Moving to Croatia
Let’s begin with how to ensure a stress-free move and we’ve given you 5 essential tips, including the cheapest season and months to make your removal to Croatia. Scroll down further onto 4 necessary practical steps – yes, it’s the paperwork bit. Alongside a tip or two around the Croatian language.
Every Country has its customs and we’ve given you three to ensure you can get by when meeting the locals.
We’ve looked at the 3 most popular cities for expats, and we hope whetted your appetite with the region’s food specialities, and we’ve given you a few tips to consider if you are planning to work in Croatia together with health and wellbeing considerations too. Finally, the main mobile providers for keeping in touch with friends and family.
Why should you move to Croatia?
Croatia, located in the Balkans, is one of Europe’s sunnier spots with 12 hours average sunshine – and that’s just in early summer. Its recent claim to fame is through the infamous series of The Game of Thrones and rightly so, because of the spectacular beaches and Adriatic coastline, islands, national parks and Croatia’s fair share of mediaeval castles, make it a country deserving to be filmed. Since it’s independence in the 1990’s Croatia has become a popular tourist destination, Rovinj, Zadar, Pula Hvar Island and Korcula island, the birthplace of Marco Polo are all worth visiting.
Here’s the first Top Tip for making your move to Croatia successful: book your international removing company right now. Ensure you have the date you want firmly in your diary. Now you have the vision and a goal to work towards.
For whatever reason, you’re intending to make this international move to Croatia if you’re up for putting some time into planning there’s absolutely no need for your blood pressure to rise! And by the way, small steps work much better, large steps in a plan tend to overwhelm resulting in stress.
When should you move?
5 essential tips you should know to save money and hassle.
Best time to move to Croatia? Be prepared for high costs in summer because, yes, that’s right, it’s when everyone wants to move! If you’ve a choice, then move in the winter or a week or so before or after Christmas or Easter when people are still getting over or preparing for holidays. You’ll find you can negotiate cheaper options.
Are you renting? Then negotiate for a mid-month start to your rental if you can, because weekends tend to be more expensive when booking removal companies. Take note of fuel prices too, they can fluctuate throughout the week resulting in higher costs at weekends.
It pays to be specific around the time of the move so that you miss rush hour traffic, this in itself can save on fuel costs.
Take into consideration your children and pet’s wellbeing and plan ahead, be-cause it will definitely pay dividends. Check whether there are specific veterinary requirements for Croatia. Ensure you have paperwork in duplicate. Best to take favourite (comfort) foods and medicines for both pets and children with you especially if they aren’t readily available in Croatia. Might be sensible to check if they can be delivered via Amazon in the future too, that way you’ll ensure a smoother transition, into a new country, culture and environment.
Finally, pick the brains of your removal company they will be a mine of information with tips and tales of other international moves to Croatia to share.
4 necessary practical steps for an
international move to Croatia
You can stay for 90 days without any paperwork, after that you need to apply for a temporary residency permit in person at the local Ministry of the Interior (Ministartsvo Unutarnjih Poslova or MUP) usually it’s the Police Station.
Documentation required will be a passport, two photos, birth certificate, evidence of health insurance, housing, adequate funding and a report on your criminal history. You’ll also need to provide a reason for living in Croatia, which can be family reasons, employment, study, purchasing property or business or investment.
Permanent residency will not be available until completion of 5 years of temporary residence, although your temporary visa can be easily renewed on a yearly basis. You can obtain permanent residency through marriage (to a Croatian for at least 3 years) humanitarian reasons or at the discretion of the Croatian Government.
Most important Top Tip? First things first, get that all important paperwork in order. Yes, it’s a fact, wherever you go on the planet, paperwork always takes priority. Ensure you have multiple copies of passports, photos, birth certificates, proof of your Croatian address and all necessary permits before your move. This goes for you, your family and your pets! Buy a multiple pocket wallet – you know the one you can strap around your waist – so all your paperwork is easy to hand. And save everything to the cloud. You won’t regret it.
Can you open your mind to another language?
Standard Croatian is the official language along with standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian, one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Take heart though, around 80% of Croats are multilingual with 81% of that group speaking English, with German, followed by Italian. However, language does vary by region.
If you are going to live in Croatia you’ll need a basic command of the language, particularly if you are planning to work in the country. If nothing else, it always pays to be able to communicate in the mother language when communicating with everyday life for example with builders, plumber’s teachers and medical professionals. TOP TIP: if going to language school is not an option, and you don’t have children to teach you, then take David Beckham’s advice. Beckham lived in various countries when playing football, so he used to go to the local bars, drink the beer and meet the locals. He found this the best way to pick up the language!
Every Country has its customs here’s 3 to make living in Croatia a breeze!
Croatians don’t like odd numbers when it comes to meeting and greeting. Friends and family greet each other with a kiss on each cheek, but never a single one. If you go in for a third kiss (Serbia likes three kisses) a Croatian won’t like an odd number, so they’ll go in for a fourth kiss. It’s okay though because a handshake is more the usual greeting when Croats are greeting tourists.
If you are dining out with a Croat, then take a note of this unspoken rule: Whoever issues the invitation should pay. But don’t worry the next time you go out together, they will do the paying. TOP TIP: Make sure you want to see them again!
Did we say Croats don’t like odd numbers? Well, they do when it comes to flowers. If you’re invited to a local’s home and decide to bring flowers, then make sure there are uneven stems. Don’t ask! And while we’re on the subject of dining with locals in their own home, don’t be tempted to eat beforehand, you will be well and truly fed. It’s the nation’s pastime!
Where are the best places to live for making your move to Croatia as an expat?
The main expat location is Zagreb, the capital. Metropolitan Zagreb stretches beyond the city into the county of Zagreb and is estimated to have around 1 million population. Most districts run parallel or border the River Sava a tributary of the Danube. The centre of Zagreb is the historical and cultural zone and includes two districts Donji Grad (downtown) and Gomji Grad (uptown). The University of Zagreb attracts international students and foreign academics. The capital is the business and financial centre for Croatia. International companies cooperating with Croatian business settle in Zagreb particularly in pharmaceuticals, trade, and commerce, high-tech.
Rijeka has a 130,000 population and is the third largest city. It’s one of Croatia’s principal seaports, in the past providing shipbuilding employment and exercising considerable economic influence. Its focus now is on urban tourism and the service sector.
Much smaller expat communities are to be found in Dalmatia especially in the pretty town of Dubrovnik and the busier city of Split, and both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s Dubrovnik city that can truly claim the prime TV Game of Thrones tourist attraction label since many parts of the series are filmed on location there. Both Dubrovnik and Split attract visitors, focussing on reviving traditional industry such as winemaking and fishing having lost their shipbuilding and manufacturing industry.
Croatian cuisine to suit every taste…Croatia really is one of Europe’s tastiest regions. You’ll find Eastern European and Mediterranean influences with dishes from Turkey to Hungary. Nearer to Italy, along the Adriatic coast prepare to enjoy homemade pasta, truffles, seafood and risottos.
Popular local dishes include suckling pig, spit-roasted lamb, sheep’s milk cheese and smoked ham. For dessert pancakes and strudel. Not so easy for vegetarians though, especially in the winter.
Are you planning to work in Croatia?
Zagreb, Split and Rijeka are the business locations you’ll want to explore. Professionals will find it easier to find work. The following HR consultants are active in Croatia: Dekra, Hill International, Pedersen & Partners, Alexander Hughes, and Selectio.hr. Fluency in the language is a huge plus for getting work.
Check out the main Croatian newspapers: Večernji List (Zagreb), Jutarnji List (Zagreb), Novi List (Rijeka), and Slobodna Dalmacija (Split).
Contact your own home country’s international chamber of commerce in Zagreb or the Croatian Chamber of Economy
Further information on Jobs in Croatia
Health and Wellbeing Croat Style
There are no risks or health concerns currently associated with Croatia and the standard of care is on parallel with other European countries. There are no special immunisations required. However many international travellers would consider it wiser to have medical insurance and one that covers treatment elsewhere, particularly if taking part in outdoor pursuits. If you do have a chronic condition it’s wise to maintain a three-month supply of medication, prescriptions can be expensive and not all meds easily accessible. Water supply is good with a high mineral content in the water in Zagreb. Sewage and garbage disposal is also considered adequate.
There’s nothing like keeping in touch with friends and family
Check out this website for keeping in touch with an on-line community of expatriates living in Croatia. www.expatscroatia.com For mobiles there are three main carriers: Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom), VIPnet and Tele2. Hrvatski Telekom and VIPnet each own two operators, while Tele2 owns one operator.