Residence of third-country nationals

Residence of third-country nationals

Third-country nationals are foreigners who are not nationals of the Member States of the European Economic Area (European Union, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Iceland) or the Swiss Confederation and have third-country nationality or statelessness.

Third-country nationals may reside in the Republic of Croatia for short-term residence, temporary residence, long-term residence or permanent residence.

Short stay

Third-country nationals may stay in the Republic of Croatia for a short stay of up to 90 days in any 180-day period (90-day stays can be utilised once or several times).

During the short stay, the third-country national must have registered accommodation, which must be registered by the legal or natural person who provided accommodation to the third-country national in the Republic of Croatia.

Temporary stay

Temporary residence may, in accordance with the Aliens Act, be granted to a third-country national for the purpose of:

  • Family reunification,
  • Secondary education,
  • Study,
  • Research,
  • Humanitarian reason,
  • Life partnership,
  • Work,
  • Work of posted workers,
  • Residence of a person with long-term residence in another EEA Member State,
  • For other purposes,
  • Residence of digital nomads.

As a rule, a temporary residence permit is issued for a period of validity of up to one year. Temporary residence for work purposes is granted as a residence and work permit.

A third-country national who does not require a visa to enter the Republic of Croatia may apply for temporary residence permit at a diplomatic mission or consular office of the Republic of Croatia or at police administration or police station according to the intended place of residence of third-country national.

A third-country national who needs a visa to enter the Republic of Croatia submits an application for a temporary residence permit at a diplomatic mission or consular office of the Republic of Croatia. Exceptionally, the national may also submit a request to police administration or police station if the national:

  • Is a member of immediate family of a Croatian citizen,
  • Is a life or informal life partner of a Croatian citizen,
  • Comes to study at a university, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level,
  • Is a researcher coming on the basis of a visiting contract,
  • Is an immediate family member of a researcher or a third-country national coming to study,
  • Applies for a temporary residence permit for humanitarian reasons,
  • Is a family member of an EU Blue Card holder.

A third-country national will be granted temporary residence in the Republic of Croatia if the national meets conditions for issuing temporary residence permit, i.e., if:

  • Providing evidence of the purpose of temporary residence,
  • Possessing a valid foreign travel document,
  • Having means of subsistence,
  • Possessing health insurance,
  • Providing evidence that the national has not been convicted for criminal offenses at the home country or country where the national resided for more than a year immediately before arriving into Croatia (required when applying for the first temporary residence),
  • There is no ban on entering  the Republic of Croatia and residence in the Republic of Croatia or an SIS warning is issued – for the purpose of banning entry,
  • Not posing a danger to public order, national security or public health.

The Ministry of the Interior decides on the application for a temporary residence permit through the police administration or police station according to the place of residence or intended residence of the third-country national.

The period of validity of a foreign travel document must be three months longer than the period of validity of the temporary stay.

Long-term residence

Long-term residence may be granted to a third-country national who has been granted temporary residence, asylum or subsidiary protection for a continuous period of five years until the date of application.

A third-country national shall be deemed to have resided continuously in the Republic of Croatia even if they have been absent from the Republic of Croatia on a number of occasions over a total period of five years and up to ten months in total or once for up to six months.

The application for approval of long-term residence is submitted by the third-country national to the police administration or police station according to the place of residence, and the decision on the application is made by the Ministry of the Interior.

A third-country national who has been granted temporary residence, asylum or subsidiary protection for a continuous period of five years until the date of application will be granted long-term residence if proving that the national:
1. Has a valid foreign travel document,
2. Has means of subsistence,
3. Has health insurance,
4. Knows the Croatian language and the Latin alphabet, and
5. Does not pose a threat to public order or national security.

Permanent residence

Permanent residence may be granted to a third-country national who is:
1. Family member or life partner of a Croatian citizen who, until the day of submitting the application, has been granted temporary residence for a continuous period of four years for the purpose of family reunification or life partnership,
2. Member of the Croatian people with or without foreign citizenship who proves his status by a certificate of the state administration body responsible for relations with Croats outside the Republic of Croatia and who is found to have returned with the intention of living permanently in the Republic of Croatia and who had a temporary residence granted for three consecutive years,
3. He/she had been granted until the day of submitting the application temporary residence for a continuous period of three years, and  was in refugee status for at least ten years, which is proven by a certificate from the state administration body responsible for housing,
4. Minor child who, until the day of submitting the application for permanent residence, has been granted temporary residence for the purpose of family reunification for a continuous period of three years, and one of the parents has been granted permanent residence or long-term residence,
5. Had a permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia on 8 October 1991 and is a beneficiary of a return or reconstruction or housing program, as evidenced by a certificate from the state administration body responsible for housing and for whom it is found that he/she has returned with the intention of living permanently in the Republic of Croatia, with the obligation of submitting proof of impunity from the home country or the country in which he/she stayed for more than a year immediately before his/her arrival in the Republic of Croatia,
6. Minor child living in the Republic of Croatia:
• whose one of the parents, at the time of the child’s birth, has been granted permanent or long-term residence with the consent of the other parent,
• whose one parent, at the time of the child’s birth, has an approved permanent residence or long-term residence in the Republic of Croatia, and the other parent is unknown, died, declared dead, deprived of parental care or completely or partially deprived of legal capacity in relation to parental care.
7. was born in the Republic of Croatia and has lived in the territory of the Republic of Croatia since birth, but due to justified reasons which he could not influence, he did not have a regulated residence.

A third-country national submits a request for approval of permanent residence in the police department or police station according to the place of residence, and the Ministry of the Interior decides on the request.

Permanent residence will be granted to a third-country national if he or she has a valid foreign travel document and does not pose a threat to public order, national security or public health.

Rights of a third-country national on long-term residence and permanent residence

A third-country national with long-term residence or permanent residence has the right to:

  • Work and self-employment,
  • Professional training,
  • Education and student scholarships, except state scholarships,
  • Social welfare, child allowance,
  • Tax relief,
  • Access to the market of goods and services,
  • Freedom of association and membership in organizations representing workers or employers or in organizations whose members pursue a particular occupation, including benefits provided to them by such organizations.
Residence of nationals of Member States of the European Economic Area

The Act on Citizens of Member States of the European Economic Area and Members of Their Families stipulates conditions for entry, movement, residence and work of citizens of the EEA Member States and members of their families.
These provisions also apply to citizens of the Swiss Confederation.

Short stay

A citizen of an EEA Member State has the right to reside in the Republic of Croatia for up to three months from the date of entry into the Republic of Croatia, if the person holds a valid travel document or identity card, as long as it is not an inappropriate burden on the social security system.
A citizen of an EEA Member State is not obliged to report a short stay to the police administration or police station.

A family member who is not a citizen of an EEA Member State and who accompanies or joins a citizen of an EEA Member State has the right to stay in the Republic of Croatia for up to three months from the date of entry into the Republic of Croatia, if the person has a valid travel document, and as long as it is not an inappropriate burden on the social welfare system, and is not obliged to report a short stay to the police administration or police station.

Temporary residence

A citizen of an EEA Member State who intends to stay in the Republic of Croatia for more than three months is obliged to report their temporary stay to the competent police administration or police station according to place of residence, no later than eight days after the expiration of three months.

A national of an EEA Member State may apply for temporary residence for the purpose of:
1. Work,
2. Study or vocational training,
3. Other purposes,
4. Family reunification,
5. Life partnership.

A family member who is not a citizen of an EEA Member State is obliged to submit a request for issuance of a residence card whilst providing evidence of the right of temporary residence to police administration or police station according to place of residence, no later than eight days after the expiration of three months of residence.

Permanent residence

A citizen of an EEA Member State has the right to permanent residence after five years of uninterrupted legal residence in the Republic of Croatia. The law prescribes certain exceptions, i.e., categories of persons who can exercise the right to permanent residence even if they are legally staying in the Republic of Croatia for a shorter time period.

Application for the issuance of residence card confirming permanent residence is submitted by a citizen of an EEA Member State to the competent police administration or police station.

A family member who is not citizen of an EEA Member State and has been a legal resident for at least five years with a citizen of an EEA Member State in the Republic of Croatia has the right to permanent residence. The law stipulates certain exceptions, i.e., categories of persons, family members who are not citizens of EEA Member States, but who can exercise right to permanent residence even if they are legally staying in the Republic of Croatia for a shorter period of time.