From 1 July 2013, Croatian citizens will become European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. Like all EEA and Swiss nationals from 1 July 2013, Croatians can enter and live in the UK without needing to apply for permission from the Home Office.

To enter the UK, a Croatian citizen will not need a visa but must provide evidence of their identity in the form of either their Croatian passport or identity card.

Croatians will be able to reside in the UK for three months from their date of entry if they can support themselves and their family in the UK without becoming an unreasonable burden on public funds.

Those who want to stay for longer than three months will need either to be working, self-employed, a self sufficient person or a student. This is known as exercising Treaty rights. Individuals who want to work as an employee in the UK will normally need the Home Office’s permission before they start any work. Individuals may need to obtain an accession worker registration certificate (called a “purple registration certificate”).

Blue registration certificate

Once an individual has been working legally as an employee in the UK for 12 months without a break, they will acquire full rights of free movement and will no longer need the Home Office’s permission to take work.

They can then apply for a blue registration certificate to confirm their right to live and work in the United Kingdom, but this is not mandatory.

Yellow registration certificate

Students can take employment for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacations, but must first obtain a yellow registration certificate confirming that they are a student.

Croatians will not need Home Office permission to work in a self-employed capacity. Those who want to work on a self-employed basis can apply for a yellow registration certificate to confirm their right to work as a self-employed person in the UK, but this is not mandatory.

We can provide assistance for those wishing to apply for the registration certificates required to undertake work.

Advice for employers

Employers should ensure that they undertake the necessary checks when employing Croatian nationals to ensure they have, or are exempt from requiring, permission to work.