Conditions for granting temporary and permanent residence, i.e. temporary and permanent stay to foreigners are prescribed by the Foreigners Act (Official Gazette 130/2011, 74/2013, 69/2017, 46/2018 and 53/2020) and by subordinate legislation.
The Foreigners Act divides the foreigners who wish to stay or work in Croatia into several categories. The documents submitted with the application for regulation of residence/stay depend on the defined categories. Categories of foreign nationals are:
- Foreigners on short-term stay (tourist stay)
- Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and nationals of the Swiss Confederation and their family members
- Third-country nationals with approved permanent residence in another EEA Member State and their family members
- Highly qualified third-country nationals with issued EU Blue Card
- Third-country nationals who are not nationals of a Member State of the EEA or of the Swiss Confederation
Foreigners may stay in the Republic of Croatia on:
- Short-term stay (up to 90 days in any period of 180 days)
- Temporary stay (up to one year)
- Permanent stay (unlimited period of time).
As regards the visa issue, the Republic of Croatia, as a Member State of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the EU), applies the common visa policy of the EU in the part related to the common visa regime. On the basis of a visa, a third-country national cannot work in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, except in cases when work registration certificates are issued in accordance with Articles 82 to 85 of the Foreigners Act.
A visa is an approval for the purpose of:
- Transit through the Republic of Croatia or the intended stay in the Republic of Croatia for maximum 90 days within any period of 180 days;
- Transit through the international transit area of airports.
It is issued for one, two or more entries for the purpose of transit, aviation transit tourism, business or private visits, culture, sports, official visits, health reasons, education, etc. The validity period of a visa depends on the circumstances of travelling and cannot exceed five years.
Visa application shall be submitted prior to the entry into Croatia, at the competent embassy/consulate. If there is no Croatian embassy/consulate in the applicant’s country, the application may be submitted at the nearest Croatian embassy/consulate in another country or at the embassy/consulate of another Member State with which the Republic of Croatia has concluded a visa-recognition agreement.
Visa application is submitted in person. Exceptionally and, in justified cases, a visa applicant does not need to file the application personally, but he/she must present himself/herself when called upon by the embassy/consulate.
The decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia of 22 July 2014 establishes the applications of the Decision No. 565/2014/EU. All foreign nations who are holders of valid Schengen documents (residence permits and visas for two or more entries), as well as holders of national visas and residence permits of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania do not require an additional (Croatian) visa for the Republic of Croatia, provided that the aforementioned Schengen document is valid at the time of entry into and at the time of exit from the Republic of Croatia.