Welcome to Croatia! If you’d like to visit Croatia, for a short period or a long-term stay, Croatia has an option for you. Croatia has a number of options that allow non-citizens to visit and live in the country, including tourist visas and residence permits for those that wish to stay longer.
The available visas and residence permits 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.
In this post, we cover:
- How to get a visa for short stays in Croatia
- Available residence permits for long stays in Croatia
- Where to apply for residence in Croatia
- European Union/EEA/Swiss Confederation
- Everyone else
- Residence guides for specific nationalities
- How to get help with residence
The facts are these…
Depending on your nationality, you may or may not need to apply for a visa to visit Croatia in advance of your arrival. Some nationals can just show up in Croatia for up to 90 days as a tourist without prior notice.
Some nationals need to apply for a visa abroad at a Croatian consulate or embassy before they will be granted. And in some of those cases, they will only be granted a visa to stay in Croatia as a tourist for up to 30 days. It all depends.
To see if you need to apply for a visa before traveling to Croatia, check the requirements for your nationality here.
If your nationality requires a visa, check out our detailed guide on how to apply for permission to enter Croatia here.
For those planning to stay long-term, you’ll need a residence permit. We’ll cover those options in the next section.
Where you apply for temporary residence in Croatia all depends on whether or not you need to apply for a visa to enter the country as a tourist.
If you are required to apply for a tourist visa based on these requirements, then you must also apply for residence abroad at an embassy or consulate.
If you are not required to apply for a tourist visa, then you can apply for temporary residence from within Croatia. When applying for temporary residence, you must visit the closest administrative police station to your address to start the process. [Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]
This police station is under the “Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova”, which translates to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In Croatia, their name is shortened to MUP (pronounced like “Moop”). Just make a cow sound and add a “p” at the end. Immigration and the police fall under this ministry.
Before going to the police station or embassy/consulate to apply for a residence permit, make sure you know which permit you qualify for and the requirements for the permit.
Citizens of the EU/EEA Member States and the Swiss Confederation are automatically entitled to a work and residence permit in Croatia. To apply for the residence permit, they must apply for it no less than 82 days after entry. You can request residence for up to 5 years. Be sure to put 5 years on your application if that is how long you wish to stay.
[Read: How EU citizens can get temporary residence in Croatia]
Third-country immediate family members of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are entitled to temporary residence in Croatia, as long as they are all living together at the same address in Croatia.
Third-country citizens and their families who hold long-term residence in another EEA member state may be granted temporary residence in Croatia.
Remote workers can be granted temporary residence if they can prove they are working for companies that are not registered in Croatia. Third-country citizens can now apply for this permit.
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 temporary residence that will allow you to work.
Immediate family members of Croatian citizens and permanent residents can apply for temporary residence, as long as they live together at the same address in Croatia. This applies to spouses, children, and life partners.
If you purchase a residential property in Croatia as a non-EU national, then you may be granted temporary residence. The catch is that you can be here for only 6 months at a time under this permit. At the end of each year term, you must leave for 90 days.
A temporary stay (up to a year) may be granted to non-EU nationals who have prepared rent for the term they wish to be in Croatia, up to 1-year maximum.
Please note that this residence permit is not renewable and does not allow you to work.
If you wish to conduct research in Croatia, then you may be granted temporary residence. For exact requirements, contact MUP for specific guidelines. [Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]
Those enrolled in qualified programs at a university or secondary school in Croatia may be granted residence in Croatia during the period of time they are in school.
Please note that language programs at schools like Croaticum do not qualify for student residence. Instead, you must apply based on “other purposes”.
If you enroll in a Croatian language study program like Croaticum, you can apply for temporary residence in Croatia. This type of residence falls under the “other purposes” under the law.
If you get a contract with a non-profit organization in Croatia, you may be granted temporary residence. This permit does not allow you to work, and any work you do for the non-profit cannot be paid.
Here is a list of non-profit organizations in Split.
Here is a list of non-profit organizations in Zagreb.
To apply for a work and residence permit in Croatia, you must first be offered a job with a Croatian employer. The work permit is tied to the employer. This means that if you quit the job or are fired, your work and residence permit will be canceled and you must leave Croatia.
[Read: How to find a job in Croatia]
If you start your own Croatian company and hire yourself, then you can apply for a work and residence permit. There are lots of catches to this scenario, so make sure you familiarize yourself with them first. [Read: How to get residency in Croatia by opening a Croatian business]
Check out our immigration section for detailed information on the Croatia temporary residence application process and what you need for your permit application.
In addition to the above resources, we are creating customized guides for each nationality so that you can clearly understand all of your options. You can find the residency guides we’ve created so far below. If you don’t see your nationality here and would like to request that we create a guide for your country, let us know in the comments.
- Croatia residency guide for American citizens
- Croatia residency guide for Australian citizens
- Croatia residency guide for Canadian citizens
- Croatia residency guide for South African citizens
- Croatia residency guide for UK citizens
We crafted this post to be as detailed as possible, but sometimes questions still arise because everyone’s situation is different. If you’d like personalized guidance based on your situation, we can help.
Save yourself the time and uncertainty of trying to navigate the ever-changing rules for living in Croatia by scheduling a private chat with me, Sara Dyson, the creator of Expat in Croatia.
I’ve lived in Croatia since 2012 (before the country entered the EU), opened and operated 2 companies, applied for 5 residence permits as a non-EU citizen, and written about Croatia and its bureaucracy extensively since 2013. I am well-versed in what it takes to make Croatia your home, which obstacles to look out for, and how to make as seamless a transition as possible.
During our chat, I will answer all of your questions about Croatia. You can tap into my expertise on anything you want; whether it be residency, citizenship, healthcare, buying property, letting accommodation, operating a business, what it’s like to live here, personal experiences with bureaucracy, or cultural nuance. It’s all tailored to you.
To complete the package, I follow up after your session with additional information, links to relevant resources, and contact information for local experts personally vetted by me like lawyers, real estate agents, tax advisors, accountants, and translators. All recommendations and resources will be specifically curated based on your individual needs discussed in the session.
You can read reviews from people I’ve helped here.
Consulting sessions cost 60 Euros per half hour (including PDV), prepaid in advance. This cost includes:
- Preparation time before our session
- Duration of our session
- Preparation of follow up email after our session with resources and contacts
Meetings can be arranged over video chat, or in person. I’m always happy to meet people in person in Split, but please note the minimum commitment for an in-person session is 1-hour or 120 Euros. Additional time may be charged for intensive research.
Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can always introduce you to expat-vetted lawyers, by request.
To schedule a 1-on-1 consulting session, complete the below form. Sessions are usually scheduled at least 1 to 2 weeks in advance due to the high volume of requests we receive.
View other residency articles
- Background checks and fingerprints for third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA citizens)
- Difference between getting a visa and a residence permit in Croatia
- How to transition from temporary to permanent residence
- How to prepare your foreign documents for use in Croatia
- How to register or change your address with the Croatian police
- How to show proof of financial means (as part of your application for residence in Croatia)
- Prebivalište and boravište: two addresses that must be registered with the police
- Residence Permit Process: Getting your national ID card
- Restrictions on travel while you have legal residence in Croatia
- Rights of permanent residents in Croatia
- Which documents you should bring with you to Croatia (if you plan to live here)
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.