As of January 1, 2023, Croatia will mark exactly two years since it opened its doors to digital nomads.
After months of working on the new law for foreigners, the country finally introduced its digital nomad visa. Croatia published the new law, including articles about digital nomads, in Narodne Novine, the country’s official gazette for laws, official decisions, regulations, and other notices.
Here, we’ll discuss everything about the Croatia digital nomad visa, including the eligibility requirements, documents, and the application process – complete with step-by-step instructions.
Before we give you the necessary information on applying for the Croatia digital nomad visa, let’s first explore where this visa came from and why it was introduced, along with some interesting statistics.
What is the Croatia digital nomad visa?
The Croatia digital nomad visa is actually a temporary stay permit for digital nomads. This permit allows third-country nationals to stay in Croatia for up to one year as long as they comply with the requirements.
Anyone who isn’t already an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen can apply for the digital nomad visa. If you already hold a passport from one of the countries in these groups, then you can move to Croatia freely without needing any sort of visa.
Applicants also have to meet the monthly income requirements via remote work, either as an employee for a company or for their own own company that’s not registered in the Republic of Croatia. The applicant mustn’t work or provide services to employers in Croatia.
Important note: Most countries use the term ‘visa’ for both long-term and short-term stays for foreigners. But in Croatia, there are separate terms used to describe permits for different types of stays.
Applicants for the digital nomad visa will acquire a temporary stay permit rather than a visa. Still, the term ‘digital nomad visa’ is widely used, so we’ll continue to use it throughout this article.
When was the Croatia digital nomad visa introduced?
The Croatian government worked for several months prior to launching this temporary stay permit. In a way, this move was expected, given that growing numbers of countries opened their borders to digital nomads.
The idea came from the Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who visited Croatia in April 2020. His first idea was for Croatia to let tourists stay longer (for one year) with the goal of helping the country’s economy. This was a difficult period due to the pandemic, and the country was facing economic struggles.
After his initial idea, Jan de Jong requested a meeting with Croatia’s minister, which yielded positive results. Croatia launched the temporary stay permit for digital nomads on January 1, 2021.
In just 15 days, on January 15, 2021, Croatia welcomed the first digital nomad. Melissa Paul, an American entrepreneur, who was already living in Croatia before the new law was introduced. After obtaining the visa, she was invited to many interviews by magazines and TV networks.
Paul said: “Croatia is gorgeous, it’s beautiful living here, affordable compared to other places, has a great climate, and good internet access”.
In another interview, she added: “Labin has a soulful quality. From the friendly people, the large number of working artists here, as well as the mix of history, culture and modern industry”.
Why was the Croatia digital nomad visa launched?
Europe has become a haven for digital nomads, with many countries setting up new schemes to attract remote workers. Estonia was the first to bring in a specific digital nomad visa, with Portugal, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Germany and Greece following suit.
What’s more, Europe is also the region with the highest number of countries granting digital nomad visas.
Although Croatia is a country with many historical places where time has stopped moving, it also follows modern trends, and does so successfully.
While digital nomads enjoy the beauty of this country, Croatia’s economy benefits from their stay. Of course, the visa also comes with a range of benefits for the holder.
- No need to pay taxes to Croatia during your temporary stay
- Low cost of living compared to many other European countries
- Growing digital nomad community
- Fantastic range of historic and beach destinations available
- Plenty of co-working spaces in major cities
- Good wifi coverage
Croatia digital nomad visa statistics
If you’re a digital nomad or freelancer who wants to move to Croatia, these statistics on visa applications may offer added motivation to make the first step.
According to the data, 1,393 people from 60 countries applied for a temporary stay permit for digital nomads. The good news is that only 41 applicants were rejected, meaning there’s a high likelihood of approval.
Who is eligible?
The digital nomad temporary stay permit was launched as a part of Croatia’s Law on Foreigners.
To be eligible for a digital nomad visa, you have to be a third-country national. This means that you can only apply if you’re not a Swiss citizen or a citizen of a country that belongs to the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA).
Furthermore, you can apply for this permit if you work for a company or own a company that’s not registered in Croatia. Moreover, you mustn’t provide services to employers in Croatia.
Within your application, you’ll have to include proof of your income. Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior gives clear instructions regarding the income you need to be eligible for a stay permit as a digital nomad.
You must provide bank statements showing proof of regular income or payslips for the last six months to prove an income corresponding to at least 2.5 average monthly net salaries paid for the previous year.
Currently, you need a monthly income of HRK 17,822.50 (2,364€; $2,506).
Croatia also gives you another option. You can submit a bank statement to show that the total amount required for a 12-month stay is already available in your account. This means you’ll need at least HRK 213,870 (28,378€; $30,079).
This is a critical section because one missed document in your application file could result in a rejection.
Important Note: You have to submit the documents in either Croatian or English language. You can apply in person or online. If you want to apply in person, you’ll have to fill out the bilingual Form 1a, an application for issuance of a stay permit.
Take a look at the list carefully and double-check when applying.
List of required documents for Croatian digital nomad visa
- Copy of a valid travel document (passport) – the document must be valid for three months longer than the period of validity of the intended stay
- Proof of health insurance – travel or private health insurance that covers the territory of the Republic of Croatia. The insurance has to be valid for the period of time you plan to stay in Croatia.
- Proof of purpose – depending on whether you work for a company or you own a company
- Employer’s statement that you work through communication technology and employer’s contact information
- If you’re the owner – a copy of the company registration certificate, and proof that you perform said tasks through your company
- Proof of income – choose one of the three options based on your situation:
- Bank statement showing you have the total amount required for a 12-month stay
- Bank statement showing you have regular monthly income corresponding to the requirements
- Payslips for the last six months as proof of the required monthly income
- Criminal record check – you must prove that you haven’t been convicted in your home country or in any country in which you’ve been resident for over one year before arriving in Croatia.
- Address of stay or of intended stay in Croatia – if you’re staying in Croatia, you can provide a temporary address from a hotel/hostel as long as you’ve got a confirmed reservation.
How to apply
Here are the full instructions on how to apply for the Croatia digital nomad temporary stay permit.
We already mentioned above that you can apply in person or online. So you can apply:
- At a Croatian embassy or consulate in your home country
- In Croatia, at the local police station
Remember – the application process for a digital nomad visa will be different depending on whether or not you need a visa to enter Croatia.
You can apply online regardless of whether or not you need a visa to enter Croatia. If you do need a visa to enter the country, you’ll have to apply for a Type D Visa. That’s a different type of visa that requires other documents and a different application method.
If you don’t need a visa to enter the country, you can apply for a temporary stay permit for digital nomads online. For instance, you don’t need a visa to enter Croatia if you’re from the United States, UK or Australia.
To apply online, first, call the Croatian embassy in your country. This is a useful step because the embassy will inform you about everything you need to know.
You’ll have to fill out this form, which will be forwarded to the police station located in the area you intend to stay. You’ll attach all the necessary documents in this online form.
Apply at police stations in Croatia
In case you don’t need a visa to enter Croatia, you can apply directly at the police station that’s located in the area you plan to stay in. Here’s a list of the police stations and police administrations in Croatia.
Another option (if you need an entry visa) is to apply for a tourist visa then travel to Croatia, and apply for the digital nomad visa at the local police station.
Either way, you’ll have to bring all the necessary documents and ensure everything is in order.
Apply at a Croatian embassy or consulate in your home country
This is also convenient, especially if you’re required a visa to enter Croatia but don’t have one. The procedure is the same – you have to contact the embassy and submit all documents required for a digital nomad visa.
In case you need a visa to enter Croatia, you’ll also have to apply for a regular visa. In short, you’ll need a visa to enter the country, plus a digital nomad temporary stay permit to stay in Croatia.
What happens after you submit the application?
After you apply, you’ll have to wait for feedback. If you’ve been granted a temporary stay, you’ll have to register your temporary residence address at the local police station within 30 days of approval and three days from your entry into the country.
You’ll also have to obtain a biometric residence permit. The police officer will confirm your identity and collect your fingerprints and signature during this step.
Application costs vary depending on the application method you choose.
If you apply at a Croatian embassy or consulate in your home country, you’ll pay:
- HRK 420 (55.73€; $59.07) for granting a temporary stay
- HRK 460 (61.04€; $64.70) for the visa itself
- HRK 310 (41.13€; $43.60) for a biometric residence card
If you apply at the local police station in Croatia:
- HRK 350 (46.44€; $49.22) for granting a temporary stay
- HRK 70 (9.29€; $9.84) administrative fees for issuing a biometric residence permit
- HRK 240 (31.85€; $33.75) for a biometric residence card
Bringing your family
Your close family can join you in Croatia if you have been granted a temporary stay in the country. Your family can obtain a temporary stay for the purpose of family reunification if they meet the general conditions.
Of course, you’ll have to prove your relationship through a statement, joint rental agreements, or other supporting documentation.
Tax for Digital Nomads in Croatia
Croatia is tax-free for digital nomads when it comes to income taxes. According to the income tax act, digital nomads aren’t obligated to pay income tax to Croatia during their stay in the country.
Still, don’t forget to research your home country’s laws regarding income tax, as they vary from country to country.
Can the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Lead to Permanent Residency or Citizenship?
Unfortunately, no! Even if you reapply and get a digital nomad temporary permit several times in a row, this permit can’t lead to permanent residency or citizenship.
This is because you have to stay in Croatia for at least five consecutive years to be eligible to apply for permanent residency. However, the digital nomad visa allows you to stay in Croatia for up to one year. After the visa expires, you’ll have to leave the country and wait for six months to reapply.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I apply for the digital nomad visa from within Croatia?
Yes, you can! Being in the country will make the process even easier, as you’ll be able to act right after you get your approval. You can apply at the police station located near you or online.
How long is the processing time?
The processing time is typically around a month. However, in some cases, you may have to wait for about 12 weeks for the application to be processed by the authorities.
Do digital nomads pay tax in Croatia?
No, digital nomads don’t pay tax in Croatia on the digital nomad visa. The most significant advantage of getting a Croatia digital nomad visa is not having to pay income tax to the country. However, don’t forget to check your home country’s requirements regarding this question.
What’s the best place to stay as a digital nomad in Croatia?
Zadar is the best place to stay as a digital nomad in Croatia. Even if you can’t live there for your entire stay, you should definitely visit Zadar because it’s home to the country’s first digital nomad village.
Can the Croatian digital nomad visa be extended?
Unfortunately, no, the Croatia digital nomad visa can’t be extended. Once your permitted stay finishes, you’ll have to leave the country and wait six months. Then, you can apply for another temporary stay permit and go back to Croatia to work as a digital nomad once again.
Before you go…
The Croatia digital nomad visa is a great way for non-EU remote workers to spend an extended period in this beautiful European country. Croatia has a lot to offer in terms of quality of life.
But this visa isn’t the right choice for those seeking a longer-term foothold in the EU, including permanent residence or citizenship. If you’re a remote worker with long-term EU plans, you should instead check out the options in Portugal.
All Portugal residence visas can make you eligible to apply for permanent residence and/or citizenship after five years of legal residence.
If you’re a digital nomad working for a foreign company then the Portugal digital nomad visa will probably fit you best. If you have passive income from rentals, investments or other sources, there’s also the D7 passive income visa.
- Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
- Italy Digital Nomad Visa
- Spain Digital Nomad Visa
- Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
- Greece Digital Nomad Visa