Croatia recognises same gender relationships, has anti-discrimination laws and allows same gender adoption. Major cities, especially in northern Croatia and Istria, are generally more open and LGBTI friendly, as are the tourist hotspots. However, public displays of affection are not common and people might be more tolerant with tourists rather than with LGBTI people who live in the country. Ukrainian children can be enrolled in primary, secondary, and higher education institutions. A one-time financial support is available, as well as the possibility to find employment. Health care and social services are provided. You can find hotlines and useful contact numbers here in Ukrainian.
Croatia has officially adopted the activation of the EU Directive on the Temporary Protection of Ukrainian refugees. The directive allows refugees from Ukraine to enter Croatia and gain certain benefits without having to apply for asylum.
Temporary protection in Croatia is granted until 4 March 2023. If the reasons last, the temporary protection will automatically be extended twice for 6 months each time or until 4 March 2024.
It is allowed to bring pets and personal belongings which are exempt from paying import duties.
Ukrainians who arrive at the Croatian border must declare themselves as displaced people in need of temporary protection. They must show their passport or an ID card to enter Croatia. If they are accompanying a minor, the police will ask for necessary documents to clarify the kinship or other relationship with the minor.
The Directorate of Civil Protection has published two useful leaflets for Ukrainian refugees:
- Useful information for displaced people – in Ukrainian here
- Important phone numbers and safety tips – in Ukrainian here
If you are hosted in a collective accommodation facility, you do not have to visit the MUP administrative office to apply for temporary protection. In this case, you must submit the request for temporary protection to the MUP/police staff who is in charge of those facilities.
Note: The registration to the Croatian Red Cross is not equal to applying for temporary protection. Temporary protection is the responsibility of the MUP. Furthermore, applications cannot be submitted at the reception centres.
If you have already organized accommodation in Croatia, provided by your family, relatives, or friends, you can apply for temporary protection in 2 ways:
- By visiting the MUP station closest to your temporary address – You must enclose an application form in Ukrainian/Croatian or English/Croatian;
- Via the online service Croatia4Ukraine, available in Ukrainian, English, and Croatian here.
After your application is approved by MUP, they will issue you an identity card declaring you an alien under temporary protection called Iskaznica stranca pod privremenom zaštitom, which is considered a residence permit and confirms the status and rights of an alien under temporary protection in Croatia. It is issued in English and Croatian. You must always bring this card with you. If the card is lost or stolen, you have to report this to the MUP.
More official information on temporary protection in Ukrainian here.
Once you are granted temporary protection in Croatia, you have the right to:
- Stay for a period of temporary protection
- Work without a residence and work permit or a certificate of registration of work
- Mandatory health insurance
- A fixed amount of money for basic needs and accommodation
- Primary and secondary education
- Family reunification
- First social service
- Psychosocial counselling
- Accommodation if you meet the requirements in accordance with the Social Welfare Act (unaccompanied children, children with disabilities, the elderly, people with disabilities, etc.)
- One-time payment (see section “financial subsistence”).
You can find more information on rights and obligations in Ukrainian here.
One-time allowance for a single person of up to 2.500 kuna or a family of up to 3.500. To get the one-time allowance, you have to submit a request to the social worker on duty at the Reception centre or Collective Accommodation. If you reside in private individual accommodation, you can submit a request at the Centar za socijalnu skrb (Centre for Social Welfare) and their branches in Croatia. A list of Centres and their branches is available here.
More information on social rights and help is available in Ukrainian here.
Ukrainians with temporary protection have the right to free mandatory health insurance (Including emergency cases, visits to general practitioners and specialists. Dental care is covered only in urgent cases).
Citizens of Croatia have to pay one year to HZZO (Croatian Health Insurance Fund) before they can start using their health insurance to the fullest, while Ukrainians are exempt from these payments. Guide on health care and health insurance in Croatia
More information on the right to health care is available in Ukrainian here.
If you haven't organised accommodation, you will be referred to one of the 3 reception centres/shelters in Varaždin, Osijek, or Gospić.
Those who stay in a shelter can stay there temporarily for up to 48 hours. At the reception centre, you will be welcomed by employees of the Civil Protection, the police, and the Croatian Red Cross. During your stay there, the shelter will find and offer you organised permanent accommodation.
The Croatian Red Cross, called Hrvatski crveni križ, will register you in their records. This will give you the right to psychosocial support, humanitarian aid, and temporary protection as a form of emergency humanitarian aid.
If you already have pre-secured accommodation in Croatia given by your family or friends, you must mention this to the Croatian border police. They will let you continue traveling to your destination. If you accept permanent accommodation from the shelter or you are staying at the host's who provides accommodation services, you must be registered on e-Visitor. This registration must be completed by the owner of the property or accommodation. The owner should already be familiar with the process, but if they are not, here is a guide>.
The owner of the accommodation must visit the closest MUP administration office and register your temporary stay. You do not have to accompany the owner to the police, but the owner must bring:
- Application form – Download it here
- Copy of your identity document
- Lease agreement, a title deed, or statement of the property owner stating their consent to register your stay at the address, as well as a copy of the document of the property owner
Each time you change the location of your stay, you must report your new address to the MUP within 2 days.
EL*C has created a lesbian hosting network of individuals who have made their flats and spare rooms available for Ukrainian refugees. Please notice that EL*C can provide you with a temporary solution (up to a few months). Contact the relocation team at: +48 571 944 400 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ukrainian children under temporary protection in Croatia can enrol in or continue primary and secondary education in Croatia under the same conditions as Croatian citizens.
More information on the right to education including how to enrol children in kindergarten, elementary school, or high school, Croatian language courses, and study is available in Ukrainian here.
Education in Croatia is broken down into four levels:
- Kindergarten – 6 months to 6 years old
- Elementary school – 6 years to 15 years old
- High school – 15 years to 18 years old
- College – 18 years old or older
Croaticum offers free online courses for A1 and A2 Croatian language levels in cooperation with Središnji državni ured za Hrvate izvan Hrvatske (Central State Office for Croats Outside Croatia) and Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu.
Easy Croatian is a non-profit education website that includes free online Croatian language lessons, organised by topic.
Ukrainian students under temporary protection have the same right to education as Croatian students. They have a right to continue their higher education, and the corresponding faculties decide whether to accept them based on the availability of vacancies and other criteria.
People fleeing from Ukraine can use HŽ Putnički prijevoz trains free of charge with "solidarity tickets" and with a "Help Ukraine Ticket.
During temporary protection, Ukrainians can work in Croatia without the need to obtain a residence and work permit or a work registration certificate. They have the right to register with the HZZ – Croatian employment service. After registration, they will get an adviser who will help them create a CV and find a job (a guide on how to find a job in Croatia is here.
More information on the right to employment and work in Croatia including the process of registration to the HZZ is available in Ukrainian here.
Same-sex marriages and same-sex partnerships performed abroad (EU and non-EU) are recognised as life partnerships in Croatia. This also includes unregistered same-sex relationships where couples have been cohabiting for a minimum of 3 years. They are recognised as informal life partnerships. Furthermore, couples can enter into life partnerships in Croatia, even if both partners are citizens of a non-EU/EEA country or if their country does not recognise same-sex relationships.
Applying for a residence permit for family reunification is reserved only to different-sex couples (whether married or not).
Full joint adoption for same-sex couples in a registered life partnership in Croatia is legal since 2022, and a single person is allowed to adopt, regardless of their sexual orientation.
To enter into a life partnership, both partners have to:
- be of the same gender;
- be at least 18 years old;
- consent to the formation of a partnership.
Gender transition is legal in Croatia, and birth certificates may be legally amended to recognise this. Croatia does not require medical procedures, such as sterilisation, surgical interventions, or hormonal treatment, as preconditions for legal gender recognition. However, in Croatia, a mental disorder diagnosis, an assessment of time lived in the new gender identity, and a single civil status (forcing those who are married to get divorced) are required before changes can be made in official documents. Until 2013, the change of gender had to be stated on an individual's birth certificate. That is no longer the case at present. This also applies to people who have not formally undergone sex reassignment surgery but have nevertheless undertaken hormone replacement therapy.
Rispet - LGBT Association Split
Kolektvir - Association for promoting and protecting the rights of trans, inter and gender variant persons
Women's Room - Center for Sexual Rights
Zagreb Pride< The Croatian Red Cross is helping Ukrainian refugees on the Croatian territory (EN.