Visas and Travel Requirements
On Jan. 1, 2004, Croatia introduced new residency and entry laws for foreigners. With EU entry in mind, these are similar to the laws of existing EU member states. For a trip lasting up to 90 days within a six-month time frame, North Americans do not need a visa to travel to Croatia for tourist or business purposes. If you want to stay on in Croatia for more than 90 days, then you must have a visa.
In the U.S., visas are issued by the following: Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Washington, D.C.; Consulate General in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. If you need a visa, you can present an application in person or by mail.
If you do decide you’d like to stay longer than 90 days in Croatia, you’ll also need to apply for a temporary residency permit. You’ll need various documentation and a stated reason for wanting to live in Croatia. This can be related to an investment, a business, family, employment, study, or real estate rental or purchase. Having a yacht moored in a Croatian marina also qualifies as a reason for being granted a residency permit.
To obtain a temporary residence permit, you need to apply in person at the local Ministry of the Interior (Ministartsvo Unutarnjih Poslova, or MUP) office. This is generally the police station. You’ll need to present a copy of your U.S. passport, two photos, a birth certificate with an apostille, evidence of health insurance, housing, adequate funding, and a criminal history report.
A temporary residence permit is valid for one year and can be easily renewed. You will not be able to get permanent residency status in Croatia until you’ve held a temporary residence permit for five years. Again, foreign nationals have to apply for permanent residence with the MUP. Apart from five years of temporary residence, the only other ways you can gain permanent residency are through marriage to a Croatian citizen for at least three years, humanitarian reasons, or at the discretion of the Croatian government.