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Croatia

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Still current at: 06 December 2012
Updated: 17 October 2012
No restrictions in this travel advice Avoid all but essential travel to part(s) of country Avoid all but essential travel to whole country Avoid all travel to part(s) of country Avoid all travel to whole country

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary (removal of advice relating to Croatia v Wales). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Croatia.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)


Travel advice for this country

  • There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Carry your passport at all times. You must be able to show some form of identification if required, especially when checking into hotels.

  • The European Health Insurance Card ( EHIC ) is not valid in Croatia as Croatia is not a Member of the European Union and therefore EU reciprocal medical arrangements do not apply.

  • Land mines are still a danger in some more isolated areas. Highly populated areas and major routes are clear of mines and are safe to visit. However, not all isolated areas in the mountains and countryside have been cleared. Be careful not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. See Safety and Security - Local Travel.

  • Around 300,000 British nationals visit Croatia every year (Source: Croatian Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development). Most visits to Croatia are trouble-free. See General - Consular Assistance Statistics.

  • You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  See General - Insurance.

Safety and Security - Terrorism

There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See our Terrorism Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Crime

Croatia has a low crime rate and violent crime is rare.

British Citizens should be aware that, on occasion tourists have been the victims of overcharging in some so-called "Gentlemen's Clubs", sometimes thousands of Euros, and threatened with violence when they refuse to pay.

Take precautions when carrying money in busy tourist areas, where pickpockets are known to operate. Personal and valuable items should not be left unattended, particularly on the beach. Many hotels have safe deposit boxes.

Report all incidents of crime to the local police station and obtain a police report.

See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel

Most visits to Croatian holiday resorts are trouble-free and tourist areas are visited by millions of foreigners every year. If you are planning to travel outside the normal tourist resorts be aware that unexploded mines remain in war-affected areas such as Eastern Slavonia, Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, areas around Zadar County and in more remote areas of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. For more specific information about mine-affected areas please visit the Croatian Mine Action Center's website.

In such areas be wary about leaving cultivated land or marked paths. If in doubt seek local advice.

If you intend to hike in the Croatian mountains seek local guides’ expert advice, however tame the mountain might seem to you. The weather in the Croatian mountains can change quickly, even in the summer months and temperatures can get very low overnight. There have been reports of hikers getting lost in the mountains when they have gone out alone, without expert guides, and left marked paths. They have also been lost in stormy weather etc. If in trouble, call the emergency number 112 and the Croatian Mountain Rescue service will help you as best they can (www.gss.hr, available in English, click on ‘In case of an emergency’ for further advice).

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel

Your UK driving licence is valid for up to six months from entry into Croatia. If you are staying longer, you need to apply for a Croatian licence. International Driving Licences are not valid in Croatia.

You may need to provide proof that you own your vehicle to enter Croatia by presenting a V5 log book. If you fail to produce this documentation when asked you will be refused entry.

Please contact the Croatian Embassy in London if you have more detailed questions about bringing a vehicle in to the country. The British Embassy is unable to offer any assistance to individuals attempting to bring vehicles into Croatia who do not have the correct documentation on arrival at the border.

You do not need a Green Card to drive in Croatia. However, if you are driving to or through Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 20km strip of coastline at Neum on the Dalmatian coastal highway, ensure that you have a Green Card that includes cover for Bosnia and Herzegovina. If this is not the case, temporary third-party insurance can be purchased at the main border posts, or in Split and other large Croatian cities. Insurance cannot be obtained at the Neum border.

Road conditions in and around Zagreb and the larger towns are of a generally good standard. However, take care when overtaking and use caution around other road users who may unexpectedly overtake repeatedly in slower traffic. Minor roads are usually unlit at night.

Croatia has laws stating that it is illegal:

  • to drive with more than 0.5% of alcohol in the system (but if in any kind of offence, zero tolerance applies);
  • to drive without dipped headlights from the last weekend in October until last weekend in March; and
  • to use a mobile phone whilst driving.

It is obligatory to carry a fluorescent vest in your car whilst driving in Croatia. You must keep the vest in the car and not in the boot. You must wear the vest whilst attending to a breakdown, e.g.  changing a tyre. All passengers must wear seat belts and special seats are required for infants. Children under the age of 12 may not sit in the front seat.

There have been a number of reported incidents of gangs robbing car occupants after either indicating that they are in trouble and require assistance, or pulling alongside a car and indicating that there seems to be something wrong and they should pull over. Be cautious should something similar to the above actions occur.

In 2011 there were 416 road deaths in Croatia (source: DfT). This equates to 9.4 road deaths per 100,000 of population compared to the UK average of 3.0 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2011.

Emergency road help (HAK) may be reached by dialling (385 1) 1987. This service is staffed by English speaking operators. Traffic information in English is available at 98.5FM during the tourist season only.

See our Driving Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Rail Travel

Special care should be taken to guard valuables, especially at night.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Sea Travel

There is zero tolerance on alcohol consumption by those in charge of yachts and other boats. If you intend to take charge of a boat in Croatia do not consume alcohol.  The penalties for being caught drunk in charge of a boat are likely to be heavy. There have been a number of cases of yacht/boat skippers being arrested and taken to court for entering a non-designated entry port when arriving in Croatia, without informing the authorities, which has resulted in the skippers being heavily fined.  If you are considering sailing to Croatia be aware of the rules on entry to Croatia.  Enter only at a designated port/harbour; if this is not possible, contact the local harbour master or the police before entering a non-designated port/harbour.

The Croatian Government requires all skippers to have an International Certificate of Competence (ICC).

See our River and Sea Safety page.

Safety and Security - Political Situation


Croatia Country Profile

Carry your passport at all times, because it is the only officially recognised form of identification. Keep a photocopy of the biographical details page (the page where your photograph is) in a safe location, including details of your next of kin. A violation of local laws may result in a jail sentence, served in a local prison. Drugs related offences are punished with fines and jail sentences.

See our Your trip page.

Entry Requirements - Visas

As a British national you do not require a visa for tourist and business trips of up to ninety days in any six month period. The ninety days do not have to be concurrent. However, a visa may be required for other types of visit or stay. Additional information on entry and registration requirements, including those for yachts, their crews and passengers, may be obtained from the Consular section of the Croatian Embassy; 21 Conway Street, London, W1P 5HL; (tel: 020 7387 1144).

When entering Croatia, you may be asked to produce evidence of the financial means necessary to cover subsistence during your stay and return to the UK or transit to a third country. The daily subsistence rate is fixed at one hundred Euros per day – this rate applies if your stay is at a hotel. If you are staying in Croatia as the guest of a Croatian national, you will be asked to provide proof or residence. The daily subsistence rate for staying at a private residence is fifty Euros per day. Credit/bank cards, bank statements, cheques are accepted as proof that you have sufficient means to cover subsistence for the duration of your stay.

British nationals living in Croatia who wish to extend their stay for more than 90 days must obtain a temporary residence permit. The first temporary residence permit must be obtained from the Croatian Embassy in London.

Information regarding residency and work permits can be obtained from the Croatian Embassy in London.

Entry Requirements - Passport Validity

All British passport holders require a valid passport to enter Croatia. Your passport needs to be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Entry Requirements - Registration

Unless staying at a hotel or official tourist accommodation (hostels, campsites or registered private accommodation), you are required to register with the local police or the local town tourist centre within 48 hours of arrival (in Zagreb you should register at the Police Station at Petrinjska 30. For elsewhere in Croatia, you should register at the nearest main Police Station). All hotels and other tourist accommodation should register you with the local police on arrival; but some tourist accommodation may not. Please check with your accommodation about registration before travelling, and if it does not provide this service you will need to register yourselves on arrival. Failure to register may result in a fine or possible removal from Croatia (which may include a restriction on your ability to return to Croatia for a certain period).

Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that less than 1,000 adults aged 15 or over in Croatia were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at less than 0.1% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Our Travel Health pages offer further advice on how to stay healthy when overseas.

Natural Disasters - Earthquakes

Earthquakes are not uncommon in Croatia and small tremors are recorded several times a month throughout the year without consequences. The last mid-scale earthquake occurred in2010; but there were no casualties or significant damage. Independent advice on how to prepare for an earthquake and how to protect yourself during an earthquake or tremor is available from many sources online. For further information please see the Embassy website. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see this advice from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Earthquakes are not uncommon in Croatia and small tremors are recorded several times a month throughout the year without consequences. The last mid-scale earthquake occurred in2010; but there were no casualties or significant damage. Independent advice on how to prepare for an earthquake and how to protect yourself during an earthquake or tremor is available from many sources online. For further information please see the Embassy website http://www.ukincroatia.fco.gov.uk.

Natural Disasters - Forest fires

Forest fires are very common during Croatia’s hot and dry summers. Outbreaks occur regularly and, although these are usually quickly brought under control by the Croatian Fire Service without travel disruption, it is important to be aware of the potential outbreaks and remain alert. In particular, please take care when visiting or driving through woodland and forest areas; ensure that cigarette ends are properly extinguished and disposed of carefully, do not light barbecues and do not leave any rubbish, particularly empty bottles, behind.

General - Insurance

Health care facilities, doctors and hospitals may expect up-front cash payment for medical services.

The Croatian state requires every foreigner to have a valid health insurance or travel insurance that covers the costs that might occur during their stay in Croatia with regards to the repatriation costs due to health reasons, urgent medical assistance and/or urgent hospital treatment. The lowest insured sum must be equivalent to €30.000.

You should take out comprehensive travel insurance. Check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all pre-existing conditions and all the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas see our When Things Go Wrong page.

In case of accident stay calm, call the emergency number 112 they will alert all relevant services i.e. medical, police, etc.

General - Passports

The British Embassy in Zagreb does not issue full validity British Passports. These are issued at the British Consulate-General in Dusseldorf. Ensure that your passport has sufficient validity for the duration of you planned stay and a plentiful supply of unused pages. In an emergency an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) valid for one journey back to the UK or a two way journey via up to five countries can be issued in Zagreb or Split. Applications for ETDs made in  Dubrovnik will be sent to Zagreb for issuing so bear in mind that there will be time delays and extra cost (courier). To travel from Dubrovnik by road you need a passport to cross the part of the Dalmatian coast that belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The alternative is taking a Dubrovnik - Split ferry. Ferry companies run a very limited or no service on that route from October to May.

The loss or theft of a passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the British Embassy in Zagreb or the Consulates in Split and Dubrovnik. The Embassy can advise you about obtaining a replacement full validity British passport. Applications for new full validity British passports are not accepted in Croatia. For more information please check the Croatia Embassy website under ‘passports’.

General - Registration

By registering, British nationals make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. If you intend staying in Croatia for an extended period of time you should register your presence with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found on the Croatia Embassy website under Help for British nationals Living in Croatia Registering with us.


General - Money

All major credit/debit cards are accepted in most banks and hotels. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are easily exchanged for local currency. There are plenty of cash points in Zagreb. There have been reports of an increase in the number of forged Croatian Kuna banknotes being discovered, especially 200 and 500 notes. Take care when purchasing Kuna; you should only do this at reliable outlets, such as banks and cash points .


General - Buying property in Croatia

Whilst the majority of property brokers are honest, we have received numerous reports of buyers being defrauded. The British Government cannot intervene in legal proceedings, nor can they become involved in steps to recover any capital outlay in respect of individual property deals. Proceed with caution, taking at least the same steps to protect your interests as you would do at home. Seek comprehensive advice, including legal advice from a qualified, experienced, independent and reputable Croatian property lawyer to ensure that your interests are adequately safeguarded, before making any purchase.  Attempting to save money on professional fees by cutting corners, or by using the seller’s lawyers, is a false economy that can result in severe problems later.

British nationals purchasing property in Croatia should deal only with established and reputable real estate agents or with other contacts that they know to be reliable and genuine.

British nationals planning to rent their property in Croatia are should seek legal advice on how to go about making sure they comply with the Croatian law.

You should also note that the Croatian legal system is not the same as that in the UK and the process of achieving legal redress in Croatia can be very protracted in comparison.

General - Consular Assistance Statistics

Around 300,000 British nationals visit Croatia every year (Source: Croatian Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development). Most visits to Croatia are trouble-free. 73 British nationals required consular assistance in Croatia in the period 01 April 2011 - 31 March 2012 for the following types of incident; 10 deaths; 33 hospitalisations; and 20 arrests, for a variety of offences.

Contacts

Croatia, Zagreb, British Embassy

Address:

British Embassy
Ivana Lučića 4
10000 Zagreb

Telephone:

(385)(1) 6009 100

Fax:

(385)(1) 6009 111 British Embassy
(385)(1) 6009 260 UK Trade and Investment
(385)(1) 6009 298 Visa & Consular
(385)(1) 6009 245 Management
(385)(1) 6009 305 Press and Public Affairs  

Email: british.embassyzagreb@fco.gov.uk

Email: zagreb.consular@fco.gov.uk

Email: mailto:british.embassyzagreb@fco.gov.uk

Email: british.embassyzagreb@fco.gov.uk

Email: mailto:Zagreb.consular@fco.gov.uk

Email: mailto:commercial.section@zg.t-com.hr

Office hours:

Embassy

Local time
Mon - Thurs: 0830 - 1700
Fri: 0830 - 1400

GMT
Mon - Thurs: 07:30 - 16:00
Fri: 07:30 - 13:00

Consulate

Local time
Mon - Thurs: 08:00 - 16:00
Fri: 08:30 - 14:00

GMT
Mon - Thurs: 07:00 - 15:00
Fri: 07:30 - 13:00

Website: http://ukincroatia.fco.gov.uk/en/

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