You have finalized your Croatia itinerary and its now time to start actual trip planning. An importation question that will be on your mind is around the entry requirements for Croatia and if you need any additional visa. There are a number of visa regulations based on your home country or existing visa that can help to decide if you need to go through the visa process.
Permanent residents of EU members states and a number of other countries e.g. U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore do not need any additional visa to travel to Croatia. Holders of valid Schengen visa or temporary EU residence cards can also visit Croatia without any additional visa. Visitors from other countries will need to apply for a visa prior to their visit. There is no provision for visa on arrival in Croatia.
If you plan to visit other EU countries along with visiting Croatia then it is best to apply a Schengen visa based on your port of entry or country where you will be spending most time in. In case you only plan to visit Croatia then applying for a tourist visa for Croatia is the best way. The entire application process is straightforward but processing time can vary depending on travel season.
Do I need a visa to travel to Croatia?
Visa requirements for Croatia vary with each country depending on the entry requirements agreed between the countries. There are a number of countries which have agreed a waiver on visa requirements for short visits but still visitors from a number of other countries need to go through visa application.
A permanent resident of any of the EU member state can simply use their ID or passport to visit Croatia. This is agreement that Croatia has been following since joining the EU in 2013. Also, holders of temporary residence or any other type of visa in EU can also freely travel to Croatia for short visits.
Permanent residents of many other countries outside the EU are also not required to apply for additional visa to visit Croatia.
UK citizens/ British Passport holders do not need any visa to visit Croatia for a stay upto 90 days. Your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay. This rule is valid at the time of writing and until 31st Dec 2020, but may change after Brexit transition is finalized. Read latest information on Croatia travel advice on Gov.UK
Croatia visa is also not required for U.S. passport holders for temporary tourism and business visits for upto 90 days. However, your passport should have 3 months validity at the time of travel. Refer to the official website of U.S. consular services for latest information.
A valid U.S. visa is not enough for entry to Croatia. You will need to apply for a Schengen or Croatia visa for your visit.
Refer to the official website of Croatian consular affairs to understand visa requirements specific to your country. This website also provides information around additional documents that will be required for your visit to Croatia.
Visitors from other countries like Indian citizens need to apply for either a Croatia or Schengen visa before travelling to Croatia. In India, VFS global has been authorized to process visa applications.
Can I travel to Croatia on a Schengen Visa?
You can visit Croatia if you hold a valid dual or multi entry Schengen Visa. Holders of any any type of residence or other visas recognized by Schengen zone can also visit Croatia without any additional visa.
Since Croatia joined the EU, it has allowed visitors having valid Schengen visa for short stays upto 90 days. However, do note that if you hold a dual entry Schengen visa then there should be one unused entry to transit to Croatia.
In addition to Croatia, you can also travel to other non EU countries like Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina using your multi entry Schengen visa.
Refer to this complete list of non EU countries that you can travel to on Schengen visa to get more ideas of destinations you can visit while travelling to Croatia!
Can I travel to Schengen countries with Croatia visa?
According to official website of Croatian consular affairs, Croatia is not a Schengen Member State and Croatian visas are valid only for its territory. You cannot travel to Schengen countries with a Croatian visa. Valid passport will be required to travel between Croatia and other European states.
If you plan on visiting Bosnia & Herzegovina or Montenegro during your visit to Croatia then only having a Croatia visa is not enough, and you will need requisite visa for these countries.
However, if you are only transiting the Neum corridor area while travelling between Split and Dubrovnik then no additional visa is required but make sure you have a multi entry Croatia visa. If you plan to combine your visit to Croatia to other countries like Slovenia which are Schengen member states it is best to apply for a multi entry Schengen visa.
How do I apply for a Croatia Visa?
If you do need to apply for a Croatia visa then the process is quite straightforward and can be done either directly with the consulate in your country, authorized visa application centers or through travel agents. You should plan to apply for your visa anytime between 15 to 90 days prior to your visit. Submitting your application just 15 days in advance of your travel may not give enough time for visa processing and could be rejected.
We highly recommend applying for your visa at least 6-8 weeks in advance of travel especially during peak season
Here are the steps you need to go through for your visa application and processing.
1. Complete online application form
The first step is fill out the online application form available on the official Croatia consular website here. As soon as you begin the online application, you will receive a serial number and Pin. Keep these handy to be able to access your application form anytime so that you can come back to it later.
You will need to provide your complete international travel history of last two years while completing this form so have this information handy
After completing the online form you will need to submit a printed copy off this along with additional documents required to the consulate or visa center.
2. Prepare additional documents required
For your visa application, you will to need to submit a number of other documents along with the online application form. Documents generally required are:
- Valid passport (passport validity required is usually 3 months but can vary with home country)
- Two passport size photographs
- Travel itinerary, accommodation proof, confirmed return flight tickets
- Travel health insurance covering the duration of stay in Croatia
- Proof of funds e.g. bank statements
- Cover letter stating purpose of travel
Refer to the official VFS Global website to understand visa application process for your country and documents required.
3. Book appointment with consulate/ visa processing center
Depending on where you are based, you can either submit your application directly to the consulate or to a visa processing center (e.g. VFS) authorized for your country. Book an appointment to submit the required documents in person.
4. Submit documents and pay visa fees
On the day of your appointment, submit your visa application and supplementary documents. In most cases, you will be required to submit the documents in person but in special scenarios you can authorize someone to submit these on your behalf.
Croatia visa fees is about 455 kn. If you are applying through a visa application center like VFS then service fees of about 130 kn is also application. Children below 12 years of age are exempted from the visa fees but service fees has to be paid.
5. Await visa processing
Croatia visa processing usually takes about 15 days to a month. It can take longer depending on consulate or your application center, and if your documents are complete. Sometimes you could receive an email directly from the consulate for some additional document or information. This simply indicates that your request is being reviewed and a decision should be available soon.