In the SeaHelp editorial office the hints of the members are currently accumulating to the effect that business travelers who enter Croatia without a PCR test in order to make an important appointment there, for example the commissioning of a repair for their yacht that cannot be postponed, are initially not correctly recorded as business travelers in the data system at the border. When checked on the occasion of departure after a few days, if the required time of mandatory quarantine has not been observed, this is then considered a quarantine violation, punishable by 8,000 kuna per person.
EnterCroatia did not give any feedback
What happened? A boat owner, who has been regularly using his vessel moored in a marina on the Croatian coast several times a year for 40 years, tried to register accordingly on EnterCroatia for the trip in early March, but received no confirmation from the system. Since he had already registered there several times, he attached little importance to it and was wrongly under the assumption that the new registration did not work because it was still covered by the old registration.
Reasons given for entry without PCR test
At the border, during a check, he explained the reason for entering without PCR test, handed over his ID card as well as the ID card of a second person, which were also scanned. He presented pictures of the defect on his vessel as well as an invitation from a Croatian repair company. So far, so good. The urgency of the entry was acknowledged, but obviously not noted anywhere. Even on a note appearing here at the latest about the lack of registration under EnterCroatia was not pointed out to him.
Exit Croatia: 8,000 kuna fine per person
The thick end then came at the exit: violation of the Corona quarantine obligation in Croatia and 8,000 kuna fine each for him and his, because he had left after only three days and had removed himself from the domestic quarantine because of the missing PCR test. In case of immediate payment within eight days, about 2/3 of the fine should be waived for him.
Objection to measure extremely costly
Legally, of course, it is possible to appeal against it, but only with a lot of effort and relatively uncertain outcome. The costs of a procedure with interpreter, lawyer and travel to the court hearing in Croatia are usually higher than an acceptance of the penalty.
Borders: Apparently only sporadic controls
The piquant part: Warned by the incidents at the border when leaving Croatia, a member of the man’s family behaved correctly and took a PCR test in Croatia for 490 kuna per person. She was not even checked, neither at the Croatian-Slovenian border, nor at the Slovenian-Austrian border or the Austrian-German border.
Not an isolated case
A similar case, which however just went out without penalty, is reported by another boat owner from the exit from Croatia: He had almost meticulously complied with the quarantine obligation, but was 4 hours too early, so before the expiry of the quarantine time at the border, as it was calculated during a control. After more than two hours of stay and many discussions, he was then able to continue on his way towards Slovenia.
Tip: Either enter with PCR test or perform in Croatia
Therefore, the SeaHelp editorial team advises to refrain from the option of entering the country without a PCR test, if possible, due to the different, sometimes incomprehensible handling at the border. Alternatively, entrants without the appropriate test can take advantage of the possibility to have a PCR test performed on site.
Ordinance initially valid until March 15
The existing regulation is currently valid until March 15; whether a PCR test will still be required after that date has not yet been definitively determined. According to Croatian media reports, there are currently about 5,000 tourists in the country. In order not to get any difficulties when leaving the country, we therefore again point out that it is currently advisable to inform yourself in detail about the applicable regulations and, if necessary, to make up for a non-existent PCR test when leaving the country before the quarantine period expires, so that the departure does not become a gamble.
Here again the excerpt from the currently applicable regulations:
Exceptions: Exceptionally, the following categories of persons coming from an EU/EEA Member State/Region that is on the so-called red list are NOT required to have a neg. PCR test for SARS-CoV-2:
Persons traveling from Austria to Croatia for family or business reasons, including journalists in the performance of their duties; For proof of urgent business reasons, the following documentation must be kept ready at the border:.
Invitation to a business appointment/appointment confirmation (issued by the Croatian company or subsidiary, if applicable). The invitation letter should ideally contain the following information:
- Company address of the company in Croatia
- Reason for entry (e.g. board meeting, contract signing, etc.)
- Address where the business meeting will take place (company location …)
- Contact details of a responsible contact person in Croatia including contact phone number
- Duration of stay in Croatia
- Persons who have had a negative PCR test in the Republic of Croatia due to a short trip abroad and return to the Republic of Croatia within less than 48 hours after the test day or within the validity of the test, do not need a new PCR test from the country where they stayed for a short period of time. They are allowed to enter the country based on the presentation of a test performed in the Republic of Croatia
New regulation TIROL from 18.02.2021: All entrants who have stayed in the last 14 days before entering Croatia in Tyrol, must immediately present at the Croatian border a max. 48-hour-old negative PCR test and after entry to enter a 14-day self-isolation (at their own expense), from which they can free themselves at the earliest after 7 days by means of PCR test (at their own expense).
German Embassy: PCR test before entry or after 48 hours in Croatia
After consultation with the legal and consular department of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Zagreb, there seems to be different opinions recently regarding the interpretation of the “urgent reason”. Here, too, it is recommended to enter the country with a PCR test or to submit a PCR test within 48 hours. Obviously, only whether the entry was with or without PCR test is registered at the border. If no PCR test was entered into the system upon entry and if it is not obtained in Croatia, the difficulties described above may arise during controls.