To quote Loney Planet "if your ideal destination features balmy days by sapphire waters in the shade of ancient walled towns, Croatia is the place to turn them into reality." A beautiful place does not mean that everything is perfect. There are advantages and disadvantages to every situation.
Life usually moves at a slow & relaxed pace in Croatia, not only on the islands but also on much of the mainland. Sailboats glide on the Adriatic Sea and palm tree-lined promenades, locals sip coffee as lavender and rosemary aromas fill the air. That might look strange at first but after a couple of days in Croatia, being immersed in the vast cultural wealth, you develop a feeling like living in a museum.
The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period. It was once part of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Yugoslavia. Today, the country is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometers (21,851 square miles) and a population of 4.07 million. The capital city is Zagreb, second biggest city is Split. Croatia is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy and ranks very high on the Human Development Index. Service, industrial sectors, and agriculture dominate the economy, respectively. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the top 10 destinations in the world.
The currency is Croatian Kuna, the main language is Croatian. The cost of living is low. Ultimately, just like many other places, you are in control of how much you choose to spend. The locals are often very friendly, and a lot of them speak English. It's one of the safest countries in the world. In February of 2020, it was ranked at a “Level One” by the U.S. State Department—the safest category. It's ranked 17th in the 2021 Global Peace Index, 111 places ahead of the United States (128).
The Croatian coast has a Mediterranean climate. You can expect to experience hot, sunny, and dry weather. In winter, it is often wet and relatively mild. Snow is not common, but it is not an impossibility. As you move more towards Croatia’s interior, you are likely to experience a more continental climate. This is defined by colder temperatures in the winter with a higher possibility of snowfall.
Croatia has a universal health care system, which provides health care to nationals and long-term visitors, which means all residents are assured access to health care. Health care contributions are mandatory for all employed citizens, i.e. their employers into what the country calls HZZO (eng. Croatian Health Insurance Fund - CHIF). With Croatian government assistance and affordable living, physicians can sufficiently offer a high standard of care. The quality of services provided at a lower rate has attracted many foreigners seeking medical treatment to travel to Croatia for those procedures. Competitively, reports have stated that renowned medical care costs 70% less than other leading countries. Under the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT), healthcare in Croatia meets international standards, reporting, sufficiently stocked medical hospitals throughout the country. Pharmacies, clinics, and even dental have emerged in every town, with rural areas having similar access.
While many countries in the world are currently struggling with go violence, terrorism, and other acts of aggression, it's only natural to ask and research how safe it the country is before visiting. Croatia did go through a war in recent history (Croatian War of Independence) which ended in 1995. Today, Croatia is a peaceful country, ranked 17th in the 2021 Global Peace Index, 111 places ahead of the United States (128). It's been a part of the European Union (EU) since 2013. The country is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This means they are protected by large multi-national support structures. In February of 2020, it was ranked at a “Level One” by the U.S. State Department—the safest category. Needless to say, Croatia is one of the safest countries in the world.
Regarding the global coronavirus pandemic, Croatia has done a reasonably good job keeping COVID-19 under control. The vaccine is free for all nationals and visitors. If you choose to get vaccinated in Croatia, you will get the EU COVID-19 passport which allows you to move freely in EU countries. You can find all Croatia COVID-19 related information in English here. Say something interesting about your business here.
All public primary, middle and high schools in Croatia are free. Primary and middle school education is obligatory. Public schools only teach in the Croatian language which can be very hard to adjust to. Learning Croatian can be challenging. The language is South Slavic in origin and is classified as a “Category III” language by the U.S. State Department. These “hard” languages have large cultural and linguistic differences when compared to English. The Croatian proclivity for English seems to stem from the use of Croatian subtitles for television and films. In many other countries, English is dubbed into the local language. For expat families that are considering to relocate, international schools can be the perfect solution for an expat student (multinational corporation executives, children of diplomats, NGO staff) in Croatia. There may be some local population, but the schools are usually geared for an international student body. Many schools provide similar standards of schooling around the globe such as internationally accepted accreditation such as the international baccalaureate. Here is a list of all International Schools in Croatia.
Croatia has one of the most enviable lifestyles in the world. The Croatians place considerable value on spending quality time with family and friends. With over 1,000 islands, it has a wealth of exciting sailing, snorkeling, and scuba opportunities. The rugged coastal topography of Croatia is perfect for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. It is also densely packed with fascinating historical sites. Getting around Croatia is easy. The quality of the transport infrastructure is generally good. Ferries are reliable, buses are pleasant and well connected, and driving is made easier by the highway that stretches throughout most of Croatia. Trains connect major towns and are very slow. The price of internal flights in Croatia can be cheaper than taking a train or bus, especially off-season and off-hours. Overall, Croatia is very well connected with major European transportation hubs which are ideal for weekend getaways.
If you talk to locals, they will tell you it is expensive to live here. However, it is actually quite cheaper to live in Croatia if you are coming from the U.S. To put things more in perspective, here are some figures that show you how much more expensive certain things are in the U.S. compared to Croatia: consumer prices are 24.07% higher in the U.S., rent prices are 181.49% higher in the U.S., restaurant prices are 42.83% higher in the U.S., groceries are 36.31 % higher in the U.S.
Tourism is an integral part of Croatia’s economy, so real estate prices tend to be higher in tourist hot spots. Standard & Poor’s (S&P) raised Croatia’s credit rating, putting the country into the investment category. Recent data show that Croatia is very attractive to foreign citizens, investors, and expats. According to the last research by the Global Property Guide – over 70.000 foreign citizens own a property in Croatia. As you might expect, most properties were bought on the Croatian coast. Only 3% of foreign citizens choose the area around the capital city of Zagreb. The prices of the coastal properties may be higher, but considering the factors (such as waterfront location, tourism potential, organic food, and wine production, etc.) – buying a property in Croatia is considered to be a good investment for many foreigners.
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Before we dive into the illustrious world of Croatian bureaucracy and types of visas let's get familiar with the options. Whether you need a visa to enter Croatia or not mainly depends on three different factors: the planned length of your stay, your nationality, and your reason for visiting or relocating.
Not all who are looking to stay in Croatia for less than 90 days need a visa. For stays of longer than 90 days, you need to apply for a temporary visa (aka Digital Nomad Visa).
All EU/EEA nationals have free movement which allows them to live/work in Croatia without a visa. All non-EU/EEA nationals need to apply for a temporary stay (residence).
Temporary stay can be granted based on different purposes. Each applicant is unique which means processing time may vary. In Step 2. we will go through all types of reasons!
Depending on your reasons for relocating you can apply for specific types of temporary residence visas. Common reasons are remote work (aka Digital Nomad), ancestry visa, family reunification, work, study, volunteering, scientific research, starting a business in Croatia, owning/buying a property, prepayment of rent. In "Types of Visas" we will go through the most common reason, how to submit and apply for your temporary residence permit.
A temporary residence permit is valid for up to one year, but can be extended. Once you have held a temporary residence permit for five years in a row, you can apply for a permanent one. However, getting a temporary residence visa doesn't automatically grant you the right to work in Croatia.
If you have want to work in a Croatian company, you also need a work permit.
Our specialists guide you through your relocation, from your initial consulting call to the time you settle in. We offer the practical services that expats need, including professional visa advice.
Whether you are relocating alone or with your loved ones, we help you through the steps you need to complete to become a local in no time.
Remote workers can be granted temporary residence if they can prove they are working for companies that are not registered in Croatia. Third-country citizens can now apply for this permit.
It is estimated that there are about 3,000,000 Croatian immigrants and their descendants living outside Croatia and worldwide. Ancestry visa is Croatian citizenship based on descent.
By studying abroad, you can improve your communication, language, intercultural skills and gain soft skills highly valued by future employers.
Looking for a change of scenery and work culture? To apply for a work and residence permit in Croatia, you must first be offered a job with a Croatian employer.
Everyone's story is unique. That's why we want to make sure you stay informed about all your options. Explore all your options for your new journey.
We’re happy to announce that Croatia has launched a Digital Nomad Visa which allows remote workers to live in Croatia and legally work for your employer or your own company registered abroad.
As of January 2021, with the Digital Nomad Visa, Croatia is transforming how people in the world choose from where to work.
How can you apply?
You can submit the application online, in person, and abroad at the embassy or consulate of the Republic of Croatia.
Who is eligible to apply?
Everyone that meets the following requirements:
Whether your spouse has Croatian roots, or your parent, grandparent, great grandparent, and so on, you may qualify for citizenship!
What are the requirements?
When applying, you'll need to submit:
Everyone must provide:
You can find more details on the Ministry of Interior websites here.
International students are welcome to Croatian educational institutions! Despite being a country of relatively small size with a close-knit community, the Croatian people are not only welcoming but are also multi-lingual. According to a survey ordered by the European Commission in 2005, 49% of people in Croatia speak English, 34% German, 14% Italian, 4% French and Russian, and 2% Spanish.
Depending on the status of international students and the type of study program they are enrolling in, the admissions process and its requirements can differ. Students are therefore advised to check these accordingly. The usual types of international student status in Croatia include:
- Degree-seeking students (undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate)
- Exchange students (Erasmus+, CEEPUS, Bilateral agreements)
- Guest students (free-movers, short-term study).
All three types of higher education institutions support the university and professional study programs (binary system) at different qualification levels (5, 6, 7, and 8) that correspond to the European Qualifications Framework.
The first step would be to find one or more study programs and institutions of interest and finding of the criteria and admission process. After you defined your student status and applied for study, the next step would be to submit the temporary residence permit application.
Here's what you need to submit:
Work visas don't are tricky but don't let that discourage you! Even if you are an EU citizen, that doesn't mean you're allowed to work automatically.
To apply for a work visa, first, you need to job in Croatia. You cannot apply if you don't have a job offer. A work visa is tied to a specific work contract. That means the duration of your visa will match the duration of your work contract, with a 1-year maximum.
Once you have a job offer, the company applies for a work and residence permit on your behalf!
In this guide, we covered the 4 most common Croatian Visa applications. Here are some other honorable mentions available to you:
Moving to Croatia - Smart Coverage for your Visa
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