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Has anyone recently travelled to Croatia from USA?

Hoping to find someone with actual experience. According to my research, Croatia is open to USA tourists but you need to arrive with a covid test less than 48 hours old. It takes about 6 days to get test results in California. Americans can transit through Frankfurt but cannot leave the airport. FRA does offer tests with 3 to 4 hour turnaround (!) but you have to pass through security and enter Germany, which Americans cannot do. Looking for someone who has recent experience successfully traveling to and from Croatia from USA.

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12139 posts

The IATA website sends you to this: https://www.koronavirus.hr/recommendations-and-instructions-for-crossing-the-state-border/736

Interesting too, because when I used the IATA website to check a flight to Hungary through Frankfurt it said no. Strange......

Hungary has a similar testing situation, but requiring two tests 48 hours apart before entry. A little more research revealed that I could do the tests once in Hungary; or one prior and one after entering. I also found a lab in Hungary with fairly quick turn around. But make sure you are getting the right kind of test. Some take hours, some a few days. Hungary requires the longer wait test. I would call or write the Croatian Consulate in the US and ask if its a possibility to get the test while quarantined in Croatia. Of course that means you are quarantined for a few days. Get a nice hotel room :-)

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8 posts

James, thanks for your response. have you managed to find quick test results? In CA the wait time for test results is currently about 6 days. also, have you booked your trip yet?

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1863 posts

Magic Johnson is in Split today, so it is possible. But he is on a million dollars a week yacht rental. Still, he has been in the city on land. We also read that Neil Patrick Harris and family were there a few weeks ago. It’s too hot for us right now, we are looking to go either the end of September or late October. We still haven’t purchased tickets but look now and then. I’m still hoping while we are there we could take a quick trip to Paris for a week. Doesn’t hurt to dream.

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12139 posts

Where I am there is this: https://www.texasmedclinic.com/texas-medclinic-rapid-covid-19-test/

But I don't know if it is the right sort of test. There are at least 3 types (I don't know anything about this stuff) and Hungary for instance requires a specific test. I don't know if the one linked to meets that requirement or not. You are lucky with Croatia as it just requires one test..... Hungary:

No quarantine is needed if the foreign citizen crossing the border
proves with a Hungarian or English document, including the results of
two SARS-CoV-2 tests (molecular biology examination in compliance with
professional medical practice) performed at two different times with
at least 48 hours between them in the course of the preceding 5 days,
that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was not detected in his/her body at
the time of the tests.

Very confusing ..... Before I go, I will get one of the ones in my link. The wait time to be seen is 60 minute at the location near me, then 15 minutes (sure, Im not counting on that) to get a result. Maybe I do two before I leave and hope the Hungarians accept it. If not, I found a clinic in Budapest that makes house calls for testing..... I have a slightly different situation. I have a home there and being stuck there is no different than being stuck here...... But from my discussions with friends in Hungary there doesnt seem to be much of a problem with Americans getting in and having a good time.

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1863 posts

Us too James. We are waiting cause my husband was furloughed from the Hilton and can’t retire till he is called back. He wants his Hilton benefits. They mentioned September for a return date. We’ll wait

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12139 posts

Barbara, I'm leaving 14 September for Budapest; but wont book for another week or so. Just in case things change.

I am also getting some paperwork together that may substantiate a business trip, which does away with the quarantine and testing all together. Not to avoid the testing; just looking for belt and suspenders. Pretty sure I will truly qualify under the business exemption but the tests are still the most responsible thing to do. And I wish the authorities would do spot checks tourists and foreign nationals.

If Croatia has a business exemption, then there is a chance your husband might qualify too. But do the testing......

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We will definitely test before we go, with enough time to do a quick quarantine if necessary. We will then get a test within the timeframe needed. Hopefully things will calm down by the fall.

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12139 posts

Two days before you arrive in Croatia get a test. Worst case scenario is you spend a few days in quarantine waiting for the test to arrive in your email (I am assuming they will email them to you).

So, 4pm Sunday arrival in Croatia is 10 am Sunday in NYC. So your test has to be after 4pm Friday in Croatia or after 10am Friday in NYC. Did I do that correctly?

I haven't heard or read about any situation where tourists have been checked on the street to see if they complied with the entry requirements in any country, but as comfortable as I am with that part of the world, I think this time I will have my passport and the test reports on me when I am out and about. Croatia is like Hungary, they require that you carry identification and the only identification officially recognized are passports and EU travel documents.

And follow this thread: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/croatia/is-croatia-open-to-us-travellers-maybe-so

Posted by
7315 posts

Coming from the States, we have similar test requirements for France. We have to have been tested and have the results within the preceding 72 hours in order to board the flight, which gives us more wiggle room but the same problem.
You need to test 24hours before boarding. James calculated with the time difference, but allow extra time in case you are delayed en route. I think you can do it.

Here's what I did. I posted in Beyond Europe looking for labs near the international airport we are using (Dulles) so thanks to others here, I have a lab lined up that can fill the request.

So search "lab, COVID PCR test, and the area you are living" or the airport you are using, and calling around, you will find a lab with a good turnaround time. Go directly to a lab. Don't use a test site. Prepare to pay$$. Faster you need the results, the more you pay. We are going to DC two days early to get the test done there next to the airport.

I don't think you have enough leeway try the home kit that you overnight back to the lab unless they can give you results the next day, so you aren't beyond 48 hours when you get to passport control.

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1863 posts

A lot to think about and pre-plan, but I know we are all up for it. Planning is our forte. We will keep up-to-date on the situation.
Bets, let us know how it goes for you.

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8 posts

Thanks Bets. Thats very helpful. I will look for a lab. "Planning is our forte" - thanks Barbara, I got a kick out of that.

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12139 posts

Guys, I have been searching Houston for fast PCR tests. The best I have been able to find is 3 to 10 days. The only thing I have found that has a short turn around time is (and its fairly common and easy to find with a lot of sources):

Antigen Test
On-Site? Yes.
Results typically back in 15 Minutes
Note: Due to unusually high volume, it may take longer. (here I am assuming hours, not days)

Rapid antigen tests are easily performed at our ER with a nasal swab. The test detects viral protein in an actively infected person. The manufacturer published data that states that the test is 100% specific (Meaning: if it is positive it is 100% accurate), and that it is 80% sensitive (meaning: if it is negative, it is 80% accurate).

Sounds pretty accurate, but its not the type of test the Hungarians are looking for. What type of tests are the Croats looking for?

I did find some good news, the largest lab in the area currently says 3 to 5 day turn around for a PCR test, but thinks that will be down to 1 or 2 days by the end of the month.....

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7315 posts

One day will work for you, James, but two would be sketchy.
Worst case, you can re-route through a different gateway city if you found a quick lab close by.

Barbara, the Consulat in NY teamed up with some lab in Edison NJ after the hue and cry this created. I'll find the article from the ex-pat news on line if you want it. Just send a pm.

Then again, by tomorrow requirements could change, much less next month.

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12139 posts

The lab emails the results and my country is 2 tests 48 hours apart within 5 days of arrival. So 2 days would work if I passed, cause I wouldn't get the result of test 2 until I was in route ... lol.

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8 posts

Croatia requires PCR test, so I have been searching online for a lab near Sacramento, CA that does fast turnaround testing but not finding anything. Very discouraging. In fact several hospitals do it but only for in-patients or with Dr referral. My Dr already told me no testing for travel- apparently there are not enough tests to go around. This has been the problem from the start. Today is a new day and the search goes on.

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Things may ease up by September and tests might be available. Everyday I am reading that cases are going down. The numbers they are really looking at are hospitalizations. Many people will test positive but show no symptoms.

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Hi,
I can tell you i arrived in Croatia from the United States (IAD airport) on 07jul20, I traveled through franfurt on untied , and connected on croatian airlines. I had no issues at customs in Zagreb. I had to fill out paperwork stating where I was gonna stay, but have since left for the islands. My wife is croatian, which diffently made it easier for me, but there are other paths to get here to avoid the travel ban. You can not fly from Germany to another EU schengen country. I know that for sure. A better path would be to turkey and fly from there to zagreb. They had elections here a few weeks back and some people flew to Mostar (Bosnia) and drove to dubrovnik (90 min drive)
I dont think flying to serbia and driving the 4+ hours to zagreb or beyond is a viable path as they are 14 day quarantine on arrival

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also. I did this without taking any test, or having my temperature taken or any other screening other then the short screening at Dulles Airport. I visited mljet Island and they took my temperature before check in, but nothing in korcula or peljesac

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7315 posts

john w, you probably need to go to the Bay Area—Berkeley, San Francisco, even check Palo Alto/ San Jose. Why don’t you ask on Beyond Europe, where in the Bay Area you can get a PCR test for travel—If you fly out of SFO anyway. It worked for me to find something near IAD.

How do I say this and remain PC or neutral: A PCR for travel is, in several ways, an extravagance, at a time of crisis and limited resources. Check the area where there’s people with resources and independent labs.

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1863 posts

Thanks for the post and info Bruce. We just have to wait till my husband is called back to work so he can retire. We don’t want to go anywhere cause we don’t know when they will call him.

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12139 posts

Just be careful that despite reports that may infer lesser requirements, that you comply with the best information on the law of each country. I started re-posting after hearing two "reliable" reports of entries that seemed too easy to be true ..... they were.

Dont forget restrictions in transit. Go to IATA ad fill out their form and see what the result is. Logic doesnt always play a part in this.

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1863 posts

James, we actually get email updates from the small ship cruise line. Today’s was very informative. The website is Katerina-line.com. My concern is that there are no direct flights to Croatia, so a negative test result would probably still be needed for wherever we transfer through? We moved our sailing from this September to September 2021, especially since we were going with another couple. I had a beautiful 3 week itinerary planned, our B&B in Dubrovnik booked, our car rented.... Hopefully it will be doable next year.

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Barbara, I don’t blame you at all. These are tough decisions, there really isn’t a bad decision. In case, when you do decide to make your trip, COVID is still an issue, here is a link to the transit rules at Heathrow: https://www.heathrow.com/customer-support/faq/coronavirus-covid-19 . Nothing more than a temperature check. Istanbul is also open. Others may be these are just the two I am confident in.

And thank you for the link on the Katrina Line. Those cruises look fantastic and for the nature of the trip, the prices are very reasonable. It is exactly the sort of cruise I would be interested in. I think I have something to add to the bucket list.

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James. We first became aware of this company in 2002. The woman who started the company is actually an acquaintance of an Aunt if ours - she is a retired tour guide. Anyway, we have been obsessed with going on one for years. We have seen their boats in Split, on Korcula, and in Dubrovnik. They all look great. We booked for September 25 from Dubrovnik to Opatija (Route KL Deluxe). We actually tried getting a group together to rent the entire ship, but alas not all of our friends are into travel as we are. We are going with my cousin and her husband. We travel well together, 4 European and various US trips. Looking forward to it next year, fingers crossed.

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Barbara, thank you. If you need two more to fill the ship next year, please do let me know......

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Following this thread with interest, as we are planning very similar to some of the folks above. In early Sept, Dallas to Frankfurt on United, then to Zagreb. From everything I can find out (and there is a ton on this topic on Facebook, in various Croatia Travel groups, so check and join any of those and there is lots of almost daily reports of what folks are finding, so it is all pretty current), traveling from US to Frankfurt and then on to Croatia, as long as you don't leave the airport within EU, seems no problem. As far as getting into Croatia, I think the posts above are consistent with what I've seen. To get in you need some paperwork for entry filled in (that seems pretty straightforward and easy). You need also either a PCR test within 48 hours, or be willing to self quarantine for 14 days. I have found places here in Dallas to get that PCR test (and it has to be that specific one apparently) that have a 24 hour turn around. So that part doesn't seem a problem (at least for us here). So before we leave the ground in the US, we want to have a negative test (for ourselves, other travelers and Croatia). We already have been tested in last week by the way just to see how the process went to get the test (was very easy). If you can't get that test within that 48 hour window, from Facebook it seems like there are multiple places offering to give tourists the test on arrival in various cities (so you could get into the country, and self quarantine, until you got the test there and got cleared). So that seems a viable backup option just in case. So getting into Croatia seems very doable right now. And making folks get tested, that makes a lot of sense to me and seems like a reasonable way to go. Yes it might not catch every case, but in terms of a reasonable balance of safety vs tourist economy, seems reasonable place to end up. I haven't found the answer regarding the 14 day quarantine, whether you have to show them evidence when you land of a place all 14 days straight (if you didn't have the PCR test), or whether you would just have to show accomodations for the first few days (with the idea being that if you were delayed getting the PCR test results back, you could extend your stay at the first stop longer). As best I can tell, you just show border crossing folks reservations for "some period of time" (but not necessarily all 14 days) and they will let you in.

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Craig, excellent post. Could you PM me some of those travel groups please. AND I quit going to TA years ago because it was ..... anyway, I revisited it tonight. Tons of great info, pure travel advice, current with people who have made the trip this week, no politics, no shaming .... at least on the country forum I visited.

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83 posts

Yeah, Facebook has its good and bad. But I have found the on Croatia travel news, there is more activity/postings/information there than I find on Rick Steves or TripAdvisor. So I guess you never know--explore as many different sites as you want and distill what you can find. The "groups" i'm on there (that I would recommend anyone wanting to get a sense of "current" news there) are Croatia Travel, Croatia Travel Community, and Covid 19 Info Croatia. Just search and join those groups if you want a daily stream of info (some good and some not so good). Also Chasing the Donkey is a good web resource I have found (and also you can follow them on Facebook and I find they have pretty good posts and refers to local news articles). If anyone else has any "favorites" of places for research on Croatia they find helpful, please share!!

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craig, this is useful information, thnx very much, really appreciate it. Sounds like Texas has a tight game when it comes to testing. Maybe I am looking in all the wrong places here in CA, but meeting the 48-hour test requirement does not seem possible for me. I am absolutely willing to pay extra for the quick turn around but it does not seem to be available. On the bright side, your post leads me to believe there may be an alternate solution that keeps everyone safe. Unfortunately, my plans were further complicated today when Poland decreed that citizens returning from trips abroad will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Why is that a problem for me? Cuz the whole point of my trip was to rendezvous with a Polish friend in Split. Arghh!

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1863 posts

We feel your frustration. We have decided to sit back and wait it out. We pushed all our reservations to next September with the other couple. That is done. Our real reason for wanting to get to Croatia is to start cleaning up/out our apartment. My husband’s parents and only sibling all passed at various times over the past few years. We are going to keep the apartment for the time being but want to start going through everything. We’ve been there but we always had other family with us so we couldn’t really do much. We figured now would be a good time cause we could definately quarantine. Our friend who takes care of the apartment could bring us food, and she is willing to help us. Just like us here, she is bored sitting at home. As soon as my husband is called back to work (hotel), he will work for about a week or two, see what is going on, then put in his retirement papers. We are hoping they go back in September, that is the latest from his Union. We would still get tested here because i wouldn’t want to be one of those people we have no symptons but have the Covid and spread it unknowingly. In the meantime, i just received my 6 new RS travel guides and i am going to do some reading and dreaming.