Croatia Digital Nomad Visa: No Income Tax and Includes Freelancers

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Croatia introduced the concept of a digital nomad visa in late 2020, but it has now come into effect as of January 2021. Digital nomads can now live and work in Croatia on an extended basis, making it one of the many countries that offer digital nomad visas

The law defines a digital nomad as someone whose work can be done electronically (i.e. over the internet). Further, to qualify under the new scheme one must be from outside the EU, and EU citizens can live and work in Croatia under European Union law. The visa lasts one year to start, then you are able to reapply after a six month period has passed. 

No income tax in Croatia for digital nomads

The first big benefit of Croatia’s digital nomad visa is that digital nomads are exempt from income tax in the country. According to Expat In Croatia, the new law (written in Croatian) translates to mean that people on a digital nomad visa working in Croatia for non-Croatian companies will not be subject to income tax. 

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay income at all, though. Most countries require you to pay income tax wherever you are a citizen. The United States is a famous example, which requires all Americans to report and pay income tax regardless of where you live. Another consideration is whether Croatia has a tax treaty with your country of citizenship. If you are from a tax treaty country, you may have a different tax situation.

Requirements to qualify for Croatia’s digital nomad visa

Requirements for Croatia’s digital nomad visa are similar to most other countries. To start, all applicants that require a visa to enter the country must apply to a Croatian embassy or consulate abroad. 

From there, you need to prepare your application. Expat In Croatia says that includes:

  • A completed application form.
  • Valid passport.
  • Proof of income / proof you are a digital nomad.
  • OIB identification number (required to sign a rental contract).
  • Government background check from your home country.
  • Sufficient health insurance.
  • A rental contract for your home in Croatia. 
  • Proof of funds (it’s low – around $500 per month USD for an individual should suffice).
  • 2 passport photos
  • Paying the application fee (around $75 USD)

According to Expat In Croatia, the process takes about three weeks. After that has passed, assuming no issues with your application, you get a residency card and you’re good to go.

Letting freelancers in

Freelancing continues to grow around the world. Some remote worker and digital nomad visas require income to come from a job. Croatia’s digital nomad visa, on the other hand, does not. In fact, the first person to qualify for the visa is an entrepreneur. Reported by Euronews, American entrepreneur Melissa Paul lost her residency permit after divorcing her Croatian husband. However, she qualified for the digital nomad visa as a ‘third-country national’ with a registered company. 

That said, the process isn’t always easy. 

“There was a lot of back and forth with the ministry in Zagreb. I needed many written statements: what I do, where my company is based, company incorporation documents, proof it’s in good standing, and even an employment contract with myself,” said Paul to Euronews. “Oh, and of course an official stamp. One thing I’ve learned is that officials here love stamps.”

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