Travel to Croatia in December 2020: TCTI Viber Community Traveller Experiences

By 15 December 2020

Updated on December 21, 2020 - With travel rules changing, nothing beats real-life experiences for the latest info - feedback from the Total Croatia Travel Info TCTI Viber community. 

One of the biggest challenges in this most challenging of years has been to source accurate and reliable current travel information. 

With the pandemic wreaking havoc on travel plans, restrictions and new rules have come into force all over the world. These rules are often interpreted in different ways by different officials, and what one reads on official websites is not necessarily the reality on the ground. 

As I wrote recently, the fact that Croatia is currently officially closed for tourism to non EU/EEA/UK nationals is not the same as saying that nationals from these countries are not arriving. 

In such uncertain times, one of the best sources of information are the real-time travel experiences of recent travellers. TCN and partners started the Total Croatia Travel INfO TCTI Viber community in May, with the aim of helping tourists with the latest travel information. It quickly became clear that the community would also be helping us. The feedback we received from community members as they crossed the borders into Croatia was invaluable in building up a true picture of the current realities on the ground. 

After going a little quiet in the autumn, the TCTI Viber community has come to life again after the new border rules of November 30. And once again, people are posting their recent experiences, which at times are ingenious and very different from the official advice. In an article which will be constantly updated as more post their experiences, here are some of the recent ones since December 1, posted anonymously but in full. If you would like to join the TCTI Viber community, you can do so here (you will need to download the Viber app). 

December 21 - I successfully entered Croatia today at 6 pm. LAX>AMS>ZAG.

Documents I printed but not necessarily used :

-Negative Covid Test less than 48 hrs
-Enter Croatia Form
-Public Health Passenger Locator Form
-Business Invitation Letter from my hotel in Croatian and translated in English
-Itinerary showing return trip in Jan
-Hotel bookings showing amount paid
-Bank statements showings I have sufficient funds to cover my stay
-IATA guidelines specific to Croatia
-Email from Border Police

In total, around 45 pages. I brought two copies.

Here is what I actually used.

LAX: Neg Covid Test, Enter Croatia Form, Business Invitation Letter
AMS: Nothing
ZAG: Neg Covid Test which they kept a copy. They did not look or take anything else.

The key is to be prepared. Have your paperwork in order with the negative covid test at the top of the stack because they will keep it. Obviously say the purpose of your trip is business or economic. DO NOT SAY TOURISM, unless you like stressful situations. They stamped my passport and that was it. Total time was less than 2 mins.

At both LAX and ZAG I put my passport w/boarding ticket on top of the first page of documents which should be your negative covid test. Be prepared and there's a low likelihood they will flip through the rest.

I really want to thank all the contributors to this group. I wouldn't have made it w/o your bravery and openness. Cheer and let's end the year on a high note.

December 17 - on transfers:

I travelled to Hungary through Croatia last week, my situation was similar to yours. I landed at Zagreb and was immediately leaving Croatia. I did not have a test. At the passport control I was asked if I had one, but once I said I was transiting they immediately let me through, so you should be fine!!

December 15 - Good news! 

I am a U.S. citizen and I just entered Croatia! I flew from the west coast of the United States and had a layover in Amsterdam (KLM). No trouble boarding in us or Netherlands. In Croatia just show negative COVID test. I entered for tourism.

December 15 - I messaged MUP this morning around 8 am Croatian time and they responded in about 20 minutes. 

I wrote them that my fiancee, an American national will enter Croatia on December 21st via flight Chicago-Washington-Amsterdam-Zagreb and that she will have her US-issued passport, a printed document which confirms our reserved and paid for hotel accommodation, printed out Enter Croatia document, and proof of a negative PCR test which will not be older than 48 hours. I didn't write what the purpose of the trip was.

They responded that, with all those documents, my fiancee will be granted entry into Croatia.

December 11 - Update on American traveling from the US: I’ve passed the first hurdle: getting on the plane. Before you go to the airport, be sure to review the IATA guidelines (google: IATA map covid - this is what the airlines will review when you get to the airport). Right now, it says that passengers are not allowed into Croatia until the 15th, with some exceptions. This may change by the 15th, or it may be renewed ?‍♂️. In any case, be sure that you fall into one of those exceptions - traveling for business, urgent personal matters, or transiting by land to a third country, etc. you’ll need to show them something at check-in to document this. I will give you guys an update when I reach the border. I took a covid test yesterday morning, hoping the results will arrive by the time I get there!

Greetings from Croatia! I have successfully crossed the border. This is how I did it: the IATA guidelines say that no passengers are allowed in Croatia until December 15th, with a few exceptions. One of those is passengers transiting to a third country via a land border. So, I booked a car to be picked up in Zagreb and returned to Belgrade. I also booked a hotel in Belgrade. When I got to the airport, I told the people at the check in counter that I was planning to enter Croatia and then proceed to Serbia by car. I showed them the car and hotel reservations and that was enough. Everything else went very smoothly. At Zagreb airport, the immigration officer asked only for my covid test. I gave it to her, she stamped my passport, and that was it! No other questions, no other documents were asked for. Now, I didn’t lie to airlines. I’m here for a 10 days vacation, but if the Croatian border police didn’t buy the “economic interest” argument, I was fully prepared to rent that car, drive to Serbia, and then spend the next 10 days exploring that country, Albania, and Macedonia. Luckily , they didn’t even ask about that at all. They were only interested in the Covid test.

December 11 - Hello again, just passed Zagreb inmigration and all I showed was out PCR test results and the entry into Croatia. The officer only asked if he could make copies of our results and he kept the entry document. The process took no more than 60 seconds. Best of luck to all of you! Don’t forget to print your documents! So many people were stuck because they only kept copies in their phones!!

December 10 - I just went through the Slovenian - Croatia border (driving) along with my 15 year old son. I had a travel order from my company and it went smoothly! They didn't required the Covid19 test.

December 7 - We made it into Croatia from the US today (US citizens). The biggest hurdle was getting onto the plane in the US. Everything else was easy. We had a letter from a Croatian lawyer as a guarantee we were going for urgent business. We would not have made it on the plane without this letter.

December 5 - And I’m IN! My flight landed briefly in Split, (where I am still for a few minutes) before continuing on to Zagreb. In Split, we had to leave the plane and there was a separate customs line for anyone continuing onward—we had to clear border control and then get back on the plane. I don’t speak much Croatian so I didn’t know what was being said between the MUP officers, but there were 2 extra officers in the booth and they were all talking up a storm and pointing at the computer screens and asking each other questions and showing each other our PCR tests. I kind of think they may have been having some trouble with the computer and entering the info—but who knows. My agent took my passport and immediately asked for my COVID test. I also placed the enter Croatia form in front of her, and held my additional docs in clear view, but the only thing she had any interest in was the test. She kept the copy. I even asked her if she wanted the enter Croatia form after she stamped my passport and she said no.

OK, I had printed:
• Enter Croatia form confirmation (the 1-page PDF you receive once you successfully submit the form)
• Printed negative COVID PCR test result from Italian lab (translated to English), swab taken 34 hrs before my arrival in Croatia
• letter from Zagreb dentist stating that I have an urgent appointment (and the date of the appt)
• invoice showing my acoomodation for duration of stay
• print out of the complete rules for entry, found here:
• print out of my flight to Croatia and my onward flight

That’s it—and again, the only things the Croatian border police wanted to see were my passport and my test result.

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