Ownership of real property of foreign citizens in Croatia is regulated by Articles 354 – 358 of the Croatian Property Law (Zakon o vlasnistvu i drugim stvarnim pravima).
Foreign citizens may, under condition of reciprocity, acquire real property in Croatia either as inheritance or by other legal transactions such as purchases, deeds, trusts etc. Reciprocity is presumed to exist unless proof to the contrary becomes evident.
Foreign citizens may inherit property in Croatia. No additional approvals are necessary.
Legal transactions – when acquiring real estate other than by inheritance, foreign citizens need to obtain the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia . Prior to reaching a decision the MFA will seek the opinion from the Ministry of Justice, Administration and Local Self-Government. In Croatia the ultimate proof of ownership is entry of the owner's name in the local Land Book (Zemlijsne Knjige) on that specific property. The local courts will not allow a foreign citizen to be entered in the Land Books without the MFA approval.
The following documents have to be supplied to the MFA when requesting an approval to purchase property in Croatia :
Once the sales contract is prepared, a standard deposit of 10% is paid to the Notary Account. The contract signed by the vendor together with the information above is sent to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs requesting permission to purchase. Once the letter of approval is received, the contract is signed by the purchaser and the balance of funds are paid to the Notary Account. The vendor receives funds and the purchaser possession of the property on the completion date agreed in the contract. The application is made to register the property in the Land Books.
Note: the timescale's for return of the letter from the Foreign Ministry cause difficulty in setting a completion date as vendors are not always prepared to wait for such a long completion period nor is it definite how long this procedure will take (between 3 and 12 months). There is currently a backlog of some yn 3 and 12 months). There is currently a backlog of some years in entering the property in the Land Registry and therefore the application is currently sufficient should you wish to sell the property prior to the entry being made.