Access to Croatia is not as easy as it once was for Brits, now that the Brexit reality has kicked in, and – like other non EU/EEA citizens, Brits can only stay for 90 at one time these days. Having heard of the Croatian digital nomad, Brit Kevin Macadam decided to try his luck, as he explains below. I did send Kevin questions for an interview, but I think the text reads better without my questions. Here is Kevin’s story:
Our journey to Croatia originally began last year when we were out walking our dog in rainy Yorkshire and discussing where we might want to live when we retire.
And then we looked at each other and said why are we waiting to retire as we both were working remotely.
We had just come back from holiday on the Amalfi coast in Italy and said it would be great to live in Italy and so we started to look and how we could live there.
Unfortunately to get temporary residency we had to set up an Italian company and have our wages paid into that company so that they could take their share of tax.
Our employers wouldn’t have agreed to that and so we thought that was that. I then spotted the term Digital Nomad Visa online and looked at which companies offered them in Europe as we had to consider we would take our cat and dog with us. Georgia – too cold Estonia – too cold and then we saw Croatia! Having already been on holiday to Hvar and Dubrovnik we knew we loved the country and I already had friends there as I have been involved in British baseball for the last 30 years and knew the Croatian baseball president and the secretary of the European baseball federation who live in Zagreb and Karlovac respectively.
So that’s how we decided on Croatia, we already knew we loved the scenery, the food, the cost of living and the people.
We travelled over on the 1st March 2021 in a small window when we were allowed to leave the UK and arrived on the usual 90 day allowed time. We then applied for the DNV around 6 weeks into our stay. We had tried to get over before the 31st December but the U.K. was in a strict lockdown so we couldn’t get over.
We applied online via the Croatian government website and submitted all our supporting documents and waited. We were asked to attend the police station and went for interview and then went to a separate department to go through the paperwork. Unfortunately we thought our DBS check on U.K. government paper would be sufficient but apparently we needed it to be apostilled so we sent it back to the U.K. and then got them sent over by courier and once submitted in person again our residency was approved.
The only thing I would say was a slight inconvenience was having completed the forms online we then had to complete them in paper format as well but I’m sure they’ll sort that out in future.
We are aware that we are old for digital nomads and think that the residency permit should be marketed to people approaching retirement or an older age group (I’m 54 and Lisa’s 46) and as such probably have more disposable income.
Also I hope the government rethink what will happen at the end of the first year when the the first permits expire. We would like to make Croatia our home and are currently looking to buy a property here. However we will be forced to leave for 90 days once our permit expires and therefore will likely go to a nearby non schengen country to wait out the time. The risk is that some people may go to say Montenegro or Serbia and decide they like it more there and not return. I think a simple extension each year providing there are no criminal activities and that we continue to meet the criteria as well as is understanding that it will not lead to permanent citizenship would remove that risk.
It was easy to get the information as we had read articles by TCN as well as Expat in Croatia so just followed the instructions.
Ironically I voted for Brexit and my wife voted remain. I regret that decision now! The permit allows us to live in a better climate in a safe country for longer than 90 days.
Croatia is a great destination for nomads. There are loads of outdoor activities to do, food is amazing, people are friendly and English and German is widely spoken by the locals. There are some great internet deals via partners who have linked in with the scheme. The biggest issue we had which took us the longest amount of time was finding somewhere to live. We contacted over 100 people on Njuškalo, Airbnb and booking.com asking them for a long term let and year round income. We asked them to calculate what they earn over the summer months and divide by 12 and only one person our landlady Dolores agreed and hence why we ended up in Novigrad, Dalmatia.
All the others weren’t interested as they did they could earn a lot over the summer. As it turns out we couldn’t have picked a better town. The locals are so friendly and have welcomed us. It’s position is perfect placed to visit the whole of Croatia. So far we have visited Opatija, Pula, Rovinj, Karlovac, Zagreb, Split, hvar, Korcula, orebic, varazdin, plitvice and Karla and in the coming weeks will be venturing further south.
Our lifestyle consists of working from home, travelling the country, eating great food, taking the dog for long walks, going to the coffee, swimming in the sea and drinking the worlds best kept secret Croatian wine!
People can follow our adventures @livingincroatia2021 on Instagram.
For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.