Croatia

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    Yes.

    In relation to UK nationals currently residing in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian government has prepared contingency rules in the new Act on EEA nationals and their family members (OG, No. 66/2019, the ‘Act’). These contingency rules will become effective on the exact Brexit date in the event of a no-deal scenario.

     

    According to these contingency rules, UK nationals who had temporary or permanent residence in Croatia on the day before the exact Brexit date will maintain their entitlement to residence in Croatia, according to their already issued and valid residence permits. Family members of these UK nationals who did not have official temporary or permanent residence entitlement in Croatia on the day before the exact Brexit date will have to regularise their residence in Croatia, depending on their nationality (for UK nationals, the same rules as for any other third-country nationals shall apply). The contingency rules do not give an explicit deadline for this and individuals concerned are advised to contact the authorities for clarification on timing.

     

    However, temporary residence permits (which are, according to Croatian law, issued to EEA nationals and their family members) issued to UK nationals and their family members who are UK or other third-country nationals residing in Croatia will be valid for one year from the exact Brexit date, or until expiry of the current temporary residence permit, depending on which date is earlier. After that, these individuals will have to establish their residence status in Croatia based on the same rules as any other third-country national.

     

    UK nationals arriving in Croatia after Brexit date will be in the position of third-country nationals and the same rules as for any other third-country nationals will apply.

     

    This basically means they will need to regularise their status in Croatia based on a residence and work permit. This can be issued based on an annual quota or outside of the annual quota (depending on the nature and type of work they will perform in Croatia), unless they can rely on some of exemptions expressly prescribed by the law (please see under 3.1 below).

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No. Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

     

    Please note that the territory of Croatia is still not part of Schengen area: however, according to the Croatian Foreigners Act (Official Gazette, No. 130/11, 74/13, 69/17 and 46/18) rules on entry and stay of third-country nationals in Schengen area prescribed by the relevant Schengen legislation apply to entry and stay of third-country nationals on the territory of Croatia.

     

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

     

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    A short-term visa shall be issued to a UK business travellers on the Croatian border (assuming they are obliged to obtain a visa for Croatia after Brexit) for a period of up to 15 days, if:

    • they have a valid passport:
    • they can provide a justification for the purpose of their stay in Croatia;
    • they have sufficient funds for living expenses during their stay in Croatia and for return to their country of origin or travel to another country;
    • their return to their country of origin or travel to another country is determined to be safe;
    • they are not prohibited from entering and staying in Croatia,
    • they do not pose a threat to public order, national safety or public health in Croatia.

    Unless he or she stays in a hotel or a guest house, a UK business traveller will need to notify the competent Croatian Ministry of Interior office of their presence within two days of entry into Croatia and arrival at the relevant address of stay or residence in Croatia.

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work? 

    Yes, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

    • holders of a permanent residence permit in Croatia;
    • granted asylum and/or international protection in Croatia (subject to conditions);
    • holders of a temporary residence permit for humanitarian reasons in Croatia;
    • holders of a temporary residence permit for scientific research in Croatia (subject to conditions);
    • holders of a temporary residence permit for education in Croatia, if he or she has a regular college student status and is working up to maximum of 20 hours per week;
    • family members of a Croatian national, thirdcountry national holding a permanent residence permit in Croatia, someone who has been granted asylum and/or international protection in Croatia (subject to conditions);
    • family members of a thirdcountry national holding a temporary residence permit for scientific research in Croatia (subject to conditions);
    • family members of an EU national or a nonEU national who has authorisation to work in another EU country or a permanent residence permit in another EU country (subject to conditions);
    • holders of an EU Blue Card (issued to a highly qualified thirdcountry national, subject to conditions);
    • holders of a work registration certificate, enabling stay and work in Croatia for up to 90, 60 or 30 days in one calendar year, depending on the exact profession and/or purpose of work in Croatia.

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    Yes.

    In Croatia, this permission is called a residence and work permit. It can be issued based on an annual quota or outside of the annual quota. On an annual basis, the Croatian government decides on the number of residence and work permits for activities in which employment of third country nationals will be allowed. In contrast to this annual quota system, residence and work permits can also be issued outside of the annual quota, but only in cases explicitly prescribed by the law.

    A residence and work permit is issued for a maximum period of one year, with a possibility of extension.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    In the event of a no-deal scenario, the contingency rules are set out below (for a full explanation please see 1.1 above):

    Individuals who are already resident Croatia at Brexit date and who do not have permanent residence will have the shorter of one year from Brexit date or until expiry of their temporary residence permit to regularise their residence and work status.

    Individuals who arrive in Croatia after Brexit date will have to apply for a residence and work permit from the date of their arrival.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    The current law in Croatia sets out the following categories:

    1. Leading or key personnel in companies. The main conditions are:

    • Minimum monthly remuneration equal to the average monthly salary paid in Croatia in last calendar year according to officially published data from the Bureau of Statistics;
    • The company employs at least three employees who are Croatian nationals and are not leading or key personnel,
    • The share capital of the company exceeds HRK 100,000.

    2. Professional athletes (subject to conditions).

    3. Trainees (subject to conditions).

    4. Highly skilled employees (subject to conditions).

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    The employee can apply at the Croatian diplomatic or consular office in his or her state of origin abroad, or at the competent Croatian Ministry of Interior office in Croatia. A Croatian employer can also apply for a residence and work permit on behalf of an employee.

    If the application is submitted in Croatia, the competent Croatian Ministry of Interior office is required to issue a residence and work permit within a period of 30 days following submission of a complete application.

    3.6 If permission to work and stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for such a permission?

    Currently, total Government fees are around HRK 900 (approximately EUR 121).

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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    Five uninterrupted years of legal stay in Croatia (subject to conditions).

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    • Applying for an EU residence card, or EU residence card for nonEU family members as soon as possible.
    • Applying for a permanent residence permit in Croatia or another EU country, if conditions are met.
    • Applying for Croatian, EEA or Swiss nationality, if conditions are met, but individuals should consider the consequences before doing so.
    • Preparing documents for family reunification with a Croatian or EU national, if relevant.

    Preparing documents for a residence and work permit (inside or outside of the annual quota), or documents for securing another type of residence in Croatia not related to work (e.g. for humanitarian reasons, scientific research or education), or for securing their status under some other exemption expressly established by law (please see under 3.1 above).

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