PCR Test, Croatian Border for Non-EU Arrivals: What We Know

Total Croatia News

July 14, 2020 – New border regulations for non-EU/EEA visitors to Croatia and a PCR test or self-isolation requirement are causing some confusion. Here is what we know about the current situation, including actual arrival experiences. 

Croatia Travel Update: Answers to Recent FAQs, July 17, 2020

As previously reported on TCN, the sudden decision to require a negative PCR test or 14 days self-isolation on arrival to Croatia for all non-EU/EEA citizens, effective almost immediately. Announced on Friday evening, the new rules came into effect at midnight on Friday, meaning that many holidaymakers heading to airports for their Saturday flights found that they needed the PCR test or they faced 14-days  self-isolation in one location in Croatia. Read more in Confusion Reigns After Sudden Croatian Border Requirement Change for Non-EU Citizens.

As the new rules came into effect on a weekend, it was harder than usual to find out the latest info, and the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community – which has been answering travel enquiries in these crazy times for almost two months (you will need to download the Viber app) was flooded with panicked questions from travellers already at – or on their way to – the airport. 

Information is still coming together, and the situation is still very fluid. Here is what  we know so far, starting with two testimonials from the TCTI Viber community – one from the United States with PCR test, and one from a UK citizen (still regarded as EU until December 31) arriving from a non-EU country, Ukraine. 

Greetings from Split! Yes, I’m an American who successfully arrived into Croatia today. While the USA may be my homeland, Croatia is my heartland—so I am deeply relieved and still a bit stunned to finally be back. Here’s what happened:

Route was ORD-AMS-SPU on KLM. That airline deserves 11 stars for exceptional customer service on the ground and in the air!

At O’Hare, I had all my docs in order in a sunshine-bright yellow folder, secured with a yellow binder clip with a smiley face. Yes, adding some brightness to the airline agent’s day was part of my strategy to make this work! Our conversation went like this…Him: Do you have a Croatian passport? Me: No, I have a US passport, along with all the necessary documentation to show that I am legally allowed entry into Croatia. Him: Great! Let’s have a look. Me (flipping through each page): Here is the Enter Croatia Registration confirmation, negative PCR test result, and proof of 2 paid accommodations. That’s all I need to enter the country, but I have plenty more backup documentation if you’d like to see it. Him: Wow! You are very organized. Me: Yup. Him: Then you are all set to go! That literally took one minute—no checking/reading anything in detail.

The airport was wonderfully empty—no lines anywhere, and sanitization everywhere. The flight to AMS was one of the best I’ve ever had. After all the stress and last-minute scrambling, I decided to upgrade to Economy Comfort, and it was the best possible decision—an entire comfort row to myself, and very few people in that section at all.

The only thing I had to do at AMS airport—aside from walk from one gate to the next—was stop and enjoy an espresso. No transfer desk, nothing—just like any typical non-international layover.

The flight to Split was pretty full, but thankfully short. Border control did ask for the test result and checked to see that it was PCR and within the proper time frame. They did not care to see my accom receipts. It seemed obvious that there’s still plenty of confusion, as a lot of the agents were asking one another questions and helping one another clarify situations. That was that—and now I am sipping a lovely Plavac Mali and finally relaxing! Can’t even begin to express my gratitude to the moderators of this group for your diligence in keeping us all informed during these ever-changing times! Good luck to everyone else. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! (July 13)

The view from Kiev:

Departed to Pula this morning from Kyiv, Ukraine with Ukrainian airline Windrose.  My husband who’s UK resident had to fight to get checked in without Covid test. Airline’s policy is everyone on board has to have a negative Covid test. Very stubborn. They brought a document from Pula airport where it days that EU residents regardless of the place of their living have a right to visit Croatia without a test. (July 14)

Here is what we have managed to ascertain so far:

The Croatian Border Police are insisting on the original test because there are lot of forgeries available on the black market – primarily from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is true for Croatia’s eastern borders. Arrival by airports may be acceptable with email confirmation. We are still checking.

It is important that you have a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours – the rest are formalities. Anything more than 48 hours is not acceptable. The PCR is a must-have in Croatia because it is the only test detecting that you carry the virus – so Croatian health services INSIST ON PCR not older than 48 hours.

You can enter if your test is delayed and then you get mandatory self-isolation – you go to your location planned for self-isolation reported to the police and wait for test results. THE MISSING LINK is how and to whom you send your test and how you remove self-isolation. The Croatian Border Police are working on a solution. The big (and still not officially clarified) question is what happens if your test has not been processed by the date of your arrival? My understanding is that the police are working actively to make this process a lot smoother, as well as the procedure of this works in practice. IT IS JUST MY OPINION, but I would expect that if you arrive, you go into self-isolation, then once you get your negative result, you will be free to travel after approval from the Croatian police (while observing the appropriate social distancing protocols). This procedure is being worked on. 

Currently, there is no testing facility on arrival option, but this is expected to change soon, and the police are actively working on a solution. I can give you some idea of how that will look, as yesterday, there was a dry run by MUP testing a system which is not publicly available yet but could soon be. This is how the first dry run is looking. If confirmed as policy, this could be the best option for many travellers.

This was the procedure, as recounted by the American visitor’s partner who lives here in Croatia (PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT AVAILABLE YET, BUT AN IDEA OF HOW THINGS COULD BE VERY SOON).

So he landed at 1 pm and he got to the border police and they wanted to know where he was staying, they asked if he understood the self-isolation (they said he can’t leave the house) and said they will fine him if he breaks the rules.. then they asked if he was tested and he said he will get tested here. He gave them two addresses and that was okay he thinks, they didn’t say anything about him having to stay in one place.. so then we went straight to the clinic at 2:30 pm for testing (address Mirogojska cesta 21), we went to the drive-in but they sent us to a building in the back of the clinic where we needed to fill out one form and they gave us 3 forms to take with us.. They asked if we want to pick the results personally or by email. We said by email. We had to go to the front desk at the clinic to pay, the price was 1506,08 kunas (about 200 euro). Then we went to the drive-in with the other two forms and receipt of the payment. We went to the apartment, no one checked on him and we already got the results at 8:30 am in the morning.

The test was negative, and so now we are waiting for the next steps from the police (we realise this is a very  new approach), hope to be given the all-clear to travel to our home in Istria and start the countdown to our wedding. 

So in short, he was allowed entry to self-isolate for 14 days, as per the new regulations, but with the possibility to take the PCR test on arrival, get the negative test the following morning, then proceed with the holiday as planned. 

This article will be updated as more experiences come in, and as the official situation becomes clearer. 

If you have any experience to share or have questions you need answering, join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community (you will need to download the app)., or email [email protected] Subject Borders

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language – now available in 24 languages

The Netherlands – as of July 21, Croatia is placed on the “Orange” list by the Dutch government, which means that both the Croatian nationals and the Dutch nationals returning to the Netherlands from Croatia are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.



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