Croatia is a beautiful country with a long coastline along the Adriatic Sea. In the past few years, many countries around the world have started offering long-term visa opportunities for remote workers, and in 2021, Croatia joined the club!
Now, digital nomads can live in Croatia for up to a year, enjoying the beautiful beaches, historic cities, and rich culture. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the Croatia digital nomad visa, including how to apply, how much it costs, and a quick look into life in Croatia as a digital nomad. Ready to live the dream in this wonderful Balkan nation?
Does Croatia Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Yes! Croatia currently has a visa for digital nomads. The Croatia digital nomad visa was approved by the Croatian government in January 2021. This visa is available to all non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens. Here are a few key points on the Croatia digital nomad visa.
- You must earn at least €2,300 per month, and you cannot be a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland to qualify for this visa.
- Digital nomads in Croatia are exempt from paying taxes. That said, this exemption is reliant on a few other factors.
- There is no opportunity to extend your Croatia digital nomad visa, but you are able to apply for the visa again 6 months after your first visa expires.
- The best way to apply for the Croatia digital nomad visa is online, which costs €45 for administrative fees, €30 for the residence permit, and €60 for a residence card.
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa
The Croatia digital nomad visa allows remote workers from many different countries to live in the country for up to 1 year. Prior to 2021, the only way digital nomads could live in Croatia was by staying on a tourist visa or obtaining a work permit from a Croatian company. But all of that has changed with the release of the Croatia digital nomad visa. Now, instead of simply being able to stay in Croatia for 90 days (the length of a tourist visa), qualifying digital nomads can stay in Croatia for up to 12 months!
This “visa” is not actually a visa at all. In Croatia, long-term stays are classified as residence permits, and short stays are called visas. Therefore, the Croatia digital nomad “visa” is actually a residence permit.
Croatia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
- You cannot be a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland.
- The minimum salary is €2,300 per month or €27,600 per year. If you plan to bring your family, you must prove an additional €90 per month.
- You must be self-employed or a freelancer/employee of a non-Croatian company.
- You must have health insurance covering you for the entirety of the visa.
- You must have a valid passport that will still be valid for at least 3 months after your Croatia digital nomad visa expires.
- You must have a clear criminal record from a criminal background check in your home country.
- You’ll need to fill out the digital nomad visa application and pay the application fee.
Who Can Apply for the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa?
The only limitations on who cannot apply for the Croatia digital nomad visa are people from EU/EEA countries as well as Switzerland. This is because citizens of these countries can freely move to and live in Croatia without obtaining a visa. Other than that, any nationality can apply for the digital nomad visa if they meet all the other requirements.
Documents Needed to Apply for the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa
- In-person submission: Form 1A Application for Temporary Stay
- Online submission: Online Digital Nomad Visa Application
- Residence permit application: Form 16A
- Copy of your passport
- Proof of health insurance for the duration of your planned stay in Croatia
- Proof that you work for a non-Croatian company. This can be a letter/contract from your foreign employer or a confirmation that you own your own company.
- Proof that you can support yourself financially. Bank statement proving you make the minimum monthly income (€2,300) or proof that you have enough savings to support yourself for the entire year.
- Confirmations that you have a place to stay for the first part of your stay. This can either be a rental agreement or a booking receipt.
How to Apply for the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa: Step-by-Step Guide
Step One: Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
Before you go through the effort of applying for the Croatia digital nomad visa, you’ll want to make sure you qualify for it. As mentioned above, the main requirements for this visa are that you earn at least €2,300 per month and do not work for a Croatian company.
Step Two: Gather Your Documents and Fill Out the Application
Next, you’ll want to grab all the necessary documents and fill out the visa application. If your passport doesn’t have any free pages or it expires within the next year, you may need to renew it. You’ll also need to fill out the application online or in person at a Croatian diplomatic mission. On top of that, you’ll need to acquire a background check from your home country. This can take a bit of time to get, depending on where you are from, so we recommend sorting this out in advance before you start the application.
Step Four: Submit Your Application and Pay the Fees
If you are applying online, simply submit the visa application and pay the application on the Croatia government platform. If you are already in Croatia and submitting the visa through an embassy, diplomatic mission, or police station, you’ll pay the fees when you do so.
Step Five: Enter Croatia and Get Your Residency
Once your digital nomad visa in Croatia has been granted, you can enter the country. Within 3 days of entering Croatia, you must register your temporary address using form 16A. This is also when you will need to provide evidence of a rental contract or your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb booking confirmation.
Once you have registered your address, had your residency approved, and paid the administration fees, your fingerprints will be taken. After all of this, you will finally be issued your Croatia residency card.
Congratulations, you are officially a digital nomad in Croatia!
Extending the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa
Unfortunately, you cannot extend your Croatia digital nomad visa, and it will only be issued for a maximum of 1 year. However, you can reapply for the residence permit once it has expired. More specifically, you can apply for a new residence permit 6 months after your first one is no longer valid. So, in other words, digital nomads must first leave Croatia for 6 months to reapply for another year of Croatian residency.
The reasoning behind the restriction is that it breaks up your periods of residency. Digital nomad residence permits in Croatia do not give you a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship. The government’s way of enforcing this is to prevent digital nomads from being able to reapply until 6 months have passed, which essentially makes it impossible for digital nomads to qualify for permanent residency since they will not be residents for at least 6 months of the year.
Cost of Croatia Digital Nomad Visa
There are three ways to submit your Croatia digital nomad visa application: In person at a consulate in a foreign country, in person at a police station in Croatia, and online. Depending on the submission method you choose, your digital nomad visa fees will differ. Here is a breakdown of the costs for the Croatia digital nomad visa.
Fees for Submitting the Application Online or in Croatia at a Police Station
- €46.45 administrative fee for the application
- €31.85 for the residence card (€59,73 if you need to rush the process)
- €9.29 administrative fee for the residence card
Fees for Submitting the Application in Person at a Consulate
- €55.74 for the temporary stay application
- €41.14 for the residence card
How Long Does It Take to Get a Digital Nomad Visa in Croatia?
The Croatia digital nomad visa can take a bit of time to process. While the official processing time for the applications is 3 to 4 weeks, most digital nomads will have to wait 2 to 4 months for their applications to be accepted. You can stay in Croatia while you wait for the visa to be processed. That said, if you apply in Croatia, you may not be allowed to leave the country while you wait. Make sure to get permission from the Croatian Ministry of the Interior prior to leaving the country while your application is pending.
Alternatives to the Digital Nomad Visa in Croatia
There are not many alternatives to the digital nomad visa in Croatia. The main way foreigners can live in the country long-term is to work with a Croatian company (so, not really an alternative to a digital nomad visa), reunite with family, and study.
Croatia Investor Visa
The only real alternative to a digital nomad visa in Croatia is the investor visa (or golden visa). This residence permit is granted to affluent foreigners who plan to invest in a Croatian company. To apply for this visa, there is not a specific investment you must make, but you must own more than 50% of a company that plans to invest in a Croatian industry.
If you invest over €100,000 in a Croatian business, you also have the opportunity to get citizenship with this long-term visa after living in the country for 10 years.
Digital Nomad Visa in Croatia for EU Citizens
The reason citizens of the EU cannot apply for a Croatia digital nomad visa is that you do not need a visa at all to move to Croatia and set up shop there as a remote worker. In other words, all you need to do is buy your ticket and find a place to live! However, keep in mind that if you plan to stay in the country for more than three months, you’ll need to get a temporary residence based on one of the following:
- Work purposes, including self-employment
- Study or training
- Family reunification
- Life partner
- Other purposes
Provide all of the necessary information, including proof of financial means and health insurance, and you should be approved for legal residence for up to 10 years! And once you are approved, you’ll be given a registration certificate.
Can You Work in Croatia as a Digital Nomad on a Tourist Visa?
No, you cannot work in Croatia on a tourist visa. The answer to this question tends to get many digital nomads scratching their heads. But, contrary to what you may think, you are not actually allowed to work in most countries in the world, including Croatia, while on a tourist visa. Unless otherwise specified by a country, working as a digital nomad on a tourist visa is technically illegal.
Do the Croatian authorities generally police this? No, definitely not! This is a bit of a gray area, as digital nomad life is still a relatively new concept. But, seeing as you are NOT legally allowed to work on a tourist visa in Croatia, we highly recommend getting a digital nomad visa before entering the country and working remotely.
Tax Requirements for Digital Nomads in Croatia
Generally, most digital nomads in Croatia are not required to pay taxes when living in the country on a digital nomad visa. That said, this may differ depending on the tax requirements of your home country. Croatia does not require you to pay taxes on any income from remote work sourced from outside Croatia, but Croatia will tax you on some types of income. This includes passive income from dividends and income from rental properties.
Additionally, you will need to look into the tax treaties between your home country and Croatia. Many countries around the world have a double taxation treaty with Croatia, which prevents citizens from paying taxes in both countries.
You should also keep in mind that just because you don’t have to pay taxes in Croatia doesn’t mean you are free from paying taxes in general. You’ll likely still be required to pay taxes in your home country in this case.
Navigating international tax laws is one of the most stressful parts of being a digital nomad. We highly recommend contacting a professional accountant who is well-versed in expat taxes.
Is Croatia a Good Place for Digital Nomads?
Absolutely! Prior to releasing the digital nomad visa, Croatia may not have been at the top of many digital nomads’ list of countries to visit, but Croatia is a beautiful country that attracts many tourists, and the digital nomad population is steadily rising. And for good reason! The country is stocked with amazing beaches, historic cities, and natural landscapes.
|Good weather. Located in southern Europe on the Mediterranean, Croatia experiences mild winters and hot summers, making it a perfect place for hot weather lovers.
|Bureaucracy. Unfortunately, as with many Balkan countries, official processes in Croatia can be a bit of a nightmare, with many extra steps and requirements that may surprise you.
|Safe. Croatia is a very safe country with a low crime rate. You will feel very safe, even when walking around at night.
|Language barrier. While learning any new language can be a challenge, Croatian is an especially difficult language to learn.
|Relatively affordable. Croatia is by no means the cheapest country in the world, but the cost of living is still reasonable compared to many other European destinations.
|Expensive in the high season. Croatia is very much a summer destination. So, when all the tourists flock to the country, prices for accommodation and food rise.
|TONS to do. There is a reason Croatia is so popular among tourists: there is a lot to see, and the beaches are gorgeous. You won’t run out of things to do as a nomad in this country.
|Limited public transport. Some larger cities like Zagreb and Split have decent transportation, while smaller cities and towns have limited bus and train options.
Best Places in Croatia for Digital Nomads
Croatia has many amazing destinations that digital nomads can call home for a while. Whether you want to live in a bustling metropolis, a beach city, or a preserved historic center, Croatia has you covered!
As the second largest city in Croatia and the largest located on the coast, Split is an attractive location for digital nomads in Croatia. Split is the best city for nomads who want to be near the beach but don’t want to sacrifice the luxuries of living in a city. This city is also well connected to other parts of the country as well as nearby islands.
Another popular coastal spot among digital nomads in Croatia is Zadar. This city is simply gorgeous, with beautiful Venetian architecture, beaches, and some of the best seafood in the country. Zadar is also the gateway to many beautiful islands in the Adriatic Sea, making it the perfect place for those who want a balance between history and nature.
Fun fact: Zadar was first settled in the 4th century BC, making it the longest continuously inhabited city in Croatia.
Zagreb is by far the largest city in Croatia and is the only city with cosmopolitan vibes. So, if you are a digital nomad who craves the comforts of a big city, the capital of Croatia is the best place for you. Zagreb is less touristy than the coastal areas of the country and has a lot to offer digital nomads. If you are coming to Croatia expecting to spend time at the beach soaking up the sun, Zagreb may be a bit disappointing. But Zagreb has the best public transportation in the country and decent train connections to other cities and countries.
Dubrovnik’s old town is one of the most visited places in all of Croatia. And for good reason! The UNESCO Heritage Site city is absolutely beautiful. While it has certainly been a popular place among tourists for decades, after Game of Thrones filmed “King’s Landing” in Dubrovnik, the city saw a massive surge of visitors.
If you don’t mind the crowds in the summer months, this charming coastal city can be a great place to live! Dubrovnik has good infrastructure and a relaxed lifestyle (especially in the off-season), so many digital nomads choose to make it their home base in Croatia. As a plus, Dubrovnik is located very close to other countries such as Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania. In fact, it is closer to Mostar (Bosnia) and Kotor (Montenegro) than it is to Split!
Located all the way on the other side of the country, Rovinj is another small but charming coastal city in Croatia popular with digital nomads. Rovinj is much more off the beaten path than southern coastal cities like Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Split.
A top choice for digital nomads who want to enjoy the beauty of Croatia, Rovinj is much more laid-back and less touristy. Unfortunately, being a bit far from other main areas of Croatia, Rovinj has fewer transport options. For example, the nearest airport is about 45 minutes away in Pula, but this airport is quite small with limited connections. The nearest major international airport is actually in Venice, Italy, which is a 3-hour drive away or a 3 to 4-hour ferry ride across the Adriatic.
Cost of Living in Croatia for Digital Nomads
Croatia has historically been known as an affordable travel destination in Europe. But things are changing. On January 1st, 2023, Croatia stopped using its local currency, the Kuna, and officially adopted the Euro.
Croatia is very much a seasonal destination, so the cost of accommodation and prices are much higher in the summer months, especially in popular coastal areas.
While the cost of living in Croatia has been rising exponentially in the past few years, it is still reasonably affordable. When compared to Western European countries and other expensive countries around the world, prices are still relatively lower.
Digital nomads can comfortably live in Croatia on around €2,000 to €3,000 per month (which aligns with the minimum income requirements for the digital nomad visa of €2,300). Rent will generally be your biggest expense. A 1-bedroom, furnished apartment in Zagreb’s city center will cost you around €550 to €800 per month.
Healthcare in Croatia for Digital Nomads
One downside of the Croatia digital nomad visa is that you do not get access to Croatia’s public healthcare program. Instead, you will need to invest in travel health insurance to ensure you are covered for the duration of your stay. But the good news is that healthcare in Croatia is affordable and extensive. Foreigners won’t have to worry about massive hospital bills, and basic emergency first aid is generally free. And a general doctor’s visit in Croatia will cost less than €100.
Public hospitals are the most affordable, but they tend to have longer waits, and navigating the bureaucracy can be tough. Instead, private hospitals are your best bet as a digital nomad in Croatia, as they are better set up for foreign patients.
It is also worth noting that healthcare is limited in more remote regions, especially on the islands. While these areas will still have basic emergency centers, you will likely have to transit to larger cities for more extensive care.
Check out our list of the 10 best insurance options for digital nomads!
Best Coworking Spaces in Croatia
Coworking spaces have to be one of the most rapidly multiplying establishments in digital nomad hotspots. A coworking space gives nomads the ability to work in a professional workspace for an hourly, daily, or monthly fee. Here are some of the best coworking spaces for digital nomads in Croatia.
- Bizkoshnica (Zagreb) – €20 per day, €150 to €300 per month depending on hours needed. The space has fast wifi, a kitchen, a relaxation room, and events for members.
- COIN (Zadar) – €13 per day, €53 for 5 days, €92 for 10 days, €132 for 15 days, €160 for a month. Includes high-speed internet, printer/scanner, coffee and tea, and a shared kitchen.
- ScaleUp (Split) – €17 per day, €60 to €150 per month for limited desk use, or €250 per month for an unlimited fixed desk. The space has private offices, event spaces, and meeting rooms.
- Coworking Rovinj (Rovinj) – €10 per day, €50 per week, €100 for 2 weeks, and €200 for unlimited monthly use. Includes fast wifi and coffee and tea.
How to Find a Place to Live in Croatia
Finding a place to live is one of the first things you’ll do after being granted your Croatia digital nomad visa. While it is not overly complicated to find a good place to live in Croatia, the language barrier and different societal norms can make it a bit of a hurdle for expats. Here are a few things you should look out for when finding digital nomad accommodation in Croatia.
- Internet speeds: Obviously, since you will likely be working from home, having a solid wireless connection is important. Generally, most urban centers in Croatia have decent connection, but it is still worth testing your speeds before signing a contract.
- Location location location!: Most cities in Croatia are quite small (besides Zagreb), so chances are you won’t be too far away from the city center. But we still recommend researching the address and checking how far it is from points of interest. Make sure there are grocery stores, restaurants, and other important amenities nearby.
- Furnishings: If you are coming to Croatia on a digital nomad visa, you are likely planning to stay in the country for less than 1 year. So you probably don’t want to invest in your own furniture. Make sure to only look at apartments that are at least mostly furnished (kitchen appliances, bed, tables, couch).
Where to Find Apartments in Croatia?
Now you know what to look out for in an apartment, but how do you find apartments in Croatia in the first place? Here are some of our top tips for finding a place to live as a digital nomad in Croatia.
Join Facebook Groups
Facebook may not be the shining star of social media anymore, but it remains a super useful tool for finding apartments and networking in a new city. Joining a Croatia Facebook group is a great place to get started when apartment hunting. Here are some of the best Facebook groups for finding accommodation in the country. Be mindful not to post your budget when going into these Facebook groups.
- Digital Nomads Croatia
- Zagreb Home Rent: Find Rooms, Apartments and Accommodation
- Split Home Rent: Find Rooms, Apartments and Accommodation
Word of Mouth
One of the best ways to find a place to live in Croatia is the “old fashioned way.” If you already have some friends or connections in Croatia, reach out to them; they might know some people they can get you in contact with for finding a rental. At the very least, they will be able to give you some advice on how to find an apartment and what areas of the city are best to live in.
Rental Listing Sites in Croatia
There are also a few helpful websites based in Croatia that display TONS of listings. These are your best bet if you aren’t able to find accommodation through Facebook groups.
Travel Accommodation Sites
Travel accommodation sites should really only be used if you are traveling. When you apply for the Croatia digital nomad visa, you will likely be living in the country for at least 6 months. So you are better off signing a lease rather than booking accommodation through hotels and Airbnb.
These are generally more expensive and can contribute to rising living costs in digital nomad destinations, such as Croatia. To read more about this, check out our digital nomad ethics guide.
These can help, though, especially when you first arrive in the country or if you are only planning to be in Croatia for less than one month.
Head over to our post on e cover digital nomad housing in more detail
Croatia Is Calling You!
Who could pass up living next to the calm blue waters of the Adriatic Sea? Croatia is a dream destination, and now, with the Croatia digital nomad visa, you can make this country your temporary home! The best part about this visa is that you (most likely) won’t have to pay taxes in Croatia, making the entire process more streamlined and simple.
Check out other digital nomad visas around the world!