You must request protection/asylum immediately, as soon as you enter Croatia. It can be at the border crossing, at a police station or with the first police officer you see, or at the Reception Centre for Foreigners (Detention Centre). In exceptional cases, you can also express your intention to seek protection in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers. You can also request protection if you have been caught while irregularly crossing the state border or irregularly staying in Croatia. General emergency number: 112
After you have stated that you need protection, police will take your fingerprints, and if you are older than 14, photograph you. The Ministry of the Interior will issue you with an official note confirming your status as an asylum seeker and will direct you to report to a reception centre for asylum seekers within a certain period of time, usually within 48 hours. This phase is usually called ‘expressing an intention to seek asylum.
If you are below the age of 18 and have arrived in Croatia alone, immediately inform the authorities/police so that a guardian can be appointed to you. Your guardian will protect your rights during the asylum procedure.
For more information on the asylum procedure if you are under the age of 18, please check here for more information:
Information leaflet for unaccompanied children – Procedure in police station
Information leaflet for unaccompanied children – Accommodation in home for children
After being placed in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, the asylum officials within the Ministry of the Interior will invite you for an interview to formally submit your asylum application, in the presence of an interpreter. During the interview, your application for asylum will be officially recorded. You must state your personal data, describe the route you took to arrive in Croatia, and explain your reasons for seeking protection.
The official who is talking to you when accepting your intention to seek asylum has the duty to inform you about the asylum procedure. You will also be given more detailed information during the interview/when submitting an official application for asylum by asylum officials from the Ministry of the Interior.
If you have sufficient funds of your own, you can engage an attorney/lawyer. You have the right to legal information related to your case which can be provided to you by the asylum official or by a legal NGOs providing services in your reception centre.
If your application is rejected and you have no money, you are entitled to free legal aid in drafting an appeal before the administrative court. The asylum official dealing with your case will provide you with a list of attorneys who provide legal aid together with the decision regarding your application for asylum. There are also organisations that can provide you with legal information or advice during the whole procedure.
The Croatian Red Cross has been implementing a program of psychosocial assistance and protection for asylum seekers in Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers (RCAS) since 2003, in cooperation with, and with the support of the Ministry of the Interior and UNHCR. The Assistance and Protection Program seeks to respond to the psychosocial, educational and humanitarian needs of asylum seekers during their stay in reception centres and, with their active participation in planning, to offer quality programs tailored to their interests, age and cultural values.
The main areas of work of the Croatian Red Cross in RCAS Zagreb and Kutina are the following:
Croatian Red Cross
Address: Ulica Crvenog križa 14, Zagreb
Médecins du Monde (MdM) / Doctors of the World is an international humanitarian medical organization in Croatia. They operate as part of the Belgian branch of Médecins du Monde – Belgique (MdM-BE), a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides emergency and long-term health care to vulnerable groups and advocates for equal access to health care for all. In Croatia, MdM are implementing two projects related to asylum seekers:
Médecins du Monde (MdM)
The Croatian Legal Center (HPC) has an important position in the non-governmental sector for legal advocacy of human rights protection and raising awareness of the political responsibility of all subjects of political life as well as the initiation of accountability mechanisms. The mission of the HPC is to contribute to accelerating the process of transition of the political culture of the subjects into the political culture of the citizen, ie to enable the building of civil society in Croatia.
HPC – Croatian Law Center
Address: Andrije Hebranga 21, Zagreb
Association "MI" - Split since its inception in 1997 has implemented support programs for citizens and community development by encouraging cooperation, solidarity and civic activism in order to establish social cohesion. The association has been functioning continuously as an active non-profit business entity that employs 5-15 workers with the engagement of part-time employees and volunteers. The name of the association reflects the basic objectives of the association and stresses unity among people.
In its initial stage MI was connected to the program for refugees and displaced persons, supported by an international organization International Rescue Committee.
Address: Sinjska 7, 21 000 Split
The Civil Rights Project Sisak is a non-governmental, non-political, unprofitable, humanitarian organisation registered in Sisak on 2 December 2003. CRP Sisak works in the Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties, and in co-operation with other non-governmental organisations in the territory of the whole Croatia. CRP Sisak continues the work of the Civil Rights Project of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
PGP – Civil Rights Project
Address: Stjepana i Antuna Radića 6/5, Sisak
Free legal phone: 0800 200 098
JRS Croatia provides education, legal assistance, and psychosocial support to forced migrants in the Ježevo detention centre. With support from UNICEF, it also runs a Child Friendly Space in the reception centre for asylum seekers in Zagreb, offering children a safe space to stay.
JRS – Jesuit Refugee Service
Address: Maksimirska cesta 286, Zagreb
At a time when we are witnessing ever-increasing radicalism, where hate speech is constantly fueling xenophobia and racism, there is a need, more than ever in the modern world, to strongly and uniquely support human rights and stop this wave of extremism and rejection of others.
The Center for the Culture of Dialogue-CKD, founded in 2015 in Zagreb as a non-governmental organization whose purpose is to contribute to improving the cultural and economic quality and standard of living of citizens through strengthening the culture of dialogue among members of different personal identities.
CCD – Center for Culture of Dialogue
Address: Prilaz Safvet-bega Bašagića, Zagreb
The Society for Psychological Assistance (SPA) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1993, primarily as an answer to the consequences of the war for welfare and mental health of the population. In its first years, SPA is focused on working with people in crisis in war and post-war period and offering comprehensive community-based psychosocial assistance. Over time, SPA expands its field of work and introduces innovative psychosocial services in the community and develops trainings for professionals.
DPP – Society for Psychological Assistance
Address: Ulica kneza Mislava 11, Zagreb
ZAGREB RCT is an independent , humanitarian and non-profit organization that provides psychosocial support for the disadvantaged.
RCT – Rehabilitation Center for Stress and Trauma
Address: Kvaternikov trg 12, Zagreb
For more information visit official Croatian goverment sites:
Applicants for international protection
Asylum and subsidiary protection
Moving to Croatia - Smart Coverage for your Visa
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