Asylum in Croatia

last update: December 2018

In Croatia you can be granted asylum or subsidiary protection.

According to the Geneva Convention of 1951 asylum is granted to a person who, has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

If you are not granted a refugee status, the evaluation of your asylum application is not yet finished. If you prove that you can be seriously harmed if you are returned back to your country, you can get subsidiary protection.  

Please keep in mind that poverty, economic problems and looking for a job in Croatia or other European countries are not reasons to ask for international protection.

In more detail:

Refugee status (in Croatian: status azilanta, or azil) -- Refugees are people who prove there is a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality, and is not able to be put under protection of his/her country.


  • violation of a right to live
  • torture, slavery
  • physical, mental sexual violence
  • legal, administrative, police, judicial measures which are discriminatory or which are implemented in a discriminatory way,
  • discriminatory prosecution or punishmet

Subsidiary protection (in Croatian: supsidijarna zaštita) -- A form of temporary protection for people who can’t get the refugee status but there is a possibility they will be  in serious harm if returned to country of origin.


  • the death penalty or execution
  • torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • serious and individual threat to your life  and violence in situations of armed conflict and war



The two statuses are pretty much the same (for example you do not need to have a re-evaluation of the reasons for your subsidiary status every 3 years).

Both refugee status and subsidiary protection can be withdrawn if:

  • you return voluntarily to your country
  • if you receive Croatian nationality
  • if the reasons why you got your protection status change

DIFFERENCES between the rights of the two statues:

If you have subsidiary protection, you do not have the right to:

  • family reunification
  • Croatian passport – instead, you get a passport for a foreigner. With that, you cannot travel to countries for which nationals of your country of origin need a visa



When you make the official application for asylum (see paragraph above about the Procedure), you will be an ASYLUM SEEKER, and you will be placed in the reception center (open camp) in Zagreb or Kutina (mainly for families). This means that your request is still in process and YOU DON’T HAVE THE STATUS or ANY KIND OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION.

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