Sometimes, just sometimes, things can go smoothly in Croatia, where forces align and things actually change – and change for the better.
It is less than a year since I had a chat with Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong to talk about some interesting topics about Croatian tourism for a panel he was sitting on, among them the potential of digital nomad tourism. What happened next is known by anyone following the topic, as de Jong’s persistence following his open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, asking for a digital nomad visa for Croatia, paid off. Just 44 days later, Plenkovic tweeted a photo of him and de Jong, announcing that he would introduce changes to legislation which would allow the visa to come into effect, which would have made Croatia only the second country in Europe (after Estonia) and the fifth in the world at the time, to introduce the visa.
Observers of the wheels of change in Croatian bureaucracy looked on with interest. Someone had clearly oiled the wheels, for not only were changes to the tax code and Aliens Act in place for January 1, 2021, but just 199 days after the PM’s announcement, Croatian bureaucracy officially welcomed its first digital nomad. You can read all about her and how she did it in this TCN interview – Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia’s First Digital Nomad Visa.
Soonafter, the Ministry of the Interior published guidelines for those wishing to apply for the 12-month stay. A shiny new website and online application procedure is promised from next month.
The first digital nomad conference in Croatia was held in Dubrovnik in October. Organised by Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads, in partnership with the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and TCN, it reached a worldwide audience, and even got a mention in The Washington Post. A followup project in Dubrovnik is scheduled to be announced shortly.
And the international column inches continue, with CNN the latest to feature Croatia and the digital nomad lifestyle. In addition to the first successful visa applicant, Melissa Paul, the feature also talked to a nomad from Singapore in Zagreb, as well as a Mexican couple in Split. There are currently numerous applications being processed by Croatian immigration, from New Zealand, South Korea, USA and UK, to name but four countries.
For the latest information about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.