Croatia will use EUR as the official currency on January 1, 2023 and joining the Schengen zone

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Croatian transition from kuna to euro on January 1, 2023

Croatia is introducing the euro as the official currency on January 1, 2023. Hrvatska kuna (Croatian kuna) goes into the history books and will no longer be used. Croatia will be the 20th member of the euro area.

Using the euro as the official currency is expected to prevent currency risk and security in times of crisis. The goal is for the economy to become more resistant and to increase the Croatian living standard in the long term.

The euro will provide more accessibility for Croatian residents to move within the European Union as transaction costs will be lower. However, some are concerned that introducing the euro may result in increased prices for goods and services.

What does it mean for travellers to Croatia?

It means you won’t have to exchange your cash to the Croatian Kuna or apply for additional visas when travelling from any of the other countries in the Eurozone, making it easier than ever to visit Croatia.

Schengen zone – what this means for Croatian residents and tourists?

Croatia is “supposed” to join the Schengen zone in 2023. The exact date is not yet confirmed as of this publishing. But, what does that mean exactly and how will it affect you?

Joining Schengen will bring some perks for anyone planning to visit Croatia from third countries and other Schengen member states – like the elimination of border checks with neighboring Schengen countries.

In addition, a travel authorization system called ETIAS will be introduced in 2023. People who do not need a visa to enter Croatia and the EU will soon be required to register through it before their travel.

While waiting for the official date of Croatia’s entry to Schengen, we ascertained what this big step means for Croatia, its residents, other Schengen members, and worldwide visitors – so you know what to expect.

What joining Schengen brings to Croatian residents and visitors What is the Schengen area?

The Schengen area is a joint territory of associated European countries that functions as one state with regard to border controls. Schengen member states control people who enter and leave Schengen at their border crosses. However, there are no border (internal) controls between Schengen members.

Schengen currently has 26 members, including 22 EU member states plus another four countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland). They mutually agreed to abolish national border checks between them to simplify trading and border crossing procedures.

By joining the European Union in 2013, Croatia accepted the entire Schengen legal acquis. However, this does not mean that Croatia automatically entered the Schengen area at the time of EU accession.

To apply the Schengen legal acquis, Croatia must be evaluated in the following areas:

  • External border management
  • Return and readmission
  • Schengen Information System II
  • Common visa policy
  • Police cooperation
  • Data protection
  • Judicial cooperation
  • Firearms regulations
  • Work of competent authorities who apply the Schengen acquis

Croatia must meet all the mandatory requirements to join Schengen.

What does joining Schengen mean for Croatia?

Border control of passengers is currently carried out both at Croatian entrance and exit at the internal and external borders. The control includes a regular check of identity and citizenship, validity of your travel document, and check in the relevant databases. Third-country nationals are also subjected to thorough additional checks.

By joining Schengen, the border control between Croatia and other EU member states (Slovenia and Hungary) will be abolished. Border control will remain in place at the external borders with Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Once people are controlled at an external border, they can freely travel inside the Schengen without being checked again.

Croatia will be allowed to use Schengen monitoring, control, and data exchange mechanisms (SIS and VIS systems, etc) – used to combat terrorism and manage migration flows.

In addition to the introduction of the euro in 2023, Croatian membership in Schengen should also enable deeper integration of Croatia into the EU. Both events should strengthen the Croatian economy and enable free movement of people and goods.