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Croatia – Self-Employment

Croatia is a country with a thriving entrepreneurial scene and a welcoming environment for expats who are interested in starting a business or working for themselves. In this article, we will discuss self-employment and start-ups in Croatia, including how it works for expats, how to register as self-employed, how to start a company, and incentives available to encourage entrepreneurship.

How Self-Employment Works for Expats in Croatia

Self-employment in Croatia is open to anyone, including expats. As a self-employed person, you will be responsible for managing your business, filing your taxes, and providing for your own benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, and other benefits. As a self-employed person, you will have greater flexibility and control over your work schedule and the types of work you take on.

Expats who want to work as self-employed individuals in Croatia will need to obtain a work permit, which allows them to legally reside and work in the country. The work permit application process will depend on the type of work you want to do and the requirements set out by the Croatian government.

Registering as Self-Employed in Croatia

To register as self-employed in Croatia, expats will need to follow these steps:

  1. Determine your business structure – Before registering, you will need to decide on the legal structure of your business. You can choose between a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC).

  2. Register your business – You will need to register your business with the Croatian government, including obtaining a Unique Master Citizen Number (JMBG) and registering with the Croatian Chamber of Economy. You can do this online through the Central Bureau of Statistics.

  3. Obtain necessary permits and licenses – Depending on the type of work you will be doing, you may need to obtain additional permits and licenses at the national or municipal level.

  4. Set up your bookkeeping and tax reporting system – As a self-employed person, you are responsible for keeping track of your income and expenses and filing your taxes on time. You may want to hire an accountant or use accounting software to help you with this.

  5. Set up your benefits – As a self-employed person, you will not be eligible for employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance or retirement savings. You will need to set up your own benefits, such as purchasing private health insurance or contributing to a retirement savings plan.

Can You Work as a Digital Nomad in Croatia?

Croatia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads. To work remotely in Croatia, expats will need to obtain a work permit and ensure they comply with local laws and regulations. It is recommended that expats work with a local legal expert to ensure they are in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

How to Start a Company in Croatia

Expats who want to start a company in Croatia will need to follow these steps:


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  1. Determine your business structure – You will need to decide on the legal structure of your business, which could be a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC).

  2. Register your business – You will need to register your business with the Croatian government, including obtaining a Unique Master Citizen Number (JMBG) and registering with the Croatian Chamber of Economy. You can do this online through the Central Bureau of Statistics.

  3. Obtain necessary permits and licenses – Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain additional permits and licenses at the national or municipal level.

  4. Set up your bookkeeping and tax reporting system – As a business owner, you are responsible for keeping track of your income and expenses and filing your taxes on time. You may want to hire an accountant or use accounting software to help you with this.

  5. Set up your benefits – As a business owner, you will not be eligible for employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance or retirement savings. You will need to set up your own benefits, such as purchasing private health insurance or contributing to a retirement savings plan.

Incentives or Programs for Expats in Croatia

The Croatian government offers a range of incentives and programs to encourage entrepreneurship, including for expats. Some of these programs include:

  1. Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) – This organization offers funding and support to businesses that are looking to start or expand in Croatia. They offer loans, guarantees, and other forms of financing.

  2. Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovation and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) – This agency provides a range of services to support entrepreneurship, including advice on business planning, financing, and marketing.

  3. Croatian Export Credit Agency (HBOR-KEP) – This organization offers insurance and financing for businesses that are looking to export their products or services.

  4. Startup Croatia – This program is designed to support start-ups in Croatia, including offering advice, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

Expats who are interested in starting a business or working for themselves in Croatia should explore these programs and services to determine which ones may be right for them.

Self-employment and start-ups are a viable option for expats in Croatia. Whether you are looking to register as self-employed, start a company, or work as a digital nomad, Croatia offers a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs. By following the steps outlined in this article and exploring the incentives and programs available, expats can take advantage of the opportunities available and build successful businesses in Croatia. It is recommended that expats work with a local legal expert to ensure they are in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.


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