Asylim in Croatia

Last update : February 2020

There are two types of international protection you can get in Croatia, on the basis of your individual situation:

  1. Refugee status (in Croatian: status azilanta , or azil )
  2. Subsidiary protection (in Croatian: supsidijarna zaštita )


What kind of protection can you get in Croatia?

Croatian system has two different protections, international and subsidiary protection. International protection (i.e., asylum) is granted on the basis of being persecuted in your country, or you are afraid of being persecuted for belonging to a particular race, religion, ethnic or social group, which is being persecuted, or you hold political beliefs for which you have been persecuted, or for which you are afraid that you will be persecuted.

Subsidiary protection is granted when you cannot return to your country due to the threat of a death penalty or execution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or when there is a severe personal danger for your life as a civilian due to widespread violence as part of armed conflicts.

Where can I apply for international protection?

You can apply for international protection at the border, at the police station, at the first police officer that you see, or at the Reception Centre.

Do you have a right to legal aid?

Yes, you do. Firstly, the official to whom you expressed your intention to apply for international protection must inform you about your rights. You have the right to legal information related to your case. If your application is rejected and you have no money, you are entitled to free legal aid in drafting an appeal before the administrative court. You will receive a list of attorneys who provide legal assistance with the decision regarding your application for international protection. You can also always contact the organization Centre for Peace Studies or Croatian Law Centre for any legal advice.

Where will you stay while your application for international protection is being considered?

After applying for international protection, you have free accommodation in the Reception Centre Porin in Zagreb or Kutina if you are one of the vulnerable groups or you are a family. While you are in the process of granting international protection, you are categorized as an asylum seeker. You will get be able to move around the territory of Croatia. However, you must keep in mind the house rules of the Reception Centre.

What other rights do you have after you applied for international protection?

You have the right to medical assistance in the case of serious illness. Children have a right to education. You have the right to work after nine months have passed since the moment you submitted your application for international protection.

Currently, the process of recognizing international protections is very long, and often-times it results in a negative decision. Afterward, the process of appealing to the negative decision again is as long as it is legally permissible (sometimes even longer).
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 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 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 the 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 punishment

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 the country of origin.


• the death penalty or execution
• torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
• a 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 three 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). It means that your request is still in process, and YOU DON’T HAVE THE STATUS or ANY KIND OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION.