Moving to the Czech Republic?
Moving to the Czech Republic
At a Glance:
- If you are not an EU citizen or from one of the 40 states which are exempt from short-term visas requirements, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa before arriving in the Czech Republic.
- Within 30 working days of entering the country, all foreigners are required to register at their local Foreigners’ Police Inspectorate.
- Expats who wish to work as freelancers have a slightly different application process and must obtain a license called živnostenský list.
- Prague is not the only option when settling in the Czech Republic — other cities, including Brno, Ostrava and Plzeň, also have a lot to offer.
Most expats choose to move to Prague, the nation’s political, cultural, and economic center. However, the Czech Republic has a lot more to offer. In this article, you’ll read about the country’s top expat destinations and find out more about visa requirements.
Visa, Blue Card, or Employee Card?
Since the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, citizens of all other EU member states enjoy the freedom to move to the Czech Republic without a visa. Citizens of most other countries must apply for a visa before they move. There are, however, roughly 40 states which are exempt from visa requirements if their nationals stay no longer than 90 days and their visit is not employment or business related. You can find a list of these countries and other visa related details in the Entry & Residence section on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
To work in the Czech Republic, a visa is always required except for prospective employees or blue card holders (see below) and citizens of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you must apply for your visa at a Czech mission abroad well before your move. There are two main categories: long-term and short-term (Schengen) visas. Both can be issued for employment purposes, but they do not replace a work permit. To work in the Czech Republic, you must apply for a permit at a Czech Labor Office before applying for a visa. For more information on this topic see our article on working in the Czech Republic.
Schengen Visas — Great for Short-Term Stays
A Schengen visa entitles its holder to stay within the Schengen area for 90 days over a 180-day period. Assuming the Czech Republic is your main destination within the Schengen area, you should apply for your visa at a Czech diplomatic mission abroad at least two weeks before traveling.
Your Schengen visa application should include:
- a completed application form
- your passport, valid for at least three months prior to your departure, including previous visas and two blank pages
- a recent passport-sized photograph
- documents detailing the nature of your stay in the Czech Republic (e.g. work permit or work contract)
- proof of travel medical insurance covering expenses up to 30,000 EUR
- proof of your intention to leave the country once your visa expires (e.g. plane ticket)
Keep in mind that there are different visa types within the Schengen visa category depending on whether your visit is for business, employment, study, or tourism.
In most cases, applications for a Schengen visa are reviewed within 7 to 15 days. However, to be on the safe side you should apply two months before your planned departure date in case, for example, your passport needs to be renewed.
Planning a Long-Term Business Trip
If you plan on staying in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days, you need a long-term Schengen visa (type D). This process may include an interview at the Czech diplomatic mission where you’re submitting your visa application. In addition to the requirements for a Schengen visa, you must supply the following with your application:
- two passport-sized photographs
- proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay
- a document outlining the nature of your stay
- an excerpt from the penal register of the country where you have your citizenship, plus from any country where you’ve spent more than six months in the past three years
- proof of financial security
- visa application fee of 1,000 CZK
Any foreign documents must be officially translated into Czech.
When you have been approved and go to pick up your visa, you will be asked for proof that you have medical coverage for up to 60,000 EUR, including repatriation services. If you are applying for a working visa, you only need to be covered for the period between your arrival and the moment you’ll be covered by your employer’s health plan.
If you are moving to the Czech Republic for business rather than employment, make sure you can provide proof that you are authorized to carry out your business in the country. Decisions on long-term visas are usually made within 90 to 120 days, so apply well in advance of your planned departure date.
Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing in the Czech Republic
There is a slightly different process if you are moving to the Czech Republic as a freelancer. If you wish to work in the country on a self-employed basis, you will need to apply for a trade license certificate, known as živnostenský list. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will then need to apply for a long-term business visa, which allows you to stay in the country for no longer than a year (you will need to renew it if you wish to stay longer). The application process for this requires:
- proof of identity (e.g. photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport, including passport number)
- two recent passport photos
- proof of sufficient funds (currently 15,000 Kč per person)
- proof of a clear criminal record
- proof of accommodation
- documents to show the purpose of your stay
As above, all documents must be accompanied by a notarized Czech translation.
For more information, the writers of the Wandertooth.com blog provide an easy-to-read and up-to-date guide to how they went about the application process.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.