Cruising in Croatia in 2023, what changes with Schengen

As of January 1, Croatia, formerly a member country of the European Union, officially joined the Schengen area and adopted the euro. We asked the Croatian National Tourist Board, what changes for Italian boaters who want to visit the country with their own boat.

The Spalmadori Islands in Croatia (photo by Boris Kacan)
The Spalmadori Islands in Croatia (photo by CNTB – Boris Kacan)

Croatia joins the Schengen area

The Schengen Agreement is an international treaty between Benelux, West Germany, and France established in 1985 to eliminate border controls on people and introduce a free movement regime for citizens. Gradually extended to 26 countries, 22 members of the European Union in addition to Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as of January 1, 2023 Croatia also became a part of it. At the Croatian borders, all types of controls with accession countries have been eliminated, such as passport control at land and sea borders with Slovenia, Hungary and Italy. The borders with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro thus became external borders of the Schengen area. While there is a three-month transition period for airports to adjust border controls, which will last until March 26, 2023, there are already no controls at land and sea entrances.

Carnasce islets and the Blue Lagoon east of Zirona Grande, an island in Dalmatia
Carnasce islets and the Blue Lagoon east of Zirona Grande, an island in Dalmatia (photo by CNTB – Mario Jelavic)

Cruising in Croatia, what changes for Italian boaters?

Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area means that as of January 1, 2023. there is no more inbound and outbound checking of the passenger list and documents at the Croatian Harbour Master’s Office and Border Police. In addition, it is no longer necessary to make an exit declaration to a non-Schengen state to the Maritime Border Police in Italy. One can then enter and leave Croatian territorial waters, coming from Italy or Slovenia, without any customs formalities. This applies to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens holding a regular Schengen visa.

In Croatia, taxes are paid online

Although border police checks have been eliminated, the same cannot be said about paying Croatian navigation safety taxes, environmental taxes against marine pollution, and tourist tax (if you sleep on a boat). Italian boaters who want to visit the country will have to continue paying these fees, but payment can be made conveniently online, without the need to stop at the Capitaneria. Through the portal eNautics, which can be accessed with the SPID or Electronic Identity Card, can be paid navigation and pollution fees, while only On the website of the Croatian National Tourist Board. tourist tax must be paid if sleeping on the boat (not due if sleeping on land).

Mooring at the buoy in Croatia (photo by Aleksandar Gospic)
Mooring at the buoy in Croatia (photo by CNTB – Aleksandar Gospic)

The country adopts the euro

Further news, of no small significance, is Croatia’s adoption of the euro. The euro (EUR), which replaced the former kuna (HRK), has become the only official means of payment valid in Croatia. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to have currency exchanged. If there are leftover kunas, they can be converted at a fixed exchange rate of 7.53450 kunas for 1 euro at any Croatian bank and post office by December 31, 2023 (no deadline for banknotes at the Croatian National Bank).

The new 2-euro coin with the profile of Croatia
The new 2-euro coin with the profile of Croatia

Vessels

Currently nothing changes for Italian vessels wishing to sail to Croatia. The Croatian National Tourist Board assured us that in order to sail in Croatia with an unregistered boat, it is sufficient to have the engine registration, insurance and declaration of conformity with you. It is possible, however, that this will change with the arrival of summer. Croatian regulations are much more restrictive than those in Italy and require all boats over 2.5 meters to be registered. Therefore, we will keep you updated if there is any news.

 

Photo by: Croatian National Tourist Board, Hrvoje Serdar, Boris Kacan, Mario Jelavic, Aleksandar Gospic and European Union

James Barbaro

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