Czech Republic: Types of stays for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members
Since 2007, the Czech Republic has been part of the Schengen area. This is the territory of the contracting states where people can cross the border without having to go through border control. Border checks are only made at the external Schengen borders. The Czech Republic borders only with Schengen states, with no external Schengen borders.
How long can an EU citizen stay in the Czech Republic? What types of stay exist?
- short stay (up to 90 days)
- temporary stay (over 90 days)
- permanent residence
Short-term residence of an EU citizen in the Czech Republic
If you are a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you may temporarily reside in the Czech Republic without a permit, only on the basis of a valid travel document or identity card.
If a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland is to remain in the territory of the Czech Republic for more than 30 days, they must report to the Foreign Police to register their stay in the Czech Republic within 30 days of entering the territory. This obligation also applies to a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who resides in the territory. This procedure does not apply to a foreigner who has fulfilled this obligation with their accommodation provider.
The reporting obligation is done by filling in the registration form (for download in .pdf at https://www.policie.cz/clanek/hlaseni-pobytu-cizincu.aspx). If a foreigner fails to fulfil their reporting obligation, a misdemeanour is committed, for which a fine of up to CZK 3,000 can be charged.
Stays longer than 3 months
If an EU citizen plans to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 3 months, they may apply to the Ministry of the Interior for a temporary residence permit or a permanent residence permit.
Temporary stay of an EU citizen in the Czech Republic
Obtaining a certificate of temporary residence is not a condition of residence for a European Union citizen in the territory of the Czech Republic. The request is voluntary and it is only for the purposes of the EU citizen confirming their right to residency in writing.
The application is to be submitted with the form “Application for a certificate of temporary residence of a citizen of the European Union” (https://www.mvcr.cz/docDetail.aspx?docid=21672757&doctype=ART) and the following shall be attached:
- travel document (identity card / EU passport)
- proof of purpose of residence (employment, business, gainful activity, study, etc.)
- photo (35 x 45 mm)
- proof of health insurance (not required when staying for employment, business or other gainful employment)
- proof of accommodation in the Czech Republic
Documents submitted must not be older than 180 days (except for identity cards or travel documents).
All applications must be submitted on the prescribed form, with which all necessary particulars must be provided. Always submit originals or officially certified copies of documents (travel document, registry documents, etc. are required in the original). All documents must be in Czech or officially translated into Czech. In addition, the extraterritorial documents of the Netherlands are subject to a higher verification (apostille).
The application for a temporary residence certificate is submitted to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic (it is appropriate to visit the office specific to your residential address). The application should be processed within 30 days of initiation of the proceedings. If the application is accepted, the applicant is requested to collect the Certificate of temporary residence in the Czech Republic. They are also assigned a birth number.
An EU, EEA or Swiss citizen has free access to the labor market during their temporary stay.
Transitional stay of a family member of an EU citizen in the Czech Republic
The legislation is based on EU Directive 2004/38 / EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their families freedom of movement and residence in the territory of the Member States. For a citizen from a Third State that is a family member of a citizen of an EU Member State, the Ministry of the Interior issues a temporary residence permit titled “Residence card family member of a citizen of the European Union “. In the case of family members of citizens from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, this document bears the name “License card to stay for foreigners“.
If you come from a third country but have a family member who is an EU citizen, you should submit your application on the form “Request for temporary residence permit for a family member of a citizen of the European Union” and attach the following:
- confirmation that you are a family member of an EU citizen (spouse, registered partner, parent, offspring, ancestor dependent on the care of an EU citizen, etc.)
- 2 photos (35 x 45 mm)
- proof of accommodation in the Czech Republic or proof of the EU citizen’s residence in the territory
The documents enclosed with the application may not be older than 180 days. The application is filed on the territory of the Czech Republic in person (at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic), within 3 months from the date of entry into the territory. It is decided within 60 days of initiation of the proceedings. An EU family member’s residence card is issued for an EU citizen’s expected stay, up to 5 years. Foreigners are also assigned a birth number.
A foreign citizen who has applied for this residence permit has free access to the labor market according to internal methodology of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (as well as a foreigner who has already been granted the authorisation). If, however, their application is not met, a family member of an EU citizen loses free access to the labor market.
Permanent residence of an EU citizen in the Czech Republic (including his / her family members)
Permanent residence permits can be granted to an EU citizen or family member of an EU citizen.
A citizen of the European Union can apply for a permanent residence permit after 5 years of continuous residence in the Czech Republic. A family member of an another EU citizen can apply for a permanent residence permit after 2 years of continuous residence in the Czech Republic.
An application for permanent residence can be filed at the MOI offices. With regards to possible personal contact with the office where the application was filed, it is best to file the application at the office nearest to where you are registered. The application must be submitted in person.
What must the EU citizen prove to obtain a permanent residence permit?
- travel document, identity card (original)
- a document certifying the fulfilment of the condition of 5 years of continuous temporary stay (long-term visa, employment contract with place of work in the Czech Republic, employer’s confirmation of starting and termination of employment, proof of registration of payments for health insurance, etc.)
- 2 photos 35 x 45 mm
- proof of accommodation (extract from the land register, purchase contract, lease for an indefinite period, written confirmation of the owner of the apartment or house about the agreement with the accommodation of an alien, etc.)
What must a family member of an EU citizen prove to obtain a permanent residence permit?
- travel document, identity card (original)
- a document confirming that the applicant is a family member of an EU citizen for at least one year
- a document confirming fulfilment of the condition of 2 years of continuous temporary stay
- 2 photos 35 x 45 mm
- proof of accommodation
The application must be decided by the Ministry of the Interior within 60 days from the day of filing in the Czech Republic. During this time, the applicant has the opportunity at any time to inspect the file.
The validity of the permanent residence permit is 10 years. A citizen who obtains a permanent residence permit automatically becomes eligible for health insurance and is entitled to free healthcare.
The holders of the permanent residence permit are granted free access to the labor market and have – as regards employment – equal status as citizens of the Czech Republic.
Author: Míša Benešovská
I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mainly covering IT industry. I’ve been fascinated by it for nearly a quarter of a century (or since I dismantled my first computer). I worked for Seznam.cz, Unicorn Systems or Mafra publisher. In my spare time, I love game consoles and keep perfecting a recipe for the best pumpkin risotto in the world.
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