Prague at a Glance
Moving to Prague
Lots of expatriates in Prague are employed by one of the multinationals in the city. Some, however, 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 is the foreign embassy staff.
The most visible group among Prague’s expat population is probably the “adventurers”, meaning those who move to Prague to experience another culture and country in general. Many of them work as language teachers to finance their stay.
Most of those who have undertaken a 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 Europe, but, thankfully, things like everyday shopping is still comparatively cheap.
Visas — Your Ticket to Prague
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.
Long-term visas, or “type D” visas, are issued for stays to do with study or family reunification. An employee card replaces long-term visas for employment purposes. The employee card is of a dual nature meaning it acts as a work permit as well as a residence permit for the duration of your employment.
For citizens of EU and EFTA member states the blue card — introduced in 2011 — serves the same purpose as an employee card for third-country nationals. 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.
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. The job in question must be placed on the vacancy database compiled by the Czech government by the employer; there are different vacancies for the employee card and for the blue card. Foreigners can apply for a long-term residence permit if they plan on staying more than three months.
For more information on both blue and employee cards, please consult our article on moving to the Czech Republic.
Registration and Residency in Prague
Due to the free movement of workers principle 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 register at the Foreign Police Department or at an office of the Ministry of Interior within three working days of arrival.
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 requested. EU citizens relocating to Prague for a period of more than three months may request a temporary residence certificate if they wish, but their stay in the Czech Republic is not dependent on it. 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.
The Prague Basics
With an area of 500 km2 and a population of around 1.9 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, 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.
The Blessing of a Small City: Everything is Close By
One good thing that comes with its relatively small size is that, in Prague, you will never live very far from the center. This, in combination with Prague’s excellent public transportation system, makes for easy access to most districts and commuting is not such an issue.
The above allows expats to take other factors into consideration when moving to Prague such as the atmosphere of particular districts and the leisure opportunities they offer. The form and quality of housing available may also differ depending on which neighborhood you decide to live in upon moving to Prague.
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