Fake News: Global Travel B2B Portal Incorrectly Reports Croatia Closed to All Foreign Tourists

Total Croatia News

December 2, 2020 – Confusion reigns again, as a global B2B travel portal incorrectly reports Croatia closed to foreign tourists. Here is what we know about the new rules. 

It is beginning to feel awfully like May to July again, the inbox overflowing with desperate cries of help from tourists and tourism professionals on behalf of their clients. 

Is Croatia really closed to all foreign tourists?

Wait, what?!?




It seems that part of the panic was set off by some of the global B2B travel media, which reported exactly that. I won’t name the website concerned, but it is ranked in the top 60,000 in the world on Alexa in terms of traffic, and it boasts “a readership base with an opt-in subscriber emailing list currently running at 255,000+ worldwide, mainly travel trade professionals and specialist travel and tourism journalists.”

Quite a reach in the travel industry. A reach that came to my inbox several times today, with the first request from the UK PR arm of a 5-star resort on the Adriatic coast. Was this really true? A little surprised, I clicked on the article:

Croatian government officials announced that foreign tourists will not be allowed into Croatia starting today, December 1. This decision was made by the country’s government on November 30. The official website of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a warning that foreigners with tourist visas will not be able to enter the country. Previously, foreign tourists were allowed to enter Croatia upon presentation of a certificate of absence of COVID-19 virus.

I am not even sure where to start with that, except to say that none of it is totally accurate. 

More messages came in. We are Americans and are now told that we cannot enter Croatia as tourists. What do you advise, and where can we see the rules?

Changes to entering Croatia were announced on November 30, effective December 1 until December 15. You can read the official guidelines in English on the official website here

The big change is the requirement now for a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours old from travellers not coming from an EU country in the green zone (almost everywhere at the moment). However, according to the new guidelines, those countries on the EU safe list do not have this requirement, and there are no restrictions on entry:

Who can enter Croatia with tests not older than 48hours –  Citizens of EU Member States (including Croatian citizens), i.e. of Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States, as well as members of their families and third-country nationals who are long-term residents under Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents and persons entitled to reside under other EU directives or national law or who have national long-term visas.

Who does not need a formal reason to enter –  Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay, China and special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China – Hong Kong and Macao or EU/EAA coming from ECDC green zones.

Who can enter with the test and reason – Third-country nationals not covered by the abovementioned points may enter the Republic of Croatia from third countries if they are persons travelling for urgent personal / family reasons, business reasons or other economic interest (supported by the PCR test result for SARS-CoV-2 not older than 48 hours or by PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 immediately upon arriving to the Republic of Croatia and by self-isolating until they receive a negative test result).

The big question mark to me in the new rules are reasons for entering. Non-EU arrivals have hitherto been allowed as tourism was classified as an economic activity. This is why there was a requirement for proof of paid accommodation before entry. Tourists were coming with one night’s paid accommodation to fulfill this requirement. 

It is unclear if this has changed, but the impression I get now is that the most important consideration for the authorities on entry is the negative test. My suggestion to be safe is to state business/economic as the reason for travel and to have proof of paid accommodation for your entire stay. A letter of invitation from a business entity would strengthen your case as well. Please note that this is my suggestion, to be acted upon at your own risk. Of course, in these certain times, you may want to reconsider your trip anyway. 

Many thanks to the very efficient Croatian Border Police for once again helping us to clarify the situation. If you want to contact them in English, German or Croatian with your specific question, you can do so in the form at the end of this FAQ article.

Whether or not one should be travelling at this time is another discussion, but TCN is here to provide the information as to what is possible. 

We are back in uncertain information times, as we were earlier this year, and things can change quickly. One of the best sources of up-to-date information and experiences is the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community, where travellers are posting their real-time experiences. It proved to be an invaluable resource earlier this year. Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

The US Embassy in Zagreb has just updated its travel advice 19:00, December 2.

Another good resource to follow is the latest IATA updates, which are used by airlines to determine who may and may not enter. Learn more here and find out the current rules for Croatia. 

It seems at time of writing that the IATA guidelines are missing some of the abovementioned categories so prepare all documents to convince your boarding agents to allow you to board – the more documentation the better, as we learned this summer with many travellers managing to convince reluctant boarding agents that Croatia would let them in. It works if you are properly prepared. The confirmation email from the Croatian border police when you fill in the EnterCroatia form was especially useful.

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

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