Prague at a Glance
Moving to PragueiStockphoto
Prague has been popular among expats since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Lots of expatriates in Prague are employed by one of the multinationals in the city. Some are there to work for Czech firms, especially in the key areas of finance, IT, and business development. Another group of expats living in Prague includes foreign embassy staff.
The most visible group among Prague’s expat population are probably the “adventurers”, who move to Prague to experience another country and culture. Many of them work as language teachers to finance their stay.
Most of those who have dared the move to Prague consider the city a comfortable place to live for expatriates. Prague is relatively small and cozy for a capital city. Living standards are rapidly approaching those in Western countries. Nevertheless, everyday shopping is still comparatively cheap.
Czech immigration law basically differentiates between short-term visas and long-term visas. Short-term visas are Schengen visas. As such, they are not only valid for the Czech Republic, but for the entire Schengen area as well.
Long-term visas, or “type D” visas, are issued for different purposes, such as employment, study or family reunification. As of 2012, type D visas for moving to Prague are usually valid for a period of three to six months; afterwards foreign workers can apply for a long-term residence permit. Expats moving to Prague to take up employment need to successfully apply for a work permit before a long-term employment visa can be issued.
In 2011, the Czech Republic introduced the EU Blue Card, simplifying the process of moving to Prague and the rest of the country. The Blue Card provides a simpler alternative to the regular work permit system for foreign nationals who fulfill certain requirements in regards to professional qualifications and minimum salary.
Citizens of Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Macedonia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, Ukraine, and the US may also qualify for a Green Card. For more information on both Blue and Green Cards, please consult our article on Moving to the Czech Republic.
Registration for EU and non-EU citizens in Prague
Due to the free movement of workers within the European Union, citizens of other EU member states moving to Prague do not need a visa. The same is true for expats from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. However, within 30 days of taking up residence in Prague, citizens of these countries are also required to register with the Czech authorities. Non-EU citizens moving to Prague have to report to the Foreign Police Department within three working days.
Third-country nationals moving to Prague may need to apply for a long-term residence permit. After a stay of five years, a permanent residence permit may be issued. EU citizens relocating to Prague for a period of more than three months may request a temporary residence certificate if they wish. To be granted the certificate, expats need to prove that they have adequate health insurance and sufficient funds. Since 2009, non-EU applicants also have to pass a – relatively basic – Czech language test.
Getting to Know the City of Prague
With an area of 500 km2 and around 1.3 million inhabitants, Prague is rather small and cozy in the eyes of most foreigners. The picturesque historical center and the castle area stretch out over both banks of the Vltava River, connected by the famous Charles Bridge.
Prague’s newer districts are grouped around the city center. The inhabitants of Prague usually refer to them by their numbers according to an old administrative law. The most popular residential areas for expats in Prague include Prague 2 and Prague 6.
Where to Live in Prague
In Prague, you will never live very far from the center. In combination with Prague’s excellent public transportation system, this means there is easy access to most districts and commuting is not such an issue.
So, feel free to take other factors into consideration when moving to Prague: the atmosphere of particular districts and the leisure opportunities they offer, for instance. The form and quality of housing available may also differ depending on which neighborhood you’ll live in after moving to Prague.