Digital Nomads

Ahead of ZDNW 2021, Answers to Zagreb Digital Nomad FAQs

By 11 June 2021

June 11, 2021 - With 10 days to go before the start of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, answers to some fequently asked questions.

How do I apply for the digital nomad permit?

The Croatian digital nomad permit came into effect on January 1, 2021, with an online application process launched on March 1, 2021. This allows non-EU/EEA nationals who fulfil the criteria to live and work in Croatia for a one-time 12-month period. You can see all the official conditions here.

You can apply for the permit online via the Ministry of Interior website here.

How long does the application take?

The application process is extremely recent, and there is not enough data yet to give accurate predictions. The quickest approval I am aware of is two weeks, while others have taken a couple of months. Two things which seem to slow things down are getting the background check confirmation from the home country police authorities, and the need for an apostille. Things seem to vary from applicants from country to country. 

How many people have applied so far, where are they from, and how many have been approved?

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As of June 10, 2021, there had been 120 application for the digital nomad permit, 37 of which have been a approved, 9 rejected/withdrawn, and the rest in process. The biggest number of applicants have come from the USA, UK and Russia. The number of applications should improve considerably once borders open fully and travel is less restrictive. 

Do I need to apply from outside Croatia?

That depends on your personal situation. If you require a visa to enter Croatia, then yes (unless you get the visa, then enter and apply). Several nomads who can enter for 90 days have started the process from inside the country. 

How do I prove my income?

The financial pre-requisite of the permit is that applicants either have proof of funds up to 202,890 kuna for the 12 months (plus 10% each for a partner and family member), or they can prove a monthly income of 16,907.50. Proof of income for the previous three months of this amount via bank statements is enough.

What about tax?

Digital permit holders are not subject to Croatian income tax during their stay, but there are, of course, plenty of other taxes. Kristina Grbavac from KPMG Croatia has been a strong supporter of the digital nomad initiative, and she gave a great tax overview in a TCN interview. You can contact Kristina directly via the KPMG Croatia website.  

Are there co-working spaces in Zagreb?

Yes! The scene is developing quickly, with more co-working spaces being added monthly. Check out BIZkoshnica, HUB385, Impact Hub Zagreb, InstantOffice Zagreb, Matrix Office Park, Virtual Office Croatia, Wespa Spaces, and ZICER - Zagreb Innovation Centre.

Where can I go for information about the digital nomad scene in Zagreb?

There are some dedicated Facebook groups:

Digital Nomads Croatia

Digital Nomads Zagreb

as well as 

The Digital Nomad Association Croatia.

and the dedicated TCN section for digital nomads

The Zagreb Tourist Board will soon be offering its own dedicated digital nomad section

Is there a big digital nomad community in Zagreb?

In terms of organised community at the moment, I would say no, but things are changing rapidly. In terms of number of nomads living in the city, I would say that there are quite a number, and they are growing quickly. Croatia is 'in' as a digital nomad hot spot, and less restrictive travel will see a significant increase. It is only a matter of time until the community gets more organised.  

Many nomads are heading to the Croatian coast and islands. Why Zagreb?

Zagreb and the coast are perfect parnters to showcase why Croatia is a fantastic nomad destination, based on safety, authentic experiences, and lifestyle. Digital nomads by definition are nomadic, and travel between the capital and the coast is natural. 

As the biggest city in Croatia, Zagreb has an increasingly international feel. Its Austro-Hungarian heritage has echoes of Prague and Vienna, but at a cheaper price. Its parks and outdoor cafes are a joy to wander and linger, while the surrounding area is full of additional tourism options. You can learn more on the Around Zagreb website.  

How can I check the Internet speed for a location in Zagreb?

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Hrvatski Telekom have an online map of Croatia, where you can check the Internet speed of any address.

Are there any simple pre-paid digital nomad products to get online in Zagreb?

Hrvatski Telekom has developed a special product for digital nomads without the need for bureaucracy or contracts. The prepaid SIM offers 7 days unlimited access of FLAT mobile data with 4G/LTE speed up to 600 Mbit/s. The price is 85 kuna (11 euro) and this can be topped up each week for 60 kuna. More details here.

How easy is it to find long-term accommodation in Zagreb?

Finding longer-term accommodation in Zagreb is much easier than on the coast, as the city caters to people renting for longer periods and not just tourist short-term lets. Additionally,  the future of tourism is changing, with AirBnB reporting that some 25% of 2021 bookings so far have been for 28 days and more. This will naturally bring changes to the rental market. The Digital Nomad Association Croatia will be offering approved accommodation specifially for digital nomads. 

How to meet people?

Zagreb is an extremely relaxed and social city, and it will not be long before you fall in love with the cafe culture. Conversations inevitably start up with people at the next table, and new friendships are made. New in town and looking to find fellow exapts? The Facebook group Expats in Zagreb Official is a great resource, with many locals and expats sharing their experiences, organising meetups, and helping new arrivals with information. 

What about health insurance?

Digital nomads applying for the permit are required to have health insurance. This can be purchased abroad, or through the Croatian health system.  

Is English widely spoken?

Absolutely. Croatians have among the best English-language skills in the EU, and you will have no problem communicating in Zagreb and beyond. The older generation are perhaps not as fluent, but visitors are surprised at the level of fluency. German is also widely spoken in Zagreb. 

How safe in Zagreb?

Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe, and many visitors comment on the safety in the city. There is very little crime, and single women can walk home late at night without problems. I know of several people in the Croatian diaspora who moved to Croatia from countries such as Australia and the United States, because Croatia was a much safer place to bring up their children. 

Where can I find information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project?

ZDNW 2021 will take place from June 21 - 27, 2021 in a variety of locations all over the Croatian capital. Online registration for the event will be available on the Saltwater Nomads website. Attendance, both online and in person, is free, but please be advised that physical attendance will be limited due to epidemiological measures. 

ZDNW 2021 will have 7 themes over 7 days: cyber security, online presence, remote careers, wellbeing, the future of work, tax & finance, and explore Zagreb. 

The Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project will run from July 1 to December 31, with 6 winners enjoying free accommodation for a month, working with the city to improve the Zagreb digital nomad offer. Want to apply?

For the latest news and features regarding digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section.

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