This section is intended for reference only. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy directly for the most up-to-date information that pertains to your specific situation. Keep in mind that as Croatia is slated for EU accession in June 2013, visa regulations will likely be changing over the next few years.
A helpful resource is the Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. There you can find an overview of visa regulations for your country.
You must have a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one' identity and citizenship. The process can take a long time, so apply for a passport several months before you plan to leave. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay.
A visa is an official stamp or endorsement added to your passport that allows you to enter a country. This permission is called "entry clearance".
In general, all foreigners need a visa to stay in Croatia for more than three months. For stays up to 90 days, some do not require a visa. To determine whether or not you need a visa to enter or stay in Croatia for up to 90 days, consult the Regulation on the Visa Regime. (You must scroll down and click on the link "Regulation on the visa regime.")
Registration, though an important part of the visa process, is not well very publicized. By law, all foreign nationals are required to register at a police station in the city where they plan to stay or reside within 48 hours of their arrival in Croatia. If you stay at a hotel or other legal entity authorized to provide accommodation services, you will automatically be registered. This is why many tourists don't know about this requirement.
If, however, you stay with a friend or make other accommodation arrangements, you must register yourself. Registration is free, but you will need:
The documents to prove your accommodation and the owner's consent can vary. If you are staying with a friend, and your friend owns the apartment, they may accompany you to the police station or you can bring their ID card with you to the police station. It's recommended that they go with you, however, since the process can be slightly confusing if you don't speak any Croatian. (Ironically, many of the employees dealing with tourists do not speak English or other foreign languages.)
If you are renting an apartment, the owner of the apartment will likely have to accompany you to the police station. Alternatively, your rental agreement along with the owner's proof of ownership might suffice.
Technically, you are required to re-register if you change addresses. For example, if you stay in a hotel when you arrive, the hotel will register you. Then, once you secure your accommodation, you will have to register yourself at your new address.
If you do not register within 48 hours of your arrival, you may be fined. You also must register before you can submit your application for a temporary or permanent stay visa.
For more information on registration, refer to the instructions provided on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
Short-term or "tourist" visas, as they are commonly called, permit foreigners to pass through or stay in Croatia for up to 90 days within a period of six months. For the citizens of many countries, this visa is automatic upon entry into Croatia, meaning you do not have to apply for it. Some foreigners, however, must apply for a visa before entering Croatia. To determine whether or not you need to apply for a short-term visa, refer to the Regulation on the Visa Regime.
A temporary stay visa allows foreigners to stay in Croatia for up to a year. After that, the visa must be renewed.
Temporary stay visas may be granted for a number of reasons, including:
You should apply for your first temporary stay visa at a diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia. However, you may apply for a temporary stay visa at a local police station in Croatia in the following cases:
For more information on the application process, as well as an updated list of necessary documents, refer to the instructions for the issuance of temporary stay permits on the Ministry of the Interior website. In general, you'll need to collect the following documents:
Note that an employer may also apply for a temporary stay visa on your behalf.
There is a quota for the number of work permits issued annually to foreigners in Croatia. Generally, these positions are filled quickly, and the employer must demonstrate that the employee has a special skill set that cannot be found in a Croatian citizen. There are, however, some exceptions. The quota does not apply to the following positions:
Additionally, a business permit may be issued to business owners, including:
A business permit for freelance work may be issued only if the freelancer possesses adequate qualification and financial means, and if their freelance work is in the interests of the Republic of Croatia.
The application for a work permit may also be submitted by the employer.
For more information about the process of applying for a work permit, as well as a list of necessary documents, refer to the instructions for the issuance of work permits on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
There are several employment positions that do not require a work permit. These exceptions generally allow for specialized, temporary work in Croatia (e.g. artists, performers, or lecturers coming to Croatia to produce artwork or give a performance or lecture). Foreign media reporters and professors invited by Croatian universities may also work without a work permit.
A full list of exceptions is provided on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
A permanent stay visa may be granted to a foreigner who has obtained a temporary stay visa for an uninterrupted period of five years before the submission of the application. The applicant must not have been absent from Croatia for longer than 10 months.
Permanent stay may also be granted to:
Marriage to a Croatian national or a foreigner who has been granted permanent stay in the Republic of Croatia is not grounds for the acquisition of a permanent stay visa.
In addition to the usual required documents, applicants for permanent stay must also demonstrate knowledge of Croatian language and culture by passing a written and oral exam.
The Republic of Croatia allows dual citizenship. However, if you have dual citizenship, you will be deemed exclusively a Croatian citizen while in Croatia or before the authorities of the Republic of Croatia.
Croatian citizenship may be acquired by origin, by birth on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, by naturalization, or according to international treaties. An application is required, and usually consists of the following documents:
For complete regulations on acquiring Croatian citizenship, refer to the Law on Croatian Citizenship. It's also a good idea to get in touch with the Croatian consulate or embassy in your country for more information about the process.
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