2021 will hopefully bring some uplifting news with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, vaccinations and restrictions being slowly lifted in Croatia, Europe and further afield. But this year has also brought another interesting development that will surely interest visitors to Croatia – especially those wanting to stay in the country longer term. It is the new digital nomad visa in Croatia; introduced as of 1st January 2021, this is hot the heels of other countries around the world such as Thailand, Estonia and Greece introducing (or soon to introduce) their own digital nomad visas.
What is a digital nomad visa?
These days, ‘digital nomads’ are on the rise. Digital nomads make the best of technology to work remotely from locations (sometimes rather exotic!) around the world, often many hundreds or thousands of miles from home or from where their clients may be based. Lucky them! It’s also quite common for digital nomads to be…well…nomadic in nature (the clue is in the name!), moving on from one country to another once their visa or stay requirements have expired. (Or simply because they fancy a change of scene.)
In the case of Croatia, a digital nomad visa in Croatia lets a person stay for a year (although the visa may sometimes be issued for less time).
Who is the digital nomad visa for?
The digital nomad visa is for anyone that is employed by a company, or who works for their own company, in a technological field. The company that they work for must not be registered in Croatia and must not provide services to companies in Croatia.
EU nationals are obviously allowed to stay in Croatia indefinitely, and there are no restrictions on the amount of time that they can stay in Croatia, also an EU country.
Nationals of certain other countries – the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, for example – do not need a visa to stay in Croatia for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. Once the 90 days are up, citizens of these countries must return home (or to another country, and adhere to entry regulations there).
Based on the above, the visa would be for anyone that wants to stay in Croatia for longer than 90 days in one year.
You can apply for a digital nomad visa even if you would normally need an ordinary tourist visa to visit Croatia.
How can I apply for a digital nomad visa in Croatia?
Read the instructions on the Temporary Stay of Digital Nomads page on the Croatian Ministry of the Interior website. This will provide you with much of what you need to know for applying for a visa.
If you DO need a visa just to visit Croatia, you would need to apply for a digital nomad visa at the Croatian Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
If you DON’T need a visa to visit Croatia, you can apply for the digital nomad visa either at a Croatian Embassy or Consulate OR at a police station in Croatia.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, to apply you need:
- The application form
- A copy of a valid travel document i.e. passport (this must be valid for three additional months beyond the period of your intended stay)
- Proof of health insurance (which must cover a stay in Croatia)
- A contract of employment or document showing that you work via technology for a foreign employer or your own company; this could be a statement from your employer, a contract of employment or service contract; or a copy of the registration of your own company and proof that you undertake work for your own company
- Proof that you can afford your stay in Croatia – at present, a bank statement or proof of regular income to your account can show this as proof. You are required to have at least 2.5 average monthly net salaries paid for the previous year. At the moment, the amount required on a monthly basis is a minimum of 16,142.50 Kunas. If you intend to stay in Croatia for 12 months, you need to prove that you have a minimum of 193,710.00 available.
- Proof that you have not been convicted of criminal offences in your home country or the country you have lived in for a year before arrival in Croatia
- Your address in Croatia
There are also costs associated with applying for the digital nomad visa; see the Temporary Stay of Digital Nomads page for full details of these.
If you are able to (visa-wise, and commitment-wise), we’d certainly suggest travelling to Croatia first to scope out potential places to stay and set yourself up in.
Depending on how nomadic you want to be or able to cope with being, do note that you are able to visit Croatia for up to 90 days, and then the Schengen Zone (of which Croatia is not yet a part) for another 90 days. That would bring you to 180 days at which point you are able to return to Croatia again! However, you would be visiting Croatia and the Schengen Zone as a tourist and therefore not officially able to work, even as a remote nomad…*coughs before finishing sentence*…
Where should I ‘digital nomad’ in Croatia?
Yes, that phrase shouldn’t be a verb in that heading but it made me laugh, so it stays!
Well, the easiest location would be one of the larger cities or towns in Croatia which will have all the infrastructure you need – from fast internet to plenty of (long-term) accommodation, plus amenities such as supermarkets and shops for supplies and cafes and bars for being social…and other places of interest (beaches, museums, parks, galleries) to keep you entertained. (We are obviously talking in a post-covid-restriction time when these places will be open.) To this end, we’d absolutely suggest Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik or Rijeka and perhaps Zadar or Pula as well. Or, for inland options (aside from Zagreb) how about somewhere like Varazdin or Osijek?
Certainly, there are no problems with smaller towns and cities either – fast Internet won’t be a problem (unless you are on some very remote island indeed!). But do consider that in the winter months, these locations may be very quiet indeed, with far fewer people around (basically, locals and no tourists!) and it’s not as if you’ll be taking yourself off to the beach every afternoon. Can you handle an island in cold weather with the strong bura wind blowing? Perhaps you can!
For some inspiration on locations, take a look at our Croatia Destinations section. Or perhaps you’ll choose a location based on your favourite part of Croatia?
If you’d like to see apartments and houses for rent, check out the Njuskalo classified ads website. (Croatian language-only, but use Google to translate!)
We wouldn’t suggest pack up your things tomorrow and head to Croatia with the aim of staying longer term and applying for this visa! Obviously, being a digital nomad is a very specific lifestyle and you’re likely already travelling the globe to this effect, or about to start soon, if you’re thinking of Croatia as a destination.
If you’re starting from scratch and looking for a bit of inspiration, check out Entrepreneur magazine’s guide to 8 Ways to Make Money As a Digital Nomad.
Reddit has a Digital Nomad community where you can discuss and exchange tips on being a digital nomad, although many of the posts are of jealously-inducing work views! (We hope to see some Croatia views there soon!) The Nomadlist community may also provide additional help.
Articles on Digital Nomads in Croatia and elsewhere
- Croatia wants tourists to move there. These people are doing just that (CNN, 12th February 2021)
- Like summer camp for grown-ups: The pandemic is changing the digital nomad scene (Washington Post, 22nd February 2021)
- Croatia Opens Its Doors To Digital Nomads (Forbes, 22nd February 2021)