Eight common myths about applying for residency in Croatia – busted!
MYTH - I had to be physically present in Croatia on 31 December 2020 to be in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement
In short - Not if you were already settled in Croatia and temporarily absent. Temporary absences of up to six-months in every twelve month period do not affect the right of residence. Continuity of residence is not affected by the following temporary absences -
- absences not exceeding a total of six months in a twelve month period;
- longer absences for compulsory military service; or
- one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons, such as pregnancy and childbirth, a serious illness, study or vocational training or
- a posting abroad.
If you have kept your residency status in Croatia and you were living in Croatia on or before 31 December 2020 you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
MYTH - I settled in Croatia before 31 December but I never registered. It is too late to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement
In short - This is not true. If you can evidence you were living legally in Croatia on or before 31 December (i.e. you have a work contract, you are registered self-employed, you are enrolled as a student or you are economically self-sufficient with some form of healthcare cover) and you continued to do so, you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
You must now register your residency and obtain the new biometric residency card from your local police station. You will need to submit evidence of lawfully living here when doing so. Check with your local police station what documents you need to provide.
MYTH - If I don’t exchange my residence permit for the new biometric card by 30 June 2021, I will lose my rights to live in Croatia
In short - No. But you should seek to obtain the new Withdrawal Agreement biometric residency card before 30 June 2021. If you do not do so, you may incur fines. The new biometric residency card is your clearest evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
To obtain the new card you will need to provide biometric data such as fingerprints. You should contact your local police station to obtain your new card.
MYTH - If I was a legal resident in Croatia before the end of the transition period, I now need to re-apply for residence
In short - No, but you have the right to exchange your residency document for the new biometric residency card at your competent/nearest police station in Croatia.
You should get the new card because it will be your clearest evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Your rights are lifelong for as long as you remain living in Croatia. If you don’t obtain it before 30 June 2021 you may incur fines. In getting the new card you aren’t re-registering. The new card no longer has the letters EGP (Europski gospodarski prostor/European Economic Area) on it, but which now refers to the Withdrawal Agreement on which your rights are now protected.
MYTH - I don’t need do provide fingerprints when I exchange my residence permit for the new biometric permit
In short - Yes you will. All EU member states are required to strengthen the security of residency cards. Therefore, biometric residence permits will become the new norm for everybody.
Biometrics such as fingerprints are there to protect you and your documents from fraud. When you attend your local police station to apply for your new biometric permit, they will take your fingerprints. For more information on the new card you can contact your local competent police station via phone or e-mail.
MYTH - I am physically unable to go to my local police station for health reasons so I won’t be able to obtain the new biometric card
In short - No, this is not true, because the Croatian Ministry of Interior is supporting vulnerable UK nationals in obtaining the new card. You will be assisted by local immigration staff (in police administrations or police stations) either by phone or e-mail in order to correctly submit your application.
If you cannot visit your police station in person due to medical reasons you will be able to submit your application via a third party (e.g. lawyer, family members of the same household or an official of a care home) or by post. To provide biometric data such as fingerprints home visits can be arranged. You should request this with your local police station again by contacting them by email or by phone.
MYTH - My close family member who is not a UK national cannot obtain the new Withdrawal Agreement card
In short - They can if they are a close family member and the relationship existed on or before 31 December 2020. You should speak to your local police station or email them.
The Withdrawal Agreement covers close and current family members of UK nationals in scope. The definition of a close family member includes spouses, registered partners, unmarried partners, children under the age of 21, grandchildren and dependent children and parents and grandparents. If you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement you can be joined by close and current family members at any point in the future who themselves would be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.
MYTH - I need a visa to visit Croatia from 1 January 2021
In short - No, this is not true if you were living in Croatia on or before 31 December 2020 and are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. You do not need a visa when returning home in Croatia. If you were resident in Croatia before 1 January 2021, you should carry your residency documentation with you. This could be the new Withdrawal Agreement card, a receipt of application for the card or your current EU residency document. If you don’t have any of those you should carry proof of being settled in Croatia such as your work contract, enrolment as student proof or a utility bill, all which should be dated 2020.
If you cannot show that you are resident in Croatia, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Croatia. You can find more information here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-croatia