This is the blog for Matt Hollingsworth. I'm from Ojai, California. I've worked in comics for 22 years as a color artist.

This blog will largely be used to show my daily life as I live in Samobor, Croatia and as I travel around the region. Lots and lots of photos! Leave me a comment, will you?

All content on this blog is copyright 2013 Matthew Dale Hollingsworth and cannot be copied or used for any purpose without my consent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

After a hellraising process that took 10 full months, I finally have my second visa.

Long time readers of this blog may remember the process I had to go through for this. To get my first visa, I had to start a company here and have myself as the director, which meant I received a business visa. When I put in my papers to renew the visa in mid January, the amount of paperwork they required from me regarding my company was just ridiculous. I ended up having to go from one ministry to the next and back and forth constantly. Every time we'd think we were done, they would ask us for a new paper. Really. We'd visit them and they'd tell us that we only needed one more paper, then when we delivered that, they'd tell us we actually needed yet another. And that part of the process went on for a few months.

I had that company for a year before that and paid all of my taxes and filed all necessary papers. But sometime before summer they actually denied my visa. The ministry of finance had denied it to my company basically. And they offered NO explanation. The people at MUP, the police station (who deal with visas) said they didn't know why I was denied, but they had a huge stack of applications for people who had the same thing happen to them.

My girl and I got engaged in December, though, of last year. And so we put in a new application for a visa based on this. But it's not as simple as that. That whole part of the process is also ridiculous. And every paper we supplied them with last year had to have new copies given to them. It's just crazy. A paper that is literally exactly the same must be given to them with a new date on it. Even stuff that is not dated requires a new copy. The file for me is something like 3 inches thick with papers. And that's just for this year.

But finally, today, they gave me my visa. And of course, they couldn't just give me the new visa. They also want more paperwork. I now have to give them a new birth certificate. In Croatia, their birth certificates are not actually birth certificates. They're more like life certificates. They record stuff in them over time. For instance, if you are married, your "rodni list" is updated with this information. We don't do that in the States. A birth certificate is just that; a birth certificate. It lists only facts about the birth itself, not about the person later in their life. I already had to go to the American Embassy and have them certify that I am not married which is also stupid because they actually can't possibly know if I am married. Anyway, because I did *that* they basically said okay. But I still have to supply them with a new copy of my birth certificate. The date on mine is 1988. But the certificate itself is from 1968, when I was born. They were already supplied with a fresh translation dated now, but they need that purple ink with the notary public stamp to have a date within the last six months.

And, I have to supply them with a paper that proves that my landlord actually owns the apartment I am living in. This despite the fact that we already went to a notary here to certify this and they already have that.

Ah well. At least I have the damned thing now. Now I have to take the application for the birth certificate to the American Embassy and have their notary certify that I am in fact me and send the application off and hope that it actually arrives in the mail.

And I am closing my company. For anyone who is considering opening a company here I recommend you avoid it at all costs. For me it was a pain in the ass and keeping it going is totally a waste of effort and a cause of stress as well as a good way to pay higher taxes. Fuck that.

And we head to Thailand in January and today I read about bombs going off in the Bangkok airport.

America doesn't look too bad sometimes.


dzuka said...

oh, my god! i'll never again complain about couple of papers i have to deal with! the whole shit is set up to feed the state budget with money they need to pay all those people who would've be out of their jobs if it wasn't for all the paper work. and losing jobs is bad. ask any politician who wants to be reelected (hm, like there's any other kind of politician).

Borna said...

I'm sorry about your troubles Matt. Unfortunately, that is the state of things in Croatia. And Dzuka is completely right, all the money you have to pay goes to support the thousands and thousands of state employed clerks. Some of that are efficient, some not. But the system is so outdated and crappy that everyone has problems with bureacracy unless they have connecions. But you already know that. :) I hope you won't have much more troubles.

Matt Hollingsworth said...

Well, thankfully, a LOT of the paperwork was for the company. And I will be getting rid of the company one way or the other. Might sell it or just close it. We'll see. Gotta close it up before January, though.

For next year's visa renewal, we now have a comprehensive list of exactly what we need. For any visa seekers reading this, please don't ask me for this information. Your information is likely to be entirely different. But for us, with our circumstances, I think we have a good idea of what will be expected next year. And, the thing that is actually good is that these folks actually did what they could to help me. For instance, they COULD have told me to leave the country while I was being processed. But instead they gave me a potvrda (confirmation letter) that my visa was in process in case the police stopped me, so I wouldn't get in trouble.

We won't have to deal with them again until next August. Well, I will have to deal with them to give them the birth certificate and stuff, but the whole process won't start over again until August. And I think after 5 of these that I can get citizenship and avoid this shit.

Gabriella said...

Kinda reminiscent of one of those old Carol Burnett/ Tim Conway skits. Who knew they weren't comedy skits at all, just little tiny documentaries ;-)

dzuka said...

kul. we don't want you to leave us anytime soon. : )

FAB said...

sorry that had to go thru all that croatian bureaucratic shit!
i will save (may i?) your article to show it around how it really looks like to be legal alien in cro.
hope no big harm done, and you will stay in cro happy long time. we need good people like you here!
see ya in Makarska next year!

Alexander Žic said...

Hey, i was doing some research on Americans living in Croatia and i found your blog awhile ago. Soon im going to be moving to Zagreb from New York, I was wondering if you had any advice or tips for me. I still dont have an apartment lined up and its hard for me to figure out how to find one from here. Is there something im missing, should i just wait until i get to Croatia? If you have any information that could help it would be great, thanks.

Jennifer Juniper said...


I got a headache just looking up dual citizenship information on the internet! (I wanted to see if I can get one with Germany since my dad didn't move to America from there until he was 3 OR France, since that's where he was actually born...unfortunately I don't think it's very easy.)

Glad it's working out for you, in the end. :) Still, NYC wouldn't mind a visit... ;-) heh

Matt Hollingsworth said...

Well, as far as moving here, I dunno really what advice I'd give. Read some of your blog, Alexander, and you've been to Croatia a lot. So you know what it's like. Don't know how people find apartments here. I had a friend rent one for me before I arrived. Good luck with the move, though. Don't let MUP get you down if you have to get a visa.

Anonymous said...

It's strange to come by this blog. I'm Croatian and it took me 3 years to finally get away from there and move to UK, with inexplicable troubles with the visa. And now I see someone who actually wants to live in Croatia. Ironic in a way...but I hope you like your life there more than I liked mine.


SheR. said...

Hey! This is my first time on your blog. Beri from NY introduced your blog to me.

I'm Singaporean and I took about a year to get my temp one year visa too. Oh gosh.. the amount of paperwork is horrendous. And we tried to get more docs required to file for marriage. We've been trying to get those legalization done which takes forever and even bigger headache than the visa itself.

More than a year we've been trying.. I wonder when we can be able to get married in Croatia.

Good luck to you in ZG! Pozdrav iz Rijeke!

Matt Hollingsworth said...

Yeah, it's a pain in the ass. We're getting married in August, so we'll have to start dealing with some of that stuff in a couple of months. Not looking forward to that part of it. Good luck with your visa stuff! I pozdrav iz Zagreba!

Rosemary Bailey Brown said...

Matt - We're moving to Croatia in a couple of years and I am glad about your advice on the company front. The accountant in Zadar made it sound so easy, I guess not! You've also solved the mystery for me of why my husband has to "add our marriage" to his birth certificate.

I blog about being married to a Croatian Serb over at

Hope you add an RSS feed or email soon (feedburner is easy) and then I can sign up for your intermittent posts. :-)