Departure to Zagreb

Passport, Visa & Permits to Zagreb

Home > Expat Guides > Europe > Croatia > Zagreb

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".

Who needs a visa?

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:

  • Your passport
  • A completed registration form
  • Proof that you have secured accommodation and you have the owner's consent

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 Visa

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.

Temporary Stay Visa

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:

  • Family reunification with a Croatian national or permanent resident
  • Work
  • High school or university-level studies
  • Scientific research
  • Humanitarian grounds

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:

  • Serious humanitarian reasons
  • Request for family reunification with a Croatian national or an asylee
  • Recipients of scholarships issued by an approved program
  • Work
  • Scientific research

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:

  • a color photograph, 35x45mm,
  • a copy of a valid travel document (passport),
  • proof of health insurance,
  • proof of sufficient funds to support oneself,
  • proof of the reasons for temporary stay,
  • a police clearance certificate issued by the state of alien's nationality or the state in which the alien has permanent residence, dated not more than 6 months prior to the application (only for the first temporary stay application)
  • consular fees in compliance with Tariff number 78a of the Administrative Fees Act if the application is to be submitted at a diplomatic mission/consular post of the Republic of Croatia, or revenue stamp of HRK 20.00 if the application is to be submitted in the Republic of Croatia.

Note that an employer may also apply for a temporary stay visa on your behalf.

Work Visa

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:

  • daily migrant alien workers employed in the Republic of Croatia under reciprocity conditions,
  • the key personnel, workers and their family members, whose status has been regulated by the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States and the Republic of Croatia,
  • aliens holding key positions in companies, branch offices and representative offices,
  • aliens transferred as part of internal staff transfers within companies, as defined by the Protocol on the Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization,
  • teachers teaching at educational institutions the language and script of a national minority,
  • professional athletes or sports workers, employed in the Republic of Croatia on the basis of a valid employment contract,
  • aliens employed in foreign associations that are registered as foreign associations in the Republic of Croatia and at least three other countries and aliens who are members of representative bodies of foreign endowments and foundations registered in the Register of the Representative Offices of Foreign Endowments and Foundations in the Republic of Croatia.

Additionally, a business permit may be issued to business owners, including:

  • private founders of companies in the Republic of Croatia or aliens who have majority share in a company of at least 51%, and carry out business in the Republic of Croatia,
  • sole proprietors who have registered their business in the Republic of Croatia, or one of the co proprietors of joint proprietorship,
  • aliens engaged in freelancing, in line with the regulations of the Republic of Croatia,
  • aliens providing services on behalf of a foreign employer.

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.

Jobs that do not require a Work Permit

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. 

Permanent Residence

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:

  • Foreigners who have been in possession of a temporary stay permit for an uninterrupted period of three years before the submission of the application and who have had refugee status for at least 10 years.
  • Foreigners on temporary stay, returning into the Republic of Croatia in line with the Program of Return and Accommodation of Displaced Persons, Refugees and Exiled Persons.

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:

  • Letter of application
  • Questionnaire
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of citizenship
  • The Certificate on Impunity by competent foreign authority of the state of which the applicant is citizen and the state in which he has permanent stay, in original or in properly certified photocopy with translation to Croatian language, not older than 6 months
  • Valid identity document, a certified copy
  • Administrative fee in the amount of KN 20.00

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.

Update 14/03/2016


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Addthis

Recommended Service Partners

International Movers

When you move internationally you are taking a big step. Lots of things are changing and you have a million things to think about and take care of. If you are able to select a top of the line moving company that moves for a modest price, it can take a big weight of your shoulders in busy times.

Our network of international removal companies can move your furniture & possessions to Croatia and anywhere overseas.

Filling in the form at the bottom will allow you to request up to 5 quotes from various moving companies. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Go to the Forum to talk more about passport, visa & permits to Zagreb, departure.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Stay connected

- My Life Abroad -
A selection of expat stories

"A fun compulsive read!"
J. Matcham, Amazon

"I strongly advise people ready to live abroad to read this book!"
Patrice, Amazon