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 will cover:
- How to get a tourist visa for short stays in Croatia
- Available residence permits for long stays in Croatia
- Where to apply for residence for residence in Croatia
- European Union/EEA/Swiss Confederation
- Everyone else
- Residence guides for specific nationalities
- How to get help with residence
Let’s get started…
Depending on your nationality, you may or may not need to apply for a tourist visa to visit Croatia in advance before 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 up to 30 days. It all depends.
To see if you need to apply for a tourist visa before traveling to Croatia, check the requirements for your nationality 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. 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 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.
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 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.
To learn how you can apply for temporary residence as an EU citizen, check out this post.
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.
To learn how family members of EU citizens can apply for temporary residence, check out this post.
Third-country citizens and their families who hold long-term residence in another EEA member state may be granted temporary residence in Croatia.
To learn how to apply for residence based on being an EU permanent residence, check out this post.
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.
To learn how to apply for a residence permit based on being a digital nomad, check out this post.
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 temporary residence that will allow you to work.
To learn how to apply for a work and residence permit, check out this post.
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.
To learn how to apply for residence based on being a family member, check out this post.
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.
To learn how to apply for temporary residence based on owning real estate, check out this post.
To learn about how to purchase residential property in Croatia, check out this post.
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.
To learn how to apply for temporary residence based on prepayment of work, check out this post.
If you wish to conduct research in Croatia, then you may be granted temporary residence. For exact rquirements, contact MUP for specific guidelines.
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 to do not qualify for student residence. Instead you must apply based on “other purposes”.
To learn how to apply for residence for the purpose of study, check out this post.
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.
To learn how to apply for residence based on volunteering, check out this post.
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 cancelled and you must leave Croatia.
To learn about how to apply for a work permit, check out this post.
Here is a guide on 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 with them first. In addition, check out this post and this post and this post so you get an idea of what you are in for if you decide to open a company in Croatia.
To learn about how to apply for a work permit, check out this post.
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.
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