Friday, 17 September 2021

MUP Confirms: Visa-Free Travel for Croatians to USA Possible by End of 2021

September 17, 2021 - MUP confirms that visa-free travel for Croatians to the USA should be possible by the end of the year.

A decision on Croatia's entry into the US Visa Waiver Program should be made by the end of the US fiscal year, while Croatian citizens could travel to the US without visas by the end of this year, the Ministry of the Interior reported on Index.hr.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović met with US representatives on an evaluation visit to Croatia from September 12 to 18 to enter the US Visa Waiver Program.

Božinović pointed out that this evaluation visit, despite the coronavirus pandemic, is a critical moment in Croatia's accession to the Visa Waiver Program and expressed satisfaction with the intensive cooperation over the past years, which significantly helped Croatia reach this advanced stage of the accession process.

The Croatian government is committed to meeting all political, legal, and security preconditions for accession. These preconditions, among other things, included reducing the rate of rejected visa applications to a minimum and creating conditions for better cooperation in law enforcement between the two countries, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

They add that the intensification of interstate and interdepartmental cooperation has led to the fact that in May 2019, Croatia submitted answers on 176 pages. After verifying the submitted answers, which indisputably show significant progress of Croatia in meeting the security requirements, significant efforts have been made to lower the level of rejected visa applications.

The rate of rejected visa applications was lowered below three percent in 2020, which the State Department officially confirmed on February 16, 2021. Meeting that condition has been a major challenge for years.

In the process of joining the Visa Waiver Program, several security requirements also had to be met, with the Department of the Interior working intensively with the US Department of Homeland Security for the past four years.

Most of the security conditions were related to strengthening the capacity and providing technical conditions for collecting and analyzing biometric data of passengers entering Croatia, security of travel documents, strengthening the capacity to fight terrorism, exchanging information on foreign terrorist fighters, and a range of other relevant security information with the relevant U.S. services, primarily those in the Department of Homeland Security, and then the FBI, the Terrorist Surveillance Center, and the DEA.

Minister Božinović reminded that during this process, Croatia and the USA concluded important international agreements and arrangements aimed at improving security and data exchange between the two countries while at the same time working on building the highest security standards.

A pre-evaluation visit by a delegation from the Ministry of Homeland Security to Croatia was held earlier this year, from June 14 to 18. A draft report submitted to the State Department by the US Department of Homeland Security following a visit was followed by a formal invitation from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to include Croatia in the program, one of the last steps before a formal visa waiver decision.

Minister Božinović emphasized that the Government of the Republic of Croatia was also working on Croatia's accession to Schengen and that all preconditions had been met in that field.

"Croatia is determined not only to meet all the requirements for access to the visa waiver program but also to maintain compliance with these requirements. This determination stems from our deep conviction that this compliance will further improve cooperation between Croatian and US authorities and increase the security of our citizens," said Božinović.

As part of the evaluation, from September 12 to 18, the US delegation visited, among others, the Port of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Airport, the Karasovići and Bregana border crossings, and the Ježevo Reception Center for Foreigners.

Following this week's evaluation visit, the US Department of Homeland Security will submit to the State Department a final report on meeting all the necessary conditions and a proposal for a final decision on Croatia's accession to the US Visa Waiver Program.

The members of the American delegation clearly underlined that due to the seen readiness and equipment of the Croatian police, their earlier optimism for fulfilling the conditions turned into satisfaction, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

Accordingly, the US expects that the decision on Croatia's entry into the US Visa Waiver Program should be made by the end of the US fiscal year, more precisely by September 30, 2021, while Croatian citizens could travel visa-free to the US by the end of this year. 

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Drivers, Beware! Croatian Police Begin Using New, Modern Application

September the 9th, 2021 - Croatian road users have yet another reason to watch out while driving as the Croatian police begin using a brand new, modern app which allows them to see if you've committed any offences in the Republic of Croatia, even if you're driving a vehicle that is registered outside of the European Union's borders.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, As of 31st of August, 2021, the Croatian police situated at the country's borders are stepping up their game in terms of the use of new technology and monitoring. It no longer matters where your car is registered or what you might have done, they'll know about it, and you'll no longer be able to escape any fines.

''In continuation of the comprehensive project of the modernisation and digitalisation for the traffic police, Croatian police officers began working with a new application.

With the help of this application, they have an insight into the records of vehicles with foreign registration plates from countries which lie outside of the territory of the European Union (EU), with which drivers have committed a traffic offense while driving in the Republic of Croatia.

During the process undertaken while at border control, the Croatian police officers will determine who the owner of the vehicle is, regardless of where it is registered, and process any traffic violations through the aforementioned application,'' the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) recently announced.

According to a report from Vecernji list, upon arrival at the border crossing, Croatian police officers will deal with the perpetrators of misdemeanors who don't have their permanent residence address registered in the Republic of Croatia, but still have unpaid fines for the committed misdemeanors, through the application.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

For all you need to know about driving in Croatia, as well as tips, ferry connections and laws you might be unfamiliar with, have a look at our dedicated section.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Zarko Katic Discusses New Croatian ID Cards, Driving License Integration

August the 5th, 2021 - There are some big changes coming to Croatian national ID cards, with new biometric tech and the ability to do much more using just them and not other documents on the horizon. Croatian driving licenses will also eventually be integrated into these new ID cards according to State Secretary Zarko Katic, making life even easier, hopefully.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) Zarko Katic spoke live about the new ID cards and just what they'll be able to offer their holders for N1 Studio.

On the first day of their announcement, over 7,200 applications for new second-generation ID cards were submitted, almost twice as many as are normally submitted to MUP for approval on a daily basis.

''There's a thirty day wait for the new ID cards, when done and paid for in an accelerated procedure, the wait is ten days, and if the application is done in an urgent procedure, then the wait is three days. In Zagreb in that final case, the cards are done and provided on the same day. In that case, personal ID cards are a bit more expensive,'' explained Zarko Katic.

As of 11:30 yesterday morning, 8,500 requests for a new ID card had been received by MUP.

Just how Croatian driving licenses will be integrated into this new card is prescribed by an EU directive, and until the directive is changed, a driver's license cannot be integrated into an identity card, Zarko Katic added.

The application process is entirely protected, and identity theft isn't possible, he pointed out and added: ''ID cards and passports are protected by the highest measures. The possibility of counterfeiting is not only not minimal, I would say it's impossible.''

Who needs to get a new ID card?

Zarko Karic reminded once again that citizens aren't obliged to change their ID card if their current one hasn't expired yet. Nor do they need to get one if their current one isn't damaged or of the holder hasn't changed their personal data.

"Only those who need a new one now should come and get one,'' he said.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Croatian Interior Ministry Purchasing 500 New Vehicles for 75 Million HRK

July the 16th, 2021 - The Croatian Interior Ministry (MUP) is set to procure some brand new vehicles, as many as 500 of them, for the huge price tag of 75 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Interior Ministry will procure the aforementioned vehicles through an operating lease lasting four years. According to a report from Vecernji list, the estimated value of this purchase stands at a massive 75.2 million kuna, and that amount doesn't include VAT, so it isn't the final price.

For this move, the bidders are required to deliver new, unused vehicles and the Croatian Interior Ministry will primarily look at nine criteria when choosing the models. The first is the price, which carries 50 out of 100 points in this tender. Carbon dioxide emissions and engine power carry from two to ten points, and the authorised service network in the Republic of Croatia carries 20 points.

Support for keeping the vehicle in the lane, heating for the front seats, a factory tinted rear side and rear window of the vehicle, LED front headlights and the driver's and front passenger's seat boasting spine/back support carry two points in the tender.

The new police vehicles must also have a wealth of mandatory equipment: power steering adjustable in height and depth, an ABS anti-lock braking system, an electronic vehicle stability system (ESP) and Front Assist, or an automatic braking system in the event of a collision with a pedestrian or obstacle in front of the vehicle, airbags for the driver and front passenger, air conditioning, central locking and other equipment that is serially installed in new vehicles.

New vehicles are also being procured through financial leasing by the Ministry of Justice and Administration. For 5.6 million kuna without VAT, that ministry is looking for 10 vans and 12 caravans for the transport of persons deprived of their liberty. The van must have nine seats and the caravan must have five seats.

Both ministries are looking for diesel engines.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Croatian National ID Cards to Cost More, Adults and Kids Equated

July the 16th, 2021 - Croatian national ID cards are set to have their prices bumped up, with both adults and children needing to pay more for these mandatory documents.

As if waiting and watching the clock tick in long lines in airless rooms at MUP offices only to be told you're missing one piece of paper wasn't quite exciting enough, you'll now have to pay more for the pleasure of it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the new Ordinance on this matter, obtaining new electronic Croatian national ID cards will cost 100 kuna for all those who take one out for the first time or need to replace them due to loss or the card having reached its expiration date.

The only excluded category of Croatian citizens are those older than 70 who don't want an identity card with a certificate, and they will have to pay 70 kuna for their new Croatian national ID cards, which is 20.50 kuna more than it was before, according to a report from Slobodna Dalmacija.

Unlike the ''old'' Ordinance regarding this, which took into consideration the category of children under five years of age, whose parents paid an 60 kuna for Croatian national ID cards, under this new Ordinance, children have been equated with adults.

This means that everyone will now need to pay a single fee of 100 kuna (so far, most citizens have paid 79.50 kuna for their e-ID cards, children under five had to pay 60 kuna, and those older than 65 had to pay 49.50 kuna).

Now, for children up to the age of five, obtaining Croatian national ID cards will increase by 40 kuna, while adults fared a little better because they will now have to pay just 20.50 kuna more for their own ID cards.

All in all, the new rules on these mandatory documents means that the new price of Croatian national ID cards will be mostly felt by the pockets of parents who want to obtain documents for their children.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Croatian Car Registration Plates Can Now be Ordered in Urgent Procedure

June the 18th, 2021 - Croatian car registration plates can now be ordered in an urgent procedure, just like people can do with various other documents issued by MUP such as passports and personal ID cards.

There's nothing quite like booking a flight and then realising there isn't enough time on your passport, or that it has expired entirely. While you should never let that happen in the first place, it sometimes does. MUP has an urgent procedure in which a new Croatian passport can be issued rapidly, and the same can now be done with license plates.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, if you're in a bit of a hurry and the time limit in which you want to get your new Croatian car registration plate is important to you, and you are willing to pay extra for the pleasure of getting your hands on it more quickly, you can do so from now on - within 48 or 96 hours of a proper application being made and submitted.

On the 17th of June 2021, the decision which will allow for the faster application process for license plates will enter into force, which will enable Croatian vehicle owners to order and have their new Croatian car registration plates ordered in an urgent procedure.

This applies to all types of registration plates - those with a predefined numerical and alphanumeric plate, optional registration plates, registration plates for oldtimers, registration plates for vehicles of diplomatic and consular missions and additional plates.

The time of delivery of the new registration plates depends on the place where a person submitted their request for the urgent procedure to take place, since the registration plates, when made, must then of course be delivered to their destination somewhere in Croatia, depending on the place of ordering.

If a person submits their request at the vehicle technical inspection station in the City of Zagreb, the delivery time is a mere 48 hours, or 96 hours from the submission of a proper request at the vehicle technical inspection station outside of the City of Zagreb.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Goodbye Stamps for Croatian Passport and Driving License Renewals?

June the 10th, 2021 - For all those who have been through the delightful procedure of renewing a Croatian passport, driving license or other document, the topic of stamps will be all too familiar. Could that outdated and quite frankly ridiculous process now finally be coming to an end? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Ministry of Finance has submitted a proposal for a new Regulation on the tariffs of administrative fees for public discussion. This is a revolutionary decree, which will reduce the amount of tariff numbers from 95 down to a much lower 58.

What this translates to is that it's now possible that people might no longer have to pay administrative fees or buy stamps for many as 177 various documents obtained from the state authorities.

Should this proposal be accepted, people will no longer need the infamous stamps when obtaining a driver's and traffic license, a Croatian passport, when certifying signatures, for issuing a decision to open a company, for issuing new documents, for issuing site approvals for oil, gas and more.

There has also been a proposal to totally abolish all cadastral fees, fees in the field of education, sports and water management, when acquiring real estate, in the field of cultural heritage protection and fees in the field of competition protection. This, of course, doesn't mean that all these documents will no longer be needed, and this decree merely abolishes the payment of stamps for their issuance.

The explanation of the proposed decree which will remove this outdated procedure for the issuing of Croatian passports and much more states that the abolition, ie the partial abolition of administrative fees/stamps, will reduce the state budget revenue by around 80 million kuna. The biggest relief for people and businessmen, in the amount of about 69.3 million kuna, will be felt in the area of ​​internal affairs.

Revenue from cadastral fees will be lower by about 3.6 million kuna, in the field of healthcare by about 2 million kuna, and in water management by about 1.2 million kuna, reports Jutarnji list.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Brits Living in Croatia Have Until June 30 to Register for New Status

June the 5th, 2021 - 2021 has so far flown by in the blink of an eye and summer is knocking at Croatia's door. Brits living in Croatia must make sure to register for their new status via the declaratory system MUP has set up before the 30th of June this year in order to have a carefree summer.

The UK's Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU. The UK opted for something called Pre-settled and Settled status.

Different EU countries opted for different approaches to enshrining the rights of their resident British nationals following the UK's withdrawal from the bloc, and Croatia chose a declaratory system by which legally resident Brits simply register for a new residence card/document which evidences their acquired rights.

Instead of writing in full what needs to be done again for those who missed the last article, I'll simply link it here.

Brits living in Croatia need to follow the instructions provided in the above link for their specific situation. If you're a temporary resident and haven't yet gained permanent residence in Croatia, the procedure will be slightly different for you as in some cases you might (or you might not) be asked to provide more documents in order to determine your basis for continuing to live in Croatia.

In any case, be ready to have more documents on hand in case you're asked for them.

If you're a permanent resident already and became one before the UK's transition period ended on December the 31st, 2020, you are no longer subject to any requirements and the system of declaration will be very simple.

More information about what might be asked of you and what you'll need to provide, as well as the corresponding forms you need to fill in when submitting your documents depending on your current status (temporary or permanent resident) are provided in the link above. The email addresses of each administrative police station are also provided, as your registration must go to the police station responsible for your area of registered residence.

A quick jargon buster:

This is a declaration system to evidence your acquired rights, this isn't a new application for a new status.

You need to have been legally registered as living in Croatia in order to fall into the scope of protection offered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The registration procedure is free, you only need to pay for new photos (if you don't already have some on hand) and just under 80 kuna as an admin fee for the new card to be made.

If Brits living in Croatia fail to submit their documents for registration for their new residence cards, they will not lose their rights, but may face an administrative fine and potential complications which aren't worth the hassle. Make sure to register for your new cards and before the end of this month. Don't risk your rights.

For more, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Croatian Police to Use Brand New Speed Control Device on Country's Motorways

April the 23rd, 2021 - Despite the fact that Croatia's motorways aren't fully of foreign vehicles as would be the norm as summer approaches, the Croatian police (MUP) are still pressing forward with the purchase of innovative and modern new equipment for monitoring the roads and their traffic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the speed camera industry is advancing rapidly, much in the same way that cars and everything they can do with each new model continues to become more and more modern. Police units must naturally follow suit, and technology manufacturers are there to satisfy that need.

Back in 2018, TrueSpeed ​​introduced its pocket radar, which was then in its experimental phase. It has now officially become the inventory of a police unit. Police officers from Le Mans (France) became the first users of these new cameras, writes HAK magazine, and the Croatian police are set to follow in their footsteps.

The peculiarity of this new pocket radar is that it really does fit into your pocket. It is cheaper than other similar items on the market, so Croatian police officers will actually be able to wear it as part of a permanent inventory and even occasionally stand by the side of the road and control a driver's speed.

The radar controls speeds of up to 300 kmh, but that's not all, because thanks to the x7 zoom, the police officer will be able to see right inside the vehicle to check if the driver is on the phone, eating while driving, if their seat belt is properly fastened and if all of the necessary stickers are stuck on the windshield properly.

The range is 640 metres, it allows control in both directions of traffic, even during rainy weather when the visibility might be poorer. However, it only works if the police officer is standing and it cannot be used as a mobile radar. TrueSpeed ​​expects its product to be popular among other police units in Europe, including the Croatian police.

For more, follow our lifestyle page. For all you need to know about driving in Croatia, including laws and regulations updated for 2021, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Court Grants Constitutional Complaint by Killed Migrant Girl's Family - Večernji List Daily

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - A constitutional complaint by the parents and eight siblings of Afghan migrant girl Madine Hosseini, who died in 2017 after she fell under a train near the Croatian-Serbian border, regarding their application for protection in Croatia, has been granted, Večernji List daily said on Wednesday.

The Constitutional Court established that the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) and administrative courts did not establish with sufficient certainty that Serbia was a safe third country and that asylum seekers would not be at risk of being returned to their country of origin.

A complaint filed by the second wife of Madine's father and children has also been granted, so decisions of the High Administrative Court were quashed for a total of four adults and ten children aged one to 15 from Afghanistan and the case was returned to the Administrative Court in Osijek. All of them were represented by lawyer Sanja Bezbradica Jelavić.

After Madeine's death they were returned to Serbia, but in 2018 they re-entered Croatia and applied for international protection. The father and husband who filed the constitutional complaint said that the Taliban had threatened him because he had worked as a police officer and driver for the US military in Afghanistan, so in fear of them, since he had been wounded in one attack, he managed to flee with his family.

After they illegally entered Croatia, MUP rejected their asylum request by applying the safe third country institute. The explanation was that the Serbian constitution guaranteed fundamental human and minority rights.

Administrative courts also confirmed that Serbia's legal framework guaranteed an efficient and fair procedure of international protection, even from chain refoulement. The fact that they had not been exposed to inhumane or similar treatment in the year and a half they stayed in Serbia was also taken in to account.

However, the lawyer said that the evaluation of Serbia as a safe third country had not taken into account the fact that over the past 10 years refugee statuse had been granted to only 47 persons and subsidiary protection to 62, which was negligible in relation to the number of refugees.

The constitutional judges too ruled that it was not enough to examine the legal framework for asylum seekers but also the real situation, Večernji List said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

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