Wednesday, 22 March 2023

The Croatian EU Blue Card Scheme - How Do I Get One?

March the 22nd, 2023 - The EU Blue Card scheme is a special sort of status given to third country nationals (non-EEA/EU citizens) and British nationals who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who are highly qualified. It allows them to live in an EU member state for the purpose of taking up gainful employment there. How does one go about getting a Croatian EU Blue Card?

Is there a difference between the Croatian EU Blue Card (plava karta) and a normal residence/stay and work permit?

Although they both allow the holder the ability to work and take up lawful residence, there are differences between the two.

If you're a highly qualified third country national and you fit the bill, you can apply for the Croatian EU Blue Card. You'll need to fill in form 4A (downloadable) either at the administrative police station responsible for their planned place of residence here in Croatia, or at a Croatian diplomatic mission abroad. There is, as touched on above, a difference between the Croatian EU Blue Card and a normal residence or stay and work permit, and that difference lies in some of the criteria a prospective blue card holder needs to meet. 

What does one need in order to apply for a Croatian EU Blue Card?

Unlike for the issuance of a residence permit (which is all an EEA citizen needs as they're free to work) or a stay and work permit for non-EEA citizens, the issuance of a Croatian EU Blue Card has some differences. Would-be Croatian EU Blue Card holders still need to meet the general requirements asked of other individuals applying for residence in Croatia, and they're all outlined in Article 59 of the Law on Foreigners (Zakon o strancima), but you'll also need to provide the following:

Proof that you meet all of the conditions the legislation of the Republic of Croatia asks of them in order to properly engage in a legally regulated profession. The details of that profession must be fully and clearly stipulated in your employment contract, and it all must correspond with the Croatian legislation on professional qualifications.

As made obvious above, you'll need to show proof of your employment contract for said highly qualified work position. The employment contract cannot be for a period shorter than twelve calender months (one year), and the issuer of the employment contract must have their company registered in Croatia.

You'll also need to prove your level of education (higher) from your home country or the country in which you gained said education. This can be done with your degree(s) diploma(s), certificate(s) and so on.

What are the costs?

There are admin fees implied with all processes undertaken at MUP (the Interior Ministry), and they vary. In the case of the application for and the issuance of a Croatian EU Blue Card, you will need to pay just under 75 euros for the issuance of the status/permit, and then just under 32 euros on top of that, for the issuance of the actual physical card (which comes in the form of a biometric residence permit/ID card). 

Please note that the aforementioned sum of just under 32 euros is for the issuance of the biometric card in what's called a ''regular procedure'' (that just means that it will take the usual amount of time to be made). You can pay more, more precisely just under 60 euros for the card to be issued to you in an ''accelerated procedure'', and you'll get it more quickly.

On top of that, you'll need to pay just under 10 euros to the state budget.

Payment details are specified here.

Can Croatian EU Blue Cards be renewed?

Yes. As long as you as the holder start the process at the same administrative police station which issued you the blue card no later than 30 days before it is due to expire. You're free to remain in Croatia until a decision on renewing the card is made and becomes legally enforceable. 

Can my family members join me, even if they aren't blue card holders or even applicants?

Yes! Your family members are free to join you using something called family reunification. Your family member simply needs to meet the requirements laid out in Article 64 of the Law on Foreigners in order to be granted temporary residence on the basis of family reunification with a Croatian EU Blue Card holder. They'll still need to provide some things to MUP, so here's a list:

They'll need to fill in form 1A.

They'll then need to provide: a photo of themselves, a copy of their valid passport, a residence permit to prove that they resided in the territory of another EEA member state as family members or life partners, a visa (if applicable at all), proof of them holding health insurance, proof of sufficient funds in order to not become a burden on the welfare system, proof that they haven't been convicted of any criminal offences in the country they resided in for more than 12 months immediately prior to arriving in Croatia.

There are other things to note and items to provide the Croatian authorities with based on who you are to each other in the sense of being family. This varies if the relationship is a parent/child relationship, if your husband or wife is in question, if you're not married but are in a commonlaw partnership, an informal life partnership, and so on.

Those more specific details can be found here.


As a Croatian EU Blue Card holder, you may only work for the company (registered in Croatia) for which the blue card has been issued for, and for the length of time it has been issued for. In other words, you're only permitted to work for the employer that you have entered into employment with and been granted a blue card for.

Your family members will be granted temporary residence on the basis of family reunification only for the amount of time your blue card has been issued for. The same is true for the renewal process.


For more on moving to and living in Croatia, spanning everything from rental car and ferry tips to getting health insurance and buying property, make sure to keep up with our lifestyle section. An article on living in, moving to or handling administrative tasks in Croatia is published every Wednesday.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

How to Obtain Permanent Croatian Residence as an EU/EEA Citizen

March the 8th, 2023 - In this article, I'll take you through what you need to do to obtain permanent Croatian residence as a European Union/European Economic Area citizen. A bit of good news is that EU law makes this your right to have after five years of lawful, uninterrupted temporary residence. Let's dive in.

I've already written extensively about what you need to do to secure temporary Croatian residence as an EU/EEA citizen in this article, so make sure to click on that and read through it if it applies to you, because you won't get permanent Croatian residence without completing those five years (and one day) first.

Once you've racked up your five years of temporary residence, you can get permanent Croatian residence. As an EEA citizen, unlike a third country national, this is your right, even if the clerk you’re met with makes you feel like it isn't. You might get lucky and be dealt with by a friendly face, but if you aren't, remember it's them and not you. Just provide what they ask for and you'll be fine.

Typically, you'll need to prove your five years of continuous, legal residence, this is done simply by presenting your temporary residence card. All of the information MUP needs will be on it, or stored in it. 

You may be asked to provide proof of enough funds to sustain yourself, proof of address, proof of health insurance (again, you might not even be asked for this), and proof of your identity.

The key requirement is that you have held residency for a continuous period of five years in Croatia, absences of six months or less every year are permitted. As opposed to third country nationals, permanent residence for an EEA citizen is an automatic right under EU law. You're simply asking MUP for a confirmation of those rights. You therefore do not need a valid temporary residence permit when registering your permanent residence, unlike third country nationals. EEA nationals apply after five years and one day.

EEA citizens do not need to take an exam in Croatian language and the Latin script, this was confirmed by MUP here in Zagreb via email correspondence. Despite this, some EEA nationals report being told they need to do so, and some portals and websites with outdated or confusing information claiming they need to. If you need to be certain, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the question, stating that you are an EEA citizen and are unsure. You can present that email if you end up being wrongly asked to take a test.

As stated just above, some officials claim that you must submit this application before the validity of your five-year permit runs out, however, this is not the case for EEA citizens as your right to permanent residence is automatic under EU law, meaning that you actually seek confirmation of your rights after five years and one day. Make sure to ask about your situation. The same rules apply to family members of Croatian nationals who are not nationals of an EEA country.

You'll be given the correct form to fill in once you go in person to apply at the police station.

As opposed to the case with third-country nationals, MUP is required to provide a decision on the permanent residence application of an EEA national in the shortest time period possible, so you'll likely hear of your approval quite quickly. Once again, if you don't hear anything or have questions, make sure to call your case worker (ask for a contact number when you make your application!) or send them an email.

Once your permanent Croatian residence is approved, you'll go to pick up a new biometric permit with a typical validity of ten years. As stated previously, permanent residence provides almost all of the rights a Croatian citizen enjoys and when granted, you are no longer subject to any conditions as long as you do not leave Croatia for longer than you're allowed to, and you can read about that here.

You can access the state's social security system, you can work and carry out services freely, in any manner citizens do without needing any type of special permit or permission for foreigners, and you can leave the country as often as you'd like to. You simply renew it as you would a passport every decade. You will not be subject to any more conditions or questions.

If you commit a crime that lands you with six months or more in jail, or you're deemed and proven to be a threat to national security, then your permanent Croatian residence can be revoked and you can, in some very rare cases, face deportation.

For more on moving to and living in Croatia, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section. An article dedicated to certain practical and/or administrative procedures for life in Croatia is published every Wednesday.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Got an EEA PR Card? Here's How to Get Temporary Croatian Residence

February the 22nd, 2023 - I've covered what you need to do to get temporary residence as both a third country national (a person who doesn't hold the citizenship of a European Economic Area country), and as an EEA citizen. In this article, I'll delve deeper into what you need to do to get temporary Croatian residence approved if you're a third country national who already has permanent residence in an EEA country.

Is a third country national who already has permanent residence in another EEA country treated differently when applying?

Short answer - yes. Long(er) answer - the case of a third country national who has already been approved and holds the status of a permanent resident in another EEA country (not Croatia) is treated slightly differently to that of a third country national who doesn't have permanent residence in another EEA country.

Croatian law is a fascinating thing. There is a rule created for just about every possible conceivable circumstance, no matter how specific. There are also ten clerks who can’t interpret it, but that’s some humour best left for another time. This one is fairly simple.

If you're a third country national who has been granted permanent residence in another EEA country, you can apply for short-term stay under the following rules, and by providing the same documents as listed below, meaning that you can stay in Croatia until the expiry of the visa or the residence card issued to you by the EEA country which has approved your permanent residence in that country, and for a maximum period of three months from the date of your initial entry into Croatia.

Here's what you'll need when applying for temporary Croatian residence:

Your birth certificate.

A copy of your birth certificate.

A valid passport.

The permanent residence card issued to you by another EEA country

A scanned copy (it's wise to make several copies), of the photographic ID of the page with your details in your passport and the permanent residence card issued to you by another EEA country

A colour 35x45mm photograph (passport style, not passport size - MUP will either take your photo there and then or direct you to a nearby place to have it done to the correct measure).

Proof of health insurance

Proof of funds to sustain yourself for the foreseen length of stay in Croatia (this can be proven with a printed statement from the bank showing and attesting to the amount in the account).

Proof of the justification of the reason behind your request for temporary residency.

Proof of having housing (this can be proven in several ways, either with a notarized rental contract, proof of home ownership, or having your landlord or whoever you're staying with come with you in person).

In some cases, a police clearance certificate from the applicant's home country is required, however, this is not always asked for, so make sure to ask if you need this beforehand!

The documents submitted with the correct form you must fill in from MUP must be either originals, or certified copies. These foreign documents are usually required to be translated (with a certified translation) into the Croatian language. The documents must not be older than six months.

Just as with the normal procedure, if you intend to stay longer than three months (before the expiration of the visa or residence permit from another EEA country) you can apply for a temporary residence permit at your local police station in Croatia, or in the Croatian consulate of the EEA country which approved your permanent residence there.


If you're successful, you'll be given a biometric residence permit proving your Croatian temporary residence.

As a third country national who has been granted temporary Croatian residence, members of your family can also be granted temporary Croatian residence for the purpose of family reunification, if that family member also holds a valid residence permit in another EEA country, or if they've been resident in a shared household with you, as a third country national, in the EEA country in which you hold permanent residence.

Family members in this case are spouses and partners, underage biological children and underage adopted children.

Unlike in the case for EEA citizens, for third-country nationals (and yes, that includes those who hold permanent residence in another EEA country), it can take a while before you hear of the outcome of the Ministry of the Interior's decision when it comes to the application you've submitted, and you might need to follow up to see how things stand. Don't worry if you don't hear much, but do make sure to follow up. Ask questions if you're unsure, no matter the attitude of the person answering, and seek a second opinion should you feel the need to do so. 

You can email MUP in Zagreb at any time, responses might not be quick, but you'll get one eventually in any case: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Keep up with our How to Croatia, Moving to Croatia and Living in Croatia articles by following our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Altruism and Residence Permits - How to Volunteer in Croatia

October the 12th, 2022 - Volunteering is always an excellent way of showcasing altruism and selflessness. On the more practical side, it’s often a way into a paid position or simply to beef up the level of experience you have in a particular industry or field on your CV. To volunteer in Croatia, you'll need to get acquainted with some paperwork, nationality depending, of course.

When it comes to volunteering abroad, you tend to get back just as much as you give in the form of a wealth of new experiences, the taking in of another culture or language, and an array of things volunteering in your home country couldn’t give you.

Did you know that if you volunteer in Croatia, it's also a way you can legitimately gain residence if you plan to stay for longer than ninety days?

The rules surrounding becoming a volunteer in Croatia are handled by the Law on Volunteering (Zakon o volonterstvu) and there are two ways in which you can volunteer in this country - short and long-term. Welcome to the world of the udruga (non-profit association/organisation).

How can I find out about volunteering opportunities?

A fantastic resource for finding volunteering opportunities all over the country, even in more obscure locations, is the Zagreb Volunteers’ Centre. This NGO provides all kinds of information for both Croatian and foreign nationals, including facilitating connections between different associations and organisations in different locations, even outside of Croatian borders but within the EEA. They can be found on social media under the name ‘Volonterski centar Zagreb’, and emailed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Short-term volunteering

The first is the simplest of all - volunteering for ninety days or less within a single calendar year, with those ninety days either being in one chunk, or split up into shorter time periods. In this case, you don’t need to apply for residence or have a permit to prove you can stay in the country. While this is by far the simplest way to go about volunteering, it wouldn’t be Croatia without at least a little paperwork, would it?

Work registration certificates

Most foreign citizens who plan to volunteer need to get a work registration certificate (potvrda o prijavi rada), even if they’re not planning on staying longer than ninety days, and despite the fact that they won’t be earning a wage for carrying out said work. You’ll notice I said ‘most’ foreign citizens, and that means that anyone who has foreign citizenship, as well as individuals who hold Maltese, Austrian, British, Dutch or Slovenian passports, require a work registration certificate. All other nationals of the European Economic Area don’t require it (this includes Swiss nationals).

How do I get my hands on such a certificate?

You guessed it, the administrative police station (yet again). In this case, you don’t need to involve the administrative police station responsible for your area of stay, but rather the one responsible for the area in which the headquarters of where you’re volunteering is registered. These certificates can be obtained by either you as the volunteer, or by the udruga you’re volunteering for.

What do I need to provide?

First of all, you’ll need a document (which is an application form) called ‘an application for the issuance of a work registration certificate’ which will be provided to you by the police when you go there. You’ll need to fill it in as instructed on the form, with information including your full legal name, your date of birth, place and country of birth, and the citizenship you hold. On top of that, you’ll also need to make clear the amount of time you require the work registration certificate to be valid for, the type of volunteering you’ll be engaged in, and the exact number of days you intend to spend engaged in it.

You’ll also need to provide the following:

The tourist visa you entered the country with (if applicable to you)

A copy of your passport or government-issued ID card as well as a certified translation into Croatian from whatever language it is in, if that language isn’t English. So, to be perfectly clear there, if your passport or ID card is in English, you don’t need to get it translated.

Proof of the arrangement you’ve entered into in which you plan to volunteer. You can prove this in two ways, either through a partnership agreement or through a volunteering contract. You’ll be provided with one of the above by the organisation you’re volunteering for upon reaching your agreement with them. 

You’ll then need to pay a small fee for all of the above in tax stamps. These tax stamps look like your usual postage stamps and are typically required for administrative payments made to the state. You can buy them from kiosks such as Tisak, particular shops which have the words ‘Narodne novine’ on them, banks, courts, some book stores and various other locations, including from notaries. You’re more than likely to find a Tisak kiosk nearby, wherever you are, so that should be your first port of call. You can also buy them from an institution called ‘Fina’, and you’re also likely to find one without much effort.

You will need to come back to that same administrative police station to pay another administrative fee once your work certificate is approved. You will be given a paper payment slip and be instructed on how to pay it. If you’re not immediately told how to pay it, do ask. It is very simple, but if you’re not sure, ask, ask, and ask again.

Long-term volunteering

If you intend to volunteer in Croatia for a period which exceeds ninety days, but no longer than one year in total, then you’ll need to apply for residence in Croatia in order to have a lawfully regulated stay here. In this case, despite the fact that as a volunteer you won’t be receiving a salary for volunteering, you’ll need to apply for a work and residence permit (dozvola za boravak i rad). First I’ll go into what you need to provide when you apply, and then explain a few caveats.

What do I need to provide?

You’ll need to provide a filled in application form for temporary residence (privremeni boravak), which will be provided to you by the administrative police station when you go there to make your application. The form is called ‘1B’ and they are slightly different depending on whether you hold EEA citizenship or not.

A copy of your passport or government-issued ID card and a new photo of yourself (30x35 millimetres).

Your registered address in Croatia. You’ll need another form for that, and there is once again a form for EEA citizens and a form for those who come from third countries, both of which can be asked for at the police station. You’ll be given back an officially stamped copy of this same address registration form. Don’t lose or misplace this because you’ll need it, precisely for this part of the long-term volunteering application, for example!

Proof of you having valid health insurance (this can be travel insurance, foreign health insurance or an EHIC from your home country. You can also of course use the card proving you’re insured in Croatia by HZZO if you’re already insured here).

In many (but not all) cases, you’ll be asked to provide a criminal background check from your home country.

Proof that you have enough money to take care of yourself throughout your intended period of stay in Croatia. You will likely also be asked to show proof of any costs the organisation you’re planning to volunteer for will cover, be that accommodation, food, and anything in between.

Proof that the organisation you intend to volunteer for is registered and headquartered in the Republic of Croatia and that said organisation has a third party liability insurance policy. This requirement doesn’t need to be fulfilled if it is part of the European Solidarity Force.

On top of all that, you’ll also need…

Proof of your agreement with the organisation you intend to volunteer for which includes the period of time you intend to carry out volunteer work for them, a description of the programme, the number of hours you’ll spend volunteering, and the list could be longer depending on your individual situation and the type of volunteer work you’ll be doing.

A volunteer’s contract

This document needs to include many things, so I’ll start with what it needs to say about you as the would-be volunteer. You’ll need to provide the following:

Your full name, your ID card number, your address and your OIB.

The full title, address and OIB of the organisation or association you’ll be volunteering for.

The period of time and location at which you’ll be volunteering.

What exactly you’ll be doing.

Your signature.

The organisation you’re going to be volunteering for needs to provide the following:

The organisation’s obligations towards you as the volunteer, as well as your rights and obligations to them.

The level of safety you as the volunteer will be guaranteed during your time spent with the organisation.

Proof that your rights as the volunteer will be respected and how that will be ensured.

A statement that you won’t be paid for your work, but with details of things that will be covered (such as the cost of food, accommodation or travel) or reimbursements that the organisation will pay for you as the volunteer.

Clauses from the Croatian Law on Civil Obligations and the Law on Volunteering.

The conditions and procedure of and for the termination of the volunteering contract.

The signature of the association or organisation (udruga).

Things to note

A stay and work permit issued to a person in order for them to engage in long-term volunteer work doesn’t allow them to work for a Croatian company in exchange for money. 

Once your long-term volunteering is approved, you can volunteer for that same organisation anywhere in the country, if said organisation has multiple outposts, but bear in mind that you’ll need to make another application for a different residence card for each new contracted time period.

There are third country nationals who have attempted to gain temporary residence in this way, thinking that it might be an easy route if they have no other ways at their disposal, but have found it to be quite cumbersome of a task. This isn’t an issue for EEA citizens, because they’re entitled to residence based solely on the citizenships they hold, but for those who don’t have an automatic right to stay in the country for longer than ninety days, just be aware that the volunteering idea isn’t as straightforward as you might think it will be. Even altruism comes with application forms and formal processes. 

Volunteering is not a path to permanent residence because the time spent in Croatia on stay and work permits for this purpose isn’t calculated into ‘time spent in Croatia’ to rack up to the five years you need in order to apply for that status. If it’s permanent residence you want, don’t opt for this route.

Make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section for more.

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.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Residence in Croatia: The Approval and Permit Pick Up Procedure

January the 12th, 2020 - I've written extensively on the process of gaining residence in Croatia, citizenship laws and processes, from gaining residence in Croatia to naturalising, to citizenship by marriage, descent, special interest, the latest amendments to the Law on Croatian Citizenship and much more, but what about when your residence application is actually approved? 

It's surprising how often people find themselves in a bit of a pickle (for want of a better word) when their residence is approved and they're given a little white sheet of paper with a government stamp on it and their name, address and other details on it from a kind, friendly and knowledgeable administrative clerk at MUP.

Many questions I see from expats in Croatia are about what exactly needs to be done when they've either been told, or they've managed to work out that their application for residence in Croatia has been approved.

Now that you've jumped through the administrative, bureaucratic hoops, provided every document you didn't even know you had and been given the green light, just what do you do next?

Whether you're applying for temporary residence for the first time or you're a somewhat seasoned ''MUP goer'' and you're applying for your permanent residence status after five years of temporary residence, hearing of your approval and actually getting your hands on that little ID card is another hurdle.

I'm confused, am I applying for a visa or a residence permit?

In Croatia, residence permits are not visas. If you need a visa to enter Croatia as a tourist, then that is an entrance visa. If you want to reside in Croatia and apply to do so and are approved, you will receive a residence permit, or a stay and work permit, depending on the basis of your application. Visas and permits are not the same thing.

I left my phone number and/or my email address when I applied for temporary/permanent residence. Will I be contacted? 

If you're a third country national (from outside of the EEA), you'll be contacted when your application has been approved, if more documentation is required, or if MUP want you to come for an interview in person. If you're an EEA citizen, you will more than likely be approved there and then, but it's worth noting that this isn't always the case. 

MUP have my address as I needed to register it when I applied for temporary/permanent residence in Croatia. Will MUP pay me a visit?

Maybe. There is no definitive answer to this and it varies from person to person, nationality to nationality and situation to situation. Non EEA nationals report being visited by MUP much more than EEA nationals do. These visits take place at random and are often done as part of a residence application before it is approved, however, it has been known to happen when the person already has an approval, it sometimes happens when they already have their residence cards in their hands. As said, there's no definitive answer to this question, nor is there much apparent logic to it.

I applied for temporary/permanent residence weeks ago and have heard nothing from MUP, what should I do?

If you're an EEA citizen, this scenario is much less likely as EU law states that you have a right to residence based on freedom of movement and are therefore usually approved either instantly or very quickly after. For third country nationals, however, things are a bit different as EU law doesn't guarantee you a right to residence because you're not an EU citizen. You're governed by Croatian national law only. Your approval can therefore take a long time to receive, so it's not abnormal if you get radio silence from MUP for weeks, sometimes even longer. If you're concerned, you can always pay them a visit to ask about the progress of your application.

Rest assured, though, you will be contacted eventually.

My temporary/permanent residence was approved and I've been given a piece of white paper with my details and a stamp on it by MUP, what next?

This white piece of paper is your temporary ID while your actual biometric residence permit with your photo, OIB, address and card expiration date is being made. Don't lose this piece of paper as you'll need it when you go to pick up your ID card.

How long does it take for my ID card to be made?

Usually around 3-4 weeks.

Why did I have to provide my fingerprints upon approval?

The Republic of Croatia requires every person living there legally to provide their fingerprints to the state to be placed on a database. You will be asked when you're first approved for temporary residence, and then again when you're approved for permanent residence.

MUP have my phone number and my email address, I've been approved and they let me know, but when I went to provide my photo and fingerprints and collect my white sheet of paper/temporary ID, they didn't tell me when to come back for my card...

The time for residence permits to be made is typically 3-4 weeks, as stated above, and you will likely not be told when yours is there and ready to pick up. Sometimes people are called or emailed to let them know it's ready, but do not count on this, it isn't the norm.

How long should I wait before going back to MUP to ask if my ID card is ready/go and pick it up?

Give it about a month or so before going back in person.

Do I need to go back in person to pick up my ID card or will MUP mail it to me?

MUP will never mail you an ID card. You need to go in person to pick it up with your little white piece of paper you were given upon approval, and sign another piece of paper to declare that you have come to collect your residence permit.

Make sure to follow our lifestyle page for more information on residence in Croatia and much more.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Opening a Business to Gain Residence in Croatia, Yes or No?

August the 18th, 2019 - We've explored citizenship through naturalisation, marriagedescent, and special interest. We've delved into the world of Croatian work permits, and we've gone through the list of ways to obtain legal residence for both EU and non EU citizens, but I left one thing out - gaining residence through opening a business in Croatia. That needs an article of its own. Pour yourself a large, strong drink.

I'll preface this by saying that opening a business to gain residence should ideally be a last resort, meaning that you've exhausted all other possibilities. This post is aimed almost exclusively at third country nationals (people who are neither citizens of Croatia or citizens of the European Economic Area), as citizens of the EEA/EU have a right to residence in Croatia based solely on their citizenship of an EU member state.

Croatian bureaucracy is infamous at this point. The phrase uhljebistan is not used without reason, and many people, from your ordinary mere mortals to rich foreign investors with huge capital, have been well and truly put off by the endless reams of red tape the Croatian Government likes to put up. Driving not only those who'd like to invest their hard earned cash away, but potential jobs, too.

With that being said, things are beginning to alter, albeit at a snail's pace, and with the age of digitalisation finally dawning on Croatia, there might be hope on the horizon. Until then, let's assume you've exhausted all your remaining options as a third country national and opening a business in Croatia is your last shot at obtaining that residence permit, or maybe you really do want to open a business here. Let's begin.

In order to gain residence in Croatia on the basis of having opened a business, you'll need to first open that business. You can open a j.d.o.o, a d.o.o., or what's known as an obrt. Once that's all done and dusted (and that's a topic I'll cover in another article), you can begin your application for a residence permit on that basis. The necessary forms will be provided to you when you go in person to MUP to make the application and hand in the appropriate documents.

But, hang on, it isn't all that straightforward. There are currently two situations in which you can legitimately apply for a residence permit as a third country national after having opened a Croatian business (it cannot be what is known as an ''association'' (udruga), which tend to be non-profit and the people involved are commonly volunteers. It has to be an actual business, intended to operate as a business).

The two situations in which you can legally obtain residence in Croatia through opening a business I mentioned above are as follows:

1.) You are a third country national and you own the business.

2.) You own the business, but you want to hire a third country national who does not have a residence permit (but obviously needs one), and the job you're hiring them for is not covered by the quota. You can find out more about quotas from us here and from MUP, the authority which will be granting (or indeed denying) your permit here.

Let's quickly look at some very important differences between EU/EEA citizens and third country nationals before we continue.

EU/EEA citizens:

For EU nationals (and nationals of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), who have a right to reside in Croatia owing to EU law, please let it be understood very clearly that you do not need to open a business to stay in Croatia under any circumstance.

Unfortunately, some would-be advisers and even accountants have wrongly told unknowing EU nationals this. If you're a citizen of an EU/EEA country, your right to reside is based on your nationality, nothing else.

If you're an EU/EEA citizen and you want to open a business in Croatia, things are much easier for you as you can do so on the same basis and with equal treatment as a Croatian national. This means you do not need to follow many of the rules placed on third country nationals, and it's much less expensive for you to open and operate a business here.

Third country nationals, at whom this article is aimed:

SCENARIO 1: You own the business, and you yourself are a third country national:

If you'te a third country national and you've opened a business in order to gain residency, here is what you need to submit about your business:

1.) You must hire at least three Croatian citizens as full time employees.

2.) You must invest an eye-watering 200,000 kuna into your business if it is a j.d.o.o or a d.o.o., 300,000 kuna if it's an obrt (craft).

3.) You need to hire yourself, employ yourself, and pay yourself a salary which meets the current average Croatian wage, or is higher.

You may need to prove that your new business is not operating at a loss, but this may not be asked of you when you first apply. You'll also need to show proof of you having paid your taxes in Croatia, properly and correctly. This includes the necessary contributions, too (pension and health insurance). If you have had any debts to the Republic of Croatia at any point (tax debts), you'll need to prove you've paid them off.

In addition to that, you'll need to provide other documents for your residence permit, such as a valid passport and a copy of it, click here and scroll down to third country nationals for the list of documents you'll typically need to provide the police with.

SCENARIO 2: You own the business, and you want to hire and employ a third country national 

If you are a business owner and you want to hire a third country national who does not already have legal residence in Croatia, then here's where quotas come into the mix again. These can be a bit confusing, but the links I provided (where I mentioned quotas previously) will give you some guidance, as will the police. Make sure to ask them as they may not provide this of their own accord.

If the third country national you're hiring will be doing a job that is in the quota, then there's less of a fuss surrounding this process. If they're going to be doing a job that is outside of the quota, then you'll need to provide additional documents and prove additional things. Here is a list of those things:

1.) You'll need to hire or already employ three Croatian citizens on a full time basis and be able to provide proof of that

2.) You'll need to have invested a minimum of 100,000 kuna into your business, and be able to provide proof of that

3.) You'll need to be able to prove that your business doesn't operate at a loss

4.) You'll need to have hired yourself as an employee in your business and be paying yourself the equivalent of the average Croatian wage, or above it

5.) You'll need to submit proof you don't owe anything to the state (tax debts), have paid anything you have previously owed, and you're paying your taxes and contributions in Croatia

Helpful information:

In Croatia, there is an excellent organisation called, who work to help in quicker and better communication between business/companies and the administrative bodies of the state. Thanks to digitalisation slowly but surely creeping up on Croatia, this allows for certain things to be done online. Please note that this only regards certain types of companies and businesses and their registration.

Their services are available in English as well as in Croatian, and they detail the procedure of opening different types of businesses, what the costs are, and what you should watch out for. Not to mention contact numbers. Pay them a visit here and select the English language option if you need to.

In addition to that, Fina (Financial Agency) can provide for faster, more efficient and much more secure access for company/business owners to certain services and information. These include ePayment, eTax, eVAT, and ePension.

The requirement of having employed three Croatian nationals as full time employees in your business may be deemed fulfilled even if you hire three Croatian nationals on a part time basis, but there are other requirements you must fulfil for this to be considered the same as full time employment. Ask when you apply what this means for you.

The law currently states that for each additional permit, you need to provide double the requirements listed above, or triple (and so on) for each additional permit you want to be issued as a business owner wanting to employ third country nationals who are gaining residence in this manner.

This is an extremely bureaucracy filled process which will not only cost you a lot of money, but a lot of time, patience and nerves along with it. Unless you are genuinely wanting to open and run a business here in Croatia, I would strongly recommend that you avoid this way of gaining residence as a third country national.

For EU citizens, things are far cheaper and far less complicated, but as I stated previously, if you're from the EEA, you absolutely do not need to open any sort of business to be granted residence in Croatia. Please be very wary of anyone who tells you otherwise. EU citizens can review their rights covering everything from their right to reside to opening a business here.

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