The Czech Republic at a Glance
Moving to the Czech Republic
A move to the Czech Republic takes most expats 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 for the Czech Republic.
Visa, Blue Card, or Employee Card: Who Needs Which?
Since the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU in 2004, citizens of all other 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. Please note that a visa to enter the Czech Republic is always required for employment purposes, 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 should find out what sort of visa you require before your move. You must apply for your visa at a Czech mission abroad well before your move. There are only 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. In order to take up employment in the Czech Republic, you must apply for a work 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 across a 180 day period. Assuming the Czech Republic is your main destination within the Schengen area (or at least the first point of entry into the Schengen area) you should apply for your visa at a Czech diplomatic mission abroad at least two weeks before moving to the Czech Republic.
Your Schengen visa application should include:
- a completed application form
- your passport including previous visas and two blank pages
- a 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 the nature of your visit, whether it is for business, employment, studies, 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 to the Czech Republic?
If you plan on staying in the Czech Republic for a period exceeding 90 days, you need a long-term visa (type D). This process may include an interview at the Czech diplomatic mission where you submit 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
- proof of medical insurance covering you for up to 60,000 EUR from the day you enter the Czech Republic until you commence employment there
When you 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 need to only be covered for the period between your arrival and the moment you fall under your employer’s health plan. If you are moving to the Czech Republic for business rather than employment purposes, make sure you can furnish proof that you are authorized to carry out your business in the Czech Republic. All documentation that is in a foreign language must be translated into Czech by a certified translator. Decisions on long-term visas are usually made within 90 to 120 days, so make sure to apply well in advance of your planned leaving date.
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