Driving in Croatia

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

When in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information about Croatia provided below is for general reference only; it may not be accurate for a particular location or circumstance.

  • Safety of Public Transportation: Good
  • Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
  • Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
  • Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

Heavy congestion can be expected on major routes on weekends (towards the coast, for example) and in major cities during rush hour. Parking can be difficult and expensive in city centers. Drivers can be aggressive. In Zagreb particularly, motorists must also pay special attention to trams (streetcars).

Primary roads are generally adequate, but many have only one lane in each direction, including some roads to and from the coast. Coastal roads are narrow and congested, and tend to be very slippery when wet.

A U.S. driver’s license is sufficient to drive in Croatia. This arrangement is only acceptable for the first twelve months of driving in Croatia, after which all drivers must obtain an Croatian license.

For more information follow this link: http://www.mup.hr

Croatia highways have a maximum speed limit of 130 km/hr, although drivers often drive much faster and pass aggressively. The use of hand-held cell phones while driving is prohibited. Right turns on red lights are strictly forbidden in Croatia, unless an additional green light (in the shape of an arrow) allows it. At unmarked intersections, right of way is always to the vehicle entering from the right. Front seat belts are obligatory, and passengers in vehicles equipped with rear seat belts are required to use them.

The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Croatia is 0.50 percent. Police routinely spot-check motorists for drinking and driving, and will administer breathalyzer tests at even the slightest accident. Drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated. In cases of accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Croatian law obligates police to take blood samples to test blood alcohol levels.

Drivers traveling through former conflict areas should stay on paved roads to reduce the risk of encountering mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the war. Please visit the Croatian Mine Action Center’s website for more information.

Within Croatia, emergency road help and information can be reached by dialing 1987, a service of the Croatian Automobile Association (HAK). Police can be reached by dialing 112 or 192, and the ambulance can be reached by dialing 112 or 194. Additional road condition and safety information may be obtained from HAK at +385-72-777 777, email hak@hak.hr or via their web page, http://www.hak.hr (available in English, Italian, and German).

For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/safety/road.html

For specific information concerning Croatian driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Croatian National Tourist Office, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4003, New York, NY 10118; tel. 1-800-829-4416 or 212-278-8672; fax 212-279-8683.

U.S. Embassies and consulates do not issue or renew U.S. driver’s licenses. Contact your state directly for information on how to renew a license or apply for a new one. Information is also available online at https://www.usa.gov/motor-vehicle-services.

An international driver’s license is valid only when used in conjunction with a valid license from the U.S. It must be obtained in the U.S., prior to travel.

According to Croatian law, U.S. citizens in Croatia for tourism or business may use a U.S. driver’s license for up to three months, the same amount of time that U.S. citizens in the country for tourism or business may visit visa-free.

U.S. citizens in Croatia with an approved temporary or permanent residence may continue to use a U.S. driver’s license for up to twelve months, after which a Croatian driver’s license must be obtained.

Croatian driver’s licenses can be obtained at the local police station where the U.S. citizen is registered for extended or permanent stay. For more information, see https://mup.gov.hr/vozacka-dozvola-332/332. (hrvatski)

The following documents must be submitted when applying for a Croatian driver’s license:

  • Original U.S. driver’s license (Note: the U.S. driver’s license is not returned to the applicant but is kept at the local police station; however, Croatian law says that “for legitimate reasons” the foreign driver’s license can be returned to the applicant.)
  • Translation of the driver’s license indicating the category of license.
  • Doctor’s affidavit, not older than six months, stipulating the applicant’s mental and physical ability to drive a motor vehicle.
  • Two photographs, 30×35 mm
  • Form No. 2 (also available on-line at http://policija.hr/mup.hr/UserDocsImages/voz.pdf (PDF 84 KB) (hrvatski))
  • Fee in the amount of 70,00 KN (revenue stamp) and 35,00 KN (fee)