I got my Croatian permanent residency after 9 years!

I got my Croatian permanent residency after 9 years!

When I first came to Croatia in 2014, I got a 5 years residency card as I was married to a Croatian,  two months before it expires, I went to renew my residency. I was hoping to apply for “permanent residency” as I have been living in Croatia for 5 years by that time but unfortunately as I am a third country national which means someone who holds a nationality of a country outside the European Economic Area, I had to have a certificate of level B1 of the Croatian language.

The Croatian language levels are A1, A2, B1, B2 and C1 so actually B1 is not a beginner level.

Renewing my temporary residency was my only option and the surprise was that they don’t give 5 years residency any more. The new rule is to renew your residency every year or two years.

My learning Croatian experience
When I first Came to Croatia, I joined Croaticum which is the center of teaching Croatian as a second language. It is part of faculty of philosophy and is a legitimate way of learning Croatian as their language tests are acknowledged by the residency officials.
I finished level A1 with a good grade but it was so tense course and the teacher was refusing to explain in English which made it a continues daily struggle to catch up with all the grammar and hundreds of new words I am getting every day which are explained to me in pure Croatian. Coming from an Arabic background and English as a second language that was unbearable. The course was super expensive, about 600 Euros so I couldn’t quit.

The reason for this crazy way of teaching is the new fashion of believing that the best way to learn a language is to totally immerse yourself in it, including learning the language using that language itself.  Everyone goes on repeating this without any consideration to the fact that this may work for young children as their brain waves are different from adults. You can immerse a child in a totally new language environment and they will learn it and speak it as a native language.

In my mid-forties the experience of learning Croatian in Croatian was traumatizing. I took a break for a while after finishing the course, I volunteered in an NGO to learn by practicing the language but most people were talking to me in English, others who didn’t speak English kept their sentences brief, they were from the old generation and were not that interested in a conversation with a foreigner.

My daily activities were in English as most of what I do in Croatia through my blog “UniqueZagreb” is related to expats and Croatians who attended the expats events were looking forward to speaking English.

Me and my husband communicate in English and we have misunderstandings while we use English which increases during our attempts to stick to speaking Croatian so we always switch back to English.

I finally decided to take a Croatian language slow pace course at a private center but it was too slow in addition to that I had a hiking  accident that affected my ability to move so I quit the course and I am spending the time since then trying to recover and studying Croatian online at Croaticum.

I began also organizing online meetups to practice the language with Expats and locals.

What do you need for applying for a temporary residency?

So, what papers I needed to apply for renewing my residency

– Passport copy

– Copy of my previous residency card ID

– Marriage certificate

– Financial proof which is my husband’s support and proof of income as I don’t work

– Proof of payment for the last month of my health insurance

– Copy of my health insurance card

– A photo (which you can take at any of the photo studios around MUP)

– A form you fill, you can download and print from here

MUP stands for  (Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova) or Ministry of Internal Affairs, it is Zagreb Police Department You can now book your appointment online

You can find more forms for other purposes to download here 

Also if you need information about issues related to foreigners / expats in Croatian check this page and using google translate can help you to get the information you need.


Getting the Permenant residency

By the year 2021, things changed and the language and cultural exam required for permenant residency was canceled for spuses of Croatian citizens.

So I applied with the same documents I applied with to get the temporary resident but this time for permenant residency on March 2021 and by being presistant in following up by phone calls and emails, we finally had a visit from the Police man in January 2023 and by Septmeber 2023 I got my permenant residency.

Getting my Croatian citizenship

Once I got my permanent residency I became eligible to apply for the Croatian citizenship.

Address: Ulica kneza Branimira 4 and phone number 01/4563 640;  01/4563 641 from 7 am to 3 pm

I was requested to provide the following:

  • Copy of passport and residency card ID
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • C.V
  • Criminal record

And ofcourse documents provided should be in Croatian if in onthe language and get fully certifed.

I am now working on these requiements and will update you on how it went.


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