Should you carry your passport with you while touring Croatia? Though not necessarily required, it is recommended that visitors carry their passports with them at all times. Croatian residents should carry their Croatian ID cards, which are the only officially recognized form of identification for residents.
You’ll need a passport to get into the country, and your passport should have at least three months of validity after your planned date of departure, per EU regulations. Croatia, a small, crescent-shaped country known officially the Republic of Croatia, rests at the crossroads between Southeast and Central Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea in the northwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The country, known for its beauty, has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Though only three months of validity are required on your passport following your return date, the U.S. Embassy highly recommends having at least six months of validity in order to avoid travel delays. Often, with less than six months of validity left on your passport, you can be kept from boarding a flight to other parts of Europe. Save space on one page of your passport for your entry stamp.
Do I Need a Visa to Enter Croatia?
Do you need a traveler’s visa in order to visit Croatia? Traveling U.S. citizens with valid passports need no visa if traveling to Croatia for tourism or business purposes for less than 90 days within a 180-day timeframe. U.S. citizens in Croatia planning to stay in the country for longer than 90 days need to apply for a temporary residence permit by contacting the Croatian Ministry of Interior at least 30 days BEFORE the expiration of the initial 90 days without a visa.
For entry, establishing residence, and for longer-term work and/or study visa requirements in Croatia, refer to the Croatian Ministry of Interior’s website. Visit the Embassy of Croatia’s website for the most current visa information.
Foreign documentation submitted for residence applications need to be translated into Croatian and must have a valid apostille stamp. It’s important to note that the U.S. Embassy cannot authenticate required documents, nor can it intervene in the process of obtaining a Croatian residence permit. All information regarding applying can be found on the U.S. State Department’s Office of Authentications website.
Once you’ve arrived in Croatia, you’ll need to register at a local police station within three days. If you’re staying at a hotel, hostel, or vacation rental, you will be automatically registered by the accommodation facility’s owner.
Should You Carry a Copy of Your Passport When You Travel Throughout Croatia?
It is recommended that you carry your passport original securely with you when touring throughout the country. If you’ve established residence in Croatia, whether temporary or permanent, you should carry your Croatian ID card, which is the only officially recognized form of identification for residents.
How to Carry Your Passport Safely
Maybe you’re a traveler who insists on carrying an original hardcopy of your passport with you as you tour around, and if you are, it’s a good idea to carry it safely with a security pocket for your pants, or a money/security belt to wear around your waist. Also, keep a photocopy of your passport locked up at your hotel, and even carry a photocopy with you securely in another pocket, along with a valid photo identification. At last, scan your passport, and any travel insurance documentation and email them to yourself so you can easily access them electronically if you need to.
The U.S. State Department highly recommends that you treat your passport like a valuable by keeping it secured under lock and key at your hotel while touring around.
Can the U.S. Embassy Intervene on Behalf of U.S. Citizens in Croatia?
Unfortunately, when it comes to immigration matters, the U.S. Embassy is unable to intervene on behalf of U.S. citizens.
Tips for Entry, Exit, and Traveling Through Croatia
1 – Fortunately, violent crimes in Croatia are rare, but isolated attacks may target specific persons or property, and may even be racially/ethnically motivated still years after Croatia’s war for independence.
2 – Keep your valuables and property secured, especially on public transportation. Report crimes to the local police and file a police report if your passport is stolen.
3 – Avoid brandishing cash or jewelry in public, as it can be a reason for criminals to target you.
4 – Avoid “gentlemen’s clubs,” as they are known to rack up high bills for foreigners and then threaten them if they are not paid.
5 – Various terrorist groups and other pseudo-terrorist groups attack “soft” targets using increasingly less sophisticated methods of attack, like knives, basic firearms, vehicles, and homemade explosives. This way they can target crowds more effectively, with an intent to harm unprotected or vulnerable targets, including:
- Public events (e.g., political rallies, sporting and holiday events, demonstrations, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Public transportation systems (i.e., subways, buses, trains, and commercial flights)
- Shopping areas
- Popular hotels, clubs, and restaurants
- Houses of worship
6 – Land mines are still present along former battle lines, even though armed conflict ended in Croatia in 1995. De-mining still continues, and known mined areas are well-marked with hazard signs (in Croatian, using the international symbol for mines: a skull and crossbones inside a red, upside-down triangle). If you’re driving in former areas of conflict, stay on paved roads in order to avoid unmarked mines. You can find pertinent information about mine-affected areas in Croatia on the Croatian Mine Action Center’s website.
7 – It is recommended that all U.S. citizens enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for important alerts, security messages, and alerts, and to make it easier to be located during an emergency.
8 – Always be aware of your surroundings. Civil unrest is rare in Croatia, but visitors are strongly recommended to keep themselves apprised of conditions via local media coverage. As in many countries, peaceful demonstrations and sporting events (particularly soccer)can end up becoming violent with little notice or provocation. Soccer matches can end up in violent confrontations between fans of rival teams, causing disruptions in traffic and a heavy police presence.
9 – Security messages regarding demonstrations and other events can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Croatia’s website.
10 – Visitors to Croatia are expected to comply with local laws. Law violations, whether knowingly or not can result in arrest, imprisonment, or even deportation. Note that certain laws, like crimes against minors, for example, are prosecutable according to U.S. law, regardless of where the offense occurs, and regardless of what local laws permit.
11 – If you should be arrested or detained, ask officials to notify the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible.
Some recreational drugs are considered illegal in Croatia. You can find a list of illegal substances at the Croatian government’s website.
12 – Counterfeit and “pirated” goods can be found all over the world, and local Croatian laws may deem them illegal. You can be fined and/or directed to surrender them if you attempt to bring them back to your home country.
Bonus tip: Personal checks and traveler checks are not accepted in Croatia. ATMs are prevalent and credit cards are usually accepted, and there are abundant businesses where you can transfer, wire, or receive money.
13 – U.S. citizens should be vigilant and be willing to do their own due diligence if considering any real estate purchase in Croatia. It is recommended that you be sure to consult with an attorney and translator beforehand and during the process to make sure you completely understand the full scope and depth of any real estate contract. Doing so can help protect your rights. The U.S. Embassy cannot assist U.S. citizens with Croatian legal disputes, so if you are wanting to pursue a case, you’ll have to take it to local courts.
14 – Croatia requires all recreational boating captains chartering Croatian-flagged vessels to obtain a certificate of competence.
- Croatia does recognize certain certifications issued in the U.S. and in other countries.
- Details regarding classes of licenses from other countries recognized by Croatia can be found on the website of the Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure.
- Visitors to Croatia can obtain boating certification by passing a test at harbormaster offices in Senj, Split, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Dubrovnik, Ploce, and at the Ministry offices in Zagreb.
- Travelers arriving to Croatia in private boats should refer to the Ministry’s website for information regarding Croatian nautical regulations.
15 – For hiking and climbing in the mountains, it’s a good idea to seek out expert guidance from local guides. In case of emergency, call “112.” For rock climbing in Paklenica National Park, consult with a local guide or contact the park ahead of time.
16 – Conditions and setups for accessibility and accommodation for the disabled in Croatia differ greatly from those in the U.S. Croatia prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities, and also mandates universal access to communication, transportation, and all public buildings for disabled individuals.
There are obvious differences in new buildings compared to old buildings which may still feature limited disabled access. In a country like Croatia with many hills and steep climbs, especially near the coast, disabled individuals may encounter challenges.
Access to public transportation isn’t always available, and outside of larger cities, accessibility for the disabled gets worse. Many cities in Croatia continue the process of improving access for the disabled.
17 – Victims of any crime in Croatia should immediately contact the local police to file a police report before leaving the country. You should also inform your home country’s embassy or consulate, though local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
Tourists and visitors are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance.
So, Should You Carry Your Passport With You in Croatia?
After being allowed into Croatia with your valid passport (remember to leave at least 6 months of validity after your planned departure date). As you’re traveling around the country, it’s recommended you keep your passport securely on you. If you’ve applied for temporary or permanent residence in Croatia (after your initial visa-free 90 days), note that your Croatian identification is the only one accepted by authorities.