The long-awaited Croatian Digital Nomad Visa has arrived! Although it is not a visa but rather a permit – a temporary residence permit, allowing non-EU citizens to stay in Croatia for a year. You can apply for the Croatian digital nomad visa at a police station or an embassy near you.
The buzz around the “visa” started in August 2020 after a conversation between a Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong and the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. Immediately after the meeting, the PM’s office tweeted their intention to become a digital nomad friendly country.
Changes made in the Aliens Act and the Tax code – both effective since January 1st – have digital nomads staying in Croatia. However many details were still left to speculation. The authorities were expected to provide concrete guidelines by the end of the first quarter.
But already on January 15th, we received news that Croatia had issued the first temporary residency permit for a digital nomad, a.k.a. the Digital Nomad Visa.
Recipient of the first Digital Nomad Visa in Croatia
The first person to be granted this magical paper was Melissa Paul, a brand storyteller, social media manager, and blog editor with a US-based company, as reported by Euronews.
Ms Paul has built a home in Labin, where she has been living on a temporary stay visa since 2014. The new permit was a saving grace as she had been sure there was no way to prolong her previous visa.
The police informed her that as a digital entrepreneur, she could apply for the new temporary permit. After collecting the necessary papers, the document was in her hands in a matter of days. Ms Paul explained to Total Croatia.
Official guidelines for the application
Jan de Jong, the man who started it all, informed us via Linked in January, that the authorities were planning to publish a website with instructions for nomads, presumably in March. The ministry of internal affairs has already issued guidelines for digital nomads, to provide us with some information while we are waiting for the website.
Based on the guidelines, we can finally build a bigger picture with a little help from Ms Paul’s experience and those currently in the application process. Below are some of the more critical points, for more specific information check out the interview with Ms Paul or the official guidelines.
Price of the application
Digital Nomads can apply either at consular points outside of Croatia or police stations inside of Croatia. Where and how much you pay depends on whether you need to hold a visa to enter Croatia, which you can check here.
If you apply for the Croatian Digital Nomad Visa inside the country, the application will cost you 55 euros. In comparison, the amount will double to 116 euros, if you do it at a consular point outside of Croatia.
Digital Nomads will be required to present proof of steady income, but there is no mention of how high that income needs to be. However, it states that the applicants need to have 3806 euros on their account at the time of the application.
The Croatian authorities have published new regulations about minimum monthly income to apply for the temporary residence permit. Digital nomads have to have proof a monthly salary of at least two and a half average Croatian salaries, which is at the moment 6457 HRK, which means, as calculated by Expat in Croatia in their extensive article about the digital nomad visa, equals 16 142,50 HRK or 2130,97 EUR per month.
The police informed some of the applicants that they needed to provide a notarized one year contract for their rental in Croatia. This is not true. You can put down the name of the hostel or apartment where you plan to stay in the beginning.
DNC is preparing a list of Digital Nomad accommodations that will be ready to meet your needs.
We at Digital Nomads Croatia had high hopes that the process would be more straightforward. The Croatian bureaucracy is still a feral beast, with far too many forms, stamps, nooks and crannies.
Thankfully there are already great sites that offer advice and legal help with taming the beast.
Expat Croatia -they tackle all the possible issues a foreigner might have with Croatian admin. They can also connect you to lawyers or other experts you may need.
Adriatic Seachange – a digital relocation service for digital nomads. They can offer you help with accommodation as well as settling-in services.
Digital nomad association – an association in the making with the goal of turning Croatia into a top destination for digital nomads.