Croatia has emerged as a coveted destination for digital nomads seeking the perfect blend of sun-soaked coastlines, rich history, and a conducive work environment.
Recognizing the growing trend of remote work, the country introduced the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa, offering a unique opportunity for non-EU citizens to live and work in this Adriatic gem for up to a year with an option to extend your stay. Plus you can enjoy tax-free benefits and access other Schengen countries for tourism or leisure.
Better yet, this visa can make you eligible for Croatian citizenship, which is rarely offered by other countries around the world.
This guide delves into the intricacies of the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa, covering eligibility criteria, the application process, and the perks of choosing Croatia as your next remote workstation.
Whether you’re dreaming of working steps away from the sea or amidst ancient city walls, Croatia’s Digital Nomad Visa could be your ticket to an unparalleled work-life balance. Let’s dive into what you need to know to make this dream a reality
The Croatia Digital Nomad Visa is officially a temporary stay permit for digital nomads and is designed for non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizens who wish to live and work remotely in Croatia. Introduced in January 2021, it has become a popular option for digital nomads due to Croatia’s alluring blend of cultural richness, scenic landscapes, and affordable cost of living.
This visa offers three key benefits to digital nomads:
- It allows for a stay of up to one year in Croatia, giving nomads ample time to enjoy and explore the country, as well as other Schengen countries.
- Nomads with this visa are exempt from paying income tax in Croatia on their foreign earnings, making it financially advantageous.
- The visa permits the inclusion of family members, allowing for a spouse or children to accompany the nomad, fostering a more family-inclusive experience.
The Croatian government has also enabled the digital nomad visa to become a step toward permanent residency or citizenship for those who wish to permanently reside in the country. You can be eligible for permanent residency in Croatia after living in the country for five years, which could eventually lead to citizenship if you choose to.
The Croatia Digital Nomad Visa offers several enticing benefits that make it an inviting option for digital nomads looking for their next remote work destination:
- Duration of Stay: One of the most significant benefits is the duration of stay it offers. This visa allows digital nomads to reside in Croatia for up to one year, providing ample time to immerse in the local culture, explore various regions, and enjoy a balanced lifestyle between work and leisure.
- Affordability: Croatia provides a high quality of life at a lower cost compared to much of Europe. Expenses such as eating out, renting apartments, transportation, and groceries are relatively affordable. For instance, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant might cost around $8.70, and a one-bedroom apartment in cities like Split or Dubrovnik could cost just over $500 per month.
- Diverse Accommodation Options: There’s an array of accommodation choices including Airbnb, hotels, villas, hostels, and more. Cities like Dubrovnik, Rovinj, and Zagreb offer luxurious hotels, while places like Split have historical and quaint options. The availability of different accommodation styles caters to various budgets and preferences.
- Pleasant Climate: The Adriatic Coast of Croatia enjoys mild weather for most of the year, with cool but sunny days in winter. This climate is conducive to exploring the cities and engaging in outdoor activities like hiking and beach walks.
- Vibrant Lifestyle and Culture: Living in coastal cities like Split, Zadar, or Dubrovnik offers a balanced work-life experience with access to beaches, cultural sites, and urban amenities. These cities stay lively even during the winter season.
- Strong Connectivity to Europe: Since Croatia is part of the EU countries and the Schengen area, traveling to other European countries is convenient. This feature is particularly beneficial for nomads looking to explore more of Europe.
- Tax Benefits: Digital nomads on this visa are exempt from paying income tax in Croatia on their foreign earnings. This tax relief is a major financial incentive, making it more economical for nomads to stay in Croatia compared to other European countries where they might be liable for local taxes on their global income.
- Family Inclusion: The visa extends its benefits to family members. Digital nomads can bring their spouse, children, or even an informal life partner to Croatia under the same visa. This inclusion makes it easier for nomads to relocate without having to leave their loved ones behind, fostering a more family-friendly environment.
- Cultural and Natural Richness: Croatia is known for its breathtaking landscapes, from the Adriatic coast to historic cities like Dubrovnik and Zagreb. The visa allows digital nomads to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage, outdoor activities, and Mediterranean climate, enhancing the allure of Croatia as a destination.
- Growing Digital Nomad Community: Croatia is increasingly becoming a hub for digital nomads, with various initiatives like co-working spaces, community events, and meetups. This thriving community provides a supportive environment for networking and socializing, which is essential for those living and working remotely.
- Ease of Travel within Europe: For nomads looking to explore beyond Croatia, the country’s location in Europe makes it a convenient base for traveling to other European destinations, adding to the appeal for those who wish to travel extensively while working remotely.
- Safety and Connectivity: Croatia is known for its safety and good quality of life. Additionally, reliable internet connectivity across the country with an average download speed for mobile of 93 Mbps and fixed broadband of 60 Mbps. This ensures that digital nomads can work efficiently without disruption.
These benefits collectively make Croatia an attractive destination for digital nomads, offering a unique combination of professional flexibility, cultural immersion, and lifestyle advantages.
To apply for a Croatia Digital Nomad Visa, you must meet certain qualifications and provide a specific set of documents. Here’s a detailed list of these requirements and qualifications:
- Status as a Third-Country National: You must be non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizens.
- Remote Employment or Business Ownership: You must either be employed by a company or run a business registered outside Croatia. The work should be conducted remotely via digital means.
- No Local Employment: You must not work for a Croatian company or provide services to Croatian employers.
- Valid Passport: A passport that remains valid throughout the intended stay period.
- Proof of Financial Means: Bank statements or other financial documents demonstrating a stable monthly income. The required income level should correspond to at least 2.5 times the average monthly net salary paid in Croatia, which is around €2,300/month ($2,484).
- Health Insurance: Valid health insurance that covers the duration of the stay in Croatia. This can be travel or private health insurance and must include coverage in the Republic of Croatia.
- Criminal Background Check: A certificate showing you have not been convicted of criminal offenses from your home country or any country where you have resided for more than one year immediately before arriving in Croatia. For U.S. citizens, this requires a federal background check from the FBI.
- Proof of Purpose: Documentation such as an employment contract or an official letter proving that you work through communication technology for a foreign company or your own company registered outside of Croatia.
- Application Form: A completed digital nomad basic information form, available from the official Croatian Ministry of Interior website or at Croatian diplomatic missions.
- Biometric Data: For the issuance of a biometric residence card, you need to provide biometric data at a local police station or Croatian diplomatic mission.
- No Tax Liability: Digital nomads with this visa do not need to pay income tax in Croatia on their foreign earnings.
- Family Members Inclusion: Applicants may include family members in their application, but must provide additional documentation like marriage or birth certificates.
- Application Submission: The application can be submitted either online or in person at the nearest Croatian embassy, consulate abroad, or a local police station in Croatia.
- Fees: Visa and administration fees are applicable and vary based on the location of the application submission.
- Validity Period: The visa allows a stay of up to one year in Croatia.
- Renewal: There’s a possibility to renew the visa or apply for another type of residence permit after the expiration of the initial visa.
The Croatia Digital Nomad Visa presents a great opportunity for remote workers to experience life in Croatia while working remotely. However, you will need to meet all qualifications and have the necessary documents ready to streamline the application process.
Applying for the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa involves a series of steps, which can be easily managed through careful preparation and attention to detail.
First, ensure you meet the qualifications for the visa – you should be a third-country national working remotely for a company or running a business that’s not registered in Croatia.
Prepare the required documents including a valid passport, proof of financial means (such as a bank statement), valid health insurance covering your stay in Croatia, a criminal background check from your home country or any country where you’ve lived for more than a year, and proof of employment or business ownership outside of Croatia.
Obtain and fill out the digital nomad visa application form. This form can be found on the official Croatian Ministry of Interior website or at Croatian diplomatic missions.
The application can be submitted either online, through the official Croatian Ministry of Interior website or in person at the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate. If you are already in Croatia, you can submit it at a local police station.
Application processing involves certain fees. Be prepared to pay these fees when you submit your application. The fee amount can vary, so it’s best to check the latest information from the official sources.
If applying in person, you may need to provide biometric data. This could involve visiting the local police station or consulate to have your fingerprints and photograph taken.
After submission, there is a waiting period while your application is processed. The processing time can vary, so it’s important to apply well in advance of your planned start date in Croatia.
Once your application is approved, you will be notified, and the entry visa will be issued. If you applied within Croatia, you would receive a biometric residence card which will also serve as your digital nomad residency permit.
Upon arrival in Croatia, you must register your temporary residence address at the local police station within three days of arrival, providing documentation like a lease contract or a letter from your host. You need to fill out and submit the Obrazac 8a form which is a notarized rental contract as your proof of accommodation.
Once in Croatia, ensure that you comply with all local laws, including any immigration or residency regulations.
Remember to keep up to date with any changes in the application process or requirements by consulting the official Croatian Ministry of Interior website or contacting the nearest Croatian embassy.
Applying for a Croatia Digital Nomad Visa involves various costs, which differ depending on where and how you apply. Here’s a breakdown of these costs in both Euros (EUR) and United States Dollars (USD), based on the current exchange rates:
- Fee for granting temporary stay: €55.74 (approx. $62.50 USD)
- Fee for the biometric residence card: €41.14 (approx. $46.10 USD)
- The administrative fee for the application: €46.45 (approx. $52.00 USD)
- Fee for the biometric residence card: €31.85 (approx. $35.70 USD)
- If you require an expedited process for the residence card, it will cost €59.73 (approx. $67.00 USD)
- Administrative fee for the residence card: €9.29 (approx. $10.40 USD)
It’s important to note that the processing time for a Croatia Digital Nomad Visa can vary, typically ranging from 2 to 4 months. Additionally, the visa cannot be extended, but you can reapply for another residence permit 6 months after the expiration of the initial one.
Make sure to regularly check the latest information on the official Croatian Ministry of the Interior website or consult with the Croatian embassy or consulate nearest to you for the most current details and guidance.
Aside from the direct application fees for the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa, there are several other incremental and incidental costs that applicants should be aware of. These costs can vary based on individual circumstances, but generally include:
- Health Insurance: Applicants are required to have health insurance that covers their stay in Croatia. The cost of health insurance can vary greatly depending on the provider, coverage amount, and the applicant’s age and health condition. As a rough estimate, travel health insurance could cost anywhere from €40 to €100 per month.
- Criminal Background Check: The cost of obtaining a criminal background check varies by country. For example, in the United States, the fee for an FBI background check is $18, while prices in other countries may differ.
- Living Expenses in Croatia: While not a direct application cost, it’s important to budget for living expenses. Croatia is relatively affordable compared to many Western European countries. Monthly living costs (excluding rent) can range from €500 to €1,200 depending on lifestyle and location.
- Accommodation Costs: Rent varies significantly depending on location and type of accommodation. For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in a city center might cost around €400 to €800 per month, while prices will be lower outside city centers.
- Travel Costs: Applicants need to budget for their travel to Croatia. Flight costs will vary greatly depending on the departure country and season.
- Translation and Notarization Fees: If any required documents are not in Croatian or English, they must be translated and possibly notarized. Costs for translation and notarization services vary by language and country.
- Cost of Biometric Residence Card: If you apply in Croatia at a police station, the fee for the biometric residence card is around €31.85, with an additional €9.29 for administrative fees. This cost is slightly higher when applying from a consulate abroad.
- Other Miscellaneous Costs: These could include costs for obtaining and printing documents, postal fees for sending documents (if necessary), and potential travel costs for visiting consulates or embassies.
Please note that these costs are approximate and can vary based on individual circumstances and changes in pricing. It is advisable to check the latest information and prepare for some variability in these expenses.
If you’re a non-EU/EEA or non-Swiss citizen looking to live in Croatia while working remotely for a company or your own business that is registered outside of Croatia, this visa is for you. It allows a stay of up to one year, enabling a deeper immersion in the Croatian lifestyle compared to a short-term tourist visit or being subject to the limitations of a standard tourist visa.
However, if you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you are free to live and work in Croatia without this specific visa and free to move around within the EU. In this case, you can move to Croatia and set up your remote work base with fewer bureaucratic hurdles. But, if you plan to stay for more than three months, you will need to register your stay and may require a temporary residence permit based on other criteria such as self-employment or study.
For digital nomads outside the EU/EEA zone, the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa also enables a path to permanent residency or citizenship should they choose to permanently reside in Croatia.
Croatia offers a variety of fantastic locations each with its own unique charm and amenities. Here is a list of top locations ideal for digital nomads, with some key highlights:
As the capital of Croatia, Zagreb offers a unique blend of contemporary hustle and historic charm. With its many co-working spaces, lively café culture, and excellent internet connectivity, Zagreb is an ideal place for productivity and networking. The city’s rich cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and events, ensures there’s always inspiration and entertainment at your doorstep.
Famous for its stunning Diocletian’s Palace, beautiful waterfront promenade, and seaport, Split is a gateway to the islands. This coastal city is a hot spot for digital nomads seeking a balance between work and leisure. With its relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, ample remote work spots, and active expat community, Split offers a fulfilling environment to work while soaking up the sun and sea.
Known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik’s breathtaking medieval architecture and crystal-clear waters are not just for Game of Thrones fans. As a digital nomad, you will be drawn to its unique charm, reliable internet, and the multitude of serene spots ideal for work. Despite its tourist buzz, finding a quiet corner in its narrow streets or a café with a view for work is part of the city’s allure.
Rijeka, with its busy port and rich industrial heritage, is an emerging hotspot for digital nomads. Its multicultural vibe, fueled by various cultural influences, offers a stimulating environment for creativity. The city’s growing co-working scene, affordable living costs, and the mix of urban life with nearby natural escapes make it an appealing choice for those looking to blend work with exploration.
Hvar is an island paradise that doubles as a dream remote work destination. Known for its stunning landscapes, clear blue waters, and sunny climate, it’s perfect for nomads who work best in the tranquility of nature. While it’s a bit more laid-back in terms of co-working spaces, the island’s cafés and beach bars with Wi-Fi provide picturesque settings for getting work done.
Zadar, with its remarkable seascapes and sunsets that Alfred Hitchcock praised, offers a tranquil yet stimulating setting for digital nomads. The city’s blend of ancient history, modern amenities, and innovative projects like the Greeting to the Sun monument makes it a fascinating place to live and work. Its community of creatives and entrepreneurs, along with affordable living costs, adds to its appeal.
Nestled in the eastern part of Croatia, Osijek is a hidden gem for digital nomads looking for a peaceful setting away from the tourist trail. The city’s strong academic community, green spaces, and Baroque architecture provide a calm backdrop for productivity. With a growing number of co-working spaces and a tight-knit expat community, Osijek offers a welcoming environment for remote workers.
Known for its lavishly-designed buildings and medieval charm, Varazdin is a small city that offers a quiet, yet culturally rich environment for digital nomads. Its compact size allows for a close-knit community feel, while the annual Baroque Evenings festival showcases the city’s active cultural life. The cost of living is low, and with reliable internet and a selection of cozy cafés, it’s ideal for those seeking a slower pace of life.
Famous for its well-preserved Roman amphitheater, Pula is a historical marvel that doubles as a fantastic spot for digital nomads. The city’s blend of ancient history, vibrant cultural scene, and stunning beaches provide a unique backdrop for work and leisure. With its growing co-working spaces and relaxed lifestyle, Pula is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in history while staying connected.
Nestled between the Biokovo mountain range and the Adriatic Sea, Makarska is a haven for nature-loving digital nomads. The city’s breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, and laid-back vibe make it an ideal place for those looking to balance work with outdoor adventures. With its waterfront cafés and relaxed atmosphere, Makarska offers a serene setting to work and unwind.
In wrapping up, Croatia stands out as an idyllic backdrop for digital nomads, blending breathtaking landscapes with reliable digital infrastructure.
With benefits like a one-year duration of stay, tax exemptions on foreign earnings, and the inclusion of family members, it’s an ideal option for those seeking a balanced work-life experience in a new and inspiring environment. It can also be your stepping stone towards permanent residency or citizenship in Croatia.
Whether you’re drawn to the urban dynamism of Zagreb or the coastal serenity of Split, Croatia offers diverse experiences to suit a range of preferences.
For more insights into the life of a digital nomad and travel tips, don’t forget to check out other posts that cover a range of topics that can help you navigate the world of remote work and travel with ease;
- 71 Countries With Digital Nomad Visas (or Similar) in 2024
- Italy Digital Nomad Visa
- Spain Digital Nomad Visa
- Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
- Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
- Bali Digital Nomad Visa
- Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
- Greece Digital Nomad Visa
Let this be an inspiration on your journey as a digital nomad!
Yes, Croatia offers a specialized digital nomad visa, catering specifically to remote workers from around the world. This visa allows individuals to live and work remotely in Croatia, experiencing its rich culture and scenic beauty. Successful applicants are granted a temporary stay in Croatia, with the visa duration typically up to a year.
Applicants must meet certain criteria, such as proving they work for a company outside of Croatia or run their own business registered abroad. This visa provides an opportunity to experience Croatian cities and the unique lifestyle they offer, along with the chance to explore renowned spots like Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Digital nomads residing in Croatia under the digital nomad visa generally do not pay taxes on their foreign income in Croatia. This exemption is a significant advantage for most digital nomads, as it allows them to benefit from their work without the burden of double taxation.
However, it’s important to understand the tax laws of both Croatia and one’s home country to ensure compliance. It’s recommended that digital nomads consult with a tax professional to understand their specific tax obligations.
While the term ‘easiest’ can be subjective depending on individual circumstances, Croatia’s digital nomad visa is often considered one of the more accessible options in Europe. The process is relatively straightforward, and the requirements are clear.
Other European countries also offer digital nomad visas, but the ease of obtaining them can vary based on factors like income requirements, health insurance, and documentation. Croatia’s digital nomad visa, with its clear guidelines and the opportunity to immerse in a culturally rich European country, stands out as a favorable option.
To qualify for a digital nomad visa, especially in the context of Croatia, applicants typically need to demonstrate that they are employed or run a business registered outside of the country they wish to reside in. This includes providing proof of stable income, a clear criminal record, valid health insurance, and sometimes a valid marriage certificate if applying with a spouse.
For Croatia’s digital nomad visa, applicants need to ensure that their documentation is in Croatian or English language and that they meet the criteria set by the Croatian government, such as having a sufficient bank statement to support their stay.
Yes, Croatian cities offer a unique blend of historical richness, cultural diversity, and modern amenities, making them ideal for digital nomads. Cities like Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik provide an excellent balance of work and leisure opportunities. They boast robust internet connectivity, a variety of co-working spaces, and vibrant communities. Additionally, the presence of digital nomad villages and events in these cities creates a supportive environment for remote workers.
Being in an EU country, Croatia also allows easy access to other European countries, adding to the appeal for digital nomads who enjoy traveling. The ability to live in these cities with a valid Croatian visa, especially under the nomad visa for Croatia, enables digital nomads to fully immerse themselves in the local lifestyle and enjoy a unique living experience while maintaining their professional commitments.