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Available visas and residence permits for Croatia: Guide for 2023

This post has been verified with an immigration lawyer and the ministry handling immigration.

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UPDATED: 16/12/2022

Welcome to Croatia! If you’d like to visit Croatia for a short period or a long-term stay, there is a suitable 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 the 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:

The facts are these…

Available visas and residence permits for Croatia

How to get a visa for short stays in Croatia

Depending on your nationality, you may or may not need to apply for a visa to visit Croatia before your arrival. Some foreign 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 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.

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 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.

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, 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 in 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 (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 EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation citizens

#1 EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

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]

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

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 family members of EU/EEA nationals 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 EEA permanent residents can get temporary residence in Croatia]

Croatian residence for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens (third-country nationals)

#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 now apply for this permit.

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

#2 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/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 a Blue Card in Croatia]

#3 Family reunification

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.

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

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

#4 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.

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

#5 Prepayment of rent

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

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

#6 Scientific research

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]

#7 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]

#8 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.

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

#9 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 guides on volunteering for:

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

#10 Work

To apply for a work and residence permit in Croatia, you must first 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.

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

#11 Work for other purposes

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.

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]

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

Croatian 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.

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

Need help figuring out your best option for Croatian residency?

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 of 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/EEA) and have:

  • opened and operated 2 companies
  • applied for 5 temporary residence permits
  • obtained permanent residence
  • applied for Croatian citizenship
  • purchased a home
  • 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 it 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 accommodations, 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 our expad-vetted 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 or jump to this section to read the last 20 reviews.

Read about our expat-vetted lawyer network in Croatia here.

Consulting sessions cost 70 Euros per half hour (including VAT), 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 140 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.

  • I ask this as rules and requirements differ depending on nationality.
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    The cost is 70euros per 30 minutes.
  • If you're unsure of the time difference, please check the current time in Croatia here.
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Get help with living in Croatia here.


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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