Establishing a Small Business in Croatia

You can establish a small business through the online service “e-Obrt” or START or by personally visiting the premises of the competent administrative body

First option: You have freedom of establishment in Croatia if you are a craftsman, i.e. a sole proprietor from the EU/EEA or a third country.
Second option: If you already have an establishment in any EU/EEA state, you are free to provide cross-border services on a temporary and occasional basis for many service activities. In this case, registration of an establishment in Croatia is not required.
In any case, it is important to check whether there are sectoral requirements to get authorizations to provide services. This refers to caterers, traders, carriers, and other craft businesses that need to obtain minimum technical requirements for the premises.
There are three forms of craft businesses:
  • Free-form crafts – not requiring professional qualifications or master craftsman’s certificate
  • Associated crafts – requiring a professional qualification certificate, an appropriate secondary school diploma or a master craftsman’s certificate
  • Privileged crafts – may be performed only on the basis of a license.

Registration options:


I.Croatian citizens


First option: the START online service – one-stop-shop (without additional steps) available only for Croatian citizens with an electronic ID.
Second option: the e-Craft (e-Obrt) online service – for Croatian citizens only:
  1. registration by way of the e-Obrt online procedure +
  2. in the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute system (HZMO) – within 24 hours from the start of the business; the data will be then sent automatically to the Health Insurance Fund system (HZZO)
  3. in the Tax Administration system – within 8 days from the start of the business.
Third option: in person
  1. at the competent registration authority in a county, i.e. at the competent office of the City of Zagreb
  2. at the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) – within 24 hours from the start of the business; the data will be then sent automatically to the Health Insurance Fund (HZZO)
  3. at the Tax Administration – within 8 days from the start of the business.


Required documents
  • proof of identity (a copy of an ID or a passport)
  • proof of meeting special health requirements (for certain craft business activities: catering, restaurants, fast food, pastries, bakeries, etc.; mostly all activities that include food management)
  • proof of the right to use premises (if a craft business requires the premises: retail, catering, tourism, all kinds of services like hairdresser, cosmetician, pedicure services, chemical cleaning etc.)
  • for associated crafts: an appropriate secondary school qualification, master craftsman’s certificate, or vocational qualification certificate (if applicants do not meet the requirement of vocational qualifications, appropriate secondary school qualifications or craftsman’s qualifications, they may run associated craft business if they hire a person meeting that requirement, on a full-time basis)
  • a work permit for third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA)
  • valid residence certificate (only for persons with residence in third countries).


II.EU/EEA + foreign citizens

The only option: see the third option and required documents (above)
If a craft business is registered without indicating the start of the business activity, the proprietor has to start performing the activity within 1 year after the registration.
Taking up the registered activity has to be reported no later than 8 days prior to the date of taking up the activity.
Recognition of qualifications
The following documentation needs to be sent to
  • proof of acquired foreign professional qualification
  • proof of passed exams
  • list of conditions/criteria to take the exam
  • the official plan and program from which the short summary of the passed exam is visible
  • proof of citizenship of another EU/EEA country
  • CV in Croatian
  • certificate of payment of administrative fee (or certificate of exemption from payment of administrative fees).