Croatia has a lot to offer, not only for holidaymakers. The country has a long coastline along the Adriatic Sea, with hundreds of islands and beautiful beaches, national parks, a rich history and culture, many historic cities and landmarks, and delicious cuisine.
Croatia is also known for its affordable cost of living, with excellent accommodation available for relatively little money, combined with fast internet speeds and a welcoming attitude to visitors. All this makes Croatia a great spot to base yourself as a digital nomad.
Residence permit or digital nomad visa – which one should you get then? Where to start?
A Roman-era coastal city, Split is characterized by its historic downtown area, which is enclosed within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. There is also a wonderful daily farmer’s market just outside the walls, which is perfect for picking up fresh produce and enjoying high-quality and locally-sourced food.
There is a promenade right along the seafront called the Riva which is filled with cafés, bars, and restaurants. This area is perfect for spending some time getting work done, hanging out with friends in comfortable surroundings, or just taking life slowly and watching the sunset.
There aren’t too many coworking options in Split, but there are plenty of cafés and restaurants that are amenable to digital nomads pitching up and getting some work done on their premises. Be sure to leave a good impression and don’t just sit for hours nursing one coffee.
The colorful Capital of Croatia, Zagreb, is one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads in the whole country. There is stunning architecture all around, and there is green space aplenty in the numerous public parks. Although Zagreb isn’t by the sea, the atmosphere is still warm and welcoming to digital nomads and prices aren’t quite as high as in some other parts of Europe.
Zagreb is, in all the best ways, a truly European city with nightlife aplenty and a real café culture spilling out onto its many old streets. Add in that there is a large, bustling digital nomad community that is here all year round and is active in many local activities. As you would expect, there are also co-working spaces aplenty, ranging from small and boutique to larger chains. Zagreb also has excellent links to pretty much everywhere in other parts of the country, and it can also be reached by plane or train from the nearest European capitals.
One of the most picturesque cities in the whole of Europe, Dubrovnik sits perched upon the shore of the Adriatic Sea, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sharp-eyed television viewers may recognize the formidable stone walls of the Old City from the TV series Game of Thrones, where the City doubled as King’s Landing, the seat of the King and his family.
Despite being bound to antiquity with its old town walls and ancient buildings, there is a youthful and fun side to Dubrovnik as well, which is sure to appeal to the digital nomad crowd. Bustling cafés spill out onto cobbled squares, with people perched on chairs with laptops open before them, a fine mixture of the old and the new.
If you are already from the EU, you will have freedom of movement throughout the European bloc anyway and can settle in Croatia for a while if you wish without having to register for a separate visa.
A tourist visa is a short-stay visa (C visa), called “kratkotrajna viza”/ viza C in Croatian. If you are from outside the EU, want to come on a tourist visa, and are content with spending 90 days out of 180 in Croatia, you will not have to do anything in advance to be allowed your visit.
Once your 90-day tourist visa or stay has expired, and you wish to stay and actually live in Croatia beyond the term of your short-stay visa, then you must apply for a Croatian Digital Nomad Visa. Combining the length of stay allowed by both visas, you can stay in Croatia for up to 15 months.
Unlike some digital nomad visas in other European countries, the Croatian digital nomad visa is actually more accurately termed a temporary residence permit, and it will not allow you to gain permanent residence in the country.
The Croatian temporary residence permit is granted for up to a year (possibly even less) and it cannot be extended. A new application for regulating the stay of digital nomads can be submitted 6 months after the expiry of the previously granted temporary stay of digital nomads.
The new temporary residence permit specifically refers to digital nomads and the legislation introducing it defined digital nomads as “[A] digital nomad is a third-country national who is employed or performs work through communication technology for a company or his own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia and does not perform work or provide services to employers in the Republic of Croatia.”
This means that no digital nomads who apply for the new temporary residence permit can be working for a Croatian company during their stay.
Note 1: You can also prepare the relevant photo, which will later be used in making the residence permit. Make sure, it will be a Croatian-sized passport photo!
Note 2: If there are close family members joining you, you will also have to provide their required documents like extract from the marriage certificate or extract from the birth certificates for children. Also read the recommendations for informal life partner (e.g. joint rental agreements).
To conclude, here is the full list of countries, where you can get a Digital Nomad Visa in 2023:
|Antigua and Barbuda||Dominica||Mexico|
|Cabo Verde||Indonesia||South Africa*|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Dominica||Montenegro*|
|Cabo Verde||India* (Goa)||South Africa*|
*Digital Nomad Visa introduced but not yet implemented