Czech Law For Expats » Visa or Residence Permit

Moving to the Czech Republic?

When a person intends to settle down in a different country, the process of obtaining the right visa or residence permit might be confusing.

There are many variables the person moving will need to determine before filling out an application, especially in regard to the length and purpose of his or her stay. The procedure also varies based on the applicant’s citizenship.


Temporary stay of an EU Citizen

EU Citizens are allowed to stay in the Czech Republic without the need of any permit or visa for any period of time, however, they are required to present themselves with a valid ID or passport issued by their country of origin. 

If an EU Citizen intends to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 30 days, it is required that he or she inform the Foreign Police division in the Czech Republic regarding their intended place of residence.

A Certificate for Temporary Residency of an EU Citizen

An EU Citizen is entitled to apply for a certificate of Temporary Residence, the certificate is not, however, required by Czech authorities, thus the application is left to the discretion of the EU Citizen.

The certificate is issued on request of the EU Citizen, who intends to stay longer than 3 months and meets other required criteria.

Family member of an EU Citizen, who does not have EU citizenship

Relatives of EU Citizens who are not themselves citizens of the European Union and who follow an EU Citizen to the territory of the Czech Republic, are required to apply for a temporary residency permit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic when intending to stay in the Czech Republic for longer than 3 months. When all prescribed requirements are met, the Ministry provides the relative with a Residence card for a family member of an EU Citizen.

Permanent residence permit for an EU Citizen

A Permanent Residence Permit is subject to an application which requires following prerequisites to be met. The EU Citizen is inter alia required to demonstrate: 

  • A valid ID or passport issued by his or her country of origin;
  • 5 years of uninterrupted stay within the territory of the Czech Republic;
  • Proof of accommodation in the Czech Republic.

Moreover, the relevant authority will not issue the permanent residence permit if grounds for rejecting the application are determined.

A Permit for Permanent Residency is issued for a period of 10 years.

Family member of an EU Citizen

Relatives of an EU Citizen to whom a Permit of Permanent Residency was granted are eligible to apply for a Permit of Permanent Residence after two years of uninterrupted stay within the territory of the Czech Republic if he or she is related to an EU citizen for a minimum of one year. Relatives of an EU Citizen are further required to meet all criteria for Permanent Residence Permit applicants (except the period of 5 years of uninterrupted stay within the territory of the Czech Republic).

Rights of an EU Citizen

Right to vote

EU Citizens have a right to vote and to stand as a candidate in European Parliament elections taking place in the Czech Republic as well as in municipal elections, when the required criteria are met.


EU Citizens as well as their family members (regardless of their citizenship) are not considered aliens when participating in the labour market in the Czech Republic and thus have legal status identical to that of citizens of the Czech Republic. However, employers are obliged to inform the relevant branch of Labour Office when employing an EU Citizen as well as terminating the employment of an EU Citizen. 


Conditions of entry and basic requirements after entry to the Czech Republic

As a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, The Czech Republic allows people to cross internal borders at any place without conducting a border check, regardless of citizenship. Given the fact that border checks are conducted only at the external Schengen borders and the fact that The Czech Republic has common borders only with Schengen states, its external borders exist only at international airports (airports with flights arriving from countries lying outside the Schengen Area). 

What is required for entry?

Czech and European legislation lays down the following conditions to third country nationals (Non-EU Citizens) for entry to the Schengen Area (crossing external borders). Such persons must:

  • Have a valid travel document authorising the holder to cross borders which meets these criteria:
  • The document must be valid for at least three months after the anticipated date of departure from the territory of member states, and
  • Must have been issued during the preceding ten years;
  • Have a valid short-term visa, if required, or a valid long-term or permanent residence card or a valid long-term visa;
  • Declare the purpose and conditions of their intended stay;
  • Have guaranteed sufficient funds for living expenses both for the duration of their intended stay, and for their return to their country of origin or for passage to a third country which guarantees to accept them, or else they are capable of legally acquiring such funds;
  • Not be persons appearing in the Schengen information system (SIS II) as persons to be denied entry;
  • Not be considered a threat to public order, internal security, public health or international relations of any of member state; especially not persons who, according to the internal member state database, should be denied entry on the same grounds;

Does my child need to present him/herself with a valid travel document as well?

Persons under 15 years of age are exempt from the obligation to present themselves with a valid travel document, whose name appears in the travel document of another person with whom he or she is traveling.

Types of stay – basic categories

  • short-term stays (not exceeding 90 days) for foreign nationals not subject to visa requirement or on a Schengen visa.
  • long-term stays (exceeding 90 days) on a long-term visa, long-term or permanent residence permit

Short-term stays

For the purposes of short-term stays, a distinction must be made between states applying a common visa policy.

The states applying a common visa policy are all the Schengen Area states as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus.

The United Kingdom and Ireland do not share a common visa policy, or common rules for entry, stay or the granting of short-term visas. Neither the United Kingdom nor Ireland recognises a valid Schengen visa for entry to their territories. For the latest information concerning entry to and stay within the territory of those countries, please contact the appropriate authorities of those countries directly.

Please find the list of countries whose citizens are required to obtain a short-term visa as well as countries whose citizens are exempt from the visa obligation here

However, exemption from the visa obligation does not apply to individuals who intend to perform gainful activity (employment, entrepreneurship).

Do I have the right to get a visa?

No. Granting of short-term visas is within the competency and discretion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Czech Republic. You may find information about creating an application and the short-term visa granting process on the Ministry’s website. 

Where can I apply for a visa when the exemption does not apply to my situation?

A visa is granted by the Czech Embassy or consular office in the country which issued an applicant’s current travel document or in the country in which the applicant has a long-term or Permanent Residence Permit. 

Where can I apply for an extension of a short-term visa?

Applications for the extension of a short-term visa for the territory of The Czech Republic must be made at the department of stay and residence agenda at the Department of Foreign Police of a regional Directorate of the Police of The Czech Republic according to the third country national’s registered address.

Long-term stays

Long-term visa

Where can I apply for a visa, when the exemption does not apply to my situation?

You may apply for a visa at the Czech Embassy or consular office in the country which issued the applicant’s current travel document or in the country in which the applicant has a long-term or permanent residence permit. However, the Czech Embassy is only capable of receiving an application, the relevant body for processing of the application is the Ministry of Interior of The Czech Republic. 

The applicant shall submit the application via the completed form along with all the necessary requirements prescribed by the law. 

Can I submit the application electronically?

Unfortunately not. The applicant is required to file his or her application in person. However, the Czech Embassy can waive this obligation in well-substantiated cases.

Which documents have to be submitted along with the visa application?

Applicants are required to submit:

  • Travel document (original);
  • 1 photograph; not necessary if a pictorial recording has been made of the foreign national;
  • Proof of accommodation;
  • A document stating one of the following purposes of stay:
  • Family reunification;
  • Business;
  • Employment;
  • Scientific research;
  • Studies;
  • Proof of funds;
  • Consent of parents or any other statutory representative or guardian for the permanent residence of a child in The Czech Republic. Consent of a parent is not required if the parent, statutory representative or guardian making the request for a child will remain in the territory and if the foreign national proves that he/she is unable to declare consent due to reasons beyond his/her control;
  • Upon request you are further obliged to submit:
    • A document similar to an extract from the Penal Register record, issued by the state of which you are a citizen as well as any states in which, in the last 3 years, you have resided continuously for a period longer than 6 months, or a signed affidavit in the event that this state does not issue such a document (not required from a foreign national under 15 years of age);
    • A document proving the fulfilment of conditions set out in the measure of Ministry of Health on prevention of the spread of infectious illnesses;
    • A travel document confirming the purpose of stay and registrar documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate) shall be submitted in original. A certified copy is not sufficient for this purpose;
    • If your application is approved, prior to affixing the visa, you are obliged to submit proof of medical travel insurance that corresponds to the specified conditions (not required if the foreign national subscribes to public health insurance or if the costs for health care are covered on the basis of an international agreement or if the foreign national can demonstrate that health care is covered in another manner), and, upon request, a document showing payment of insurance presented as proof of medical travel insurance;

The documents that the applicant has been asked to submit by the Ministry of Interior should always be submitted within the set deadlines. Naturally, during the procedure, the applicant can submit other documents that he or she considers important for the application. 

Is it necessary to submit the documents in a special form?

Applicants are always required to submit original documents or official copies of those original documents. Moreover, all of the foreign public documents must be supported by a higher verification (Apostille, superlegalisation).

Can I provide the necessary documents in my language?

No. All of the documents submitted must be completed in Czech language or officially translated into Czech language. 

What procedures can I expect during the application process?

During the procedure the Czech Embassy communicates with the applicant, invites him/her for a hearing or calls on him/her to pick up the visa.

The Czech Embassy may invite the applicant for an interview and/or request that the applicant complete the requirements for the application. Additionally, the Czech Embassy is entitled to take the applicant’s fingerprints or take a pictorial record of the applicant.

How much is the fee for processing the application?

Every applicant older than 6 years of age is obliged to pay an administrative fee of 1.000,- CZK for processing of the application.

How does the relevant authority decide on my application?

An application for a long-term visa can be considered inadmissible in certain cases and the public authority can also make the decision to grant or not to grant a visa.

How long does it take to review my application?

The Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals sets a standard deadline of 90 days from the day it was filed for processing an application for a long-term visa. In particularly complicated cases, a deadline of 120 days from the day of filing the application may be set and in certain cases (for the purpose of studies, pedagogical activity or research) the relevant authority may decide within 60 days of filing the application.

Will my visa still be valid if I leave the Czech Republic and come back? 

Yes, this visa entitles the holder to multiple departures and entries to The Czech Republic.

How long is my visa valid for? 

A visa for stay of over 90 days is granted for a specific period of stay corresponding to the requisite purpose of stay and the validity of the submitted documents, however, in any case, the visa is granted for no longer than 1 year. A visa sticker always contains two figures: the validity of the visa and the permitted period of stay i.e. the number of days you can stay in The Czech Republic.

In most cases, the validity of the visa begins on the date of issue by the embassy.

Can I apply for an extension of the validity of my visa?

The validity of a long-term visa for a period of stay in the territory that is shorter than 1 year can be extended repeatedly on request of the foreign national, provided that the purpose of stay remains the same and the overall maximum duration does not exceed a period of 1 year. 

Where do I apply for an extension of my visa?

You need to submit an official application to the specific office of the Ministry of the Interior of The Czech Republic (Department for Asylum and Migration Policy) based on the district where you will be staying. 

How can I apply for an extension of my visa validity?

An application for extension of validity for the period of stay on a long-term visa is to be submitted in the official Application for Long-Term Visa form.

What If my visa expires before the decision on its extension is made? 

If the validity of a long-term visa expires before the decision on its extension is made and if the application was submitted within the given time limit, the long-term visa is deemed to be valid and the period of stay on such a long-term visa is to be extended until a decision is made and comes into force. The right to stay in the territory will, however, cease before legal force of the decision on the application in the case of conviction or punishment by expulsion or due to the administrative expulsion of an applicant when the application for international protection is lodged.

For reasons beyond my control I was not able to file the application, what can I do?

If you are prevented from filing the application for reasons beyond your control, you are entitled to lodge this application within 3 working days after these reasons cease. You are obliged to indicate any and all reasons for the delay when submitting the application and to prove the reasons for delay upon the notice at the latest. Reasons indicated later will not be taken into consideration.

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