Croatia wants tourists to move there. These people are doing just that
(CNN) – While most European Union countries have sealed their borders against non-European visitors during the epidemic, Croatia is welcoming arrivals from the United States and many other countries.
Summer observed that it allows almost anyone to holiday on its beautiful Adriatic coastline and enjoy its stunning islands and the “Game of Thrones” city of Dubrovnik. Even now, non-EU visitors are welcome, provided they test or quarantine.
Now Croatia is making it easier for those who want to stay longer – revising their immigration laws to grant one-year residential permits to remote digital workers from outside the EU, provided they are allowed to enter Tourist visa is not required.
While other destinations such as Dubai have paid a price to keep their borders wide, Croatia is a winner in encouraging tourism over the long term.
The new rules began January 1, and the first applicants have already arrived.
On January 15, American Melissa Paul received the unexpected honor of becoming Croatia’s first official digital nomad under the new law. Since then, she has been caught in a rash of media interviews by national dailies and television networks.
“I’ve actually been a remote worker for 15 years, owning my own company, but having contracts with all companies in the US, UK and Mexico,” she tells CNN.
Paul, a marketing consultant who produces websites, blog articles, newspapers and manages social media for art and design, events, wedding and hospitality businesses, spent a lifetime in Croatia before obtaining a one-year permit. Had experienced
Melissa Paul is Croatia’s first official digital nomad.
Courtesy Melissa Paul
“When I moved to Croatia, being a digital entrepreneur allowed me to live and continue to make a living while traveling the country and Europe,” she says.
Paul initially moved to Croatia with her American-Croatian husband, whose parents were from Crook Island. When the couple divorced, they found out that they did not have many options to continue living as a resident in Croatia. But the new law opened a window of opportunity.
Now she is running her business from her kitchen table in a house in the mountainous town of Labin, on the Adriatic Peninsula of Istria, northwest Croatia.
“Labin has a kindred property,” he said of his new home. “From friendly people, to a large number of artists who work here as well as a mix of history, culture and modern industry. All in one beautiful, central location. It’s perfect for me and I like it more every day.” ”
European-style bureaucracy was something that Paul was already familiar with, but the application process still included a paper chase.
“I knew that the more prepared I was, the better,” she says. “But I had to provide several documents detailing the work I did, where my clients are, and to prove that my company was active, I had the financial means to work independently, health insurance And there is a place to live. Since I’ve been one. It was all easy for me, independent worker for years. ”
Paul saw his extended stay in Croatia as an opportunity to get to know the country better and experience it for the first time, “not in the rush of days but slowly savoring over months or years.”
A boost for the tourist industry
Croatia offers a Mediterranean lifestyle with over 1,000 islands.
STR / AFP via Getty Image
The idea of introducing a residence permit for digital nomads was the brainchild of Jan de Jong, a Dutch entrepreneur and investor living in Croatia since 2006.
In July, he posted an open letter to Croatian Prime Minister Lady Plankovic on LinkedIn, pointing to the possible economic perks of welcoming remote workers.
Plenkovic received the message and after discussions with de Jong, relevant changes to the immigration law were adopted in December 2020.
For De Jong, welcoming digital nomads as long-term tourists is a win.
“Croatia is a safe country with a Mediterranean lifestyle, many digital nomads will find attractive,” he says. “It is a very warm and welcoming country and the hospitality of the people is great.
“Then there is the climate, amazing nature and more than 1,000 islands. People speak very good English. Also have a good internet and easy travel connection with the rest of Europe. Lastly, life here is cheap.”
Also, this new possibility of year-round tourism could give a boost to local economies and Croatia’s tourism industry, which is in the grip of an epidemic despite an open policy.
Tourists are ready to capitalize on new businesses that rent out accommodation and cater to digital nomads.
“Well-paid digital nomads will spend their income here which would be great for the service industry,” De Jong says. “Furthermore, through VAT they pay on whatever they buy, they will provide additional revenue.”
History and resources
Split, on the Dalmatian beach, is a popular destination for travelers.
Croatian National Tourist Board / Ivan Koric
Mexican Ariel Medell and Claudia Sav have been living in Split since November 2020. Soon after settling in this historic seaside town on the Dalmatian coast, he heard about the government’s digital nomadic schemes.
Medal has been a freelance comic book artist, illustrator and graphic designer for the past 15 years. The appeal to work as a digital nomad grew as the couple traveled to Europe twice a year.
Mexican duo Ariel Medell and Claudia Sav say that becoming a digital nomad was a natural choice.
Ariel Medell and Claudia Sav
“I think it was a natural step to become a digital nomad, seeing that I love to travel and learn about the culture and history of other countries, my wife shares with me, an interest” she permits. Says about his decision to apply for.
The couple have already located the capital, Zagreb, where they first arrived. They then moved to the seaside cities of Zadar, Šibenik and Pula. For many long-term travelers, the ancient port of Split appealed most.
“We decided to stay in Split because in addition to being a beautiful city on the coast, and despite having a lot of history, it’s huge that we need all the resources without it which is huge.”
Singapore to Zagreb
Jane Tor planned to move from Singapore to Croatia after touring with her parents.
Courtesy Jane Tor
After an extended halt in Croatia due to this past decline, long-term traveler Jane Tor from Singapore plans to return in March 2021. This time, with her laptop in tow, she will apply for a long-term stay as a digital. Nomad.
Tor works to lead and manage a tech company with startups working in education, fintech, digital marketing and the travel industry.
“I arrived in Croatia the first week of October, only because I was in Albania before that, and couldn’t fly to any EU countries without going through Croatia,” Tor says. “My initial plan was to stay for two weeks, which spread over 84 days.”
She was groomed by Croatian beach and windsurfing, diving and hiking opportunities. Her excitement attracted her parents, who accompanied her on a five-week vacation.
Together, they discovered the turquoise lakes and springs of the national parks of Krka and Plitvis, a UNESCO heritage site. The coastal city of Zadar was an attraction.
“Coming from Singapore, a sunny island that is also a city state, I am ready to be close to the sea,” she says. “I enjoy walking, so walking along the sea in Zadar was awesome. You can walk a few hours from one port to another, ending up at a sunset bar.”
Although Zadar will be his favorite place to stay out of his digital nomadic experience, Tor is making a move to Zagreb.
“I love walking in my old city and changing colors,” she says. “And I love the local markets in every city. Going there every day to buy local produce was a good routine. Croatia is also small enough that I can be on a quiet island within two or three hours of driving from Zagreb Am
“I definitely want to explore the islands around Zadar and Split, fly kites and do more hiking.”
Compared to Singapore, Tor Croatia finds it less crowded and much cheaper to live. He was also able to connect with migrant communities encouraging new communities.
“I’ve only met great people in Croatia, especially from the tech industry, which I am,” she says from her first experience.
Pros and cons
Jane Tor says she finds Croatia cheaper and less crowded than Singapore.
Courtesy Jane Tor
The pros and cons of each country are a hot topic on online forums to attract digital nomads.
Croatia has a lot of pluses – it does not require nomads to pay income tax and the residence permit is valid for one year, although extensions require leaving the country for six months.
However, some people find the need for police investigation for additional trouble.
Sara Dyson, an expat in Croatia, offers one-to-one counseling to anyone considering a move and has seen an uproar in questioning digital nomads.
She says, “The only flaw so far is that digital nomadic permits do not put people on the path to permanent residency or citizenship.” “” But this permit is currently the best option for a third country applying for residency.
“If anyone still wants to come to Croatia, this loss does not disappoint them. If someone is considering another country, it is giving them pause on whether Croatia is the right choice.”