MUP has finally spoken!
Where do things stand for you as British citizens lawfully resident in the Republic of Croatia?
* When this article was first written, it was a draft law. This law was fully adopted in July 2019 and will come into force in the case of a no deal Brexit*
If you see a little * and italic font at the end of or underneath a sentence written by MUP, that’s our little comment to give you our advice on the matter, too.
Residence registration is very important in the case of any scenario for future relations between the European Union and the UK.
Therefore, all UK citizens and their family members residing in the Republic of Croatia are strongly recommended to register their residence as a British/EU citizen/apply for a residence card as a family member of a British/EU citizen.
Please click here and click on the following links: Form 1b, (for EU citizens, this needs to be clicked on for British nationals too) Form 2b (for family members of EU/British citizens who are third country nationals), of Form 3b for both EU/British citizens and his/her family members who want to apply for permanent residence.
* Please note that permanent residence can be applied for only after five years of lawful, uninterrupted temporary stay in the Republic of Croatia, you can have changed your address as many times as you like, but you must have been registered as legally living on Croatian territory for five years on an uninterrupted basis. Lawful, uninterrupted residency can be shown when applying for permanent residence with every ID card you’ve held, as the dates on them will attest to the five year time period. Some MUP officials claim you cannot apply for permanent residence until your temporary residence expires, others say you must be in possession of a temporary residence card which is still valid at the time of application. We advise you go to MUP and ask about your case individually, as they seem to alter this rule depending on who you talk to.
* According to EU law, the right to permanent residence ”after five years” actually means five years + one day, but once again, MUP can misinterpret this and assume you need to come and start the process before the temporary residence expires. Don’t leave it up to fate. At least go and ask in person before your temporary residence card expires.
* If you were not given an automatic five year residence permit when you first applied for some reason or another, and when you’ve renewed your temporary residence the official has taken your old ID card from you, there is no need to worry. Present the ID card you have and your legal residence will show up when a case worker checks you out to approve your permanent residence application.
Once the applicants have completed the registration of a temporary residence in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act (OG 130/11, 74/13, 69/17 and 46/18), they will be immediately issued with a Registration Certificate registration of a temporary residence in paper form, free of charge. If they wish, they can apply for a residence card (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50).
* We strongly recommend you pay for the residence card, the white sheet of paper is merely confirmation of your residence/address, the residence card has your photo and details on it and acts as ID in Croatia. It is also weatherproof and easier to carry around on your person, which, just like nationals, you must and can be fined for not being able to present a form of ID if asked to by the police.
UK citizens who apply for permanent residence will be issued with residence cards (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50).
Family members of UK nationals, who are not nationals of an EU Member State, are required to apply for a residence card/permanent residence card as a family member (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the same amount of HRK 79.50).
UK citizens and their family members can register their residence at a police administration/police station according to their place of residence (The list of police administrations/police stations is available here).
The registration of residence and the relevant documents are a clear proof that their holder is a citizen of the United Kingdom or a family member [of said British national] who has already resided in the Republic of Croatia before the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
Starting from the day on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union, UK driving licenses will be subject to regulations concerning foreign driving licenses.
UK driving licenses will be valid in the Republic of Croatia for up to one year from the day that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union. After that, they will have to be replaced with Croatian driving licenses and the applicant will have to submit a certificate of medical fitness to drive.
UK nationals and nationals of other countries who are holders of UK driving licenses are advised to apply for the replacement of their driving licenses with a Croatian driving license as soon as possible.
Applicants who submit their application before the date on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union will be able to replace their UK driving licenses under the conditions set for the replacement of EEA driving licenses in which case it is not necessary to submit a certificate of medical fitness to drive.
Both the EU driving licenses and the former paper driving licenses are equally recognised.
UK driving licenses are replaced with Croatian driving licenses without any obligation to take a driving exam/test, regardless of the category of vehicle listed on the UK driving license.
Border checks on persons at the EU external border (This section does not apply for travel in the Common Travel Area between the United Kingdom and Ireland):
EU law on border checks at the EU external borders on persons distinguishes between the control of EU citizens and of third country nationals. As of the withdrawal date, the control of UK nationals on entry and exit from the Schengen area as well as to and from Member States for which the decision on lifting internal controls has not yet been taken, but which apply Schengen rules at their external borders, will follow the rules for third country nationals.
(Please note that UK nationals who are members of the family of an EU citizen exercising their right to free movement are subject to the rules set out in Article 5 of Directive 2004/38 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.) On 29 April 2004, the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.)
This means that they will no longer enjoy facilitations at the borders provided for EU citizens, nationals of the contracting states of the European Economic Area, and Swiss nationals (“EU / EEA / CH citizens”) related to the free movement rights. In particular, UK citizens will not be entitled to use the separate lanes provided for EU / EEA / CH citizens to carry out checks at border crossings and will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals upon entry.
The entry checks for UK citizens will include verification of:
The possession of a valid travel document for crossing the border; the document must have a validity of no more than ten years, and shall remain valid for three months after the intended departure from the Member States; (Please note that UK national passports issued before the withdrawal date remain valid travel documents).
The duration of the stay:
For short stays in the Schengen area, UK citizens will be subject to restrictions on the authorised duration of stay within the Schengen area (with a maximum of 90 days in 180 days); for long stays, they will in principle require a residence permit or a long-stay visa issued by national authorities, under the national rules; The identity and the nationality of the third country national and of the authenticity and validity of the travel document for crossing the border, and in particular, if an alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry and checking potential threats to public policy, internal security, public health and international relations; the purpose (eg tourism or work) and the conditions of the intended stay (eg accommodation, internal travels); the existence of sufficient means of subsistence (i.e. having sufficient means to pay for the intended stay and return travel). (“Schengen-visa”), when the transitional period for the stay in the United Kingdom is reduced by the amount of the short-stay visa (“Schengen-visa”), on 13 November 2018 the Schengen area is 90 days within a 180-day period and it is now up to the European Parliament and the Council to adopt this proposal. – visa requirements, following the visa reciprocity principle.)
Travelers are advised to confirm, prior to travel, the validity of travel documents and to ensure that they fulfill all the above conditions before they travel to the EU. The non-fulfillment of any of the entry conditions may result in refusal of entry issued in accordance with the procedure laid down in Union law with respect to third country nationals.
Checks on exit include verification of:
The possession of a valid travel document for crossing the external border; verification that the person did not exceed the maximum duration of stay in the territory of the Member States; relevant databases similarly as upon entry checks.
WHAT DOES THIS JARGON ACTUALLY MEAN?
In short, this is nothing we haven’t advised before and we applaud MUP for confirming things.
Make sure you’re registered and in possession of a residence card which acts as proof of your lawful residence in the Republic of Croatia before the United Kingdom’s withdrawal (if it ever happens) from the EU. In other words, these act as your acquired rights that you were entitled to before a law change, ie, your EU treaty rights.
Apply for permanent residence when you hit the magic five year mark.
Switch your driving license over to a Croatian one now, even though you don’t need to right away, why bother with the headache?
You won’t be able to use the EU lanes when arriving in an EU country using a British passport anymore.
Croatia is not in Schengen, but when travelling to and from Schengen, you might be subjected to more questions than you’re used to.
If your passport is nearing its end, apply for a new one now to save you the bother.
We’d like to thank MUP, all sarcasm aside, for setting out some guidelines. This means that all Brits who have legally resided in Croatia, still live here, and have proof of that, will be fine even in the event of a No Deal Brexit. If May’s Withdrawal Agreement manages to pass, then that will come into force. Click here to read that. If Brexit is delayed (likely), or Article 50 is revoked (unlikely, but possible), keep up with us for info.