Guidance

Living in Croatia

Official information for UK nationals moving to or living in Croatia, including guidance on residency, passports, driving and the Withdrawal Agreement.

What you should do

You should:

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Croatian Government and your local authority. You can also read our Croatia travel advice for our latest guidance.

Stay up to date

You should:

You can also:

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in Croatia at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Croatia

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.

In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Croatia. We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Croatia.

Residency

If you are resident in Croatia before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.

You must register as a Croatian resident if you plan to stay in Croatia for more than 3 months. Find out from the Croatian government how to register your temporary residence with the local police station and what documentation you need.

If there are changes to residency registration processes, we will update this guidance as soon as information is available.

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport. You can apply for or renew your British passport from Croatia.

We will update these pages with details of any changes to the rules as soon as information is available. You should sign up for updates to this guidance.

Driving in Croatia

Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you are resident in Croatia, you should exchange your UK licence for a Croatian one. You can still use your Croatian licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.

You should exchange your driving licence at the nearest police station. You can do this if you have either an approved temporary or permanent residence in Croatia. To exchange your licence, you will need the following:

  • your original UK driving licence and translation
  • payment slip
  • administrative fee
  • a 35 x 45 mm photograph

Other documentation may be required.

For information on driving in Croatia, you should read the guidance on:

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Croatia

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

You can read the European Union’s guidance on car registration and taxes in Croatia. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so you will need certificates of exemption.

Healthcare

If you are living in Croatia or move there permanently before 31 December 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Croatia as you do now, provided you remain resident.

Read our guidance on who can access healthcare in Croatia and how to register.

State healthcare: S1

If you live in Croatia and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You must apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in Croatia, you must not use your EHIC from the UK to access healthcare in Croatia.

When you travel from Croatia for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay.

There will be no changes to your healthcare access before 31 December 2020. You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during this time.

If you are a student, read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.

You can find English-speaking doctors in Croatia.

You should also check that your prescriptions are legal in Croatia.

Working in Croatia

If you are registered as resident in Croatia, you have the right to work in Croatia. You can read our guidance on working in an EU country.

You may need to apply for a UK police certificate.

If you are resident in Croatia on or before 31 December 2020, you will maintain your right to work, as long as you remain resident in Croatia.

Money and tax

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

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Croatia have not changed following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

You should read the guidance on:

The Ministry of Finance has information about custom services and declarations of goods in Croatia.

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

National Insurance

Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

Pensions

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

If you retire in Croatia, you can claim:

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 don’t.

Pensions after 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in Croatia by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Croatia, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Croatian pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Benefits

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

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Croatia. You should:

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.

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Croatian benefits

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

Benefits after 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Croatia, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Croatian contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after 31 December 2020.

Voting

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

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

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Croatia, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in Croatia you can:

Find out how to get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Croatia.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

Pets

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on bringing your pet into the UK.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number on 112 or Croatia uses:

  • 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.

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

You may also need:

Returning to the UK

Tell the UK and Croatian authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently. To help prove you are now living in the UK, you should de-register:

  • 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.

If you get healthcare in Croatia through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

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

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Croatian authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 23 January 2020
Last updated 23 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  2. First published.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  12. 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

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