How to Obtain Permanent Croatian Residence as an EU/EEA Citizen

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Boris Scitar/VLM/PIXSELL
Boris Scitar/VLM/PIXSELL

I’ve already written extensively about what you need to do to secure temporary Croatian residence as an EU/EEA citizen in this article, so make sure to click on that and read through it if it applies to you, because you won’t get permanent Croatian residence without completing those five years (and one day) first.

Once you’ve racked up your five years of temporary residence, you can get permanent Croatian residence. As an EEA citizen, unlike a third country national, this is your right, even if the clerk you’re met with makes you feel like it isn’t. You might get lucky and be dealt with by a friendly face, but if you aren’t, remember it’s them and not you. Just provide what they ask for and you’ll be fine.

Typically, you’ll need to prove your five years of continuous, legal residence, this is done simply by presenting your temporary residence card. All of the information MUP needs will be on it, or stored in it. 

You may be asked to provide proof of enough funds to sustain yourself, proof of address, proof of health insurance (again, you might not even be asked for this), and proof of your identity.

The key requirement is that you have held residency for a continuous period of five years in Croatia, absences of six months or less every year are permitted. As opposed to third country nationals, permanent residence for an EEA citizen is an automatic right under EU law. You’re simply asking MUP for a confirmation of those rights. You therefore do not need a valid temporary residence permit when registering your permanent residence, unlike third country nationals. EEA nationals apply after five years and one day.

EEA citizens do not need to take an exam in Croatian language and the Latin script, this was confirmed by MUP here in Zagreb via email correspondence. Despite this, some EEA nationals report being told they need to do so, and some portals and websites with outdated or confusing information claiming they need to. If you need to be certain, email [email protected] with the question, stating that you are an EEA citizen and are unsure. You can present that email if you end up being wrongly asked to take a test.

As stated just above, some officials claim that you must submit this application before the validity of your five-year permit runs out, however, this is not the case for EEA citizens as your right to permanent residence is automatic under EU law, meaning that you actually seek confirmation of your rights after five years and one day. Make sure to ask about your situation. The same rules apply to family members of Croatian nationals who are not nationals of an EEA country.

You’ll be given the correct form to fill in once you go in person to apply at the police station.

As opposed to the case with third-country nationals, MUP is required to provide a decision on the permanent residence application of an EEA national in the shortest time period possible, so you’ll likely hear of your approval quite quickly. Once again, if you don’t hear anything or have questions, make sure to call your case worker (ask for a contact number when you make your application!) or send them an email.

Once your permanent Croatian residence is approved, you’ll go to pick up a new biometric permit with a typical validity of ten years. As stated previously, permanent residence provides almost all of the rights a Croatian citizen enjoys and when granted, you are no longer subject to any conditions as long as you do not leave Croatia for longer than you’re allowed to, and you can read about that here.

You can access the state’s social security system, you can work and carry out services freely, in any manner citizens do without needing any type of special permit or permission for foreigners, and you can leave the country as often as you’d like to. You simply renew it as you would a passport every decade. You will not be subject to any more conditions or questions.

If you commit a crime that lands you with six months or more in jail, or you’re deemed and proven to be a threat to national security, then your permanent Croatian residence can be revoked and you can, in some very rare cases, face deportation.

For more on moving to and living in Croatia, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section. An article dedicated to certain practical and/or administrative procedures for life in Croatia is published every Wednesday.


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