Moving to Croatia in 2024: permit and residence, visa and other important details

Residence permit


Moving to Croatia in 2024: permit and residence, visa and other important details

Croatia is a popular destination for expats. The country attracts foreigners with its atmospheric, sunlit beaches, bays and streets of the Dalmatian coast, as well as a favorable taxation system and a healthy business climate. Learn more about the peculiarities of moving to Croatia for permanent residence in 2024

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Permanent residence in Croatia grants foreigners the status of indefinite residence in the country and free movement between the Schengen area and the EU.  The holder of the status is issued an EU standard card that confirms European residence. According to statistics, the largest number of expats arrive in Croatia from Slovenia, Austria, and Serbia.

The process of obtaining permanent residence involves several stages: first, a foreigner obtains a visa to move to Croatia, then obtains a temporary residence permit (residence permit), and after 3 years can apply for permanent residence (permanent residence). After 5 years of residence in Croatia, there is a possibility to obtain European Union citizenship.

Permanent residence status opens up wide opportunities for residents: visa-free travel, access to the best educational institutions and high-quality medical care. Members of the European community also have the right to be employed in any EU country, start a business and trade without any permits or restrictions.

In our previous article, we talked about the best countries that offer expats favorable conditions for obtaining citizenship for investment in 2024.

Benefits of moving to Croatia in 2024

Croatia has lower wages than most European countries. The minimum wage as of the beginning of 2024 is 700 euros, and unemployment is 6.9%. Rental prices can vary depending on the region: the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment near the capital starts at 500 euros, and in less populated areas you can find affordable housing.

Croatia is known for its low crime rate, so it is popular among retirees and families with children. According to the Crime Index Rate, Croatia ranks 123rd out of 136 countries in terms of safety. The retirement age in Croatia is 65 years for men and 63.5 years for women with 15 years of work experience.

The educational system in Croatia includes graduation from primary and secondary schools, vocational schools or colleges. The country's universities have gained popularity because after graduation, the graduate receives a European Union diploma, which simplifies employment in the EU and other countries without the need for nostrification of the diploma.

Features of moving to Croatia in 2024

The first step in obtaining permanent residence in Croatia is a temporary residence permit. After moving, you need to register at the Croatian embassy and apply for a residence permit. An important condition is to register no later than 30 days from the date of arrival.

In fact, it indicates that you can legally stay in the country. A foreigner must provide information about the reason for needing a residence permit. According to Croatian immigration law, the purpose of obtaining a permit can be of several types:

1.For work and business: the work permit is tied to the employer. This means that if you leave your job or are fired, your work permit and residence permit will be revoked and you must leave Croatia.

2. For family reunification;

3. To carry out scientific activities;

4. For education;

5) To receive medical care.

Depending on the reason, the required documents may vary. However, there is a basic list of documents that will be required regardless of the reason:

1. Passport (valid for at least 1.3 years);

2. Police certificate of no criminal record;

3. Certificate of income and financial status;

4. Certificate of marriage (if any);

5. Medical insurance;

6. Receipt of payment of administrative fees.

It is better to clarify the formalities regarding residence permits at the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia.

Planning a trip or move abroad? An important part of a successful trip is an insurance policy, as it guarantees high-quality medical care anywhere in the world and can protect you from unnecessary expenses while travelling. You can buy insurance from trusted agents on the Visit World portal. 

Ways of immigration to Croatia for foreigners

Each applicant must have good reasons for obtaining this document. The scheme for obtaining a residence permit is determined in accordance with the specific conditions of emigration.

A residence permit is issued for a period of one year, and the procedure can be carried out at diplomatic missions and consular offices at the place of residence or at a police station in Croatia if the applicant does not need a visa to enter the country.

After living in Croatia for 5 years with temporary resident status, a person can apply for a permanent residence permit. It is important to have a complete set of necessary documents and meet the requirements to successfully complete the process of obtaining residency in Croatia.

Family reunification

In Croatia, there is a possibility to obtain a residence permit for the immediate family members of a citizen, a foreigner with a residence permit or a permanent residence permit, as well as for refugees with protection status. This possibility applies to spouse, minor children, civil partner or parents.

In addition, if there are serious humanitarian or personal reasons for family reunification, it is possible to apply for a residence permit for other relatives. Applicants applying under this category are exempted from the obligation to provide proof of financial stability or a health insurance policy.


In Croatia, you can obtain a residence permit for secondary school students, university applicants and participants of student exchange programs. Residence is issued for one academic year and can be renewed if there are grounds for continuing education in Croatia for the next year or grade.

The time spent in Croatia on the basis of a temporary residence permit while studying at a university is counted as half of the time for obtaining a long-term residence permit. This means that at the end of the study period, students may be granted permanent residence in Croatia.

To obtain permanent residence, you need to live legally in the country for five years and apply for permanent residence at the local police station.

Research activities

On the basis of a guest contract as a researcher or research assistant, it is also possible to obtain a one-year residence permit in Croatia. For this purpose, the organization issuing the invitation must be accredited by the responsible state authorities of the country. If necessary, family members of a researcher can legalize their status in Croatia and simultaneously obtain residence through the family reunification process.

After residing in the country for five years on the basis of a research residence permit, the researcher and his/her family can apply for permanent residence at the local police station in Croatia. This will allow them to become permanent residents of the country and enjoy all relevant rights and benefits.


Croatian companies can hire foreign employees only in cases where there are no suitable specialists among the local population. Before applying for a residence and work permit for a foreigner, the employer must contact the State Employment Service to check the availability of local candidates for the vacancy. If no suitable candidate is found among local residents, a positive decision on a residence and work permit for a foreign employee is issued.

A residence and work permit can be issued if the employee is transferred to a Croatian branch of a company, is a company manager or an important member of the staff. In the case of immigration to Croatia through entrepreneurship, the legislation requires the creation of jobs for local residents with a corresponding salary that exceeds the national average for the current year. The head of the company also needs to contribute at least 26.5 thousand euros to the company.

If all the conditions are met, taxes and pension fund contributions are paid on time, the residence permit can be extended annually. After living in the country for 5 years, foreigners have the right to apply for permanent residence.

Main opportunities for foreigners in Croatia in 2024

The main advantages of permanent residence for foreigners in Croatia are as follows:

1. High-quality medical care in public clinics;

2. Visa-free travel to the EU and Schengen countries;

3. Free business activity with the ability to sell goods and services without customs duties in the EEA;

4. Opportunity to study at prestigious universities in Europe and participate in international student exchange programs;

5. Obtaining an EU diploma upon graduation, which is recognized worldwide;

6. Affordable conditions for opening a bank account and obtaining a mortgage with a minimum rate of 3.5% per annum, as for Europeans;

7. Open access to the EU labor market without the need to obtain additional work permits.

Duration of permanent residence in Croatia

Permanent residence is granted indefinitely. Based on the decision of the Ministry of the Interior, the applicant must issue a biometric plastic card at the police station. 1. You can get rid of the status of a foreigner under the following conditions:

2. Staying outside the EEA for more than a year;

3. Obtaining a ban on entry to Croatia;

4. Absence from the territory of the Republic of Croatia for 6 years or more;

5. Registration of permanent residence status in another EEA state;

6. Threat to national and public security;

7. Submission of an application for termination of permanent residence.

A foreigner is eligible to obtain a Croatian passport after 5 years of registered residence in the country, in the absence of a criminal record and exemption from previous citizenship. In this case, the applicant must be fluent in the local language. An application for a Croatian passport must be submitted to a police station in person.

Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World

To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need health insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Croatia;

Legal advice on immigration to Croatia;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Croatia

Medical insurance all over the world.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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