Home I need to arrange… Visas and Stay for Foreigners in the Czech Republic

Visas and Stay for Foreigners in the Czech Republic

Are you a migrant residing or planning to reside in the territory of the Czech Republic – either for business or for leisure, for a short or long period of time? Would you like to bring your family to the CR? Here on the Prague for all website you can learn basic information on visa, residence and other duties applicable in the Czech Republic according the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic. You will also learn about offices in the Czech Republic which you need to contact – we will provide you with their contact details as well as useful links to verified sources of further information.

Complete information on staying in the Czech Republic can be found on the Immigration Portal of the Czech Republic.


 

Types of Stay of Foreigners in the Czech Republic

Are you planning to go to the Czech Republic? Or are you already staying here? Find out what obligations you have regarding your stay here on the Prague for All website. The first important piece of information is whether you are an EU citizen or a third country national (non-EU citizen). You also need to decide how long you will stay in the CR. If you opt for a short-term stay (under 3 months), you need to find out whether the Czech Republic has a visa requirement for your home country. If you want to stay in the CR for a longer period of time, you need to arrange a permit to reside here. You will learn more in the following chapters
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EU Citizens and their Family Members

If you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland or a family member of a citizen of one of these states, you can move around the Schengen area freely and therefore you are also free to come to the Czech Republic. All you need is your ID card or your passport. If you want to stay in the CR for more than 30 days, you are obliged to report your stay to the department of the foreign police based on the place of your residence. If you are staying in a hotel, the accommodation provider fulfills this duty for you, otherwise you have to report your arrival within 30 days.

If you want to stay here for more than 3 months, you can (but do not have to) apply for a temporary residence certificate. After five years of a continuous stay, you can aply for a permanent residence permit.

In terms of residence legislation, a family member is a spouse, a registered partner, a parent who supports an EU citizen under 21 years of age, a child under 21 years of age, a child of the spouse of an EU citizen, or a dependent direct relative in an ascending or descending line or such a relative of the spouse of an EU citizen, or another person dependent on the care of an EU citizen, or anyone who is able to prove that they had lived in a common household with an EU citizen before they came to the Czech Republic.

More information about who can be considered a family member is available at the website of the Czech Ministry of the Interior. You can also find there information about how to apply for a temporary residence certificate or a permanent residence permit for an EU citizen together with all necessary forms.
Recommendation for British citizens:

Are you planning to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 3 months? If you want to make sure that your rights of residents of the Czech Republic will be maintained in future, apply for a certificate of temporary residence. If necessary, you will be able to prove that you had resided here before Brexit took place. The application is not subject to any fee and it is available at all offices of the Ministry of the Interior. If you have been living in the CR for more than 5 years, apply for the permanent residence permit. More information is available here.

 

Third Country Nationals

If you do not fall within the above mentioned category of EU citizens and citizens of other states forming the Schengen area, you are what is called a third country national. Therefore the categories listed below apply to you.

1. Short-term Stay in the Czech Republic – without a Visa

If your country does not have a visa requirement with the Czech Republic, according to the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals, you can arrive in Czech Republic with a valid travel document for a maximum of 90 days. The Czech Republic is a part of the Schengen area (an area with no internal borders), and therefore as foreigner you may remain in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within any 180 days period. This is known as the 90/180 rule. However, you may not work during this period. It is also your obligation to report the place of your residence at the relevant department of the foreign police within three days. If you are staying in a hotel of a dormitory, the accommodation provider fulfills this duty for you.

To calculate the number of days you are allowed to stay in the Czech Republic (and the whole Schengen area) under the 90/180 rule, you can use the Schengen calculator.

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2. Short-term and Long-term Visa

 

Short-term Visa for Foreigners in the Czech Republic

Are you planning to come to the CR as a citizen of a country with a visa requirement to the Czech Republic and want to study, do business, see your family or friends or visit a cultural programme? Then you need to get a visa based on the length of the planned stay. The short-term visa (also known as the Schengen visa) is valid for a maximum of 90 days in 180 days.

Issuance of short-term visas lies within the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. For more information have a look at the section Entry & Residence on the website of the MFA.

In exceptional circumstances you can apply for the extension of short-term visa at the Foreign Police departments of the regional directorates of the Police of the Czech Republic. A list of the offices is available here.

 

Long-term Visa for Foreigners in the Czech Republic

The long-term visa for over 90 days allows you to stay in the CR for up to one year. However, it will be issued for you only for the period of time for which you can prove the purpose of your stay. (If you for example submit the conformation of studies only for 1 semester, you will get the long-term visa only for this period of time).

Submit the application for a long-term visa in person at the relevant diplomatic mission of the Czech Republic abroad.  Bear in mind that you may be invited for an interview during which your plans will be verified. When applying for a long-term visa to the Czech Republic for a period over 90 days, you need to bring your passport, 1 photo (unless photos are taken at the office), a document proving accommodation arrangement in the CR, and a proof of substantial funds for the stay in the CR. You also need to bring a document confirming the purpose of your stay in the Czech Republic (it can be a confirmation of study, a trade licence or an invitation etc.), a travel document, a confirmation of accommodation and sufficient funds. An extract from criminal records and other documents may be requested as well.

Always submit original documents or certified copies. All documents with the exception of the passport need to be translated into Czech. The highest level of certification is required for foreign authentic instruments.

Diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic are only entitled to accept the applications; the decision on granting the visa is then made by the Ministry of the Interior of the CR. If you are granted the visa to the Czech Republic, the diplomatic mission usually sends you an email to inform you that your visa is ready to collect. After that you have to provide proof of travel health insurance. If your Czech visa application is refused, the Ministry of the Interior will inform you about the reasons for refusal in writing. You may ask the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic to re-asses the reasons for denying a visa for over 90 days within 15 days from receiving this information. It is then the Ministry’s obligation to inform you about the result of the re-assessment within 60 days.

For more information about the long-term Czech visa, the documents you need to submit with the application, the application procedure and visa extension, have a look at the website of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, which is responsible for processing your application.

 

3. Long-term Residence for Foreigners in the Czech Republic

Are you planning to stay in the Czech Republic for more than a year? Or have you already been here on a long-term visa and want to extend your stay on the Czech territory? Then the best option for you is to apply for a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic. You have to submit the application in person and you need to submit the same documents as if you applied for a long-term visa for a period over 90 days. That means that it is usually enough to bring your passport, a document proving the purpose of  your stay in the CR, a document proving accommodation arrangement in the CR, and a proof of substantial funds for the stay in the Czech Republic. Always submit original documents or certified copies. All submitted documents need to be translated into Czech. The highest level of certification is required for foreign authentic instruments. You also have to pay an administrative fee for submitting the application.

Long-term residence permits for foreigners are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. You may apply for the long-term residence permit at the Ministry’s office called Foreigners’ Residence Unit (of the Department for Asylum and Migration Policy) if you have come to the CR on a visa over 90 days, you intent to be in the CR for more than a year and the purpose of your stay is still valid.

If you plan to work, invest, study, or to carry out scientific research in the CR on a long-term basis, or if you want to join your family here, you may apply for the long-term residence permit at a diplomatic mission of the CR without prior stay in the CR.

 

Purpose of the Stay of a Foreigner in the Czech Republic

If you are staying in the territory of the Czech Republic on a long-term basis, you need to prove the Ministry of the Interior your reason for staying here – it is called a purpose of the stay. The basic types of the purpose of the stay are studies, scientific research, employment, business and family reunification.

 

As a foreigner, you always need to fulfill the purpose of your stay in the Czech Republic, permitted by the Ministry of the Interior and stated by the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic! Before you are granted a permanent residence permit, you may not spend even one day in the territory of the Czech Republic without fulfilling the purpose of your stay in CR!

Therefore if you quit your job, you need to take up another employment right the next day or change the purpose of your stay, so that there was continuity. Likewise, if you quit your studies or if you complete them successfully, you need to take up employment the very next day or to change the purpose of your stay. 

 If you change from a long-term visa to a long-term residence, you need to keep fulfilling the same purpose of your stay (e.g. university studies)! You can change the purpose of your stay once you have obtained a long-term residence permit. 

 

If you have been granted a long-term residence permit, you are free to change the purpose of your stay anytime, with the following exceptions:

  • – If you want to change the purpose of your stay for business, you may do so only after 5 years of residence in the territory of the CR. Those who are residing here with the purpose of family reunification have an exception.
  • –  If you have been granted a long-term residence with the purpose of family reunification and have spent 3 years residing in the territory of the CR or have reached 18 years of age, you may apply for a long-term residence permit with a different purpose at the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy of the MOI of the CR.
  • –  If you have been issued a green card, you may apply for a long-term residence permit with a different purpose after 1 year of residence in the territory of the CR.
  • –  If the purpose of your stay is family reunification and you get divorced, you may change the purpose of your stay only if you have been residing in the CR continuously for at least 2 years and your marriage lasted for at least 5 years.

Would you like to apply for a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic right away?

If as a foreigner, your first application is the application for a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic, then it may take much longer to get the decision than if you applied for a long-term visa instead. For example, the time limit for decisions on family reunification is up to 270 days. However, there is an indisputable advantage: if your application is rejected, you may appeal against the decision.

 

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If you want to stay in the CR with the purpose of employment, you have to apply for the Employee Card.

 

Biometric Card of a Foreigner in the Czech Republic

If you get a long-term or permanent residence permit in the CR, you will also be issued a biometric card. On this card there are biomentric data, i.e. a facial picture and fingerprints. It makes the verification of the identity of a foreigner living on the territory of the Czech Republic and authenticity of documents much easier. To have your biometric data taken, you have to go to the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior of the CR.

If you have applied for a permit to reside abroad, have your biometric data taken within three days after entering the territory. You need to have a valid travel document with you. You can make an appointment in advance on the phone – ask for the contact at the relevant diplomatic mission. If you make the application in the territory of the CR, the Ministry of the Interior will ask you to have your biometric data taken. Remember that you have to collect the biometric card no later than within 60 days from the day on which your data were taken. Changes in your data have to be reported to the office within three days. The general deadline for reporting a change of your address is longer – it is 30 days.

 

Children under 6 are only photographed, their do not have their fingerprints taken.

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4. Permanent Residence of Foreigners in the Czech Republic

If you want to reside in the CR permanently, according to the on the Act Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Territory of the Czech Republic you may apply for a permanent residence permit after 5 years of continuous residence in the CR. A stay on a long-term visa and a long-term residence permit is counted into this time but a stay on a short-term visa is not.

Students have to bear in mind that only half of the time spent studying in the territory of the Czech Republic counts towards their period of residence for the purpose of applying for permanent residence. 

The condition of a continuous stay does not apply to Czech compatriots with a demonstrable Czech origin, their spouses and their children (minors). They may apply for permanent residence based on so-called reasons worthy of special consideration. 

If you want to be granted permanent residence, as a foreigner you have to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Czech language and therefore you have to pass a test from the Czech language on the A1 level.

As for the permanent residence application, it has to be submitted in person at a relevant office of the Ministry of the Interior based on the registered place of your residence. Together with the application you also need to provide a confirmation of accommodation in the Czech Republic and a proof of sufficient funds for your stay. You may also be asked to provide an extract from your criminal record. Submit original documents or certified copies. Documents in foreign languages need to be officially translated into Czech. Certain documents require the highest level of certification.

 

 Once the decision on granting permanent residence comes into legal effect, you automatically become part of the public healthcare system and you no longer have to pay for commercial health insurance.

Links:

More information on permanent residence for foreigners in the Czech Republic including more specific situations (e.g. not requiring previous continuous long-term residence of 5 years in the territory of the CR), can be found on the official website of the Ministry of the Interior:

 

5. Czech Citizenship 

There are many ways to obtain Czech citizenship. Children can acquire citizenship for example by birth, by acknowledgement of paternity, or by adoption. Under specific circumstances, it is also possible to become a Czech citizen by declaration or thanks to a significant contribution for the Czech Republic. However, people who want to acquire Czech citizenship may simply apply for it, providing that they meet the conditions stated below.

Granting Czech Citizenship on Request

In general, as a foreigner, you can become a Czech citizen after 5 years of continuous long-term residence in the CR. With respect to the Czech law, this does not mean having to renounce your existing citizenship, as the Czech Republic allows people to have multiple citizenships.

If you want to apply for Czech citizenship, you need to submit an application and demonstrate knowledge of the Czech language on a B1 level and pass an exam about Czech history and culture. Both the exams are prepared by the Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies, Charles University.

Exception: If you prove that you have studied for at least 3 years at a primary school, a secondary school or a university in the Czech language, you do not have to sit for the exam. Applicants younger than 15 and older than 65 are also exempt from the exam.

Important: If you are an EU citizen, you can apply for the Czech citizenship after at least 3 years of continuous long-term residence in the CR.

 

You have to prove that you have really stayed in the territory of the Czech Republic. At the same time, it is considered whether you have integrated into Czech society, in particular in terms of family integration, employment, and social integration. Applicants for Czech citizenship must not endanger the security of the state, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, democratic foundations, lives, health, or property values. They must not have committed a criminal offence. The applicants also have to prove the amount and the sources of their income, their compliance with Czech laws and regulations and their independence of the state social support system and the assistance in material need system.

Czech citizenship applications shall be submitted at Regional Offices or at Municipal Offices of Prague districts. The administrative fee for granting citizenship is 2,000 CZK (for a minor child it is 500 CZK).

There is no specific application form for Czech citizenship. It is up to you to describe in your own words why you’ve decided to apply for it and how you relate to the country.


It is not possible to be exempted from the requirement for having committed no criminal offence or for proving sufficient income. However, many exceptions apply to most of the conditions stated above. If you are going to apply for the Czech citizenship, we recommend that you first consult the Integration Centre Prague or other NGOs which provide free legal and social counselling.

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Which Office to Contact?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic is responsible for the issuance of short-term visas to the Czech Republic. Submit your application via diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic in your home countries.

For more information, have a look at the official website of the MFA of the CR.

Issues related to residence of foreigners in the CR fall within the purview of 2 bodies of the Ministry of the Interior of the CR. These are 1) the Foreign (Alien) Police and 2) the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy (hereinafter OAMP – a widely used abbreviation based on the Czech name).

 Do not confuse the Foreign (Alien) Police and the Department for Asylum and Migration Policy!

 

Foreign (Alien) Police

You have to appear at the Foreign Police office within three days after your first arrival in the Czech Republic to report your stay here (unless the provider of your accommodation does so for you). This is also where you go to arrange an invitation for your relatives/friends. The Foreign Police carries out residence checks and addresses failures to comply with the conditions of your stay in the CR.

 

OAMP of the Ministry of the Interior of the CR

The Department of Asylum and Migration Policy (OAMP) – the Foreign Nationals Residence Department (the Czech abbreviation is OPC)is responsible for the agenda of long-term visas, long-term and permanent residence permits, temporary residence of EU citizens and their family members, biometric cards etc.

It is your duty to report all changes related to your place of residence, surname and family status and changes of data in your travel document and in your document issued for the residence in the CR to the OAMP. A change of the place of your residence has to be reported within 30 days but other changes have to be reported no later than within 3 days. Always observe the deadlines!

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  • Telephone Line:

You can use the telephone helpline of the Ministry of the Interior to ask questions in Czech or in English. It is available from Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 03:00 p.m.Tel: (+420) 974 832 421, (+420) 974 832 418. The helpline advisors will help you with residence issues, for example when you don’t know what the essential elements of an application are or which office to contact.


If you need a thorough advice on your stay in the CR, consult the Integration Centre Prague or other NGOs which provide free legal and social counselling.

 

Email:

pobyty@mvcr.cz

In Prague and in the Central Bohemian Region we recommend that you make an appointment on a telephone line (+420) 974 820 680 to avoid unnecessary queues at the Foreign Nationals Residence Department. 
Important: The Ministry of the Interior will offer you the closest available date. However, they do not verify whether the date falls within the legal deadline for the specific issue! Arrange your appointment well in advance!