The Croatian Ministry of the Interior has released information for UK citizens following and leading up to Brexit and the UK leaving the European Union. As the Brexit situation is extremely fluid with new updates and situations on a weekly, if not a daily, basis, it is important for UK citizens in Croatia to understand their rights in the future as well as to be prepared for all scenarios, deal or no deal.
The Ministry starts their recent update by stressing that “Residence registration is very important in the case of any scenario for the future relations between the European Union and the UK. Therefore, all UK citizens and their family members residing in the Republic of Croatia are strongly recommended to register their residence/apply for a residence card as a family member.”
Adding that “Once applicants complete the registration of temporary residence in line with the provisions of the Aliens Act, they will be immediately issued with a Registration Certificate in a paper form, free of charge. If they wish, they can apply for a residence card (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50). UK nationals who apply for permanent residence will be issued with residence cards (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50).”
Registration is extremely important and all UK citizens who haven’t done this already need to register as soon as possible. “The registration of residence and the relevant documents are a clear proof that their holder is a citizen of the United Kingdom or a family member who already resided in the Republic of Croatia before the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.”
Another common question is the validity of a UK driving license in Croatia once the UK has left the EU. Of course the UK European driving licence has to be changed for a Croatian licence as it will no longer be valid in Croatia. “Starting from the day on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union, UK driving licences will be subject to regulations relating to foreign driving licences. UK driving licences will be valid in the Republic of Croatia for up to one year from the day on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union. After that, they will have to be replaced with Croatian driving licences and the applicant will have to submit a certificate of medical fitness to drive,” states the Ministry.
And the final point that the Ministry of the Interior has stressed to UK nationals in the future is border checks, which of course will mean an end to UK citizens being able to use the “blue lane” for EU citizens and a stricter process of crossing borders in the EU. “Union law in border checks at the EU external borders on persons distinguishes between controls of EU citizens and of third country nationals. As of the withdrawal date, controls of UK nationals upon entry to and exit from the Schengen area as well as to and from Member States for which the decision on lifting internal controls has not been taken yet but which apply Schengen rules at their external borders will follow the rules for third country nationals. This means that they will no longer enjoy facilitations at the borders provided for EU citizens, nationals of the contracting states of the European Economic Area, and Swiss nationals related to the free movement rights. In particular, UK nationals will not be entitled to use the separate lanes provided for EU/EEA/CH citizens to carry out checks at border crossings and will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals upon entry,” states the Ministry.
These border checks will in the future involve UK nationals having to possess several forms of ID. Firstly UK nationals will need a valid travel document, a passport, and there needs to be at least three months left before the passport expires. Verification of the duration of the stay “for short stays in the Schengen area, UK nationals will be subject to limitations as regards the authorised duration of stay within the Schengen area (with a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period) and for long stays, they will in principle require a residence permit or long stay visa issued by national authorities. Also to prove the purpose (e.g. tourism or work) and the conditions of the intended stay (e.g. accommodation, internal travels), as well as the existence of sufficient means of subsistence (i.e. having sufficient means to pay for the intended stay and return travel).
“Travellers are advised to verify, prior to travel, the validity of travel documents and to ensure that they fulfil all the above conditions before they travel to the EU. The non-fulfilment of any of the entry conditions may result in refusal of entry issued in line with the procedure set out in Union law with regard to third country nationals,” concludes the Ministry.