Croatia is now part of the EU and as such, EU citizens benefit from not needing a visa to live in the country. However, it still hasn’t fully adopted the Free Movement of Labour statutes so EU nationals will need a work permit. Work permits can be issued by most police administrations or police stations. Usually, the application procedure is carried out by your employer.
Application for a work permit
The type of work permit you need to apply for depends on whether you’re arriving as:
- a technical expert to work for a Croatian employer
- a new investor.
If you are going to be working for a Croatian employer/company, you are requested to apply for the work permit (radna dozvola), either on the base of a valid business visa or a visa for the purpose of employment (employment visa). Your application is submitted by your future employer to the relevant police administration or police station in the area where the business is situated.
A new investor, meanwhile, would apply for a business permit (poslovna dozvola). This permit is issued based on a valid business visa and, under the same terms and conditions, to foreign nationals having permanent residence in Croatia (but no business visa).
However, it is mainly granted to individuals whose work is not performed in, or directly related to, another Croatian company. It is applied for individually, by each foreign national, to the Croatian Employment Institute.
Required documentation for a work permit
Documentation required for the work permits includes:
- A copy of your passport with the visa stamped by a notary (or the original passport);
- A copy of your White Card (extended residency permit);
- A letter of request from the employing company explaining the level of the job and why a suitable Croatian national could not be found to fill the job;
- Proof of the employee’s professional qualification;
- Company Registration Certificate, employment contract or some other evidence of the nature of the business to be established (in the case of a new investor); and
- Standard application form (Form S-1).
All documents relevant for the application have to be translated into Croatian. Furthermore, only original documents or verified copies are accepted.
Processing of an application
According to the Law on the Employment of Foreign Nationals, around applications are processed and completed within 30 days. Roughly 90 per cent of applications are passed first time; the most common reason for rejection is “labour market conditions” (i.e. labour market tightness in certain skill areas). However, it is not possible to refuse a work permit to someone arriving as the director of a company.
Rejected applicants can appeal to the Governing Body of the Institute, which is composed of representatives of trades unions, employer organizations and government (Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Chamber of Economy and others, but all appointed by the Ministry of Labour).
Work permits are issued for a limited period of time only. If your work permit is about to expire your employer has to apply for renewal at least 45 days before the work permit expiry date. Business visas have a maximum duration of one year.
When getting your work permit at the relevant police station, your employer has to provide evidence of payment of HRK 300 to the account of the Republic of Croatia National Budget for issuing the work permit.
Please find more information here.
Getting a Personal Identification Number
Having received the work permit, the individual or their representative must go to a designated police station in order to get an Identification Number for Foreigners. This is only necessary if you plan to stay and work longer than 90 days in Croatia.
You need a Personal Identification Number (Osobni identifikacijski broj or OIB) if:
- you need to open a bank account or get a phone contract
- you want to apply for residency
- you plan on buying property
- you plan to start a business and/or have to pay taxes
The process takes one hour or so, and the expat or their representative should present the following documents:
- The passport and a copy of it, and
- An application form, which can be downloaded here.
You can present your documents and get your OIB at any office of the Ministry of Finance (Ministarstvo Financija).