Will I need an ETIAS to visit Croatia?
Croatia joined the European Union in 2013 and is not yet a member of the Schengen zone. Nationals of other European countries are free to visit Croatia as they are allowed free movement within Europe.
It is not known if Croatia will be a member of the Schengen zone at the start of the ETIAS scheme, this means that in theory, they will be free to enforce their own rules and restrictions for travelers. In all likelihood, they are expected to use the ETIAS scheme, and like other member countries, share information received from visitors filling in the online form.
The E.U. commision announced the proposal for the ETIAS scheme in November 2016 and the system is expected to be up and running by 2021. Travelers who are not E.U. or Schengen citizens and who presently do not need a visa in advance of their European travels will need to apply for an ETIAS before they travel to the Schengen zone in Europe, once the scheme comes into effect.
The ETIAS system, which is similar to the ESTA system of visa waiver in the U.S. will be compulsory. The system is being introduced to improve the level of security in Europe which has recently seen increased terrorist attacks and high numbers of refugees.
The Republic of Croatia lies on the northwestern edge of the Balkan Peninsula. Bordering Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, Croatia also shares a maritime border with Italy.
Croatia has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean at 5,835 km, the majority of this belonging to its cliffs, reefs, and islands.
With a population of about 4.29 million people, Croatia’s official language is Croatian. Although Croatia has no official religion, the majority of its citizens identify as Christian.
With tourism accounting for over 20% of its GDP, Croatia is a popular tourist destination, presently ranked by the UNWTO as the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world.
Unpolluted marine areas, 116 Blue Flag beaches, coral reefs and vast beaches leading to azure waters make Croatia a popular destination for summer vacations.
Deeper waters in the south give experienced divers the opportunity to explore shipwrecks, caves and coral reefs whilst the more shallow waters of the Dalmatian Coast and Istrian Riviera, known for their tranquility, are the perfect starting point for beginner divers.
Over 1000 islands populate Croatia’s waters, with varied ambiances from tranquility and calmness to party hotspots, some of the most popular being Hvar, Pag, Mljet, and Dugi Otok.
There are 10 Unesco World Heritage Sites in Croatia; it also holds 15 Unesco World Intangible Culture Masterpieces. Perhaps its most famous being the necktie, which originated from the cravat originally worn by Croatian mercenaries in the 17th-century.
Croatia at a glance
Timezone: UTC/GMT +1 hour
Languages: Croatian 95.6%, Serbian 1.2%, Other 3%, Unspecified 0.2%
Area: 56,542 KM2
Currency: Kuna (HRK)
Calling Code: +385
Travel to Croatia
Croatia has committed to becoming part of the Schengen zone, which means that access to this beautiful country will be fairly easy once the ETIAS scheme comes into effect.
Croatia has long been an attractive tourist destination. Many historical and interesting cities hold hidden gems of architecture, but it is the long and beautiful coastline that is the main touristic draw of Croatia.
The coastal climate is the Mediterranean, inland has a more Continental climate, and during the winter snowfall is not uncommon.
There are over 1000 islands of Croatia, only about 50 of which are inhabited. Staying in Istria or the Kvarner Riviera gives you the opportunity to enjoy a day trip to nearby Venice in Italy.
There is a thriving festival scene in Croatia. Music festivals abound, from DJ events housed in a Roman Amphitheatre to more boutique events. The scene is constantly evolving drawing an international audience.
There are numerous film festivals hosted by Croatia, drawing talented filmmakers from the world of animation, documentaries, art-film and the newest talents from southern Europe at the Mediterranean Film Festival.
Croatia offers a wide range of gastronomic delicacies, local specialty cheeses, locally produced dried hams, Kvarner Bay scampi, Ston mussels and oysters are just some of the items on offer.
Locally produced olive oil which has won many awards is a favorite purchase amongst visitors.
Croatia is a wine producing country offering the visitor a choice of red or white wine.
The US and Croatia
Traveling to Croatia from North America, most travelers transfer at one of the major European hubs – such as London or Frankfurt. With flight times from London to Dubrovnik taking an average of two hours and thirty minutes, Croatia is a welcome addition to many tourists travel itinerary.
Since joining the E.U in 2013, Croatia has been focussed on stimulating growth from both domestic consumption and foreign investment. Croatia will also be joining the Schengen zone in Europe.
Bilateral relations between the U.S and Croatia are very strong. Both belong to the following international organizations
- The United Nations
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- International Monetary Fund
- World Bank
- World Trade Organization
Croatia, whilst retaining significant state control or involvement in numerous industries has a strong democracy with a thriving market economy.
Croatia and the United States have a bilateral investment treaty and an investment protection programme in place.
With much of Europe experiencing unprecedented terrorist activity, member countries have been pushing the E.U. Commissioner to enforce stricter border controls. A system called the E.U. Travel and Information Authorization System, ETIAS will be introduced in 2021.
This system will enable advanced security checks on travelers to the Schengen zone in Europe. While reducing terrorist activity is an important part of the ETIAS system, reduced time spent at border controls will be a natural offshoot. Problems with travelers wanting to visit Europe will be flagged during the application process, not only during border crossings.
List of US diplomatic offices in Croatia
The Embassy of USA in Zagreb, Croatia
Address: Ulica Thomasa Jeffersona 2 10010 Zagreb Croatia
Facts: W. Robert Kohorst – Ambassador