Living in Croatia has never been so accessible. Behold the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa.
Imagine waking up on a Monday morning and strolling down the cobbled streets to your new found local coffee shop. The building is a few hundred years old and you find a cozy spot in the window to people-watch, sip your espresso, and open up your laptop to start work for the day.
Sounds like a dream right?
Since January 2021, remote workers, freelancers, and foreign business owners have the opportunity to actually live this reality in this magical European country.
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa | The Ultimate Guide
Before we dive in, let’s talk about some key terminology so this process makes a bit more sense!
What is a Digital Nomad?
If you are unfamiliar with the term, a digital nomad is a person who works online (remotely or for themselves) and travels to or lives in various places while still making a steady income. This person does not have a fixed working location and can choose to travel to different countries frequently, or stay in a particular destination offering a “digital nomad visa” for multiple months at a time. Digital nomads are usually freelancers, business owners, and remote workers (people who are employed by a company that may or may not have a fixed location, but they are not required to be in the office in person).
The Digital Nomad Visa
It’s a common misconception that a digital nomad visa is, well… a visa. It is technically a temporary residence permit which grants the holder the right to reside in that country offering the permit. A visa is an authorization by a governing body to enter the applicable nation or territory, and is generally granted on a short term basis. In some countries, depending on your nationality / country of permanent residence, you may need a visa to enter for tourism purposes, education, or business trips. In Croatia you may still need a separate visa to enter the country, even if you are approved for the “Digital Nomad Visa”. So checking the Croatian visa requirements ahead of time is a must!
You can view the Croatia Visa and entry requirements here to determine if you are required to obtain additional documentation for entry.
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements and Application Process
The Croatia digital nomad visa can be obtained through a process of fulfilling certain requirements, filling out an application, providing the necessary documents, and having your application approved. However it is important to remember that this is a temporary residence permit and the maximum length of stay in Croatia with this visa is 12 months, and it cannot be extended. If 1 year of working as a digital nomad in Croatia sounds ideal to you, note that there are certain requirements you must fulfill in order to be considered. So let’s run through the requirements and application process before we start celebrating your big move!
What are the application requirements?
- A passport or valid travel documentation. Be sure to check the expiration date in your passport, it must be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the visa expiration date.
- Proof of purpose / external employment. To be granted the digital nomad visa in Croatia, you must show proof of income from outside of the country of Croatia. Basically, you have to already be a freelancer, remote worker, or business owner in another country, and cannot use this visa to enter for the purpose of seeking employment in Croatia.
- A clear background check. You must have a certified background check with no history of criminal offenses. Note, if you are American, a federal background check is required and a state background check will not be accepted.
- International Health Insurance. You must have health insurance that will cover you for the duration of your stay in Croatia. Make sure the Insurance company/policy you choose covers Croatia.
- Sufficient funds. To be granted this visa, you must prove financial stability for the duration of your visa. The Croatian government website states that a single applicant must make at least 16.907,50 Kuna per month. If you do not have a regular monthly income, you must have at least 202,890.00 Kuna in your bank account. Unfamiliar with the Croatian Kuna? Learn more about the Cost of Living in Croatia, here.
- Proof of temporary address in Croatia. This requires some planning ahead. In your application, you will have to specify your intended address. However, if you do not have a Croatian address yet, you can use the address of your hotel or temporary accommodation you will stay at when you first arrive in Croatia (you must have a place booked and can submit your reservation confirmation). If you are planning on apartment hunting, you can change your address through the Croatian Police at a later date.
- A completed application. Be sure to fully complete your application and provide the necessary documents with your application. You can apply online here, or apply in person at your local/regional Croatian embassy or consulate. You can find out more information about applying in person, here.
If you meet these requirements and can provide the necessary documentation, congratulations you are one step closer to the digital nomad life in Croatia! Now that we understand the requirements of the Croatia digital nomad visa and how to apply, let’s quickly look over what you can expect to happen after submitting your application.
What Happens Next?
Next, you will receive the decision of your application. If your application for the Croatia digital nomad visa is approved, you will be notified by post or email. This would now be a good time to check if you will need an additional visa to enter Croatia, as you start planning your move! Note that you may not need additional documentation/ visa to enter Croatia, so make sure to do some research on this.
Once you arrive in Croatia, your next step is to register your temporary address with the local police department. This might seem daunting but don’t worry, it’s a simple process requiring you to fill out this form, and include your signed lease contract, a statement from your landlord, or your confirmation of reservation at your temporary accommodation (if this is the case you can always return later with proof of your new place of residence once it is secured.).
After you are registered, you must obtain a biometric residence permit. This is basically an ID card that proves your temporary residency in Croatia. For this you must return to the police station with passport photos and your biometric details (fingerprints) will be taken.
Once your biometric residence permit is ready, your process is complete and you are ready to start living your best life in Croatia!
You can learn more information directly on the Croatian government website linked here.
Best Places to Live as a Digital Nomad in Croatia
So you are officially a Croatia digital nomad, now where are you going to live?
With just 12 months in Croatia, most likely you will want to base yourself in a metropolis with plenty of opportunities for meeting people, fast internet speeds, and where it is relatively easy to find affordable accommodation. So let’s take a closer look at the top 3 cities to live in as a digital nomad in Croatia.
In this bustling capital city, you are sure to find plenty of cafes, bars, entertainment, and a community of nomads and ex-pats. A perk of basing yourself in the capital city is the simplicity in services that might not exist in other smaller cities, for example, embassies and consulates of your home country, large scale venues for concerts and events, and a larger airport which is more likely to host a wider variety of international airlines, making travel to and from Croatia a bit more accessible.
Zadar is an ideal location for those looking to be near the sea (Zagreb is a landlocked city) while still being in close proximity to the borders of Western Europe. Zadar is a city with rich history, idyllic coastal views, and more of a local vibe. While the capital and some of Croatia’s more southern cities are more popular with tourists, you may find yourself assimilating to more of a Croatian way of life here! When in Croatia, do as the Croatians do right?
Are you looking for a bit more adventure during your residency in Croatia? Split is a picturesque coastal city that serves as a fantastic jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the Dalmatian coast and the Croatia archipelago. The city of Split itself is a living museum, as the historical city center is based within the walls and grounds of Diocletian’s Palace. Split is also a hot spot for European weekenders looking for a quick getaway, so if you decide to base yourself in Split, you will come across plenty of other visitors to befriend.
What will you do with your 12 months of nomadic Croatia living?
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa: Final Thoughts
If you are a culture-seeking, history-loving, wanderlust-filled, digital nomad, Croatia is the place for you. Of all the countries that offer a digital nomad visa, Croatia offers incredible scenery, a safe society, decently affordable living, and friendly locals eager to share their culture with you as you embrace your year of being a Croatia-based, digital nomad.