Visas and Work Permits 9 min

Work permits and visas in Croatia: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
April 30, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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When employees relocate to foreign countries, employers must conduct work authorization assessments to ensure employees have the correct work visas. Whether you’re hiring a new employee in Croatia or helping an existing team member relocate to the country, they must have the correct work permit to live and work there.

Navigating Croatia's work visa requirements and work permits can be complicated. Businesses that don't comply with local tax and labor laws while hiring abroad can risk facing severe penalties and fines. Consider partnering with an employer of record (EOR) like Remote to relocate international employees compliantly.

This guide will take you through the work permits and visa process in Croatia, including eligibility requirements and processes. We will also briefly explain how you can make hiring in Croatia, quick, easy, and compliant with Remote’s trusted EOR services.

The importance of immigration compliance in Croatia

Whether you want to hire foreign nationals living in Croatia or relocate existing employees, your company will be subject to all relevant tax and labor laws when conducting business in the country. This means that you will need to provide employees with the minimum benefits to which employees in Croatia are entitled, regardless of where your business is located. 

In addition, you will need to ensure that your employees are legally entitled to work in their country of residence. Performing work authorization checks on employees ensures your company doesn't inadvertently break any employment laws by hiring an individual whose visa doesn't entitle them to work. 

Applying for Croatian work visas can be a complicated and time-consuming process, and employees and employers should navigate this process together as both parties are legally and financially liable if any mistakes are made. If you break any local employment or tax laws, your company could land in financial or legal trouble that could be both expensive and damaging to your business operations. 

Keep in mind that most countries don’t allow individuals to work on tourist visas. With the rise of digital nomadism, more countries are cracking down on those who don’t have valid papers or documentation to legally work in the country.

Which workers need work authorization in Croatia?

All non-citizens of Croatia will need authorization to work in the country. You will primarily need to know how to navigate these checks for the following groups:

  • Temporary residents: Croatia has multiple temporary residence visa types, and which visa the employee is issued will depend on their country of origin. However, temporary residence with the right to work is granted for individuals in some instances for up to five years. 

  • Permanent residents: Certain individuals living and working in Croatia for five years may be eligible to apply for permanent residence. Permanent residents of Croatia do not require a supplementary work permit. However, a work authorization check will ensure that all requirements for becoming a permanent resident are met. 

  • Work permit holders: Croatia has a digital nomad visa that allows visa holders to live and work in Croatia for up to a year.

Performing work authorization checks according to local laws and tax practices can be a challenging and risky process. If you partner with Remote, our expert team can make sure these work authorization checks are completed quickly and compliantly. 

We will manage all aspects of performing these assessments on your behalf as soon as the employee submits the necessary documentation to our online platform. Our Mobility team will conduct the check to ensure employees have all the necessary visas and work permits and promptly correct any issues that arise. 

Learn more about international employee relocation by watching our informative webinar.

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Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Croatia?

Non-Croatian citizens need a residence visa and work permit to live and work in Croatia legally. However, the types of visas that individuals are eligible for vary based on which country they are from. 

Most non-European individuals will need to get an official job offer from a Croatian company before applying for a work or residence visa. 

However, certain European citizens enjoy special privileges that make living and working in Croatia for short and long periods easier.

How is the Schengen visa applicable?

Croatia officially joined the Schengen region on January 1, 2023. While this visa is a convenient option for individuals from many European countries, it's not the best choice for living and working in Croatia long-term. 

Although the Schengen visa is typically used for tourism, employees can also apply for a business Schengen visa. With this visa, the employee can stay in Croatia and perform certain business activities for up to 90 days at a time.

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable?

The EU Blue Card allows eligible citizens living in non-EU and non-European Economic Areas (EEA) countries to live and work in EU countries. 

The EU Blue Card is a good option for individuals who want to live and work in Croatia, as they can apply for jobs in Croatia and be granted temporary residency and a work permit when they get a job. 

This permit is valid for up to two years at a time, and holders of this card can apply for long-term residence in Croatia after they've been living and working there for five years. In addition, these cardholders can move freely around Europe and reenter Croatia whenever they like. 

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Croatia?

Qualifying for a work permit is not the same as qualifying for a temporary residency visa in Croatia. Although some individuals will be granted the right to work with their residence visa, others will not. Any third-country national who wishes to work in Croatia will need to get a work visa. 

To be eligible for a work visa in Croatia, an employee will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a Croatian company offer them a job

  • Have a signed, written employment contract from this company

Unlike some countries, individuals cannot enter Croatia, get a work permit, and then get a job. Instead, the employee will need to have a job already in order to be eligible for a work permit. 

This is essential for foreign employers to understand because it means your employee cannot work in Croatia unless you've established a local legal entity or have partnered with a global HR solution like Remote. 

What are the long-stay visa types in Croatia?

There are only three types of long-stay visas that allow individuals to stay and work in Croatia for more than 90 days. These are:

  • Temporary residence visa: This type of visa entitles individuals to live in Croatia for up to a year. For a third-country national to be eligible for a temporary visa, they need to provide proof of employment from a Croatian employer. 

  • Long-term residence visa: A long-term residence visa allows third-country nationals who have lived in Croatia for at least five years to live and work there indefinitely. To be eligible for this visa, an individual cannot have left Croatia for more than six months at once or 10 months total during their initial five years.

  • Digital nomad visa: This visa type entitles third-country nationals to live in Croatia for up to a year while working as a self-employed individual or a non-Croatian employer.

How do you get a work visa for Croatia?

To get a work visa in Croatia, employees will need to prove that they have a job offer from your company. The Police Department and the Croatian Labor Department are responsible for issuing work permits. This joint issuing is necessary because employees will need to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate. 

Obtaining a work visa can take up to a month. Employees will need the following documents to be granted a work permit in Croatia:

  • A valid passport

  • An additional photo that is passport-sized

  • Proof that they can meet basic financial standards to live in Croatia

  • A valid employment contract

  • Proof that they have health insurance

  • Verification of any necessary certifications or qualifications (e.g., a medical license)

  • A police clearance certificate.

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Croatia?

For individuals to be eligible for a work visa in Croatia, they will need to have a verified employment contract. This means that you will need to have a local entity established in Croatia before your employee is eligible to receive a work permit. Remote's Mobility team can help offer relocation services, which will speed up the process of conducting work authorization checks, visa applications, and more. 

Our relocation services and employee work visa sponsorship typically follow an established process:

  • You provide us with details about the candidate or employee who will be sponsored. 

  • Remote gathers all necessary documentation from the candidate.

  • Our Mobility team conducts the necessary right-to-work assessment and determines sponsorship eligibility. 

  • We conduct a pre-hire assessment and supply a quote.

  • Once the employee receives their work visa, we onboard them to the Remote platform.

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Croatia?

Croatia is a popular destination for digital nomads because of how long the country allows them to stay. A digital nomad visa differs from other temporary resident visas because you do not need a job offer from a Croatian employer to get this visa. 

What is Croatia's digital nomad visa?

Croatia has a digital nomad visa that allows non-citizens to live and work in Croatia for up to a year. With this visa, digital nomads can live in Croatia short-term and legally work for a non-Croatian company. 

How to apply for a digital nomad visa in Croatia

You will need the following to apply for a digital nomad visa:

  • Health insurance

  • Proof that you meet the minimum salary requirements

  • Pass a background check

  • Passport

  • An address in Croatia where you will be living

In addition, you will need to fill out an application for the visa and provide the Croatian government with any other requested documentation. 

How Remote makes compliance in Croatia so much easier

Relocating to any new country can be stressful for both the employer and the employee. Navigating the various aspects of relocation, including immigration requirements, visa applications, and work permits, can be complicated. 

Partner with Remote and the process of international hiring and relocation becomes easy. From onboarding and taxes to benefits and payroll, our EOR services can reduce the risk, costs, and hassle of international hiring and relocation.

 Remote can help you remain compliant by helping you:

  • Understand local employment laws and tax practices.

  • Fulfill visa and immigration requirements

  • Navigate international taxation laws

  • Consistently assess permanent establishment risk.

Download Remote's Relocation Guide for guidance on how to relocate international employees compliantly.  If you’re ready to begin hiring or relocating team members to Croatia and beyond,  get started with Remote today! 

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