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Croatian citizens can travel to USA without visas from today

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ZAGREB, 23 October 2021 – The US Embassy in Zagreb has announced today that Croatian citizens can now travel to the US without visas.

At the end of September, Croatia officially joined the Visa Waiver Program and as of today, 23 October, Croatians travelling to the United States for business or tourism can now apply for ESTA approval. 

“As of today, Croatian citizens are allowed to travel to the United States without visas. We have met all the criteria and achieved a strategic goal for the benefit of Croatian citizens. We are opening a new page in relations, strengthening our partnership and creating preconditions for greater economic cooperation and investment,” said Croatian PM Andrej Plenković today. 

Croatia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Davor Božinović, added: “Through a lengthy process, we had to meet very demanding criteria. This is an important achievement for the benefit of our citizens and the fulfilment of the program promise of the government.”

The US Embassy in Zagreb has published answers to frequently asked questions to help citizens with the process. 

Q: How do Croatian citizens travel to the United States after Croatia’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program?

A: For short tourism and business trips of 90 days or less, Croatian citizens who apply for and receive an approved online authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) do not need to have a visa. For other categories of travel, including stays over 90 days, working, or studying in the United States, a visa is still required.

Q: Do Croatian citizens need to register anywhere for visa-free travel to the United States?

A: To travel without a visa, the Croatian citizen traveler must also request an online authorization under ESTA. ESTA allows more effective and efficient pre-screening of travelers. ESTA is required for travelers from all of the 40 existing Visa Waiver Program member countries (including Croatia). Travelers should only use the official ESTA website at esta.cbp.dhs.gov.

Q: How much does ESTA cost?

A: ESTA currently costs $14, which is significantly less than the $160 fee for applying for a U.S. tourist/business visa.

Q: I have a visa that is still valid. How will I travel to the U.S.?

A: Any traveler who has a valid visa can continue to use it. A valid visa holder need not apply for ESTA. Those traveling with visas may be able to stay in the United States for up to six months, as determined by the immigration official at the U.S. port of entry.

Q: How long can Croatian citizens stay in the U.S. when traveling there without a visa within the Visa Waiver Program?

A: Croatian citizens can travel on the Visa Waiver Program for short tourism or business trips of up to 90 days. Extensions are not possible.

Q: I was denied a visa before, or had problems at a U.S. port of entry. Can I now travel to the U.S. without a visa?

A: Generally, an applicant who previously was denied a U.S. visa, or who has a history of other incidents that could affect visa eligibility, such as a criminal conviction or previous U.S. immigration violation, will not receive an approved ESTA, and thus cannot travel visa-free. If you have ever been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, have a serious communicable illness, have been refused admission into or been deported from the United States, we do not recommend that you attempt to travel on ESTA. Any traveler who is denied an ESTA can apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Q: Are there other restrictions on visa-free travel?

A: Visa-free travel generally is only available for those arriving on regularly scheduled commercial flights or cruise ships. In addition, special rules apply to those crossing by car or on foot at land ports of entry. Please read all of the frequently asked questions available on U.S. Government websites relating to the Visa Waiver Program and ESTA (see below) and review the list of signatory Visa Waiver Program carriers here.

Q: Where can Croatian citizens find more information about the Visa Waiver Program?

A: Complete details on the Visa Waiver Program (including ESTA) are available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s ESTA website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and the State Department’s travel website at http://travel.state.gov.

Q: Do Croatian students still need a J1 visa to participate in the Summer Work Travel Program and other Exchange Programs (such as Camp Counselor, Intern/Trainee)?

A: Yes, these exchange programs require a J1 visa. Those traveling without a visa are not permitted to engage in any type of exchange program activity or other employment while in the United States.

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