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Legal and tax aspects of digital nomad status in Croatia

Digital nomads are occupying an increasingly important place in the labor market in the European Union. Accordingly, the Republic of Croatia recognized their importance for the development of the economy and tourism, and for this purpose announced the adjustment of the legislative framework to enable their work.

Given that digital nomads tend to work at a destination for longer than the time provided by the tourist visa (90 days), they need to issue visas to legally regulate their work at a particular destination, the so-called digital nomadic visas. In this way, with a longer stay, they indirectly extend the tourist season, which lasts a maximum of six months, and in Croatia this seasonality is even shorter.

The work of digital nomads is not related to the classic office workplace or to one place or country, but they can perform their work from different countries, using the tools of modern technology. Traveling the world they also earn (often substantial) financial resources, and travel sometimes includes exotic destinations. The Republic of Croatia can be especially attractive to digital nomads because it has a central geographical position, natural resources, pleasant climate, favourable living costs and many other benefits that could attract them for a longer stay and work.

According to the proposal of the new Aliens Act, a digital nomad will be a third-country national who is employed or performs business via telecommunications technology for a company or his own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia, and does not perform work or provide services to employers in Croatia (experts, journalists, writers, designers, …). Accordingly, third-country nationals who intend to stay or are staying in the Republic of Croatia for the purpose of digital nomads will be granted a temporary stay for up to one year.

A third-country national will be granted temporary residence if the following conditions are met:

- prove the purpose of the temporary stay

- has a valid foreign travel document

- has means of subsistence and health insurance

- the application for the first temporary residence permit shall be accompanied by proof that he has not been convicted of criminal offenses from his home country or the country in which he resided for more than a year immediately before his arrival in the Republic of Croatia, unless the posted worker or student, researcher using mobility from another EEA Member State

- there is no ban on entering and staying in the Republic of Croatia or a warning issued for the purpose of banning entry

- does not pose a threat to public order, national security or public health.

From the tax aspect, the work of digital nomads should not be subject to taxation, i.e. payment of income tax. During their stay in the Republic of Croatia, as well as by consuming various services (due to higher solvency), they actually pay VAT, and thus indirectly participate in filling the state budget, and at the same time promote the Republic of Croatia as a quality destination for living and working. Therefore, the legal regulation of digital nomads in Croatia is a positive step forward in the strategy of development of the national economy. At the same time, their contribution to the local community by adopting new values and lifestyles should not be forgotten.

Legal and tax regulation of the status of digital nomads will certainly contribute to the competitiveness and recognizability of the Republic of Croatia, while the Republic of Croatia will thus continue to follow world trends.

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