Available visas and residence permits for Croatia: Guide for 2024

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Tourists in the city of Nin, Croatia

UPDATED: 13.7.2023.

Welcome to Croatia, a country of rich culture, stunning nature, and an ideal climate! If you are a foreigner who would like to visit Croatia for a short period or long-term stay, there is a suitable option for you.

Croatia has many options that allow non-residents to visit and live in the country, including tourist visas and residence permits for those who wish to stay longer. The available visas and residence permits vary depending on your citizenship, i.e., whether you are an EU/EEA/Swiss or third-country (non-EU/EEA) citizen, heritage, and the purpose of your stay.

If you are only traveling to Croatia for a short period, you only need a tourist visa. To learn the difference between a visa and a residence permit, check out this post.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Available visas and residence permits for Croatia

How to get a visa for short stays in Croatia

Depending on your citizenship, you may or may not need to apply for a visa to visit Croatia before your arrival. Some foreign citizens can just show up in Croatia for up to 90 days as a tourist without prior notice.

Some people need to apply for a visa abroad at a Croatian consulate or embassy before they are 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 on your specific case.

To find out if you need to apply for a visa before traveling to Croatia, check the requirements for your citizenship here.

If your nationality requires a visa, check out our detailed guide on applying 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.

All available Croatian residence permits

Where to apply for temporary residence in Croatia?

Where you apply for temporary residence in Croatia 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, you must also apply for residence abroad at a Croatian embassy or consulate. View a list of all Croatian embassies in the world here.

If you are not required to apply for a tourist visa, you can apply for temporary residence in Croatia. When applying for temporary residence, you must visit the closest administrative police station to your Croatian address to start the process.

[Read: How to register or change your address with the Croatian police]

View a complete list of MUP administrative offices in Croatia here.

This police station is under the Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova (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.

[Read: All the Croatian government ministries and what they do]

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.

Croatian residence for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

#1 EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

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 10 years. Be sure to put 10 years on your application if that is how long you wish to stay.

[Read: How EU/EEA citizens can get temporary residence in Croatia]

#2 Spouses and children of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

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.

[Read: How non-EU/EEA family members of EU/EEA citizens can get temporary residence in Croatia]

#3 Permanent residents of EU/EEA/Switzerland 

Third-country citizens and their families who hold long-term residence in another EU/EEA member state may be granted temporary residence in Croatia.

[Read: How EU/EEA permanent residents can get temporary residence in Croatia]

Croatian residence for third-country citizens

#1 Digital nomads 

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 apply for this permit.

[Read: How to apply for the digital nomad residence permit in Croatia]

#2 Work permit

To apply for a work and residence permit in Croatia, first, you must find a job at a Croatian company. 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.

View our guide on how to find a job in Croatia here.

[Read: How to apply for a Croatian work permit]

#3 Seasonal work permit

Seasonal jobs in Croatia are popular during the summer, especially in tourism and tourism-related fields. The easiest way to get a seasonal job is to apply for a position considered deficient in Croatia. Employers usually provide accommodation to seasonal workers.

[Read: How to get a seasonal work permit in Croatia]

#4 Work for other purposes

If you start your own Croatian company and hire yourself, you can also apply for a work and residence permit. There are lots of catches to this scenario, so make sure you familiarize yourself 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.

[Read: How to get residency in Croatia by opening a Croatian business]

#5 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 join the Blue Card network. Once you are verified, employers within the EU/EEA can 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.

[Read: How to apply for an EU Blue Card in Croatia]

#6 Members of the Croatian people

A unique path for Croatian descendants is the possibility to apply for a residence based on humanitarian reasons, more specifically, as a member of the Croatian people. This possibility is specifically for those who qualify to apply for Croatian citizenship based on descent and plan to apply once they obtain residence in Croatia.

View our guide on how to apply for Croatian citizenship based on descent (prirođenje) here.

[Read: How Croatian diaspora and descendants can apply for temporary residence in Croatia (if you don’t have citizenship yet)]

#7 Family reunification

Immediate family members of Croatian citizens and permanent residents can apply for temporary residence if they live together at the same address in Croatia. This applies to spouses, children, and life partners.

[Read: How to apply for temporary residence in Croatia based on family reunification]

[Read: How non-EU/EEA spouses of Croatians can apply for residence]

#8 Ownership of real estate

If you purchase a residential property in Croatia as a non-EU/EEA national, 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.

View our guide on how third-country citizens can buy residential real estate in Croatia here.

[Read: How to get a residence permit based on the property]

#9 Prepayment of rent

A temporary stay (up to a year) may be granted to non-EU/EEA citizens 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.

[Read: How to apply for residence based on prepayment of  rent]

#10 Secondary school education and university studies

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”.

[Read: How to study and gain student residence in Croatia]

#11 Language study

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” by the law.

View our guide on the biggest Croatian language schools in Croatia here.

[Read: How to apply for temporary residence based on language study]

#12 Volunteering

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.

View our volunteering guides:

[Read: How to volunteer in Croatia and get residence]

#13 Scientific research

If you wish to conduct research in Croatia, you may be granted temporary residence. For exact requirements, contact MUP for specific guidelines.

[Read: How to find administrative police stations in Croatia]

Check out our immigration section here for detailed information on Croatia’s temporary residence application process and what you need for your permit application.

Croatian residency guides for your citizenship

In addition to the above resources, we are creating customized guides for different citizenships so that you can clearly understand all of your options.

Here are the Croatian residency guides we’ve created so far:

Skip the research! Save time and talk to EIC.

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We vet our information through hands-on, human work. This process includes extensive web research, phone calls to the government, collaboration with licensed Croatian professionals, and visits to government.

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View our other residency articles

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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