Sunday, 4 July 2021

A Guide to Dealing with Croatian Bureaucracy: Renewing Documents

July 4th, 2021 - TCN's intern Marina Kaleb takes us through the important steps of renewing your documents and dealing with Croatian bureaucracy. 

Have you personally struggled to find information online when it comes to renewing your documents in Croatia? I've spent days researching, contacting people, and trying to find out the process of how to get the supposed 12-hour rush/rapid/quick passport from Zagreb. It in fact took me over 24 hours to get a "one-day" passport, so here is what I wish I would have known before embarking on this journey on one of the hottest summer days in Zagreb. 

1. Location

The MUP website includes all sorts of details such as payment details and parts of the process of renewing your passport but it is lacking a variety of details. In Croatia for all your documents, you need to go to the local police department. In Zagreb this is located on Petrinjska ul. 30. It is located close to the main square and fairly easy to find. 

2. Payment 

The MUP website provides a list of places where you can submit your payment from FINA, your local bank, or even online banking but what they don't tell you is that there is a post office within the same building which makes everyone's life a lot easier. As you enter the police department, the post office is located in the far left corner. On both sides of the office, they have a stand with pay slips for individual documents, for a rapid passport, you need to fill out two of the slips with your full name, address, and OIB number on the right side of the 410 kuna payslip. 

3. Get there early

Be there bright and early just as the police department opens. I made the mistake of getting there at 9 am which I thought was fairly early and I spent good 3 hours waiting in the heat. Before you submit the payment slips at the post office within the building, pick up a number from the machine at the entrance otherwise you can wait for what feels like forever. At least by the time you pay for your new documents, hopefully, other people would have already left. 

4. Patience will be your best friend

Being stuck indoors waiting for 2+ hours on a hot summer day will test your patience. Come prepared, bring water, a snack, a book, or listen to a podcast. Keep yourself occupied and time will pass by a lot quicker. There are around 4-5 counters usually working for urgent passports and the procedure is very long, so make sure you double-check you got everything you need before you start lining up. Also, the counters wait for about a minute to two before moving on to the next number so make sure to be quick and keep an eye out.  

5. Working time 

When I spoke to people who have been through this procedure before, I was reassured that I was going to get my passport the same day, in just a few hours. So I planned out my trip in advance, booked my bus seat for the same evening, and was ready to pick up my passport and get on the bus. However, nowhere online do they state that because of their summer working time from 7 am to 2/3 pm I believe (it isn't mentioned online), it in fact takes a full 24+ hours to get your passport. We were told to return the next day after 11 am to pick up our "rapid" passports. 

After 24 hours of frustration, exhaustion, and stress I managed to get my new passport so I am hoping this will help someone else who is going to have a close encounter with the Croatian bureaucracy, best of luck! 

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Nanobit Founder Alan Sumina Disgusted by Croatian Bureaucracy

April the 2nd, 2021 - Nanobit founder Alan Sumina has made no effort to hide his disgust and frustration with the state of Croatia's draconian love of red tape and slowing down progress, taking to Facebook to voice his feelings.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Nanobit founder Alan Sumina has commented on the slowness of Croatian bureaucracy and a system which appears to seek to actively prevent progress being made in business in this country. He posted a status on Facebook in which he described the process of opening a new company in Croatia. He spent as long as two weeks on the process and still hasn’t solved everything yet. He had to personally go to the counters at various offices, to the notary, to the bank, etc. An endless and mind numbing process those of us who live here know only too well.

Here is Nanobit founder Alan Sumina's Facebook status translated and delivered in full:

"It seems to me that twelve years ago it was easier to open a company here than it is today.

It's truly frightening to what extent the bureaucracy has destroyed this country and the extent to which it continues to destroy it. I'm just trying to open a new company, of course I naively thought that a power of attorney could be given to sort it all out on my behalf, but no, no. One must make a personal pilgrimage to the public notary, to the bank, to FINA, to the office for statistics… Then, ah, you don't need a stamp, but you do still need it, so don't end up just not making a stamp [because you'll still end up needing it], I was told that by the public notary).

Then comes the register of real owners. So, the sole founder needs to be entered into the court register, the matter couldn't be simpler than it is, but that needs to be entered into the register of beneficial owners which is dealt with by no more and no less than that fictional agency called FINA.

Great, I gave the power of attorney to my accountant to do it - but no, no, he can't do that. It has to be done in person. Or go and notarise the power of attorney at the public notary.

And so, as I have been for two weeks now, I'm still touring various counters just to start up a new company.

What's wrong here? Where is the abolition of those stamps? I've opened companies in the United Kingdom, Hungary and Romania. I've never had to stamp anything anywhere. I never had to go around the counters anywhere. This really is ab absolute horror, and it's not that we haven't moved forward, it's that we're actually going backwards!''

For more on Croatian entrepreneurs, doing business in Croatia and more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Croatian Bureaucracy in Action: The Pain Required to Pay 1 Kuna

February 11, 2021 - Change may be around the corner, but watching Croatian bureaucracy in action in 2021 is quite the thing. 

I have a very serious suggestion - an application should be made for Croatian bureaucracy to be given intangible UNESCO heritage status.

Before it is too late.

As parents, we look at the lives of our children in their gadget-infested worlds, and the things that were mainstream in our lives just a decade ago are already alien to them. 

And so, too, it seems, in the world of Croatian bureaucracy. 

Against my better judgment - and definitely against a promise I made to myself years ago - I opened a sole trader company in Croatia today, the so-called jdoo. And I have to report that things had certainly moved on since my last company formation. The whole procedure at the public notary took under an hour, my startup capital requirement was just 10 kuna, and I was only charged 547 kuna for the entire procedure. 

A complete bargain. So much so, that I almost went back to start another. 

But I was truly shocked at the response to one of my questions.

"Regarding the stamp, do I have all the paperwork to get it now, and where is the closest place to buy one?"

"This is 2021. You don't need a company stamp anymore."

What?!? How will this company function? And how can the next generation of Croatian entrepreneurs truly enjoy the Croatian experience without the joys of the company stamp to add to their daily frustrations. 

If we don't document this moment in time soon, I mused, as I headed over the financial agency FINA to register my shiny new company. UNESCO could protect this gem before all was lost to posterity. 

The security guard chap at FINA was very friendly and helpful. Once I had put my hand in the temperature check device, receiving a dollop of sanitiser with my temperature reading, I was sent to the very efficient gentleman assigned to my case. 

Lots of documents to sign, and then I was given four payment slips (uplatnice), which covered various fees - one for 60 kuna, one for 37.50, my startup capital of 10 kuna, and - fabulously - a separate payment and bit of paperwork with a fee of 1 kuna, which I learned was to pay for the confirmation of my payment of 10 kuna startup capital. A 10% fee to confirm a payment may sound steep to some of you, but it was a bargain when I saw the amount of effort it entailed to generate the solitary kuna. 

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Before continuing, I should note I was a little disappointed that my 37.50 kuna came with a shortening of my names. All the other payments were registered to a Paul David Raymond Bradbury, but 37.50 seemingly covered only enough ink for three of my four names. 

I reached for my wallet to pay, but was directed to another department, which handles the cash transaction, then told to report back to this desk with proof of payment. Ten minutes of queuing brought me to a very efficient lady, who took my four payment slips and expertly typed the details into the system. My 1 kuna payment had now taken two effort from two employees, and I was rewarded with a confirmation stamp with my returned slip. 

But the 1 kuna journey did not stop there. Having returned to my efficient first staff member, he announced that he had to photocopy each of the four slips, one page each, for the records. Which he duly did with aplomb. I also got a photocopy of one, along with my four original slips. Croatian bureaucracy in action - this little kuna was definitely being earned by the State. 

But then... 

Having paid my bill of more than 120 kuna for services which I had calculated at less than 110 kuna, I went to check the little slip that had been returned to me.

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My 1 kuna had become 3 kuna, as I was charged a transaction fee which was double the amount being requested. Suddenly, my 10% confirmation fee seemed a real bargain.

I am possibly the only person in the country who quite enjoys watching Croatian bureaucracy in action for its total absurdity. But with these forces of change, shall I lament the fact that it will soon be reduced to tales of an older generation in the name of 'progress'?

Monday, 3 April 2017

Does Varazdin Have Excellent Customer Service, or Am I Just Lucky?

Yet another efficient day (at least within the confines of what constitutes efficiency in the Croatian context) on April 3, 2017. Is Varazdin bucking the national trend when it comes to the legendary Croatian bureaucracy?

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