only need a tourist visa.
Tourist Visa to Croatia
Nationals of certain countries require a visa to enter Croatia, even if only for a short term visit. To see if you need a visa to travel to Croatia, go here. For nationals of these countries, you can apply for a visa online here.
If you plan to stay in Croatia longer than what is allowed for your nationality as a tourist, you’ll need a residence permit.
Available Residence Permits in Croatia
Before going to the Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova aka “MUP” (police) to apply for a residence permit, make sure you know which permit you qualify for and the requirements for the permit.
EEA Nationals & Their Family
Nationals of EEA Member States and the Swiss Confederation are entitled to a work and residence permit in Croatia. To get the residence permit, they must apply for it no less than 82 days after entry. Here are specific instructions on how an EU national can apply for residence in Croatia.
Non-EEA Nationals with Permanent EEA Residence & Their Family
If you do not have citizenship in an EEA member state but do have permanent residence in the EEA, you can apply for residency in Croatia. You’ll need to show your current (not expired) permanent residence, proof of financial support and proof of health insurance.
Highly-Qualified Non-EEA National
This is a new residency regime for Croatia that came into effect with the accession to the EU in July 2013. This program is also referred to as the EU Blue Card.
If you have received higher education or qualifications such as ISCED 1997 levels 5a or higher, or an associate’s degree or higher, you can apply to be a part of the Blue Card network. Once you are verified, employers within the EU are able to hire you. Once you have been hired or given a binding work offer for a highly-qualified position within Croatia, you may apply for a Croatia residence permit that allows you to work.
If you do not hold EEA citizenship, then you fall into the “everybody else” bucket. For those in this category, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Make sure you bring these items with you to the MUP (police station). The reasons Croatia may grant a residence permit to a non-EEA national are:
This includes reuniting with a spouse or immediately family member who has a valid residence permit or citizenship. Proof of relation must be provided.
Secondary school education and university studies
You’ll need to prove enrollment at a qualifying institution.
Contact the MUP for specific guidelines on how to show purpose of research in Croatia.
This includes volunteer work. This permit can be valuable to those who have no valid grounds for staying in Croatia. For example, let’s say your boyfriend has a permit to stay in Croatia. You aren’t married, so you can’t apply for a permit under Family Reunification. If he is able to support you with his salary, you can apply to volunteer under this permit scheme. You’ll need to have a contract with an employer or agency for the volunteer work that states you are not being paid.
This is a straight work permit initiated by a Croatian employer, meaning you must have a valid work contract before you can apply for the work permit. Here is a guide on how to find a job in Croatia.
Work for other purposes
This is a generic catchall for other work situations. For example, you could start a Croatian company, then issue yourself a work contract from your own company. This scenario will allow you to apply for a residence permit.
Temporary 1-year residence permit for non-EU Nationals
A temporary stay (up to a year) may be granted to non-EU nationals without a concrete purpose for the stay. This temporary permit is only for 1 year and requires that you prepay both rent and state health insurance for the entire term of your permit. You must also provide proof of funds to support yourself. This amount can vary drastically and is dictated by the police. They will give you the amount you must have to prove financial stability. Please note that this residence permit is not renewable and does not allow you to work. Here are all the details you need on this residence permit.
If you purchase a residential property in Croatia as a non-EU national, then you may be granted a residence permit. The catch is that you can only be in Croatia for 6 months out of each year under this permit. The reason for this limit is to prevent you from qualifying for permanent residency after 5 years.