Monday, 27 June 2022

A Short Guide to Croatian Public Services and Institutions

June 27, 2022 - You see them on the street, you see them on your bills, and you hear them on the phone. Who is who among the Croatian public services and institutions? We'll tell you more in this short guide.

If moving to Croatia is one of your short-term projects, or even if you're already in the process of adaptation, you may have heard of or been in contact with one of these institutions. These Croatian public services and institutions will be part of your daily life here, and it is true that sometimes it can be a bit confusing trying to distinguish them from each other.

In this short guide, we've listed some of the Croatian public services and institutions that you will be in contact with most often, and we hope that this will help you when you don't know where to go for a certain task, or when it's time to do your accounts at home.

MUP

If you're working on getting your residency or citizenship in Croatia, you have most likely gone to a local MUP office. It's also likely that they've called you on the phone or have written you an email or two. MUP is the Ministry of the Interior, and it provides services to both locals and foreigners alike. At MUP, you will also carry out procedures to obtain your passport, your driver's license, your Croatian identification card, and more.

HZZO 

HZZO is the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, it's part of the Ministry of the Health and it includes everything that is related to public health insurance services in the country. As you well know, public health insurance is mandatory if you reside in Croatia. If you wish to enroll in the Croatian public health system, you must go to the HZZO offices in your city of residence. There you can also find out everything related to your health coverage, sign up with a family doctor, and more.

HZZ

HZZ is the Croatian Employment Office, and it serves to report your current employment status, whether you've found a job or if you don't currently have one. At the Employment Office, you can also find job openings that match your skills. 

HZMO

The Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) is a public institution that is dedicated to the implementation of mandatory pension insurance based on generational solidarity (1st pillar of the pension insurance) and the child benefit entitlement procedure.

Porezna uprava

Porezna uprava is the Croatian Tax Administration, and it's a unique and independent administrative organisation within the Finance Ministry whose basic task is the application and supervision of tax regulations and laws on the collection of contributions. Most of your bills will be issued by Porezna uprava. They'll also issue you with tax rebates.

FINA

FINA, the Financial Agency, is a leading Croatian company in the field of financial and electronic service provision. Although state-owned, Fina operates exclusively on a market basis and cooperates with banks, the Croatian National Bank, numerous business systems, and other similar entities. A multitude of payments can be paid at their offices.

Hrvatska Pošta

Hrvatska Pošta is the Croatian Post Office, and it has locations in every city and town across the country. In addition to being the place where you can send letters and packages throughout the country and even abroad, it's also the place where you can pay for your phone, electricity, water, health insurance, and more.

HEP

A state-owned company, HEP is the Croatian Electricity Company and it is the only energy entity authorised to provide a public electricity supply in the Republic of Croatia. It also performs the activities of electricity production and heat production for central heating systems, in addition to the management, maintenance, construction, and development of the electricity distribution network.

HAC 

Hrvatske autoceste or Croatian Motorways Ltd is a Croatian state-owned limited liability company tasked with the management, construction, and maintenance of motorways in Croatia.

HRT

Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) performs the activity of providing public broadcasting services. On their radio and television channels, they dedicate themselves to the dissemination of news, information, culture and other related content. Even if you don't watch their channels or listen to their radio stations, a bill of 80 kuna from HRT will always arrive at your home.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 27 June 2022

MUP Bogged Down by Croatian Employers Requesting Work Permits for Foreigners

June the 27th, 2022 - Croatian employers are requesting work permits for would-be foreign employees left, right and centre. With demographic issues and difficulties finding qualified local staff continuing to bite, MUP is having trouble getting through the paperwork in time for the height of the summer season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the ongoing problem of staff shortages escalated for Croatian employers last summer, and this year it has become even more pronounced because there are more guests, this tourist season could be better than that of 2019, and the desire to travel is great, leading some to describe it as being as if the dam has given way.

There is as much labour here on the domestic labour market as there is, and it isn't enough. As such, Croatian employers are continuing to turn to foreign workers from outside the EEA/EU who need work permits, Novi list reports.

Croatian employers say that even the pool often used in neighbouring non-EEA/EU countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia has been emptied, meaning that more and more workers are being brought in from distant countries like India, Nepal, the Philippines… To work in Croatia legally, non-EU foreigners, of course, need work permits. And there was a big problem with this at MUP last year as well.

People came from abroad and stayed in workers' accommodation units for weeks, until they got their work permits and began work. The tourism sector asked last year for MUP to speed up the process of issuing work permits, however, in principle the only thing that has changed is that applications can now be submitted online instead of being taken to administrative police stations in person. Despite very small changes, just like in previous years, overworked MUP employees continue to deal with all of these requests manually, one by one.

Robert Palic, an employer in tourism from Crikvenica, who has five catering and hospitality facilities in the very centre, explained what it looks like in practice. He applied for about fifty work permits back in early May and hasn't even received even half to date. However, he says, in the meantime, ten work permits have practically been made pointless because people gave up in the meantime and went and found another job elsewhere.

"There were seven Nepalese nationals among them. I paid the agency through which I can employ these people 10,500 kuna to bring those seven people to Croatia, and then another 4,000 kuna for their work permits. With the proviso that they had to come to New Delhi to the embassy with a work permit to get a visa. When I was told that work permits would be ready, those people headed to New Delhi which is, let's not forget, 550 kilometres away from their homes. They waited there for three days for their work permits to arrive to pick up their visas. However, as those work permits didn't arrive. So of course those people gave up on it,'' Palic explained.

He added that at the administrative police station in Crikvenica he asked if he could return those work permits or get the costs taken away for the paid for the work permits he'd paid for for other workers, because he obviously doesn't need these for Nepalese nationals anymore, but they said that no, he can't.

"I'm losing workers, I'm losing money, and on top of that I have to find a dozen new workers overnight. Until a few days ago, I had all my facilities closed because I can't complete my team, and it's already the middle of June,'' added Palic.

“I understand those two women who have to process all these requests and who are overwhelmed with work, but then things need to be arranged differently, more people need to be hired by MUP, as needed, or the whole story needs to be digitised. After all, the coronavirus pandemic taught us how to deal with everything online. Let them put themselves in my position, the tourist season is here, and there are no people, I can’t do all this and only have three workers. My employees who are already working, can’t do the whole season on their own, it’s unbearable, so I urgently need to find more workers. I need to find them tomorrow, not in a month's time,'' pointed out Palic.

The search for workers did indeed set off on time in Palic's case, but the paperwork issues and MUP's outdated way of handling administrative procedures clearly clouded the plans.

Quotas for foreign workers were abolished, but things are no easier...

When asked by the press about the situation with work permits this year, the Police Administration of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County told us that by Wednesday, June the 5th, the Crikvenica Police Station had received a total of 1,258 applications for residence and work permits for non-EU citizens.

"This number refers not only to seasonal work up to 90 days, but also to the extension of existing permits to one year and the request of the CES application, which includes seasonal work up to six months and so-called ''new employment'' for a period of one year. As for the number of requests received compared to the same period last year, it has more than doubled,'' they said from MUP.

"Every year, there's a growing problem when it comes to finding quality workers in Serbia, because instead of coming to Croatia, more and more of them are going off to work in Western European countries. So there's a shortage of people in this pool of ours as well. And that's why we will all have to look more and more for workers from more distant countries. As for the Nepalese, the idea was to have a dozen of them this year and then have them return home satisfied because then they'll say how much it pays to come here to work, so I'll be able to count on, let's say, 20 employees from this country. And that gives me some sense of security in a situation when this pool of ours is almost empty,'' said Palic, just one of many Croatian employers facing this huge problem which keeps on escalating each and every year.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Changes to How Croatian Police Fines are Prescribed Coming

June the 23rd, 2022 - Changes to how Croatian police fines are prescribed are afoot, with officers now being trained in how to use POS devices similar to those used in cafes and restaurants to facilitate payment by card.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian police officers are being educated on how to use POS devices, and the cash collection of traffic fines from the beginning of July will no longer be possible, as reported by the Ministry of the Interior (MUP).

From July the 1st, 2022, people will no longer be able to pay cash fines for traffic offenses at the scene of the offense, but from that date, the Ministry of the Interior will switch to cashless collection of fines via POS devices.

For this purpose, the Ministry of the Interior, through the Central State Office for the Development of Digital Society and the Financial Agency, procured 600 POS devices, which are deployed in police departments throughout the Republic of Croatia.

Officers are being trained for this new way of collecting Croatian police fines

The training of police officers on how to use POS devices is underway, and with faster, more efficient and transparent functioning at the scene of the offense, by waiving the payment of fines in cash, the Ministry of the Interior is meeting the recommendations of the Report of the 5th Evaluation Circle of GRECO. This is part of the official body of the Council of Europe which specialises in the prevention of corruption, and which works to improve the control and supervision of the existing system of the payment of fines to police officers, and reduces the risk of corruption among the police officers themselves..

In addition, the aforementioned change includes the recommendations of the Independent Internal Audit Service of the Ministry of the Interior.

"We'd like to emphasise that the police are already using POS devices for the collection of fines out in the field, along with the collection of fines in cash, while from July the 1st, the possibility of paying the fine in cash will no longer exist. A person who, through a POS device, pays a fine at the place where the offense was committed will be handed a Certificate that the fine and the costs of the procedure have been paid, and a slip made upon the transaction performed through the POS device.

What if you don't have your bank card with you?

If person wants to pay their fine at the place of the crime, but is unable to do so because they don't have a card with them, don't have enough funds in their bank account or some other reason, the police officer will hand him a Notice of Misdemeanor. In that case, the fine shall be deemed to have been collected at the place where the misdemeanor was committed if the person in question pays the fine, reduced by half, within three days of receiving the Misdemeanor Notice and submits proof of payment to the body that determined the misdemeanor.

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

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Status of Ukrainians in Croatia Who Are Not Refugees to be Protected

June the 8th, 2022 - While there have been thousands of Ukrainian refugees enter Croatia since the Russian invasion of their country back in February this year, there are plenty of Ukrainians in Croatia who have been living and working seasonal jobs here since before the outbreak of war. Their status in the country, while different to that of refugees, is set to be clarified and fully protected.

As Morski writes, in accordance with the European Union (EU) directive, about 12,500 Ukrainian citizens have so far applied for and received temporary protection status in the Republic of Croatia. However, some Ukrainians, who have been living in Croatia for various reasons since last year, aren't entitled to this status.

Returning home to Ukraine is also not at all a solution for any of those individuals at this moment in time and it would be a travesty to push any Ukrainians in Croatia to make such a move. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) has made it very clear, all Ukrainians living in Croatia who want to secure their status - will be able to do so and will have their various situations solved.

Twenty-three-year-old Ukrainian Vita Perestiuk found a seasonal job in Zadar last summer, and she decided to stay in Croatia after the tourist season ended.

''I found a job in Istria, in agriculture, working in the vineyards. I was working there and then the war started, so my family came to Croatia, down to Dubrovnik. I finished my work and then I went down to them in Dubrovnik,'' Perestiuk explained to HRT. The right to international temporary protection, by decision of the Croatian Government, can be exercised only by Ukrainian citizens who came to Croatia after the 1st of January, 2022.

Vita, therefore, like approximately 40 other Ukrainians in Croatia, asked to be granted a residence permit for humanitarian reasons. They waited two months for a solution from MUP, biting their nails.

''We didn't know anything, we called them every three days, asked them this and that... That's why we're very happy to have received this status. Now we can go to work, we can live normally,'' said Vita Perestiuk.

''These persons don't enjoy the same rights as Ukrainians who came here fleeing the war enjoy, except the right to residence, of course, and the right to work, they can work, but they don't enjoy, for example, the right to free healthcare, social protection, the right to free housing and the like,'' explained Zarko Katic, state Secretary for Immigration, Citizenship and Administrative Affairs in the Ministry of the Interior.

About 2,700 Ukrainians in Croatia don't have the right to temporary protection, and they are in Croatia mainly for work.

''Each of them will need to regulate their status here either according to the Law on International and Temporary Protection, or according to the Law on Foreigners, either on the basis of work, family reunification, study, or on the basis of residence as a digital nomad,'' explained Katic.

The Croatian Government has firmly stated announces no Ukrainians in Croatia will be forcibly returned to their homeland, even if that means additional changes to the law.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Fan Safety in Croatia: HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo Reach Three Conclusions

May 27, 2022 - Fan safety in Croatia was discussed at the Croatian Football Federation between HNS, MUP, Hajduk, and Dinamo. 

A meeting of Croatian Football Federation representatives was held today on the Croatian Football Federation premises, led by President Marijan Kustić, Police Directorates headed by Chief of Police Nikola Milin, and GNK Dinamo and HNK Hajduk, led by Presidents Vlatka Peras and Lukša Jakobušić. The meeting was held on the topic of security and the organization of football matches, reports HNS.

In a constructive atmosphere and after exchanging views, the following conclusions were reached:

1. All stakeholders in football matches are invited to comply with safety regulations at sports competitions.

2. An agreement will be concluded between the Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Football Federation on implementing measures at high-risk matches and matches where a larger number of visiting fans is expected. In doing so, existing good practices from domestic and international matches will be taken into account. The agreement will be drawn up until the beginning of the new competition year, i.e., the Super Cup match.

3. Fan clubs will be invited to get involved in drafting the said agreement by giving their suggestions and pointing out the problems identified.

It was also agreed that representatives of the Federation, clubs, and the police would constantly communicate regarding the preparation and conduct of football competitions.

"I must emphasize that the term 'freedom to the fans' does not refer to those fans who in any way cause riots, who in any way participate in dishonorable acts and there are institutions for that. This refers to those unjustly detained and I hope that will be determined in the end. We are a fan club, not only do we have an obligation, but we stand firmly behind them. That is why we responded to this meeting," said Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić after the meeting with HNS, Dinamo, and police representatives.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Digital Supercameras, New Video Surveillance Coming to Croatian Roads

May the 26th, 2022 - A large number of brand new supercameras and an entirely new and modern system are set to be installed along Croatian roads as part of an EU project.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the modernisation of the entire system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be introduced on Croatian, which will involve 1,727 brand new digital supercameras.

“Like any new system before it's commissioned, this one must pass a test phase and the validation process in order to make sure that it will react in a timely manner in real conditions. Given that the system is in a phase when it isn't possible to postpone implementation and testing, this is the only possible time period before the main tourist season when it can be implemented, and so that everything is ready by the end of 2022,'' a Croatian roads (HAC) statement said.

The closure of individual sections of motorways

During the implementation and testing of this new equipment, in order to preserve traffic safety and road users, there will be frequent closures of certain sections of the A1 motorway for all traffic. That traffic will be diverted to bypass routes during the closure, HAC said.

Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro)

The new traffic control and management system Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro) is part of the Crocodile project launched at the European Union (EU) level, writes HAC.

“The introduction of this system on Croatian roads will ensure coordinated traffic management and control, making the country become part of the integrated ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) on European roads. The new system will make it much easier for users to plan their travel and get information. The project is being co-financed by the European Union,'' they added.

What will the new cameras on Croatian roads be able to do?

“Along with the implementation of the new traffic information system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be installed, which will significantly raise the level of road safety.

Analog cameras will be replaced by new digital and more technologically advanced ones. The new cameras will be able to detect potentially dangerous situations faster and more safely (such as when people are driving in the opposite direction, when there's a stopped vehicle, when there's a pedestrian on the road, etc.), and will as such provide a faster reaction in order to inform users about the event,'' concluded HAC.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Croatian Labour Force 15,000 Employees Short for 2022 Season

May the 16th, 2022 - The height of 2022's summer tourist season is rapidly approaching, and the Croatian labour force is still missing around 15,000 employees. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of the Directorate for Development, Investments and Competitiveness of the Tourism Economy at the Ministry of Tourism, Robert Pende, said recently on the radio that the Croatian labour force, when it comes to the all important tourism sector, currently lacks as many as 15,000 workers, although he expects the deficit to decrease as time goes on.

"Currently, according to the information we've received from the sector itself, there are about 10,000 people who should come or be employed for this tourist year," said Pende, referring to the lack of workers in the tourism sector, which is ironically Croatia's most important economic branch.

However, he pointed out that many permits for foreign workers (meaning those from non EU-EEA countries such as neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, who require special permission in order to work here) are still in the process of being requested, so he expects those numbers to be somewhat lower eventually.

MUP is notoriously slow in processing employer requests for work permits for third country nationals such as the citizens of the aforementioned non EU countries, with cases of those would-be employees throwing in the towel and going elsewhere or only being approved for their work permit when the tourist season is already well and truly underway.

"In any case, we will have a deficit, I would say, throughout the main tourist season," Pende told HRT.

The president of the Dubrovnik County Chamber, Nikolina Trojic, said that the need at the Croatian national level is certainly between 15 and 20 thousand workers that must be introduced from somewhere.

"At the level of Dubrovnik-Neretva County alone, there are certainly at least two or three thousand people who are needed to come and work this season, so it's that many would-be employees who are missing. It's very difficult to fill that number from the Croatian labour force, and we will undoubtedly have to continue to import labour from abroad,'' added Trojic.

Dubrovnik already has a significant number of employees each summer season from nearby Trebinje, which is just over the border in the Republika Srpska governed part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that alone often causes rifts among locals who remember people from Trebinje attacking Dubrovnik thirty years ago. The issue with filling the Croatian labour force isn't only an issue economically, but on a much more personal level, with many feeling that the Dalmatian coast's many restaurants should be filled with Croatian, preferably local staff, and not those from Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Some People Renouncing Croatian Citizenship, Here's Why

May the 10th, 2022 - Some people have been renouncing their Croatian citizenship, and we've had a far better look into precisely who has done that owing to the census taken back in 2021.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the latest census which was conducted last year by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the Republic of Croatia has a resident population of 3,888,529 million people. As for those who renounced Croatian citizenship in 2021, 154 people were released from citizenship, and four more people simply renounced their citizenship.

In the first four months of this year, twice as many people renounced their citizenship, according to a report from N1. In the period from January the 1st, 2022 to May the 1st, 2022, 86 people were released from Croatian citizenship, while eight people renounced it, as was confirmed the Ministry of the Interior (MUP). According to the law, adult Croatian citizens who reside abroad and also have foreign citizenship may renounce their citizenship if they so wish, as they won't be made stateless by doing so.

The most common reasons for applying for the renunciation of Croatian citizenship are personal reasons, employment and education, said the Ministry of the Interior.

In order for a Croatian citizen to renounce their citizenship, a statement from the person who will then voluntarily lose (renounce) their Croatian citizenship on the day of giving the statement is sufficient. It is very important to note that in this case, an adult cannot regain Croatian citizenship after renunciation.

The Ministry of the Interior also clarified how much this process costs. If the application for termination of Croatian citizenship is submitted in the Republic of Croatia, an administrative fee is charged according to tariff number 9, paragraph 1 of the Decree on the Tariff of Administrative Fees (Official Gazette 92/21, 93/21 and 95/21) in the amount of from 2,520.00 kuna.

An administrative fee according to tariff number 43 of the Decree on the Tariff of Administrative Fees in the amount of 3,150.00 kuna is charged for an application for termination of Croatian citizenship submitted to a diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Croatia abroad. This tax covers all administrative and consular actions in the procedure of termination of Croatian citizenship, as stated by the Ministry of the Interior.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

The Two Types of Brit in Croatia: Pre and Post Brexit

May the 7th, 2022 - There are two types of Brit in Croatia. No, not ethnically, but politically. Back in 2016, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland very narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a non-binding referendum, the likes of which are not the norm at all in a democracy of the UK's type.

Split almost entirely down the middle, the vote to leave the EU came as an enormous European and global shock, sending pound sterling tumbling and causing turmoil following over 40 years of the UK being one of the first and indeed among the wealthiest and most powerful member states. I won't get into the multitude of issues surrounding the Brexit vote, as more than enough time has passed for certain aspects of it to become clear, we've all read about them, and that isn't the point of this article.

Article 50 was eventually triggered, an article which enables a country to leave the bloc and which, according to its creator, was never really designed to be used as such a move was deemed deeply unlikely to ever happen. The UK ended up having numerous extensions, or Brextensions if you will, prolonging the exit process and seeing the country remain a member state for significantly longer than was initially envisaged.

The end eventually came, and the country entered into a year long transition period during which all EU law continued to apply to the UK, which included freedom of movement, one of the fundamental pillars of the functioning of the European Union. The transition period, which was spent tying up loose ends and seeing additional agreements and arrangements dealt with, ended on December the 31st, 2020, with new rules coming into force on the 1st of January, 2021. That date automatically created two sets of British nationals; those who had exercised their right to freedom of movement when the UK was an EU member state, and those who hadn't.

What does that mean for a Brit in Croatia?

Put simply and shortly, there are now two types of Brit in Croatia - a pre-Brexit Brit and a post-Brexit Brit. These two sets of people are treated entirely differently in this country, should they live here or want to live here, despite having the exact same nationality.

New residence permits

As a pre-Brexit Brit, you're not a third country national, and you're not an EU citizen, you have a category all to yourself, but it is up to you to be able to demonstrate that.

First of all, you need to request a new residence permit which separates you as a a pre-Brexit Brit in Croatia from a post-Brexit Brit. This card will state that you are protected by the Withdrawal Ageeement and you can request it from MUP. This is not a new residence application, just a scheme of declaration. You were supposed to request this before the end of June 2021 but some still haven't. You can still request it, your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will be unaffected, but you may face an administrative fine for not respecting the aforementioned date (around 200 kuna). You can read more here.

For those who had temporary residence before the 31st of December, you need to download and fill in this form.

For those who already had permanent residence before the same date, you need to download and fill in this form.

Those who are already permanent residents will be asked less questions than those who are temporary residents. This is because permanent residents, regardless of their nationality, no longer need to abide by any conditions in order to live in Croatia permanently. Temporary residence are still ''provisional'', so to speak.

The rules for pre-Brexit Brits in Croatia:

If you're a Brit in Croatia and you were granted legal residence here before Brexit occurred, you're covered by something called the Withdrawal Agreement. That agreement provides what are known as acquired rights for those British citizens who had exercised their right to free movement when their country was an EU member state and as such moved to Croatia before the clock timed out on the 31st of December, 2020.

It's important to note that the ''pre-Brexit'' type of Brit in Croatia's time period also includes the transition period during which all EU law continued to apply to the UK.

As a pre-Brexit Brit in Croatia, you're afforded a series of special rights which clearly distinguish you from post-Brexit Brits (which we'll get into later) and see you treated much more like an EU citizen than a third country national.

The ins and outs

As a pre-Brexit Brit in Croatia, you had temporary or permanent residence granted and a document/permit to prove that before Brexit was concluded, when you were an EU citizen. As such, you'll continue to be broadly treated as such. This means that:

You are free to continue living and working (if you worked) as you did before, under the same conditions as you did before,

You are free to be self-employed or take up another form of employment without the need for a work permit,

You can continue to receive healthcare from the state (through HZZO) on the same basis as you did before,

You will be exempt from needing to fill out and pay for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) when it comes into force,

You can enter and exit Croatia with your valid passport. You don't need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you're travelling,

Your entry into Croatia is always facilitated, but you must proactively show your residence permit demonstrating your rights along with your passport when entering. Your passport may be mistakenly stamped, but this is voided upon demonstration of your right to live in Croatia,

You can continue to drive in Croatia and will be issued with black printed license plates which separate you from post-Brexit Brits. You should bring your new residence permit proving your status when undertaking this procedure with MUP,

Your family members (such as current spouses and registered partners, parents, grandparents, children) will be able to join you and live in Croatia at any point the future,

Any children born after the end of the transition period will also be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement because you are, wherever they are born,

You can be gone from the country for five consecutive years without losing any of your rights or your permanent resident status,

All in all, your rights are largely unaffected by Brexit and you can continue living permanently in Croatia without the need to meet any conditions,

If you'd like to see more details about travel restrictions as a Brit in Croatia covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, click here.

Let's now move onto post-Brexit Brits, the British nationals who moved to Croatia, or who still plan to, now that Brexit and the transition period have come to an end. These British citizens are third country nationals, as despite being a European country, the UK is no longer an EU, EEA or EFTA member state.

The rules for post-Brexit Brits in Croatia:

As a Brit in Croatia who did not exercise their right to free movement when the UK was an EU member state, you are not afforded any special rights. You can no longer get residence easily as a British citizen like you could when the UK was part of the EU. Let's look at how you can gain residence as a Brit in Croatia now that EU membership is a thing of the past. You can apply for residence in Croatia if:

You're a British national but you already hold permanent residence in another EU/EEA/EFTA country

You're a digital nomad

You're a student in Croatia

You're coming here to start a company of your own

You're going to be working for a Croatian company

You're going to be undertaking scientific research

You're coming here to learn the Croatian language

You are already married or are going to be getting married to a Croatian citizen or an EU citizen living here

You're going to be volunteering here

You want to live here for one year only and you can prove the pre-payment of a year's worth of rent on a house, apartment, etc

All of the above grounds for application come with their own rules and requirements, and frankly, I'd be here for forever and a day if I went through each and every possible requirement and potential twist and turn. That said, these are concrete grounds for a residence application for a post-Brexit Brit in Croatia, and if you state one of them as your reason, MUP will be able to tell you what they require from you in your individual case. Here's what you will need in each and every case, however:

A completed application form for temporary residence which MUP will provide you with,

A valid identity document such as an ID card or British passport. Brits know that ID cards aren't really a thing in the UK, so the latter will most likely be the case. You must have three or more months longer on your passport than the period you intend to remain in Croatia for,

A criminal background check from the British police that is no older than 6 months, and if you hold permanent residence in another EU country, you need one from their authorities, too,

A health insurance policy. You can use a private health insurance police, a GHIC, or an EHIC if you live in another EU country and have health insurance there,

Proof of accommodation, and as such a registered address in Croatia. You'll then need to show your proof of ownership, a valid rental contract, or the accommodation provider/landlord can accompany you to MUP if you have a different situation,

Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself unless you're applying based on family reunification with a Croatian spouse,

A photograph (30x35 mm) which will either be taken at MUP upon approval of your application, or at a nearby photo studio which provides photos for identification documents. There are usually several such facilities within walking distance from an administrative police station,

An application fee to be paid into the Croatian state budget,

Your rights as a post-Brexit Brit in Croatia:

You will require a work permit in order to gain lawful employment in Croatia,

As a temporary resident, you will need to be in the country for a certain amount of time each year before being able to apply for permanent residence. Click here for travel restrictions for third country nationals, and for detailed information about time you must wait before you can apply for permanent residence, click here,

You may need to get your professional qualifications recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Croatia,

If you plan to study in Croatia, you must meet all of the requirements before you travel here. It's wise to contact the relevant higher education provider in Croatia to check what fees you may have to pay during this process,

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Croatia so that you don't pay tax on the same income in both countries. This remains the case regardless of the EU or of Brexit,

You can't renew or replace your United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Croatia, but here's what you can do,

Once you are able to apply for permanent residence, you will be afforded vastly different (and much more favourable rights) which are very similar to those enjoyed by nationals, here they are:

You are free to come and go from Croatia as often as you please, as long as you aren't outside of the country's borders for longer than two consecutive years,

You are free to access education,

You can undergo professional development of any kind,

You are free to take up employment without any need for permission or a work permit

Student (but not state) scholarships,

Child benefits (allowance),

Social/state benefits (welfare)

Various forms of applicable tax relief,

Free access to the goods and services market,

The freedom to become a member of an association or organisation which represents either employees or employers,

You can live in Croatian permanently and without any conditions,

 

SOURCES: MUPSredisnji drzavni portalEuropa.euGOV.UK

For everything else you need to know as a Brit in Croatia, keep up with our lifestyle section.

Friday, 6 May 2022

The Lowdown on Croatian Residence Permits and Travel Regulations

May the 6th, 2022 - Croatian residence permits come with certain rules when it comes to travelling outside of the country which vary from case to case, nationality to nationality, and reason for applying.

Once you've received your first temporary residence permit, be it valid for a year, two years, three years, four or the full five year stretch before you can typically apply for permanent residence, you're faced with certain limitations when it comes to how long you can be absent from Croatia without risking the termination of your permit. The same is true for permanent residence holders, albeit far more lenient. Let's look into what those restrictions are and who they apply to.

Temporary residence for EU/EEA/EFTA citizens

If you're a citizen of a European Union, European Economic Area or European Free Trade Association country (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein), then you've got the best deal out of the lot when it comes to Croatian residence permits and the freedom to travel in and out of the country.

Once you've been granted a Croatian residence permit, in this case temporary residence, you can be gone for up to six months per calendar year, and as such you only need to be physically present on the territory of Croatia for the other six months per year in order for your temporary residence permit to remain valid.

This is primarily because as a citizen of one of the aforementioned groups, you are entitled to live and work in Croatia on the same basis as a Croatian national owing to one of the fundamental pillars of the functioning of the European Union - freedom of movement. This pillar also applies to non EU countries which are still part of the EEA or EFTA.

Permanent residence for EU/EEA/EFTA citizens

The same applies to citizens of the above-mentioned group of countries once you're granted permanent residence in Croatia. Permanent residence is precisely that, permanent, and it's rather difficult to lose. As a a citizen of the EU, the EEA or an EFTA country, you're automatically entitled to permanent residence in Croatia after five years and one day of uninterrupted, lawful temporary residence. In some cases, permanent residence can be obtained earlier, and you can click here to learn more about that.

Once you've been approved and granted a new Croatian residence permit, a permanent one, you can be gone for more or less as much as you'd like. The only catch is that you can't be outside of Croatia for more than two consecutive years, which is unlikely in itself.

Temporary residence for third country nationals (non EU, EEA or EFTA citizens)

If you aren't a citizen of any of the aforementioned countries which belong to one of those three blocs, you have more restrictive limitations when it comes to travelling outside of Croatia. Once you're granted a Croatian residence permit (temporary residence), you're only free to be outside of the territory of Croatia on multiple different trips for a period of up to 90 days (three months) or 30 days from the day you're given the green light and your application for temporary residence for one year is granted to you by MUP.

This ''freedom'' time increases as your time approved to be living here does, so you can be outside of the country on multiple different trips for up to 180 days (six months), or a maximum of 60 days in one stretch from the day you're approved for two years of temporary residence. The latter is also the case if you're registered as a Croatian citizen's family member.

There are exceptions to these rules of course, much like with everything else in Croatia, and if you have a valid reason to be outside of the country for a longer period, such as illness, childbirth, military service, etc, you will likely be given permission to remain outside for longer, but you must explain this and ask for permission. If you're found to have been outside of the country for longer than is permitted and you haven't contacted MUP, you could run the risk of your Croatian residence permit and those of anyone connected to you being invalidated.

Permanent residence for third country nationals (non EU, EEA or EFTA citizens)

Once you've reached the time at which you can apply for permanent residence as a third country national, which is typically five years (but it could be three or four, depending on your circumstances), you get much, much more freedom. It's a little bit like serving time and then getting some sort of reward, if you like. 

As a third country national with Croatian permanent residence, you can only have your permit cancelled if you've spent more than 12 consecutive months outside of the European Economic Area, or if you've resided outside of the territory of the Republic of Croatia for longer than 6 years.

Temporary residence for British citizens who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement

British citizens were once also EU citizens until the country voted very narrowly to leave the European Union back in 2016. The process was long, arduous, and frankly a little bit embarrassing. With numerous extensions and with a year-long transition period out of the bloc, heading out of the door took a long time for the UK, one of the EU's then most powerful and wealthy member states. 

British nationals who had exercised their right to freedom of movement when the UK was an EU member are protected by what's known as the Withdrawal Agreement, and they aren't quite EEA citizens, and aren't quite third country nationals either. They have what are known as acquired rights and they enjoy now broadly what they did when the UK was an EU country.

They need a special Croatian residence permit in order to evidence their right to live and work in Croatia, free them from ever needing to pay the upcoming ETIAS, facilitate their entry into Croatia whatever the situation might be, and to separate them from British nationals who moved to live in Croatia after the end of the UK's transition period (31st of December, 2020), who are now third country nationals.

If you're a British national protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and you have temporary residence in Croatia, you are free to be absent from the country for no more than six months per calendar year. Essentially, you have the same rights you would have had as an EU citizen with Croatian temporary residence.

Permanent residence for British citizens who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement

If you're a British citizen and you already have permanent residence in Croatia, you are free to be absent from the country for five consecutive years without losing any of your rights whatsoever.

 

SOURCES: MUP, Sredisnji drzavni portal, Europa.eu, GOV.UK

For all you need to know about Croatian residence permits, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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