Asylum in Croatia

Who is entitled to apply?

If you are on the territory of Croatia, you can seek asylum (officially referred to as international protection in Croatia):

  • You are afraid to return to your country of origin because you are being persecuted in your country
  • You are afraid of being persecuted for belonging to a particular race, religion, nationality, or social group
  • You hold political beliefs for which you have been persecuted
  • You hold political beliefs for which you are afraid that you will be persecuted
  • You cannot return to your country due to the threat of a death penalty or execution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • You cannot return to your country of origin because there is serious and individual danger for your life as a civilian due to widespread violence as part of armed conflict

Croatia provides three types of international protection: refugee status/asylum, subsidiary protection and temporary protection. For information about the difference between these types of international protection, please see this page.

Where to apply for asylum?

You must request protection/asylum immediately, as soon as you enter Croatia. It can be at the border crossing, at a police station or with the first police officer you see, or at the Reception Centre for Foreigners (Detention Centre). In exceptional cases, you can also express your intention to seek protection in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers. You can also request protection if you have been caught while irregularly crossing the state border or irregularly staying in Croatia.

General emergency number: 112
Other national emergency numbers:

  • 192 – police
  • 193 – fire brigade
  • 194 – ambulance
  • 195 – search and rescue at sea
  • 1987 – road assistance

How to apply for asylum?

If you wish to apply for asylum, you need to state that you need asylum/protection and explain the reasons. You can also write down your request to seek asylum and the reasons for this, sign the request and hand it over to a police officer. You can do this in any language. During the police interview you have the right to an interpreter. If you have any identity documents with you, or those supporting your claim, show them to the police officer.

What happens next?

After you have stated that you need protection, police will take your fingerprints, and if you are older than 14, photograph you. The Ministry of the Interior will issue you with an official note confirming your status as an asylum seeker and will direct you to report to a reception centre for asylum seekers within a certain period of time, usually within 48 hours. This phase is usually called ‘expressing an intention to seek asylum’.

If you are below the age of 18 and have arrived in Croatia alone, immediately inform the authorities/police so that a guardian can be appointed to you. Your guardian will protect your rights during the asylum procedure. For more information on the asylum procedure if you are under the age of 18, please check here for more information.

After being placed in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, the asylum officials within the Ministry of the Interior will invite you for an interview to formally submit your asylum application, in the presence of an interpreter. During the interview, your application for asylum will be officially recorded. You must state your personal data, describe the route you took to arrive in Croatia, and explain your reasons for seeking protection.

Legal Aid / Counselling

The official who is talking to you when accepting your intention to seek asylum has the duty to inform you about the asylum procedure. You will also be given more detailed information during the interview/when submitting an official application for asylum by asylum officials from the Ministry of the Interior.

If you have sufficient funds of your own, you can engage an attorney/lawyer. You have the right to legal information related to your case which can be provided to you by the asylum official or by a legal NGOs providing services in your reception centre.

If your application is rejected and you have no money, you are entitled to free legal aid in drafting an appeal before the administrative court. The asylum official dealing with your case will provide you with a list of attorneys who provide legal aid together with the decision regarding your application for asylum. There are also organisations that can provide you with legal information or advice during the whole procedure.

You can contact UNHCR partner Croatian Law Centre.
E-mail: [email protected]

Identity Documents

After submitting the application for asylum, within three days the Ministry of the Interior will issue you with an asylum seeker’s identity card (ID)which you must always carry with you.

Asylum – Additional information

For more information on the Croatian asylum procedure visit the website of the Croatian Law Center here. Translations are available in:

See also

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