September the 27th, 2019 – Croatia doesn’t like change. It doesn’t like the idea of being dragged into the 21st century either. If you’re wondering how to go about respecting the law and altering your address, read on.
I’ve written many articles on residence permits, citizenship through descent, marriage, naturalisation and special interest, work permits, Croatian and EU immigration law – basically bureaucracy galore.
In this beautiful country full of outdated websites and unelected government officials (the women are ”affectionately” known as šalteruše) who can’t keep up with the constantly changing laws or even manage a smile on the best of days, it’s no wonder that Croatia’s increasing number of foreign residents need a little helping hand from time to time.
Changing your address should be a simple affair, and in just about everywhere else, it is. You can likely do it online in a few clicks or you don’t even need to do it at all. Ah, freedom. Not in Croatia, however. If you’re a foreign national and you hold a valid residence permit (either temporary residence/privremeni boravak or permanent residence/stalni boravak), and you’ve moved house, you’ll need to notify the police.
Sarcasm aside, there has been a helpful little system set up called e-Građani (e-Citizens), which allows you to undertake many of the mundane tasks which used to always involve going to various offices in person armed with an array of personal documents and petty cash for tax stamps. But, of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, so you’ll need to do it in person.
If you have approved legal residence in Croatia and you move to a new city, you’ll need to notify the police in your new city (at the administrative police station responsible for your area), of your arrival, and register your address there if you intend to stay there for more than three months consecutively.
In Croatia, you can have two addresses (yes, let’s complicate things for no reason even more), one of them is called a boravište, and the other is called a prebivalište.
A boravište is a place where a person will be staying temporarily, but has no intention of permanently staying there. In that case, you don’t need to register your boravište if you don’t plan on staying there for more than three months in a row (as mentioned above).
A prebivalište is a place where a person plans to stay permanently, to live their lives (this includes exercising their rights, working, having a family, etc etc). If you’ve changed your prebivalište, then you’ll need to report it to the police at the administrative station responsible for the area your address is in.
If you live in Croatia legally, you’re obliged to report any changes to your address to Big Broth…sorry, I mean MUP.
The law states that you need to report your change of address within fifteen days, however, if you hold temporary residence, you need to register your new address within three days of you having arrived there. If you hold permanent residence then you need to do it within eight days. Is this law always followed? Honestly – no, it isn’t.
More often that not, you won’t be asked about when you arrived at your new place, particularly if you’re an EU citizen. I’m not advocating that you break the law, but this stipulation is difficult to come by if you don’t speak Croatian, so just don’t volunteer that information if you realise you’ve unknowingly gone over that time period, unless you’re specifically asked.
If you have a rental contract which stipulates specific dates, then simply make sure to report your change of address within the time period prescribed, so as to avoid any potential headaches or even fines from the police.
You’ll need to fill in an ”application form” to change your address (yes, really, it’s called form 8a) for foreigners which you’ll be given when at the police station responsible for your area.
You’ll need to provide the correctly filled in form with your new address on it.
You’ll need to provide your passport and/or your government issued ID card, as well as your Croatian ID card.
You’ll need to provide a rental contract (notarised) or a certificate of ownership, a purchase contract, a gift contract, or have your landlord/the person legally responsible for your address come with you to the police to sign a document confirming the whole situation is indeed real.
The administrative clerk will then stamp your filled in application form.
You’ll then need to have a new ID card made with your new address on it. So, that will involve having a new photo taken and paying the small administrative fee of (what is currently) 79.50 kuna. Your new ID card will typically be ready in about three or four weeks. Oh, and you’ll need to come and pick that up in person, of course.
It’s worth noting that some people have been told that they don’t need to update their ID cards. This is a grey area, with some administrative police stations asking you to do this, and some not. In any case, it is what MUP in Zagreb prescribes and you absolutely should have an updated address on your current ID card so as to avoid administrative issues, and indeed issues with the police.
Please note that changing your address is not a new residence permit application, but the requirement for a new residence card to have your current address on it is simply a formality and its validity will remain the same.
Don’t be surprised if the police come to check that you really do live at your new address. However, this is happening less and less frequently, especially for EU citizens.
While it seems extremely outdated to many that time often needs to be taken up by visiting MUP in person and filling in forms as opposed to the wonderful digital process (which Croatia isn’t a fan of) of doing it all online, it’s worth knowing the ins and outs of what should be a very simple formality.
We hope this helps you if you’ve changed your address and aren’t sure what steps to take next to stay on the right side of the law.
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