Czech Republic: Visas and stays for third-country nationals
Want to know what a long-term visit to the Czech Republic involves? And how to get a work permit?
In this article you will find out what types of visas exist in the Czech Republic, such as the difference between long-term and permanent residence, what an employee card is, what’s needed to apply for a long-term visa and other such useful information. So, get comfortable, a trip through Czech legislation awaits you.
The information below applies mainly to third-country nationals. These are citizens from non-EU countries, and are not citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
Reporting obligation in the Czech Republic
Every foreigner who visits the Czech Republic must meet the “reporting obligation” upon their arrival. Otherwise, he/she will commit a misdemeanour and charges against them can be made.
Third-country nationals must apply to the relevant Foreign Police Department of the Czech Republic (at the place of the foreigner’s reported residence) within three working days of entering the Czech Republic. The obligation to report the place of residence to the police does not apply to a foreigner who has fulfilled this obligation with their accommodation provider. A foreigner fulfilling the reporting obligation must have a valid travel document and a completed registration form (to be downloaded in .pdf at https://www.policie.cz/clanek/hlaseni-pobytu-cizincu.aspx). The police officer is also entitled to request a valid travel insurance certificate.
How long can you stay in the Czech Republic and what types of visas exist?
To cross the borders of the Czech Republic (and the Schengen area), you must meet the following conditions:
- have a valid travel document
- have a valid visa
- justify the purpose and conditions of your stay
- have sufficient means of subsistence during the stay
- not appear in the Schengen information system (SIS II) as persons to be denied entry
- a citizen should not be considered a threat to any Schengen country
Types of stay in the Czech Republic are distinguished by their length as follows:
- short stay (up to 90 days) – short-term (Schengen) visa
- long-term stay (over 90 days) – long-term visa, long-term stay, permanent residence
All visa applications must be submitted on the prescribed form, which must be accompanied by all necessary particulars for selected types and purposes of stays. Always submit originals or officially certified copies of documents (travel documents, marriage certificates, 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 must be subject to a higher verification (apostille).
The bureaucracy is governed by the Czech Republic, so please carefully read what documents you have to submit and follow the prescribed formats. Applications are subject to an administrative fee, and you may be asked to provide additional documents within additional time limits. Most requests are filed in person, all documents must be delivered in time within the specified deadline, otherwise you risk your application being denied.
Specimens of documents issued in the Czech Republic can be found here: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/prado/en/prado-documents/EN / index.html.
Visa-free entry and short-stay visas in the Czech Republic
A short-term (Schengen) visa is issued for a maximum stay of 90 days during any 180 day period. It depends on which third country the applicant is coming from. The countries that apply the common visa policy are all Schengen States, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus.
The list of countries whose citizens require a visa in the Schengen States can be found below:
The list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa in the Schengen States is available here:
The length of stay is determined by the entry and exit stamps in the travel document.
The length of stays in the Schengen States is added up!
The “Schengen Calculator” is an on-line tool to help calculate the number of days you have remaining in the Schengen area: https://ec.europa.eu/assets/home/visa-calculator/calculator.htm?lang=en.
In the case of a bilateral visa-free agreement between the Czech Republic and the country of origin of a third-country national, it is possible to stay in the Czech Republic beyond the Schengen rules for short-term stay (90/180).
How to apply for a short-stay visa
The application is submitted in person and must be filled in on a special form. You must submit it to the Embassy of the State of the Schengen Area, which is the sole or main objective of your travel (ie the state where you will be the longest).
When applying for a short-stay visa, it is important to distinguish the purpose of your travel to the Czech Republic, according to which you attach other documents. The purpose of the trip distinguishes between the following groups:
- Hiking, spa stay, treatment
- Business trip, meeting, conference, seminar, cultural or sporting event
- Study or scientific research
- Airport visa for transit
When to apply for a short-stay visa
The deadline for processing the application is 7-15 days, so the application should be submitted no later than 15 days before your trip, otherwise it will not be settled in time. You can apply 3 months in advance of your departure. Short-term visas are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
What you need to apply for a visa application
– travel document
– 35 x 45 mm photo
– biometric data (fingerprints)
- supporting documents proving – the purpose of the stay, accommodation, sufficient funds (less than 30 days minimum stay of CZK 1 100 per day), intention to leave the Czech Republic or the Schengen area, travel health insurance
If you have a short-term (Schengen) visa for employment, you can work in the Czech Republic.
This request is usually processed within 4 business days.
Long-term visa in the Czech Republic
A long-term visa is issued for a stay in the Czech Republic exceeding 90 days. The application must be filed in person at the embassy office of the Czech Republic abroad, the application can only be made in the Czech Republic in legal cases. The Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic is responsible for handling the request.
The long-term visa entitles the applicant to repeated departure and entry into the Czech Republic.
How long can you stay in the Czech Republic with a long-term visa?
A residence visa of more than 90 days is granted for a specific period of stay corresponding to the intended purpose of the stay, but for a maximum period of one year. An extension of a long-term visa in the Czech Republic is possible if it has the same purpose of residence.
The application for a long-stay visa should be accompanied with:
– travel document (original)
– 35 x 45 mm photo
– proof of accommodation during stay in the Czech Republic
– document confirming the purpose of the stay in the Czech Republic (original)
– proof of the financial means needed to stay in the Czech Republic (by January 2018 it was CZK 55,000 / semester and CZK 81,400 / year in the case of a study stay)
- on request: parental consent, extract from the Criminal Records Register, proof of compliance measures against the introduction of infectious diseases
Purposes of stay for long-term visas in the Czech Republic
- Study (3 months to a year)
- Employment (from 6/2014, this type of permit was replaced by an occupational card and a long-term visa for seasonal employment, see below)
- Visa for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit
Once a long-term visa has been allocated, it is necessary to provide:
- proof of travel health insurance
- where applicable, proof of payment of insurance premiums
During the application process the applicant may be invited to interview, complete the documents within specific deadlines, complete the prescribed forms, etc. Failure to meet any condition or time limit may lead to a decision not to grant a long-term visa.
The deadline for processing the application is 90 days from the application, in complex cases 120 days, in special cases (research, study, pedagogical activity) 60 days.
Application for a long-term visa for the purpose of seasonal employment
This application is submitted personally at the local representative office of the Czech Republic.
The application for a long-stay visa for the purpose of seasonal employment shall be accompanied by:
– 35 x 45 mm photo
– a work permit pursuant to Section 96 (1) of the Employment Act or, where applicable, the reference number of the application for the permit
– proof of accommodation during the stay
– confirmation by the employer of the agreed wage level
- further on request: criminal record document, proof of compliance measures against the introduction of infectious diseases
A long-term visa for seasonal employment is issued for a maximum of 6 months and a work permit from the Czech Labor Office is required.
Long-term stay in the Czech Republic
Long-term residence is intended for foreigners who wish to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 6 months.
The application is submitted personally in the territory of the Czech Republic at the Ministry of the Interior, if
– the applicant already has a long-term visa
– the applicant intends to temporarily reside for more than a year
- it has the same purpose of residence.
It is important to distinguish between long-term residence and the long-term visa referred to above. You can apply for permission in the Czech Republic or at the embassies of the Czech Republic abroad. The following are distinguished for residence purposes (according to which relevant documents are required):
- Scientific research
- Employment (from 6/2014 this type of permit was replaced by an employee card)
- Family reunification
- Green Card (6/2014 replaced by employee card)
- Blue Card (long-term stay for the purpose of highly qualified employment)
The time limits for examining applications vary according to the purpose of the stay.
The Employee card is a type of long-term residence permit where the purpose of your stay (longer than 3 months) is employment. It is intended for all types of employment irrespective of the degree of professional competence. Permits a stay in the Czech Republic whilst working (replaces a long-term visa for employment and a long-term residence permit for employment). It is most often issued for the duration of the employment-legal relationship between the employee and the employer, but for no longer than 2 years. It may be repeatedly extended.
The deadline for deciding on an application for an employee card is 60 days, in particularly complex cases, 90 days.
Who is the employee card for?
For foreigners from all countries outside the EU / EEA and Switzerland.
An employee card is always linked to a particular job position.
The Blue Card is for foreigners who have a university degree or higher professional education (if the study lasted at least 3 years), whose salary is at least 1.5 times the average gross annual wage in the Czech Republic. Such a post must be entered in the central register of vacant posts occupied by the holders of the blue card.
Permanent residence in the Czech Republic
Who can apply for a permanent residence in the Czech Republic?
A foreigner staying in the Czech Republic for a continuous period of at least 5 years may apply for a permanent residence permit.
The application must be submitted in person according to the place of reporting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
The following documents should be submitted with your application:
– fulfilment of the condition of 5 years of continuous temporary stay
– 35 x 45 mm photo
– proof of accommodation
– proof of the provision of means of residence
– proof of Czech language test (the first attempt to carry out the examination is paid by the state on the basis of a voucher issued at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic)
- where appropriate: extract from the Criminal Register
The application will be decided within 60 days from the date of filing in the Czech Republic and within 180 days from the date of filing the application to the Embassy of the Czech Republic abroad. During the application process you have the opportunity to inspect the file.
If you are a family member of an EU citizen for at least 1 year, you can apply for permanent residence after 2 years of continuous residence in the Czech Republic.
Holders of residence permits have free access to the labor market pursuant to Section 98 of the Employment Act.
Further (practical) information can be found on the Ministry of the Interior website: https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/informacni-publikace-pro-cizince.aspx.
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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