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Old 24-02-2014, 23:47   #1
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Croatia length of stay conditions

I have been in touch with the local Croatian Consulate, I have asked the helpful marina we are planning on staying at and I have searched through Croatia threads but can't find specifically what I am looking for, maybe someone can help.

We will hopefully be visiting Croatia later this year and want to make sure I understand the length of stay rules.

My understanding so far is:
  • As an Australian I don't need a Visa for a 90 day stay
  • Croatia is in the EU
  • It is not yet in Schengen
  • They are planning to join Schengen in 2015
  • In preparation for Schengen they have implemented a Schengen type system of 90 days in 180 days
What I don't know, is the Croatian 90 days completely separate to a Schengen 90 days for 2014? E.g. if I spend 60 days in Croatia followed by 30 days in Italy, do I still have 30 days left on my Croatian stay, or are they viewing their system this year as a quasi Schengen in preparation for next year (as Italy & Slovenia are Schengen countries)?

Cheers Brownie
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Old 25-02-2014, 02:02   #2
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

Croatia, like the UK, is separate from Schengen as far as immigration rules stand. Thus your Croatia entrance stamp allows you, personally, 90 days out of any 180 in Croatia.

Independently, if you enter Italy, your entrance stamp (if Italy bothers!) permits a stay of 90 days out of any 180 in Schengen countries (which include Greece and Slovenia).

If, for any reason, you're in Schengen and don't have an entry stamp (you may be regarded as boat crew, not permitted to sleep ashore) do not try to leave by ferry or airplane without first obtaining an entry stamp.

It may be easy for an Australian to obtain a residence visa in one or other Schengen country. NZ has great freedom in this respect. A bit of research may help you there. If so, your visa difficulties within Schengen are largely removed.

JimB
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Old 25-02-2014, 02:07   #3
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

New Zealanders benefit by having a series of bilateral agreements with many European countries that allow longer tourist visits. These agreement predate the Schengen Acquis . Hence it's always useful for such residents travelling to Europe to investigate such agreements

Australian residents have much less scope unfortunately because such agreements are only in place with a few EU countries. Some have lapsed.

Dave
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Old 25-02-2014, 13:53   #4
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

I am very impressed, I received a response from the Croatian Government that is unequivocal. For the record, the reply appears below.

========================================

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
Consular Affairs Directorate
Division for Visas

OUR REF: 216-03/14-01/
OUR NO.: 521-IV-03-02/KM-14-02
Zagreb, 25 February 2014


Dear Mr Brown,

Referring to your e-mail dated 25 February 2014 please be informed that nationals of Australia do not require a visa for entering and stay of up to 90 days in any 180 days the Republic of Croatia or for transit through its territory.

Passport has to be valid for at least another three months after the planned departure from Croatia and issued within the previous 10 years.

Since Republic of Croatia is not part of Schengen Area duration of stay in the Republic of Croatia is separated from the duration of stay in the Schengen member states.


Best regards,

Division for Visas
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:09   #5
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

I have a similar question that I am trying to find a definitive answer to.

Croatia will accept a Schengen visa. If I spend 90 days in Italy, can I just cross to Croatia and get another 90 days there on the same visa?

If so, while there, I can apply for another Schengen visa when the 180 days expires, cross back to Italy spend another 90 days there, then back to Croatia, and repeat until Croatia officially joins Schengen?

It just seems too easy.

I don't actually need a Schengen visa, I am researching for somebody else.

Thanks,

Eric
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Old 10-03-2014, 15:35   #6
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

Theoretically, you can do as you suggest, 90 days in Italy then 90 days in Croatia and so on. You will satisfy the 90 days in any 180 days of both places. I doubt you will encounter any issues with Italy but whether Croatia will keep issuing visa's I am not sure, they seem a bit stricter. No reason why not, but you do get used to local officials in this part of the world interpreting the rules their own way.
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Old 10-03-2014, 15:43   #7
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

Just read your posting again. If you need a visa, a Schengen and a Croatian visa are different. Again I emphasise, if you need visas, you will have to get a Schengen then a Croatian, then a Schengen etc. Croatia has their own visa, you can't extend a Schengen visa for a stay there. However many nationals don't need visas.
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:22   #8
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

As I understood the situation, Croatia although not a member of Schengen, will allow Schengen visa holders into the country. My theory is that though a Schengen visa holder can enter the country without the need for a Croatian visa, time spent in Croatia cannot count towards the Schengen 90 day allowance, because it is not a Schengen country. What I don't know is if Croatia is acting as though it were a Schengen country and enforcing Schengen rules, so that if the 90 day allowance had been used up in Italy, they would refuse entry.
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Old 12-03-2014, 00:53   #9
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

I have no idea whether Croatia will accept a Schengen visa or not. However, I think the visa department of the Croatian Government is quite clear in their response to my query, Croatia is separate from Schengen:

"Since Republic of Croatia is not part of Schengen Area duration of stay in the Republic of Croatia is separated from the duration of stay in the Schengen member states".

However, even if Croatia does accept a Schengen visa for entry, I don't follow your logic. If you have used up your 90 day Schengen allowance in Italy, surely it is immaterial, the visa has expired and you will have no valid visa for either Italy or Croatia.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:52   #10
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by maersi View Post
As I understood the situation, Croatia although not a member of Schengen, will allow Schengen visa holders into the country. My theory is that though a Schengen visa holder can enter the country without the need for a Croatian visa, time spent in Croatia cannot count towards the Schengen 90 day allowance, because it is not a Schengen country. What I don't know is if Croatia is acting as though it were a Schengen country and enforcing Schengen rules, so that if the 90 day allowance had been used up in Italy, they would refuse entry.
A Schengen visa has no meaning in Croatia.

Whether you have one or not is completely irrelevant to the Croatian authorities.


This may change in 2015 when the country hopes to join the Schengen group.


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Old 12-03-2014, 09:47   #11
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

From The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs website.

MVEP • General Information

For foreign citizens: Since 1 April 2013, the Republic of Croatia has been applying the European Union’s Common Visa Policy. Pursuant to the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, in the period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, all foreign nationals who are holders of valid Schengen documents are not required to have additional (Croatian) visa to enter Croatia and a enjoy short stay.
I am aware that statement only runs to the end of 2013. I am sure that it also applies in 2014, and will run until Croatia becomes a Schengen country, but I have not yet found online proof.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:47   #12
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by maersi View Post
From The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs website.

MVEP • General Information

For foreign citizens: Since 1 April 2013, the Republic of Croatia has been applying the European Union’s Common Visa Policy. Pursuant to the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, in the period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, all foreign nationals who are holders of valid Schengen documents are not required to have additional (Croatian) visa to enter Croatia and a enjoy short stay.

I am aware that statement only runs to the end of 2013. I am sure that it also applies in 2014, and will run until Croatia becomes a Schengen country, but I have not yet found online proof.
I think you have just answered your own question " ..... who are holders of valid Schengen documents ....." surely if you have used up your 90 days in Italy, it is no longer a "valid document", it is an expired document
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Old 14-03-2014, 05:23   #13
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

I found the confirmation that I could not find previously.
Pursuant to the Government’s decision, starting with 1 January 2014 until the Republic of Croatia fully applies the provisions of the Schengen acquis, all aliens holders of valid Schengen documents do not require an additional (Croatian) visa for entry and short-term stay in Croatia.
Found on MVEP • Visa requirements overview

I also emailed the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs for clarification, and received the a comprehensive reply. Extracts below.
In line with the Government’s decision, aliens who are holders of:
  • uniform visa (C) for two or multiple entries, valid for all Schengen Area member states;
  • visa with limited territorial validity (LTV visa),for two or multiple entries, issued to the holder of a travel document that is not recognised by one or more, but not all of the Schengen Area member states, and which is valid for the territory of the member states recognising the travel document;
  • long-stay visa (D) for stays exceeding three months, issued by one of the Schengen Area member state;
  • residence permit issued by one of the Schengen Area member state;
do not require a visa for transit through or intended stays in the territory of the Republic of Croatia not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period.

Therefore, regardless of your nationality, if you have a valid passport and a valid C02 or C Multi Schengen visa (valid for all Schengen countries) or a Schengen residence permit (France is a part of Schengen), you can enter Croatia without a Croatian visa. The passport and the Schengen visa or residence permit must be valid at the moment of entry, during the stay and at the moment of leaving Croatia.

If you have a C 02 Schengen visa (02 = valid for two entries into Schengen) you can enter Croatia only if you have not used both entries into Schengen prior to entering Croatia. If you have used both entries into Schengen prior to entering Croatia, such a visa is not considered valid and therefore you will not be able to enter Croatia with such a visa.

and finally
Since Croatia is not yet a part of the Schengen area, the time spent in Schengen is not connected to the time spent in Croatia (you can stay 90 days in Croatia even if you have already stayed for 90 days in Schengen). However, the other direction often differs from one member state to another and we would therefore suggest you contact Greece or other member states you plan to visit.
The "other direction" seems to indicate that some Schengen countries may attempt to deduct time spent in Croatia from the Schengen 90 day allowance. I would however be prepared to argue that on entry.

Bottom line is that it seems a long term stay in Europe is possible using just Schengen visas . Just have to go to the relevant consulate in Zagreb to obtain a new Schengen visa. The only potential stumbling block would be if the consulate would not issue a new visa until the 180 day period had expired.

Eric
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Old 14-03-2014, 16:44   #14
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

Great reply mairsi.

One point, the reference above refers to visas, rather than passport stamps as provided to those who don't need visas prior to entry.


I wonder if there's some subtle difference there?


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Old 15-03-2014, 21:07   #15
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Re: Croatia length of stay conditions

If the passport holder is an EU or EEA citizen, then EU Freedom of Movement regulations apply. This is a right to reside, the only condition is that after 3 months, a residence permit must be applied for. I have no idea if a boat could be classed as a residence, but I suspect not, as it is not a fixed address.

For non-EEA citizens who don't need a visa, this will just be a concession to encourage tourism, thus I suspect that any attempt to stay longer than 3 months would require a visa.

If someone can stay for 3 months in Croatia without a visa, then everything is simple. 3 months in Schengen space, 3 months in Croatia. This situation will of course change when Croatia officially joins Schengen. There can then be no exemptions, because there will be no border controls between Croatia and the rest of Europe.
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