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 for travel 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
The Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova aka “MUP” handle immigration. When applying for residency, you must visit the closest administrative police station (MUP) to start the process.
Before going to the police station 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.
If you want information on how your spouse and/or children can apply for residence based on your EU nationality, then this post is for them.
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.
Everybody Else (Non-EU Nationals)
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) in addition to the requirements for the specific basis on which you will apply.
The basis on which 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 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 as long as you become a volunteer and have a valid contract with a non-profit organization in Croatia. Here are all the details on how to get a volunteer residence permit.
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 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. Then you can return as a tourist and apply for a new temporary residency permit for a year again. After which you must leave again. Rinse, repeat. The reason for this limit is to prevent you from qualifying for permanent residency after 5 years.
For information on the Croatia residence application process and what you need for your permit application, check out our other posts on residency.
Residency guides for your nationality
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 UK citizens
We recommend that everyone use a lawyer when applying for residency in Croatia. Lawyers have connections within immigration, are able to skip common roadblocks and can identify any risks with your application. In addition, it is rare that the police (who handle immigration) will speak English to applicants.
Our Expat in Croatia lawyer network can review your situation and quickly determine if you qualify for residency, all in English. If you do qualify, they can also handle your residency application from beginning to end. This service includes:
- Personalized consulting on your specific situation
- Confirming latest immigration requirements for your nationality and basis
- Assistance with putting together necessary documents
- All communication with the police on your behalf
- Assembly, submission and monitoring of your application
- Answering questions and assisting you throughout the process
To consult with an expat-vetted immigration lawyer to find out if you qualify to live in Croatia long term, please complete the form below and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.