Guidance

Living in Croatia

Information for British citizens moving to or living in Croatia, including guidance on residency, passports, healthcare and driving.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in Croatia. Read about how our embassy in Zagreb can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Croatian authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you have been living in Croatia since before 1 January 2021. You should read these in addition to the rest of the guidance in each section.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

Follow the advice of the Croatian Government and your local authority. You should also read the Croatia travel advice.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Croatia, read coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

Check the entry requirements for Croatia and read the Croatian government’s guidance on how to get a visa

If you are resident in Croatia, you must carry and show both your valid passport (as a proof of identity) as well as your valid residence card at all times, in case asked for these by a police officer. 

Visas and residency if you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

If you have lived in Croatia since before 1 January 2021, you and your family members have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

You should request a new Withdrawal Agreement biometric residency card ‘Dozvola boravka’ from the Croatian police. This document shows that you have the rights defined in the Withdrawal Agreement.

We strongly recommend that you request the new ‘Dozvola boravka’. It also shows your right to enter Croatia and exempts you from the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and visa requirements.

You may have to pay a fine (around 200 Croatian Kuna) if you did not apply before 30 June 2021, but your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be affected.

Your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in Croatia at any time in the future. Read more information on who this applies to in the Living in Europe guidance. They must travel to Croatia and then submit an application as your family member. Nationals of certain non-EU countries may need a visa before travel. The Croatian authorities should issue family reunion visas free of charge.

You should also read the Croatian Ministry of Interior’s guidance for UK nationals on residency, driving and frontier workers.

Appeal process

If your application for the ‘Dozvola boravka’ is refused, your local police station will send you a refusal notice. The notice will include information on how to appeal the decision via an administrative dispute procedure.

We strongly recommend you seek independent, specialised legal advice to support you if you appeal. The British Embassy cannot get involved in individual immigration applications. We cannot provide legal advice as we do not have the authority or expertise.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel restrictions may affect travel to and from Croatia.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Croatia.

Check the Croatia travel advice for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling to other EU/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. If you have citizenship of an EU/or EFTA country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave Croatia using your EU/or EFTA passport.

Croatia is not part of the Schengen area. If you stay in Croatia with a Croatian residence permit or long stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day in 180 days visit visa-free limit in Croatia or for the Schengen area.

If you visit countries in the Schengen area, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions. 

Different rules apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

If you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

When you travel, carry your Dozvola boravka or frontier worker permit issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. Other evidence may be your tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020. If you have applied for, but not yet received, your residence document, show your certificate of registration.

If you cannot prove that you are a resident in Croatia, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit Croatia with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Healthcare

Read our guidance on healthcare in Croatia and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

You should also read guidance on:

Working in Croatia

If you are planning to move to Croatia and work, you may need a visa.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a UK police certificate.

Read:

If you plan to work in Croatia, even if you work for a UK based employer, this may affect where you pay National Insurance-type contributions. Read the National insurance and social security contributions section for more information.

If you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement if you have a Dozvola boravka residence document, or have applied for one.

If you live in Croatia and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers. 

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Croatia. When doing this, you will be treated as a third country national. A third country national is someone who does not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in Croatia officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in Croatia

If you plan to study in Croatia, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Croatia to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union guidance includes information if you were already living in Croatia before 1 January 2021.

Tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Croatia so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Croatia. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Croatia.

Read guidance on:

National Insurance and social security contributions

National Insurance-type contributions (NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ (SSC) in Croatia. Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Croatia.

If you plan to move to Croatia and work, even if you continue working for a UK-based company, you and your employer may need to pay social security contributions in Croatia. These social security contributions would entitle you to certain benefits, such as healthcare, in Croatia.

Read guidance on National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland.

You can check your UK National Insurance record.

Benefits

UK benefits

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Croatia.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Croatian benefits

You may be entitled to Croatian benefits. To find out if you are and how to claim, check the European Commission guidance on Croatian social security benefits.

Pensions

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Croatia.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in Croatia, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Money and banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation. Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

You do not need to be resident in Croatia to buy property or land. The regulations for third-country nationals apply.

Read:

Driving in Croatia

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Croatia. Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in Croatia:

Exchanging your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence

If you live in Croatia, you must exchange your non-Croatian licence for a Croatian one. You do not need to take a driving test. You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

Read the Croatian government’s guidance on how to exchange your licence.

Exchanging your licence if you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021

If you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021 read the Croatian government’s additional guidance on driving licences.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Croatia, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. You can apply for a new Croatian disabled parking card (in Croatian).

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Croatia

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Read the Croatian government’s guidance on what happens if your foreign-registered vehicle is involved in an accident.

Registering a vehicle in Croatia

If you have lived in Croatia before 1 January 2021, you will be issued with black printed license plates. When registering your vehicle, you should bring your ‘Dozvola boravka’ with you, to prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you moved to Croatia after 1 January 2021, you will license your vehicle under rules for Third Country Nationals.

Driving outside Croatia with a Croatian licence

You can use your Croatian licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your Croatian licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to your Croatian licence you may need to apply for an IDP.

Read the EU guidance on:

Voting

You cannot vote in elections in Croatia or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships

If your child is born in Croatia, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

If someone dies in Croatia read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also need notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Croatia.

Pets

If you’re moving to Croatia with your pet, read the guidance and ensure you comply with the regulations:

To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs. Read guidance on:

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number 112 in Croatia for the police, ambulance or fire brigade, or dial:

  • 192 for police
  • 193 for fire brigade
  • 194 for ambulance
  • 195 for search and rescue at sea
  • 1987 for road assistance

Find the full list of emergency numbers in Croatia.

Dial the EU 116 000 hotline to report a missing child in the EU country where you live or in another EU country.

If you need guidance on child abduction, read the guidance on international parental child abduction; the EU guidance on child abduction and EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

Read the guidance if you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault in Croatia.

If you’re the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, contact the British Embassy Zagreb.

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

Tell the Croatian and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

You must de-register your temporary or permanent residence in Croatia:

  • at the local police station
  • from your local health centre

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, bringing family members, tax and access to services.

Useful information

Support for British Nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 23 January 2020
Last updated 11 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Important information in the Working in Croatia, and National insurance sections if you work in Croatia, even it if it is for an employer based in the UK.

  2. Updated 'Visas and residency if you were living in Croatia before 1 January 2021' section with information about the appeals process if your application for the 'dozvola boravka' is refused. Updated the 'Driving in Croatia' section with information about how to register a vehicle in Croatia.

  3. Guide reviewed and updated, including in the driving licences, births, deaths and marriages and pets sections.

  4. Guidance reviewed for people who are moving or moved to Croatia after 1 January 2021. Following the residency application deadline, it also includes sub-sections relevant to people living there since before 1 January 2021.

  5. Updated information for accommodation and buying property

  6. Healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in Croatia section updated with link to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on working or providing services and guidance on recognition of professional qualifications.

  7. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines

  8. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, pet travel and moving to Croatia.

  9. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling

  10. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  11. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  12. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  13. First published.

  14. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  15. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  16. EU Exit update: added in latest information to passports and returning to the UK section

  17. EU Exit update: New information in Living in Croatia guide

  18. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  19. EU Exit update: visas and residency; applying for Croatian citizenship and driving licences sections updated.

  20. EU Exit update on residency, citizenship and driving licences.

  21. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare

  22. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving

  23. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section

  24. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.