Thursday, 8 August 2019

No Deal Brexit? What Croatia's British Residents Need to Know

August the 8th, 2019 - I've written a series of articles on what Brexit means for British citizens in Croatia, but with Boris Johnson now resident at Number 10 (for now), the threat of a no deal Brexit might tragically become a reality if parliament doesn't find a way to block it.

Political views and basic sanity aside, let's have a look at what this unwanted outcome will look like, and what effects it will have on Croatia's British residents.

As I wrote in my last article on the matter, Croatia has vowed to protect its British residents regardless of the outcome of the UK's exit from the bloc, and MUP issued some guidelines which you can read here. Now that Croatia has made its very generous plans for its resident Brits official, let's remind ourselves of them, with thanks to the EU's website.

In the unfortunate case of a no-deal scenario, what should you do as a British national do to keep your residence rights after the Brexit date? When should you do it?

The Republic of Croatia will protect your residence rights through transitional measures that will have no end date as long as you as a UK nationals and/or your family members already have registered temporary or permanent stay before the UK leaves the European Union.

For this to be valid for you, you need to be in possession of a registration certificate and/or have been issued with a residence card pursuant to applicable legislation on European Economic Area nationals, which is the right to free movement within the territory of the EU.

You will need to have your temporary or permanent stay registered at the administrative police station which is responsible for the area in which you live before a no deal Brexit date. You will then be issued with a registration certificate, and then a residence card (after it is made) under EU law, which will be a clear proof of you having been resident before the UK's departure from the EU.

If you've already registered your temporary/permanent residence and have a residence document (registration certificate and/or residence card) issued under EU law (freedom of movement) this will be considered as your temporary residence permit up to one year from the no deal Brexit date (or until their expiration date, if the said date is shorter). During this transitional period, you will have to obtain a new residence document (residence permit) which will be issued in the format laid down by Regulation 1030/2002.

If you did not register your residence prior to the no deal Brexit date, you will have to apply for a residence status and residence permit in line with legislation for third country nationals.

I would strongly advise any British national who is living in Croatia without a residence permit to go and register now, the process for EU/British citizens is typically streamline and simple, it is not so for third country nationals. Do not wait around and leave this up to fate.

What your rights will be:   

With your temporary residence permit (later exchanged residence permit in line with Regulation 1030/2002), you will keep your right of legal residence and your right to work without the need to be issued with any sort of additional work permit. You will be able to continue to reside in the territory of the Republic of Croatia and work just as you did before the UK left the EU.

How you can travel to other Member States or cross the EU's external borders:   

You will have to carry your passport and your residence permit with you.

If you have resided in the Republic of Croatia for more than five years, how can you obtain EU long-term residence status?         

After Brexit date, providing you are properly and legally registered and in the possession of a registration certificate and/or a residence permit, you will keep your residence rights indefinitely, but you can already apply in parallel for an EU long-term residence permit (please note that EU long term residence require prior residence of 5 years along with a few other requirements).

This permit will grant you permanent status, and allow you to enjoy the same treatment as nationals regarding access to employment, education, and core social benefits. This will also allow you, under certain conditions, to acquire the right to reside in another EU Member State.

After 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay in the Republic of Croatia, you will also be able to apply for national permanent residence.

If your family members (spouse, children) are citizens of a third country (neither EU nor UK), what should they do to keep their residence rights?

If they already have a residence card issued under EU free movement law, this will be considered as their temporary residence permit up to one year from the no deal Brexit date (or until their expiration date, if the said date is shorter). After one year they will have to apply for a new residence document (residence permit), in line with Regulation 1030/2002.

If they do not have a residence card, they will have to apply for a residence status also under new specific rules that will be in place. Applications are possible as of the date of a no deal Brexit with the competent police station/police administration.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Brexit Brits in Croatia - Simplified Jargon for Croatia's British Residents

A look at the possible Brexit scenarios and what they mean for Croatia's confused British residents.

Brexit has been delayed. If May can't get her deal through parliament, or if no other way forward is proposed, the UK could end up with a disorderly No Deal exit, despite parliament having voted overwhelmingly against it. If May passes her deal or parliament finds another route and that is passed then Brexit has been delayed until May the 22nd to allow for the necessary legislation to be passed. The UK cannot delay Brexit any further unless it agrees to partake in the European elections. Farcical, no? 

Anyway, La La Land, sorry... I mean Britain, aside, let's see how things currently stand for Croatia's resident Brits. I've tried to update you a lot, but as you know, the Brexit situation has changed more times than Boris Johnson has changed his political beliefs, so it doesn't always mean much. Still, let's give it a go.

May's deal/withdrawal agreement passes:

If, in the unlikely event May's deal passes during the third meaningful vote on it (third time lucky?), then the withdrawal agreement concluded back in 2018 will come into force on May the 22nd this year, giving way to a transition (implementation) period until what we currently believe to be the end of December, 2020. This however, could be extended and altered. 

What does this mean?

It means that you need to make sure you're correctly registered with the authorities (MUP/Ministry of the Interior) as a resident in Croatia. You need to be in possession of a valid residency permit or the white piece of paper proving you've been approved and you're just waiting for it to be made, before December 2020. If you're due to gain permanent residency (after five years of continuous, lawful residency in Croatia), you can apply for it as an EU citizen would during this time. In short, nothing will alter.

Here's a more detailed guide I wrote a few months ago.

May's deal fails again, parliament can find no way forward, No Deal occurs:

This remains unlikely as this is only the desire of a handful of people who seem hell bent on such an insane idea. Still, it could happen. You need to make sure you're correctly registered with MUP as stated above, and your registration, receipt of registration and/or residence permit will act as proof of your British citizenship and proof of you having been resident in Croatia before the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It's hugely important that you do this if you haven't already. 

Here's how you should prepare for all scenarios, this guide will help you make sure you're on the right side of the law should the UK crash out of the EU with no deal next month. 

Here are MUP's guidelines, with our explainers and points thrown in, in the case of a No Deal Brexit. Croatia has now finally confirmed it will protect British citizens living legally in Croatia and minimise any disruption as much as possible regardless of the Brexit outcome. Click the above link and read carefully. Here's MUP's original post on the subject.

Is there any new information?

Yes and no. Here's what we know so far: Croatia has committed to protect its British residents regardless of the outcome, which is good news. You can click here for an overview of each EU member state's guidelines for residence rights for Brits in the unwanted event of the UK leaving without a deal. It isn't in alphabetical order, so scroll down until you find Croatia, or don't, because I'll just write what you need to know here and explain each point as necessary anyway. Here goes:

''In order to provide for the regulation of residence status of UK nationals and their family members, who on the day of departure of the UK from the European Union have already registered their temporary or permanent stay or have been issued with a residence card pursuant to Title X of the existing Aliens Act, certain amendments to the draft proposal for the Act on EEA nationals and their family members have been proposed.  

Those provisions provide for keeping the existing residence status and lay down the right to work without obtaining additional authorisation (this provision will have no end date). 

The residence documents already issued under the existing Aliens Act will be recognised as temporary national residence permits for nationals of the United Kingdom and their family members after Brexit (option c). These temporary national residence permits will be valid maximum up to one year from the entry into force of the Act (or until their expiration date, if the said date is shorter).

An obligation has also been prescribed to replace residence documents within a year from the entry into force of the Act. New residence permits will be issued in the format laid down by Regulation 1030/2002. 

Pursuant to a special procedure, the draft Act will be sent before the Croatian Parliament for urgent legislative procedure.

b). On 19 March 2019 total of 655 UK nationals have regulated their residence in the Republic of Croatia (358 on temporary residence and 297 have permanent residence).

Having this in mind, we do not currently expect overburden of our administrative capacities.

We aim to implement a simple and straightforward procedure in order not to overburden UK nationals.

Therefore we are considering accepting applications for exchanging the recognised temporary national residence permits after 30 March 2019 (or no deal Brexit date) and issue first permits in accordance with Regulation 1030/2002 afterwards (in order to replace any temporary documents).

c). We have made a proposal for a recommendation addressed to all UK nationals and their family members residing in the Republic of Croatia who intend to continue residing in the Republic of Croatia, to register their residence in the Republic of Croatia in line with the provisions of the existing Aliens Act.

This recommendation was published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior

What does all that mean?

In short, legislation is being put forward to mean that the current residence document/permits you hold now, which were obtained via your EU treaty rights (the right to live and work in any EU member state) will remain valid for one year, or less if you're due to update them (renew or apply for permanent residence) in less than one year. 

This legislation will mean that essentially, British citizens already residing legally in Croatia will be treated like all other EU citizens and their unrestricted entitlement to access the Croatian labour market will remain as it is now - permanently.

There aren't many Brits living here, so there shouldn't be any particular extra burden felt by MUP or by individuals.

Eventually, residence cards obtained through EU law will cease to be valid for British nationals, but there's nothing to worry about, you simply exchange them for whatever the new ones will be. Croatia is considering beginning permit exchanges as of the 30th of March (however this might be worth bypassing considering the fact that the UK will almost certainly still be a member of the EU on that date).

Need an example?

1) Let's say you're due to get permanent residency this year. You'll apply for it as normal just like you were still an EU citizen, and you'll be granted under the same conditions as EU nationals. Ask the official if you'll need to alter it in a year's time. If you do, you won't be asked to make an application again, it will be a simple exhange for a new permit. It will still be permanent residence, just maybe a slightly different looking card.

2) You've still got a few years to go before you hit that magic five year mark. Your current temporary residence permit will remain valid for another year. Go and exchange it for whatever the new document will be as soon as MUP announce they're beginning exchanges to save you any extra burden. Ask at your local police station for information on this, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3) Let's say you've somehow managed to live in Croatia without any sort of residence permit (yes, it happens), you need to go and register your residence now and get a five year temporary residence permit. You can then exchange it for whatever the new document is when MUP begins exchanging cards, and then eventually get permanent residence.

What about healthcare?

If no other way forward is found and no further extension to the Brexit process is agreed, the UK will crash out of the EU. In this case, the EU health insurance card will cease to be valid for British citizens. As things stand, we can reveal that the Croatian Government is preparing a Draft Law Proposal on a Temporary Measure in the area of Obligatory Health Insurance designed to provide transitional healthcare arrangements after the UK leaves the EU to those who are residents in Croatia.

We'll update you as soon as we know more about what that means.

Make sure to follow British Embassy Zagreb on Facebook, and sign up for email alerts from's Living in Croatia page, which is updated as soon as any new information comes out. Give our dedicated politics page a follow for much more on Brexit and beyond.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Brexit Brits in Croatia - MUP's Guidelines in Event of Any Scenario

MUP has finally spoken!

Where do things stand for you as British citizens lawfully resident in the Republic of Croatia? 

* When this article was first written, it was a draft law. This law was fully adopted in July 2019 and will come into force in the case of a no deal Brexit*

If you see a little * and italic font at the end of or underneath a sentence written by MUP, that's our little comment to give you our advice on the matter, too.


Residence registration is very important in the case of any scenario for future relations between the European Union and the UK.
Therefore, all UK citizens and their family members residing in the Republic of Croatia are strongly recommended to register their residence as a British/EU citizen/apply for a residence card as a family member of a British/EU citizen.

Please click here and click on the following links: Form 1b, (for EU citizens, this needs to be clicked on for British nationals too) Form 2b (for family members of EU/British citizens who are third country nationals), of Form 3b for both EU/British citizens and his/her family members who want to apply for permanent residence.

* Please note that permanent residence can be applied for only after five years of lawful, uninterrupted temporary stay in the Republic of Croatia, you can have changed your address as many times as you like, but you must have been registered as legally living on Croatian territory for five years on an uninterrupted basis. Lawful, uninterrupted residency can be shown when applying for permanent residence with every ID card you've held, as the dates on them will attest to the five year time period. Some MUP officials claim you cannot apply for permanent residence until your temporary residence expires, others say you must be in possession of a temporary residence card which is still valid at the time of application. We advise you go to MUP and ask about your case individually, as they seem to alter this rule depending on who you talk to.

* According to EU law, the right to permanent residence ''after five years'' actually means five years + one day, but once again, MUP can misinterpret this and assume you need to come and start the process before the temporary residence expires. Don't leave it up to fate. At least go and ask in person before your temporary residence card expires.

* If you were not given an automatic five year residence permit when you first applied for some reason or another, and when you've renewed your temporary residence the official has taken your old ID card from you, there is no need to worry. Present the ID card you have and your legal residence will show up when a case worker checks you out to approve your permanent residence application.
Once the applicants have completed the registration of a temporary residence in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act (OG 130/11, 74/13, 69/17 and 46/18), they will be immediately issued with a Registration Certificate registration of a temporary residence in paper form, free of charge. If they wish, they can apply for a residence card (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50).

* We strongly recommend you pay for the residence card, the white sheet of paper is merely confirmation of your residence/address, the residence card has your photo and details on it and acts as ID in Croatia. It is also weatherproof and easier to carry around on your person, which, just like nationals, you must and can be fined for not being able to present a form of ID if asked to by the police.
UK citizens who apply for permanent residence will be issued with residence cards (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50).
Family members of UK nationals, who are not nationals of an EU Member State, are required to apply for a residence card/permanent residence card as a family member (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the same amount of HRK 79.50).
UK citizens and their family members can register their residence at a police administration/police station according to their place of residence (The list of police administrations/police stations is available here).
The registration of residence and the relevant documents are a clear proof that their holder is a citizen of the United Kingdom or a family member [of said British national] who has already resided in the Republic of Croatia before the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.
Starting from the day on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union, UK driving licenses will be subject to regulations concerning foreign driving licenses.
UK driving licenses will be valid in the Republic of Croatia for up to one year from the day that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union. After that, they will have to be replaced with Croatian driving licenses and the applicant will have to submit a certificate of medical fitness to drive.
UK nationals and nationals of other countries who are holders of UK driving licenses are advised to apply for the replacement of their driving licenses with a Croatian driving license as soon as possible.

Applicants who submit their application before the date on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union will be able to replace their UK driving licenses under the conditions set for the replacement of EEA driving licenses in which case it is not necessary to submit a certificate of medical fitness to drive.
Both the EU driving licenses and the former paper driving licenses are equally recognised.
UK driving licenses are replaced with Croatian driving licenses without any obligation to take a driving exam/test, regardless of the category of vehicle listed on the UK driving license.

Border checks on persons at the EU external border (This section does not apply for travel in the Common Travel Area between the United Kingdom and Ireland):

EU law on border checks at the EU external borders on persons distinguishes between the control of EU citizens and of third country nationals. As of the withdrawal date, the control of UK nationals on entry and exit from the Schengen area as well as to and from Member States for which the decision on lifting internal controls has not yet been taken, but which apply Schengen rules at their external borders, will follow the rules for third country nationals.

(Please note that UK nationals who are members of the family of an EU citizen exercising their right to free movement are subject to the rules set out in Article 5 of Directive 2004/38 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.) On 29 April 2004, the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.)

This means that they will no longer enjoy facilitations at the borders provided for EU citizens, nationals of the contracting states of the European Economic Area, and Swiss nationals ("EU / EEA / CH citizens") related to the free movement rights. In particular, UK citizens will not be entitled to use the separate lanes provided for EU / EEA / CH citizens to carry out checks at border crossings and will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals upon entry.

The entry checks for UK citizens will include verification of:
The possession of a valid travel document for crossing the border; the document must have a validity of no more than ten years, and shall remain valid for three months after the intended departure from the Member States; (Please note that UK national passports issued before the withdrawal date remain valid travel documents).
The duration of the stay:

For short stays in the Schengen area, UK citizens will be subject to restrictions on the authorised duration of stay within the Schengen area (with a maximum of 90 days in 180 days); for long stays, they will in principle require a residence permit or a long-stay visa issued by national authorities, under the national rules; The identity and the nationality of the third country national and of the authenticity and validity of the travel document for crossing the border, and in particular, if an alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry and checking potential threats to public policy, internal security, public health and international relations; the purpose (eg tourism or work) and the conditions of the intended stay (eg accommodation, internal travels); the existence of sufficient means of subsistence (i.e. having sufficient means to pay for the intended stay and return travel). ("Schengen-visa"), when the transitional period for the stay in the United Kingdom is reduced by the amount of the short-stay visa ("Schengen-visa"), on 13 November 2018 the Schengen area is 90 days within a 180-day period and it is now up to the European Parliament and the Council to adopt this proposal. - visa requirements, following the visa reciprocity principle.)

Travelers are advised to confirm, prior to travel, the validity of travel documents and to ensure that they fulfill all the above conditions before they travel to the EU. The non-fulfillment of any of the entry conditions may result in refusal of entry issued in accordance with the procedure laid down in Union law with respect to third country nationals.

Checks on exit include verification of:

The possession of a valid travel document for crossing the external border; verification that the person did not exceed the maximum duration of stay in the territory of the Member States; relevant databases similarly as upon entry checks.


In short, this is nothing we haven't advised before and we applaud MUP for confirming things.

Make sure you're registered and in possession of a residence card which acts as proof of your lawful residence in the Republic of Croatia before the United Kingdom's withdrawal (if it ever happens) from the EU. In other words, these act as your acquired rights that you were entitled to before a law change, ie, your EU treaty rights.

Apply for permanent residence when you hit the magic five year mark.

Switch your driving license over to a Croatian one now, even though you don't need to right away, why bother with the headache?

You won't be able to use the EU lanes when arriving in an EU country using a British passport anymore.

Croatia is not in Schengen, but when travelling to and from Schengen, you might be subjected to more questions than you're used to.

If your passport is nearing its end, apply for a new one now to save you the bother.

We'd like to thank MUP, all sarcasm aside, for setting out some guidelines. This means that all Brits who have legally resided in Croatia, still live here, and have proof of that, will be fine even in the event of a No Deal Brexit. If May's Withdrawal Agreement manages to pass, then that will come into force. Click here to read that. If Brexit is delayed (likely), or Article 50 is revoked (unlikely, but possible), keep up with us for info.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more on Brexit. Sign up to email alerts from the British Embassy in Zagreb for any alterations. Click here for MUP's post.

Friday, 1 March 2019

British Embassy Outreach Meeting on Brexit in Split on March 14

March 1, 2019 - As the March 29 deadline looms for the UK's timetabled exit from the EU, the British Embassy is scheduling meetings with concerned expats to discuss Brexit.

And so begins the craziest month. 

Will the UK still be in the EU at the end of the month? And if not, will it leave with a deal or no deal?

The Brexit uncertainty continues, and while the Brexit story may be boring to many, the uncertainty has brought genuine concerns to Brits both in the UK and perhaps more especially those who are expats. 

Until a final decision has been made on the UK's status, nothing is 100% certain. The British Embassy has been putting a variety of information out there, as well as answering some expat questions - see Ambassador Dalgleish in the video below.

British Embassy Zagreb will continue to inform and update UK Nationals living in Croatia on changes. While the government continues to negotiate EU Exit, you should:

* make sure you’re correctly registered as resident in Croatia

* visit our Living in Croatia guide for practical information, such as how to register as a resident. You can receive email alerts whenever the guide is updated by signing up to the Living in Croatia page.

* follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #UKNationalsinEU #UKNationalsinCroatia #UkinCroatia

The embassy will be coming to Split on March 14 to meet with UK nationals to discuss Brexit issues, as posted on the official embassy Facebook page:

**Meeting UK Nationals in Split****Meeting UK Nationals in Split**

We are inviting British Nationals living in Split for a discussion on Brexit and Citizens Rights:

? 14 March 2019

➡️ City Hall, Narodni trg

⏰16:30 - 18:00

Please register via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and make sure you have your UK passport with you!

#UKNationalsinEU #UKNationalsinCroatia 

Lauren has been doing a great job with the Brexit story -  you can follow the dedicated TCN Brexit page.


Friday, 22 February 2019

British Embassy Zagreb Releases Brexit Video for UK Citizens in Croatia

The British Embassy in Zagreb has released a video for British citizens living and working in Croatia in which UK Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia answered a few common questions from Brits worried about their futures in Croatia after Brexit.

The video, aimed at answering the questions of worried British residents in Croatia in the case of an unwanted and disorderly but still possible No Deal Brexit, saw Andrew Dalgleish sit down and respond to a handful of concerns put to the embassy by Croatia's Brits, of which there are well under 1,000 legally registered.


If you're a British citizen living in Croatia and you're concerned about your rights after the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union, which, if all goes to plan, will occur at the end of next month, make sure to follow us as we bring you all the information you need, as and when it happens.

If Theresa May's deal is passed, this article will tell you in detail what that means for you as a British national in Croatia.

If an unwanted No Deal Brexit occurs, MUP (Croatian Ministry of the Interior) has assured both Balkan Insight and TCN that British citizens with a biometric residence permit (temporary or permanent residence/privremeni ili stalni boravak) should be able to continue their lives broadly as they do now, and that the proper measures for that will be introduced. Although Croatia hasn't yet delivered any public assurances like several other EU countries have, in the spirit of reciprocity, Croatia will follow.

MUP's statement to me can be found here, along with the direct translation.

For information on how you can work to prepare and thus further safeguard your rights in the event of Britain crashing out of the bloc at the end of next month, read this article.

Make sure to stay up to date and/or sign up for email alerts from the British Government's Living in Croatia page in case any changes to your rights do occur.

In the meantime, make sure you're registered with the authorities in Croatia and are in possession of a valid biometric residence permit before the 29th of March, 2019.

For more on Brexit and on Croatian politics, give our dedicated politics page a follow.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish Discusses Potential No Deal Brexit

Andrew Dalgleish talks about the unwanted yet still possible No Deal outcome, what this means for Croats in the UK, what it could mean for Brits in Croatia, and how, if at all, Brexit will affect Croatia's tourist industry.

While many British citizens in Croatia remain worried for their future in the country, rest assured that we at TCN, along with the British Embassy in Zagreb, will continue to do our absolute best to keep you informed of any changes, should they occur at all, to your rights to residence, access to healthcare, the labour market, and your access to Croatia's social security system.

We have already written numerous articles on what Brexit is likely to mean when it comes to British citizens living in Croatia with regulated status (biometric residence permit of either temporary (privremeni) or permanent (stalni) residence (boravak), which was your right to claim as EU citizens. I'd like to preface this by saying that there is no need to do anything but remain calm despite the sheer lack of information provided to you, we're fully aware of your concerns and will seek to assure you as best as we can along the way.

MUP has assured TCN in private correspondence with me that British citizens, even in the unwanted event of a No Deal Brexit, who have a valid residence permit of some kind, will not be seen as illegal persons living on the territory of the Republic of Croatia on the 29th of March this year. Please click here for the full article on that, as well as ways to safeguard and prepare, here for MUP's statement to Balkan Insight, and here for Paul Bradbury's meeting with Andrew Dalgleish, the UK Ambassador to Croatia, which took place a few weeks ago. Should the UK leave with May's deal on the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, click here to find out what that means for you.

Although the following article doesn't talk quite enough about the rightful worries and fears of Croatia's resident Brits, the number of which is well under 1,000, Andrew Dalgleish sits down to discuss what a potential No Deal Brexit might mean should it occur, and sought to reassure that British tourists, who are among the most numerous European visitors to Croatia, will continue to come.

As Mark Thomas/Slobodna Dalmacija writes on the 19th of February, 2019, before Britain's (planned) exit from the European Union scheduled for March the 29th this year, we talked with UK Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Andrew Dalgleish, to find out what the future of the always positive relations between Croatia and the UK are set to become.

"Croatian citizens living in the UK shouldn't worry if Britain leaves the European Union without agreement because the [British] Government has taken all the measures to protect [EU] citizens [living in the UK at the time of exit]," the ambassador stated.

The British Government ''is making a huge effort to reach an agreement'', and the outcome of Brexit for Great Britain has two scenarios, at least in this phase of negotiations; the UK leaving the EU, should it continue to stand by its current position, either with or without agreement. Whatever the solution turns out to be, it will bring new questions, as well as new solutions, in terms of citizens' rights.

If Britain leaves the European Union on March the 29th, how will it affect the status of Croatian nationals living in the UK in the case of a No Deal Brexit?

Since the beginning of the negotiations around Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has been very clear on this issue: Citizens should not be bargaining chips, the lives of people and their needs are what is really important here. Then, when we came to the end of the negotiations, the prime minister said that regardless of what would happen [regarding the UK's withdrawal from the bloc], Croats and other citizens of European Union countries (EU27) who are legal residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will basically hold the same status and enjoy broadly the same rights as they did before the 29th of March, 2019.

Croats should not immediately see any change in their current status in the UK. This is a real indicator of how much Britain truly does appreciate the citizens of other European Union countries living in the UK. No matter what other EU members do in return, the prime minister has been very clear on this matter.

After March the 29th, EU citizens will be able to live normally in the UK, enjoying continued unimpeded access to all the social, health and education services just as they have until now, and the direction further negotiations will take is yet to be seen. There will be procedures to explain to citizens what the futre will look like after Brexit and we want to let them know that we do care about everyone.

At this point there are two possible Brexit scenarios, "Brexit with an agreement" and "Brexit without an agreement", and whatever option is accepted will affect what will happen on March the 29th...

Yes, the British Government is absolutely devoted, with all of its efforts, to reach an agreement. How exactly this arrangement will look remains to be seen. However, it is crystal clear to the government that reaching an agreement is the best way to leave [the EU].

Also, we as the government are highly responsible, which means that we have to prepare for this second scenario [No Deal Brexit] that we wouldn't want, but which could happen. That's why we want to reassure Croatian citizens living in the UK that they don't have to worry if Britain does leave without a deal, because the [British] Government has taken measures to reassure them that they do care about them.

Agreement or not, how will Brexit affect your role as [UK] Ambassador?

Of course, it's already influenced my ambassador's role. I was all set to be the ambassador before the referendum was actually held, I actually arrived in Zagreb three weeks after the referendum. Of course, that means all my preparations changed overnight. But Brexit is real and we've got to face it.

Relations between Great Britain and Croatia have lasted longer outside the European Union than they have within it. Brexit will certainly be a challenge because many of the questions related to our two peoples are being solved at a table in Brussels.

Since we [Britain] will not be sitting at the table in Brussels again, we will make even more of an effort in the future to get London and Zagreb to directly negotiate, more than we did before, so there's a chance there.

How are the negotiations with the Croatian Government progressing, if an agreement [between the UK and the EU] is not reached, and what about the rights of British nationals in Croatia?

Prime Minister May was very clear at the very beginning of negotiations that the [British] Government would take care of the rights of European Union citizens in the UK after March the 29th, so we hope that other [EU] Member States will act in the same way.

The European Commission has stated that it hopes that, after Brexit, all EU member states will be ''generous'' and offer British citizens good conditions, however, each of them will do so in their own way. Discussions are being conducted not only with Croatia, but with other EU member states. Of course, the Croatian Government, as well as the British Government, is hoping for a scenario in which the UK withdraws from the EU with a deal.

It's very important to point out that in the case of a No Deal Brexit, there are many technical questions that require answers, some of which are what it will mean to be a legal citizen (resident) here, to gaining the right to health care, and many other issues.

All of this requires very demanding preparation and this is what we're doing at this moment with the Croatian Government.

Do you think Croatian tourism will suffer a sort of shock after Brexit?

"There is no intent on either side of causing problems in people's lives, going on holiday is a natural thing that people need. No government in these negotiations has said that obstacles should be put in place in order to make things for the tourist industry more difficult in the future. Of course, if there's an agreement, then every side and every country knows where their place is.

In the event of a No Deal Brexit, we must take care to resolve all of the technical issues and that the British [continue to] come to Croatia on holiday, which is the intention of both Croatia and the UK. I don't see the probability of any problem, as long as we're all doing our jobs in the meantime.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know about Brexit and Croatia and what might alter for you by following our dedicated politics page.


Click here for the original article by Mark Thomas on Slododna Dalmacija

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Brexit and Croatia: How Croatia's Brits Should Prepare

We're still not sure how things stand entirely when it comes to Brexit, or whether it will happen at all. Despite the now agonising insanity of this senseless process, let's have a look at the current situation (which will probably have altered a few times before I finish this article. I wish I was being sarcastic).

After a trend of crushing defeats had become the humiliating norm for the enfeebled PM, Theresa May finally had her day (sort of) in the latest vote on various amendments to her withdrawal agreement. MPs voted against no deal - which should effectively take the catastrophic threat of the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union without a deal in place at the end of next month off the table entirely - had it not been a non-binding amendment.

British MPs also voted against an Article 50 extension, which would have allowed for the two year window allowed for negotiations when a member state declares its intention to leave the bloc to be extended for a period which would have been agreed upon had it passed.

So, what happened in layman's terms? What happened is that the Commons continued the insanity by voting against a no deal, making it clear that the United Kingdom leaving the EU without a deal in place was not in anyone's interest, nor should it be the British Government's policy, but they also voted against extending the time needed for any further negotiations. A bit odd, you say? A bit chaotic? Yes, it is.

Instead, MPs gave Theresa May a mandate to go back to Brussels to attempt to renegotiate the troublesome Irish backstop, which acts as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The EU has already stated that the backstop is part of the deal and cannot be opened up again. Britain is, once again, experiencing an impasse. With the now internationally weakened United Kingdom stuck between a rock and a hard place, what does this mean for British nationals living and working in Croatia?

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A look at the current scenarios:

Theresa May's withdrawal agreement is ratified by the UK and the EU:

We've already covered what will happen if Theresa May's initial withdrawal agreement ends up being passed, which, as the clock runs down to the rapidly approaching and ominous date of March the 29th, when Britain is due to leave the European Union after over forty years of membership, could still end up being ratified.

If the British PM manages to arrange new terms with the EU regarding the hated Irish backstop, however unlikely, then the withdrawal agreement has decent chances of being ratified later this month. If that happens, the fate of British citizens in Croatia will be firmly secured. Life will go on as normal until the end of December, 2020, when the implementation period ends. If you are resident in Croatia, registered with the authorities and have a biometric residence permit (privremeni/stalni boravak), you'll continue life as you do now. You'll be able to apply for permanent residence as normal after racking up five years of legal residence in Croatia and as such gain almost all of the rights Croatian nationals enjoy, after a further three years, you can also apply for citizenship if you want to. If you already have permanent residence, you're already sorted.

Under May's deal, those with permanent residence will be allowed to leave their member state of residence for five consecutive years without losing their status, which essentially means you have it for life. Read this article for more detailed information on that.

Article 50 extension:

The clock is ticking, and the dreaded Brexit day is fast approaching. A delay is becoming increasingly likely, despite having been voted against recently, it doesn't mean this won't become necessary to avoid a tragic no deal exit. If this occurs, nothing will alter for you until a new Brexit date is confirmed.

EEA/EFTA style agreement:

Several countries, including Norway and Iceland, are in the European Economic Area but are not members of the EU, in fact. These two countries still abide by the four freedoms of the single market in order to obtain unrestricted access to it, one of which is the free movement of people, which means that should Britain opt for some sort of ''Norway-style agreement'' as a too-little-too-late Plan B, the free movement of citizens will remain as it is today. This means nothing will alter for you, and you don't need to do anything.

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No deal Brexit:

Should the world's fifth largest economy end up crashing out of the world's largest trading bloc without a deal in place, the consequences will be dire for the country's economy. Dark days would be ahead of a Britain all alone in the world, with the threat of the worst economic situation since the recession potentially becoming a reality, all normal thinking individuals want to avoid this horrendous possibility. Such a scenario would have an extremely negative impact on the UK and the EU, and this situation will likely never become government policy. Britain is a European country and needs close ties, and a free trade deal, with the EU.

As I have written before, many EU countries have already come out to reassure British citizens living in their countries that their rights will be protected if a no deal does end up happening, with some such as Malta being extremely generous and offering Brits permanent residency (a renewable document valid for ten years) should this occur.

The European Commission has asked EU member states, including Croatia, to take a ''generous approach to British citizens who are already living on their territories''.

While such comments are a disgraceful abandonment in the eyes of many, especially after the UK respectfully unilaterally guaranteed the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, all three million of them, the EU cannot make a similar unilateral guarantee in the event of a no deal Brexit as it is not a national body. Despite that, the good intention of the EC/EU is clear - the expectation of member states to protect British citizens who have made life choices based on the treaty rights that derived from their citizenship of the Union.

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Unlike some other EU countries, Croatia is yet to speak publicly on the matter, but MUP has made clear that Croatia's intentions are entirely in line with the wishes of the European Commission when it comes to fully protecting British nationals who are living in Croatia with regulated status (biometric residence permit) on the 29th of March, 2019, should the UK crash out of the EU with no deal in place. I have been in contact with MUP and I translated their response, which we also published in another article detailing the work TCN will do with the British Embassy to keep information flowing: 

''The Republic of Croatia considers that it is of great importance to protect both the citizens of the European Union in the United Kingdom, and the citizens of the United Kingdom in the European Union. The European Commission's intention is to ensure a high degree of tolerance for UK nationals already residing in an EU member state. Such reflections and efforts are in line with the objective of the Republic of Croatia that the citizens of the United Kingdom and members of their families who have a regulated status in the Republic of Croatia are not regarded as illegal persons on the date of their [the UK's] departure from the European Union, that their residence and unimpeded access to the labour market in the Republic of Croatia is allowed. In this regard, the Republic of Croatia will take the necessary measures to regulate the stay of UK citizens who, at the time of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, have regulated residence in the Republic of Croatia, in accordance with the European Commission's guidelines.''

Please read this article for further information, including a statement from MUP provided to Balkan Insight which also, along those same lines, suggested that the assurances and guarantees Croatia's 600+ resident Brits need will be forthcoming once the details on issuing new documents are finalised. 

Given the fact that London has already unilaterally given rights to all EU citizens in the UK and will enshrine the rights of Croats in the UK into British law, rest assured that Croatia will respond in the spirit of reciprocity when the finer details are ironed out.

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No Brexit at all

This is still a possibility, and should Article 50 be revoked and Brexit cancelled, nothing will alter and we'd remain with the good old status quo. This is unlikely, but remains possible.

What should you do if you live in Croatia to protect yourself against any outcome?

First of all, do not panic. Second of all, read the list below.

1) Make sure you are registered with the police and are in possession of a valid residence permit.

2) If you move, make sure to inform the police of your move at the local police station in your new city or town.

3) Make sure you have any documents you need, these will vary in different situations. For example, if you have purchased a house or taken out a rental contract, make sure to keep any papers that attest to that fact.

4) Convert your British driving license to a Croatian one here.

4) Make sure to stay up to date by following the British Government's Living in Croatia page for updates as and when they come. Sign up to receive an email about any updates.

5) Read this article and follow the links specified for information updates, the Brexit hotline, the Facebook page of the British Embassy, and an email contact.

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Just to add, the EU recently confirmed that British nationals will NOT need a visa to travel to the EU for short trips (90 days in any 180 day period) even in the case of a no deal Brexit. If you're in possession of a valid residence permit from an EU country, you will not be subject to the rules placed on British citizens living in the UK travelling to the EU for holidays. 

The Schengen area is currently made up of 26 countries and Croatia applied to join back in 2015, two years after its accession to the EU. Croatia is not yet in Schengen, but hopes to enter soon. The Schengen area, named after the Schengen Agreement, will facilitate visa-free access for British citizens on short stays of less than 90 days. Again, if you are a registered resident of any of the Schengen countries, this rule will not apply to you regardless of your nationality.

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Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics page, and by following the British Embassy in Zagreb with the #UKNationalsinCroatia tag.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Brexit and Croatia: Where to Find the Latest Information

January 31, 2019 - With less than 2 months until the UK is set to leave the EU, confusion reigns as to how Brexit will affect lives for Brits in Croatia and elsewhere. A topic over lunch with the British Ambassador. 

Let me begin with full disclosure. Although I am British, I have hardly followed the Brexit saga at all. The reason for that is threefold. 

Initially, I was sure that it would not affect me, a Brit with permanent residency in Croatia, married to a lovely local girl and running my own company for 16 years. As some doubts set in, I was able to deflect all the Brexit fuss by the fact that one of my parents is Irish, and if things got really heated, all I would have to do was book a flight to Dublin. Which is never an unpleasant experience. 

As English-language media here in Croatia, I was saved by my lack of knowledge by my colleague Lauren Simmonds, who seems to revel in the detail of topics like these. As she spends a fair chunk of her time in Brussels working as an official EU translator and interpreter, there are probably few in Croatia who have as much information about Brexit as Lauren. And even fewer who take unbridled pleasure at writing on the subject. I was off the hook. 

And then came an invitation to lunch from British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish, who was keen to explore ways the embassy and English media in Croatia could work together to inform Brits in Croatia as to how Brexit would impact their lives in Croatia. While the embassy was putting information out there, it wasn't reaching all of its intended targets. 

I have always found the relationships between embassies and expats amusing, whichever country I have worked in. There are those who cling to the embassy as a prop for social life and friendship, with perhaps a higher number having no intention of going anywhere near official institutions from the mother ship - they did emigrate for a reason. 

As so starts the confusion. Expats complain that the embassy is not looking out for their interests, indeed it does not even know how many Brits are living in the country. The embassy has no connection (or even knowledge) of a number of its citizens in country. How could it if they do not register? And all goes along without problem until something happens like... 


I wasn't quite sure what to expect at lunch, or how to mask my lack of knowledge on the topic of the day (Lauren was away on Brussels duty). Fortunately, the Honorary Consul of Dubrovnik, Mark Thomas, who also wears the hat of The Dubrovnik Times, was also at lunch. He has been following events a lot more closely, as it will directly impact his consular work from March 30. 

The first thing that was very apparent at an early stage was not a surprise - 100% cast-iron information on life after March 29 is still hard to come by. With the politicians yet to agree on No Deal, Soft Brexit, Hard Brexit or even possibly no Brexit, it is a little much to expect firm guarantees from institutions in the public firing line. 

The next two months are going to be particularly challenging and stressful for many people, particularly Brits in countries like Croatia. Things are changing on a daily basis, and I am pleased that the Ambassador reached out to the English media to help spread the word on the latest developments. Mark and I both agreed to let our media be public channels for regular updates as the story progressed, and we should have a video update from Ambassador Dalgleish to share with you shortly. He was very receptive to the idea of answering questions from worried expats who replied to my forum posts. I have sent them off in full to the embassy today. 

As someone who has not been following the story's events in any detail, several things surprised me. Chief among these was Prime Minister May's decision not to use citizens of other countries as bargaining chips, and so pre-Brexit foreign residents in the UK will enjoy broadly the same rights as they do now, even with No Deal. This was done on a unilateral basis, but with the hope and expectation that EU member states would reciprocate. So far, apparently 14 have, with some like Portugal giving full guarantees. Croatia has not - yet. But the embassy is confident this will not be an issue. 

Lauren contacted the Ministry of the Interior in Zagreb to see if TCN could get some clarification from the Croatian Government on where they stand. Here is what she asked (in Croatian):

I work for Total Croatia News, the largest Croatian portal in English.

What will be the situation with British citizens living in Croatia after 29 March 2019?

600+ Britons live legally here in Croatia and people are worried and concerned.

After leaving the European Union, in the UK, Croatians will of course have continued access to the labour market, free healthcare, access to the social security system and protected residency rights, for life. Will there be a reciprocal situation? You are eerily quiet and after such guarantees have been provided to Croatian nationals by London, the same should be publicly guaranteed by you.

I look forward to your reply!

The reply was quick:


The Republic of Croatia considers that it is of great importance to protect both the citizens of the European Union in the United Kingdom, and the citizens of the United Kingdom in the European Union. The European Commission's intention is to ensure a high degree of tolerance for UK nationals already residing in an EU member state. Such reflections and efforts are in line with the objective of the Republic of Croatia that the citizens of the United Kingdom and members of their families who have a regulated status in the Republic of Croatia are not regarded as illegal persons on the date of their [the UK's] departure from the European Union, that their residence and unimpeded access to the labour market in the Republic of Croatia is allowed. In this regard, the Republic of Croatia will take the necessary measures to regulate the stay of UK citizens who, at the time of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, have regulated residence in the Republic of Croatia, in accordance with the European Commission's guidelines.

Updated information is being provided on a special official Living in Croatia page (it was last updated two days ago). You can sign up for email alerts each time the page is updated here.

There is also a special Brexit hotline, which you can access via the embassy in Zagreb. British Nationals should call +385-1-6009100, press 1 (for English language) and then 2 (for Consular services). Consular services directs you through to a Brexit hotline. Interestingly, so I learned at lunch, there has been a 41% increase in calls from Brits in Europe recently, necessitating the hiring of 8 more staff. Of those thousands of calls, not one has come from Slovenia and just one from Croatia. Want to change that stat? Now you know where to dial.

If you prefer email contact, you can do so here.

For a more general overview of the joys and realities of leaving the EU, this official page will be of interest

The official government page for preparing for EU exit.

The embassy also has its own social media channels, and after the lunch, it posted this status update on its Facebook page:

Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish met Paul Bradbury from Total Croatia News and Mark Thomas from The Dubrovnik Times to discuss how the Embassy and English language media in Croatia could cooperate in keeping British citizens living here or travelling to Croatia informed about Brexit and its implications on their rights.

The Ambassador stressed that the Citizens’ Rights have been a top priority for the UK Government throughout Brexit negotiations and remain so today. The UK Government continues to be focused on leaving the EU with a deal, but we are also stepping up preparations for all possible eventualities, including a ‘’no deal’’ scenario.

In the UK, we have reassured EU citizens and their family members living in the UK that they are welcome to stay in the event of a No Deal scenario. They will continue to be able to work, study, and access benefits and services on broadly the same terms as now. Concerning UK nationals living in Croatia, the British Ambassador and his team are continuing to engage with the Croatian government to request that reciprocal rights be granted to UK nationals living here.

We encourage all Brits living in Croatia to check our Living in Croatia page, which is being regularly updated. Ambassador Dalgleish will also hold a meeting with Brits living in Croatia in February – we will provide more details in the coming days.

During the meeting with Paul and Mark, a number of Q & As were discussed. We have copied a selection of these below which we hope you find informative. We have also included information as to how you can keep updated on the UK Exit from the EU and the impact it might have on you.

Will the UK Government continue to uprate the UK state pension even in a No Deal scenario? The UK State Pension is payable worldwide and this will continue to be the case when the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. The UK leaving the EU will not affect entitlement to continue receiving the UK state pension if you live in the EU and we are committed to uprate across the EU in 2019/20. We would wish to continue uprating pensions beyond that but would take decisions in light of whether, as we would hope and expect, reciprocal arrangements with the EU are in place. We are confident EU Member States will feel, as we do, that it is in all our interests for this to happen on a reciprocal basis.

Would a dual national Croatian-UK citizen living in Croatia with a UK passport be considered for fee purposes by a UK university as a ‘home student’? UK nationals resident in the EU remain eligible for home fees providing they meet the existing residency requirement. EU nationals and their family members, starting courses in England in the 2019/20 academic year will remain eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate financial support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course providing they meet the existing residency requirement. The devolved administrations have made similar announcements though the exact support offered may vary across the different parts of the UK. Entitlement to student finance and home fees status after academic year 2019-20 for UK returners and those outside the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement is under consideration.

Can I still use my passport to travel to the EU in a No Deal scenario? Yes. British passports remain compliant with the guidelines as set by the International Civil Aviation Organization and are still valid for travel within and outside the EU. However, the Schengen Border Code places requirements on maximum validity and unexpired validity needed for non-EU passport holders. In the event of a No Deal scenario, you will need to check whether your passport meets the new requirements when travelling to the Schengen area from 30 March 2019. Most people will be unaffected, but if your passport is nearing the end of its validity you may need to renew it early.

The Government has already published advice on travelling to the EU without a UK passport in the event of a no deal:…/travelling-to-the-eu-with-a-uk-passpor…

These rules will apply if you are returning to the Schengen area. You should check your passport issue date and that it is no more than 9 years and 6 months before the date you arrive in the Schengen area. HM Passport Office has provided an online checker on to allow you (British passport holders) to see if you have enough validity to travel.

Will my passport be accepted for travel/entry back to the UK if it doesn’t comply with the new rules?

Yes, these rules are only for entry to the Schengen area. All British citizens arriving in the UK are required to produce a valid British passport satisfactorily establishing their identity and nationality. As long as the passport is valid at the time it is presented on entry into the UK, there is no requirement for it to be valid for a minimum period.

I live in Croatia and hold a UK driving licence, should I get a foreign licence now? Holders of UK driving licences who are resident in an EU country should exchange their UK licences for a driving licence from the EU country you are living in before 29 March 2019. If you have not exchanged your UK licence after our exit from the EU, you will be subject to the domestic laws of that country and how they treat non-EU licence holders, which could mean needing to retake your driving test. Many EU Member States only recognise third country licences for up to 6 months. EU issued driving licences will continue to be recognised in the UK after our exit from the EU, including in a No Deal scenario.

To convert a UK licence to a Croatian one, go to

What if I want to return to the UK to live and have a Croatian driving licence? If someone passed their driving test in the UK but then exchanged their UK licence for an EU licence as a result of moving to an EU country, they would be able re-exchange for a UK licence after exit, if they returned there to live.

I live in Croatia but I have family coming to visit me this year, bringing their car. What should they do? If you are a visitor to Croatia from 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may need an International Driving Permit in addition to your UK driving licence to drive in EU and EEA countries. IDPs cannot be applied for from overseas by residents in the EU.

I am a UK national living in Croatia. Where can I find further information on healthcare cover in a no deal scenario? All information regarding healthcare abroad can be found at

We also strongly recommend that you subscribe to Living in Croatia. These pages will be updated with relevant information as and when it becomes available.

I am a UK national living in Croatia. Will I need to pay to receive healthcare in a no deal scenario? The UK is seeking agreements to maintain peoples’ healthcare rights in a no-deal scenario as a top priority. Access to healthcare is vital. We are exploring options with Member States to ensure that people living in, working in, or visiting their countries can continue to access affordable healthcare and continue to receive their planned treatment. We have recently introduced legislation that will provide us with the legal basis we need to maintain the current arrangements, where Member States agree to do so bilaterally.

I am a UK state pensioner living in the EU, what will happen to my (S1) healthcare in a no deal scenario? The UK is seeking agreements to maintain peoples’ healthcare rights in a no-deal scenario as a top priority. We will keep you updated as these agreements progress.

I am a UK resident who will be visiting Croatia on or after Exit Day. How will I be covered for healthcare and will my EHIC still work? The UK is seeking agreements to maintain peoples’ healthcare rights in a no-deal scenario as a top priority. We will keep you updated as these agreements progress. We already recommend purchasing travel insurance to ensure you can travel safely. This will be just as important if there is no deal.

I’m a Croatian national wanting to travel to the UK after 29th March – can I? If you are a Croatian national with an enquiry regarding travelling to the UK after March 29th as a visitor or to work or study (if the UK exits the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement), please see the latest information here. If you are a Croatian national wishing to settle in the UK please consult the information here on the UK Settled Status Scheme.

Keeping up to date!

There are a number of ways to stay informed. Please continue to check our Living in Croatia page which we will keep updated on how to secure your rights in Croatia. When changes are made, you can receive email alerts by signing up here. UK Nationals in the EU has a wealth of official information on the UK Exit and how it might affect you. You can find information for UK nationals living in the EU in the absence of a withdrawal agreement here. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


There will be some new and useful information for some above, nothing new for others, and the same unanswered questions for yet others. The situation is very uncertain (I am still not convinced Brexit will happen) and getting concrete information on subjects which directly affect the lives of people is stressful. At least now there is a platform, and we are happy to assist in any way we can. 

We look forward to publishing the next update from the embassy, but I also encourage those of you with questions to use the channels above to ask them, as well as to sign up to the latest updates, so that you can keep up with developments. 

Many thanks to the Ambassador for lunch, and to Lauren for her hard work. You can follow her writing on Brexit and non-Brexit issues here.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Did Brexit Play Role in Pula's Final Outlook and Dimensions Festivals?

In the summer of 2020, the city of Pula will be left without more than 30,000 foreign guests who spend hundreds of euros a day. Namely, Pula will feel the loss of mostly British tourists, performers, organizers and visitors to the two world-renowned music festivals Outlook and Dimensions, which will have their final release this year, according to the announcement by British organizer NVS Music Group on Tuesday.

Although other music events are still being held in Pula and at other locations by Pozitivan ritam, the local partner of the British organizer, the city of Pula is not happy because the festivals played an important role in promoting Pula and developing the local economy.

That is why they stated in the press release that they would do everything in their power to make sure the decision for Outlook and Dimension to leave Pula is not final. But, as we informally know, the ultimate outcome depends on many factors, from Brexit and British market behavior to state-level support, reports on January 24, 2019. 

The festival organizers did not publicly comment on what they are planning to do with Outlook, which will celebrate its 11th edition in Pula this year, and Dimensions, which will welcome its ninth. The organizers have published the final dates of both festivals, with the artists to be announced in the coming days, and have noted that "it will certainly be worth visiting and remembering, as it's the final edition of the festivals at that location."

We’re still unsure if the British organizer will continue at another location in Croatia or any other destination, and why exactly they gave up on Pula.

Pozitivan ritam has also been unable to answer these questions as they are just local partners in charge of the logistics and the implementation of the festivals. They have said, however, that these announcements have nothing to do with the special edition of their Seasplash festival, which has moved from Pula to Šibenik this year, and emphasizes that Pula remains their center, along with the Seasplash Summer Club, the Slurp Festival, the Kotač Club and other programs.

As far as Outlook and Dimensions are concerned, it is unofficially known that this year saw lower ticket sales mostly due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, pushing the organizer to announce the final release of the festivals to boost ticket sales and secure financial sustainability. The organization of such events is otherwise expensive, and at Fort Punta Christo, even though the minimum concession is paid to Pula, the additional challenge is that there is no electricity or water, or fences which are replaced by security guards.

The task of the organizer is to reduce high costs and increase revenues which have fallen due to bad weather in the last two years, resulting in less spending on the site. Therefore, negotiations on all levels are expected in the coming months, including with the Croatian Tourist Board, which last year supported the festivals with 50,000 kuna, far less than the year before and seven times less than in 2015 when the Pula festivals were ranked top events.

Pula, however, really hopes this will not be the final decision.

"In addition to the excellent international promotion of Pula, the great financial benefits generated by the festivals have attracted many hospitality and trade activities, which have greatly enriched Pula's tourist offer. The festivals contributed to an increase in the number of arrivals and overnights, as well as income in many activities in the post-season and many were an opportunity for employment and additional earnings,” said the press spokeswoman of the Pula Department of Culture, Jasmina Nina Kamber.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Brexit Brits in Croatia: Special Rules to Apply to Ensure Residence

Theresa May's withdrawal agreement with the European Union suffered a historic defeat recently. The British prime minister had delayed the vote which was due to take place back in December 2018 when she realised she was set to suffer the aforementioned historic defeat. Why she thought simply delaying the inevitable was a good idea is beyond me, but so is the entire notion of Brexit itself.

My political views aside, let's get to the point of this article. Point number one is that the article I wrote a while ago about what Theresa May's former withdrawal agreement means for British citizens living in Croatia is now likely void for the most part. We all love wasting our time, don't we?

The second point is that you don't need to worry about anything, well, no more than you would already anyway. You may have noticed that many EU countries have publicly declared their plans for making sure British citizens don't become Brexit's collateral damage (anymore than already, that is), and don't fall victim to the United Kingdom's bizarre desire to enact Brexit and leave the world's largest trading bloc. You're likely wondering why Croatia hasn't done so yet, at least not publicly. As Lance Corporal Jack Jones would have said: Don't panic.

Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands are just some of the EU countries to have come forward and assured Brits living and working in their countries that plans are firmly in place to make sure their lives go on undisrupted by this utter mess. That's a little too late for many after years of inexcusable limbo, but it's very welcome for many nonetheless.

But what about other countries, you might ask? What of, let's say, Romania? Romania has been eerily quiet on the matter despite having been given assurances that Romanian citizens living and working in the United Kingdom will remain protected and have their rights enshrined into UK law regardless of the Brexit outcome. The same assurances, with all due respect to Britain, have been given repeatedly to all other EU citizens legally residing in Britain. A new system has been set up which promises to be simple and as recent announcements have confirmed - totally free.

The UK has dropped its former demand for £65 for ''settled'' and ''pre-settled'' status after listening to the concerns of many, and EU citizens in the UK now have a very clear way of securing their rights before June 2021. The UK hasn't done much right since the non-binding referendum delivered a shock Leave result, but in making sure to put citizens and their acquired EU treaty rights first, it has been firm.

Everyone knows Croatia likes to drag its heels. It doesn't mean anything bad by it really, that's just what it does. That being said, it will gladly bow to whatever the EU asks of it, but in its own time. What do I mean by this? Well, to put it simply, MUP (Croatian Ministry of the Interior) has stated when asked (probably repeatedly) by Balkan Insight that there will be ''special rules'' in place for British citizens who have legal residence (biometric permit) in Croatia.

As Balkan Insight writes on the 22nd of January, 2019: ''The Interior Ministry in Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, told BIRN that “special rules will be applied UK citizens who, on March 29, 2019, have regulated status of foreigner in the Republic of Croatia, which will allow [them] to maintain the right of residence.” But the ministry said it was “still developing in details the modalities of residence” of British citizens in Croatia after Brexit and how new documents would be issued.

The goal, it said, would be to allow British citizens and their families who have regulated status continued access, without restrictions, to the Croatian labour market. According to official data, currently 659 British citizens have regulated status in Croatia – 277 permanent residents and 382 with temporary residence.

The British embassy in Zagreb said it expected Croatia to reciprocate the commitment London made with regards the rights of citizens from the EU residing in Britain in the event of a no-deal scenario.''

So, what does this actually mean? It means that British citizens in Croatia can expect forthcoming reassurances like those which have been provided by a growing number of EU countries about their status, but the details must be finalised first. MUP knows it needs to do something. In any case, with assurances pouring in from other EU countries confirming the legal residence status of British citizens living in their countries, Croatia is sure to follow, just in its own time. Ever the lover of red tape and miraculously turning one sheet of paper into ten, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Croatia is dragging its heels. 

In any case, although the majority of what I wrote in my last article is now void (cheers, Theresa), what remains to be true is that as long as you hold a residence card and are known by the system, you don't need to worry.

You can apply for permanent residence when you've reached five years as you normally would for now, and if you're nowhere near that five year mark yet, just make sure you're properly registered and have a residence card that is valid.

Nobody wants to punish anybody for acting on their EU treaty rights, least of all Croatia after having the rights of its citizens guaranteed and set to be enshrined by London long ago, so make sure to follow us for any updates as we'll be sure to bring them as soon as we're informed of any, should the UK ever actually leave the EU at all.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more.


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