December 18, 2020 – As the battle to contain the pandemic continues, a guide to new Croatian measures announced today, effective from midnight on December 21 to January 10.
Please note: this article was sent for – and received – approval from the Ministry of the Interior for its content.
The Croatian authorities have announced stricter measures from midnight on Monday in an effect to reduce the spread and infection of COVID-19, and the return of ‘propusnice’ (passes) is one of the notable additions to the current rules. However, as Police minister Božinović explained at the press conference today, the point of the measure is NOT to introduce the passes, rather, it’s to drastically reduce travel within Croatia during the holiday period as much as possible. So, it’s important to keep in mind that it will not be easy to get a propusnica during the next two and a half weeks.
We are getting lots of messages from foreigners, mostly through the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community about the details. Back in March, during the first lockdown, our Viber community did not exist and there was relatively little tourism. The situation is a little different at the moment, with tourists in the country, as well as many people looking to return to spend Christmas with their loved ones.
This article is an attempt to add clarity on a confusing situation, and it will be updated as more concrete information. PLEASE BE AWARE that it is a guide for information purposes. In order to make your final travel plans, you are advised to receive official confirmation from the authorities.
Please note that there are two slightly different dates in this announcement:
Midnight on December 21 to January 10 – a continuation of the current measures, which are set to expire on December 21.
Midnight on December 22 to January 8 – the introduction of restrictions for inter-county travel.
Here are the key points and answers to some of the early questions.
The new Croatian measures now require an official pass to cross a county border. Where can I find these county borders?
Croatia consists of 20 counties plus the city of Zagreb. See the map below for details. Travel within counties will still be unrestricted, but you will need a pass (propusnica) to cross a county border. These will be manned by the police.
Please note that Zagreb County and the City of Zagreb will be counted as one, so travel between the two will be unrestricted.
What criteria are necessary to get a propusnica?
In order to get a propusnica which will allow you to go to a different Croatian county, you will have to prove your reason for needing to do so, and they will be issued only in those cases when it can be shown that it’s absolutely necessary for the person asking to get a pass to travel to a different county. Minister Božinović also explained that those who have already booked accommodation before the decision was announced will be given the passes to get to the location where they booked their stay.
The list of reasons to get a propusnica, as presented in the document, is as follows:
- those required to maintain traffic and supply;
- daily migrations of those working in: health and veterinary services, medicines delivery, maintenance of the communal activities (water, electricity, natural gas) and protection services;
- public reporting;
- patients requiring medical care;
- travelling to work, in those cases when it is proven that work can not be done from home;
- urgent and operative services required to stop the spread of COVID-19;
- diplomatic staff;
- those who have booked reservations in hotels.
- if they consider that they have a “valid reason” and the previous reason is not stated in the exceptions for obtaining passes.
Where do I apply for a propusnica as a local resident?
Croatian residents can apply for a propusnica through an online system called e-građani, or (if they don’t have access to it) by contacting their county Civil Protection (Civilna zaštita) office.
Where do I apply for a propusnica as a foreign non-resident?
Upon entry in Croatia, the foreign travellers will be issued the passes at the border crossing of their entry, which will allow them to reach their destination. For any additional necessary travel within Croatia, the travellers will have to contact the Civil Protection office in the county where they are staying.
For any further inquiries, koronavirus.hr shared the helpful contact information:
Will hotel bookings be enough reason to obtain a propusnica?
Crossing county borders for just for the purposes of tourism will NOT be allowed, BUT passes will still be available to those who have booked accommodation in advance, for example in hotels, despite the earlier proposal that this should not be a valid reason for issuing passes. Upon arrival in the country, you will receive your propusnica to travel to your hotel. If you have accommodation booked and paid for in a second location, you will be allowed to travel, BUT you will have to get individual passes from the local civilian headquarters. If you have not booked and paid for the accommodation, my feeling is that this will be a lot more difficult. Please note that this is a very fluid situation, and if you have booked hotels in several places, there is probably less guarantee.
What will be open and what will be closed?
From what we know now, nothing will drastically change in terms of further closing of businesses in this period: the restaurants and the bars will stay closed, the hotels will stay open and will be allowed to make food only for those staying in the hotels. Museums, movie theatres and theatres will remain open under the same rules as in the previous period: with the reduced number of people and while maintaining social distances.
What about ferries, trains, buses – will they be running?
The Split – Ancona ferry is not running currently. For the latest on ferries, check the official Jadrolinija website.
For the latest on the trains (Google Translate is your friend).
We are still seeking confirmation on the situation with buses, but would expect a reduced service.
Restaurants are closed, but will takeaway still be possible?
Will Croatia close its borders and is there any danger I may be trapped in Croatia and miss my flight home?
Even at the heights of the initial lockdown (which restricted movement between local communities, not counties as here), the borders remained open for repatriation – Croatians coming home and foreigners leaving Croatia. It will be the same this time, even if the border restrictions tighten further.
For official answers, check the FAQ on the Ministry of the Interior website (it may take some time for the English version to reflect the updates). There is a form at the bottom where you can ask your questions in English, Croatian or German – they are pretty responsive.