Croats, Brits with Croatian Residence Can Return from UK to Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

January the 1st, 2021 – Following the shock ban on passenger transport from the UK to Croatia and vice versa after the discovery of a new strain of the novel coronavirus in parts of southern England, the ban has been lifted for Croatian citizens and British citizens who hold residence in Croatia. They may now travel home from the UK to Croatia.

The impulsive ban threw a proverbial spanner in the works for many a would-be Christmas traveller, and indeed for those waiting for turnaround flights by either British Airways or Croatia Airlines at either end. For some, the sheer level of wanton disregard for those trapped on either side of the channel was too much to deal with after a horrifically stressful year, with some taking their anger directly to PM Andrej Plenkovic’s Twitter, where he announced what was to be an initial 48 hour flight ban.

It is worth remembering that the European Commission issued a non-binding recommendation that EU member states lift these blanket bans to allow for essential travel, as nobody should become stranded anywhere. Individual countries, however, could still do as they pleased, and Croatia did just that.

That initial 48 hour flight ban was extended until midnight on the 31st of January, 2020, as the rules for travel to the EEA for UK citizens who are also UK residents were set to change as Britain’s transition period drew to a close anyway.

The official page of the British Government (GOV.UK) updated its rules as the UK’s Brexit transition period ended last night, reflecting the changes. It now states that travel from the UK to Croatia, or indeed from UK citizens arriving from any other non-EU/EEA country to Croatia would not be permitted for the duration of Croatia’s coronavirus measures, which are currently set to remain in place until the 15th of January unless they’re extended again.

Thankfully, this ban on British travellers coming from either the UK or any other non EU/EEA country does not include Croatian citizens or British nationals who hold lawful residence in Croatia. Such people fall within the bracket of ”limited exceptions” to this rule. As do those travelling for ”urgent personal, family or business reasons”, but all those arriving from the UK to Croatia for whatever reason must still present a negative PCR test result which is not older than 48 hours when crossing the Croatian border, or get tested immediately upon arrival (at their own expense) and self-isolate until a negative result is obtained.

It’s worth remembering that testing isn’t available at Croatian airports, so you’re free to go and get your test from a testing centre (list here) before self-isolating. The results are typically available within 48 hours or less.

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