Property buying guide for Croatia
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Visas, residence permits and citizenship in Croatia

Croatia officially joined the European Union on 1 July 2013. In order to bring its legislation in line with EU regulations, Croatia introduced a similar visa regime for countries, citizens of which cannot enter the EU without a visa.


Croatia has not yet joined the Schengen treaty and has its own visas. Schengen visa holders can enter Croatia but Croatian visa holders must apply for a Schengen visa if they want to travel to the EU. Real estate owners in Croatia can obtain a one-year visa. Longer stays require a residence permit.

How to get a residence permit

Residence permits are granted on the following grounds:

  • family reunification
  • employment
  • studies
  • political asylum
  • scientific activity
  • long-term tourism

Temporary residence in Croatia entitles its holder to apply for permanent residence in the country. The latter gives foreign citizens the same rights as Croatian nationals excluding the right to vote and be elected. Croatian residence permits became particularly popular after the country joined the EU as its residents now have the right to live and work in any EU country. Temporary residence is issued for one year with possibility of extension performed by Croatian police. This must be done 30 days before the current residence permit expires.

The first application for a residence permit must be made at the Croatian consulate of the applicant’s country of residence. Required documents include:

  • proof of funds of the applicant, calculated at the rate of €70 per each day of stay per person
  • proof accommodation in Croatia (rental or ownership)

Temporary residence on the grounds of family reunification

Foreign citizen can apply for a residence permit if a family member meets one of the following requirements:

  • citizen of Croatia
  • permanent resident in Croatia
  • temporary resident in Croatia performing a scientific activity or granted political asylum
  • temporary resident for two years and prolonged for the third year

Family members include spouses, children under 18, parents, sisters and brothers of the applicants.

Four years after getting temporary residence on the grounds of family reunification, the holder can apply for an independent temporary residence permit if they are over 18, comply with the general immigration requirements and have health insurance.

A child of foreign citizens born on the territory of Croatia has the right to remain without a temporary residence permit for one month.

Temporary residence on the grounds of employment or entrepreneurial activity

In order to obtain a residence permit on the grounds of employment the applicant must have a work contract with a Croatian company. Temporary residence permits are issued for the duration of the contract but no longer than one year. Foreign worker quotas are set annually (about 2,000 jobs).

The main condition for entrepreneurial temporary residence is a business license (poslovna dozvola), which is issued to owners of at least 51% of shares in a Croatian company. The license can be obtained at the police precinct closest to the company’s offices. In case of refusal, the applicant can appeal to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova Republike Hrvatske) within eight days.

A foreign citizen holding a senior position in a Croatian company can also apply for temporary residence. Their salary must exceed the average salary in Croatia after tax (in 2014 about 8339 Croatian Kuna (HRK), or about €1,100, according to official statistics). The company’s charter capital cannot be lower than HRK 100,000 (about €13,000) and must employ at least three Croatian citizens.

Temporary residence on the grounds of studies or scientific activity

In order to get temporary residence on the grounds of studies, the applicant must have been accepted into a Croatian education institution. Guardians of underage students can also apply for a temporary residence permit.

Permanent residence in Croatia

After five years of living on a temporary residence permit, holders can apply for permanent residence. The following documents are required:

  • valid passport
  • proof of permanent income
  • health insurance and social security
  • basic knowledge of Croatian language

Permanent residence can be denied to foreign citizens who have violated the law. Permanent residence applications are made to the local police precinct at the place of residence. They are then forwarded to Ministry of Foreign Affairs for consideration.

How to get a citizenship in Croatia

Croatian citizenship can be applied for after five years of holding a permanent residence permit. Knowledge of Croatian language is required. Croatian law does not accept dual nationality and the applicant must relinquish any other citizenship.

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