Using the Czech Post Office

Sending and receiving mail via Česká pošta isn't quite as simple as you might expect

Unlike many government offices in the Czech Republic, the main post office at Jindřišská 14 is conveniently located -- just off Wenceslas Square -- and fairly user-friendly.

What's more, it's open from 2am until midnight.

There's a ticket dispenser in both entranceways. The 10 buttons correspond to the following services:

1.Listovní a peněžní služby
Vklady a výplaty Poštovní spořitelny
Regular mail and financial services
Deposits and withdrawals for Poštovní spořitelna
2.Listovní a peněžní služby
podání max. 5kg
Regular mail and financial services
max. 5 kg (11.02 lb)
3.Hromadné podání
Příjem EMS, Cen. Psaní, obch. balíků
Bulk mailing
Lodging EMS (Express Mail Service), valuables and business parcels
4. Balíkové a listovní zásilky
Příjem EMS, Cen. psaní
Parcels and letters (pick up and deliver, including registered post)
Lodging EMS (Express Mail Service) and valuables
5.Po-Pá Příjem zásilek EMS 5ks
Pouze menších rozměrů - 5kg
Mon - Fri Lodging parcels EMS, max. 5 items
Weighing less than 5 kg
6.Výplaty důchodu - Agenda SIPO - Rozhlas + TV - žádosti ověřené výpisy z inf. systémů veřejné správy - So. Ne. Sv. V Po - Pá zajišťuje km - 1. patro Pension payment - Agenda SIPO - Radio and TV license - requests for authenticated statements of information system of public records - Closed Sat, Sun and Pub. Hols. On Mon-Fri first floor.
7.Smluvní bezhotovostní úhrada
výplatní stroje
Credit reimbursement
Franking machine
8.Sázkové hry, známky a kolky
Western Union, On-Line dobíjení kreditu mobilních telefonů, prodej dálničních kuponů
Betting games, postal stamps and duty stamps
Western Union, online credit mobile telephone recharge, sale of highway registration
9.Povinné ručení
Příležitostné razítko
Third-party insurance
Commemorative stamps
10.Kvalifikovaná certifikační autorita obchodní místo
Po, St 8:00 - 17:00, Út, Čt, Pá 8:00 - 15:00
Authority for Qualification Certification
Mon and Wed 8:00 - 17:00, Tues, Thurs, Fri, 8:00 - 15:00

Just press the appropriate button, take a ticket, and wait for your number to be displayed, along with the number of the window.

SUBURBAN & PROVINCIAL BRANCHES
If you don't live near the main post office, you may find the suburban or out-of-town post offices less... let's say friendly.

Opening hours are decent though -- 8am-6pm Monday to Friday; 8am-12 noon Saturdays -- although some branches have a lunch break from 12 noon until 1pm.

These smaller branches don't usually have ticket-dispensing machines and, in my experience, the staff tend to be surlier and less likely to speak English.

Because of this, knowing the Czech terms for the service you require is a good idea. There are a few phrases at the end of this article.


BASIC POSTAL INFORMATION

As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Hopefully, the information below will give you the courage to stare down even the most hardened Czech postal worker.

SIZES & WEIGHTS: LETTERS
 
Domestic and International
Minimum Weight2.5 grams (approx. 0.09 ounces)
Maximum Weight50 grams (approx 1.76 ounces) for minimum price up to 2 kilograms (approx. 4.41 pounds)
Minimum Size14 x 9 centimeters (approx. 5.51 x 3.53 inches)
Maximum SizeStandard
23.1 x 16.4 x 0.5 centimeters (approx. 9.09 x 6.45 x 0.19 inches)
The length should be 1.4 times the width.

Ordinary
Maximum length 60 centimeters (approx. 23.62 inches), with the maximum sum of all three dimensions no greater than 90 centimeters (approx. 35.43 inches).


SIZE & WEIGHTS: PARCELS
 
Domestic
International
Minimum WeightN/AN/A
Maximum Weight15 kilogramsVaries depending on country:
Canada, Ireland, Japan, UK, USA: 30 kilograms
Australia, Israel, New Zealand: 20 kilograms
A full list of conditions (in Czech) is available on the Česká pošta website.
Minimum Size14 x 9 centimeters (approx. 5.51 x 3.54 inches); standard parcel tube (svitek): 14 centimeters (approx. 5.51 inches) in length and 3 centimeters (1.18 inches) in diameter21 x 19 centimeters (approx. 8.27 x 7.48 inches)
Maximum SizeThe sum of all three dimensions must not exceed 300 centimeters (approx. 9 feet, 10 inches) and no dimension should be greater than 240 centimeters (approx. 7 feet, 10 inches)Varies depending on country:
Canada, Ireland, Israel, Japan, UK: 150 centimeters (approx. 4 feet, 11 inches) in length with the sum of all three sides not exceeding 300 centimeters (approx. 9 feet, 10 inches)
USA: 150 centimeters (approx. 4 feet, 11 inches) in length with the sum of all three sides not exceeding 275 centimeters (approx. 9 feet)
Australia, New Zealand: 105 centimeters (approx. 3 feet, 5 inches) in length with the sum of all three sides not exceeding 200 centimeters (approx. 6 feet, 6 inches)
A full list of conditions (in Czech) is available on the Česká pošta website.


PRICES: DOMESTIC LETTERS & PARCELS
 
Weight
 Up to 50 gramsUp to 100 gramsUp to 500 gramsUp to 1 kilogramUp to 2 kilogramsUp to 5 kilogramsUp to 10 kilogramsUp to 15 kilograms
Ordinary "Standard" Letter*10 CZK       
Ordinary Letter*12 CZK14 CZK18 CZK24 CZK38 CZK   
Registered "Standard" Mail*26 CZK       
Registered Mail*30 CZK34 CZK37 CZK43 CZK49 CZK   
Insured Letters32 CZK36 CZK39 CZK45 CZK51 CZK   
Ordinary Parcel    38 CZK44 CZK56 CZK69 CZK
Valuables    51 CZK56 CZK69 CZK81 CZK

* For specifications see the Size and Weights tables above

PRICES: INTERNATIONAL LETTERS
 
Weight
 Up to 20 gramsUp to 50 gramsUp to 100 gramsUp to 250 gramsUp to 500 gramsUp to 1 kilogramUp to 2 kilograms
To European Countries
Priority (Unregistered)17 CZK21 CZK30 CZK35 CZK110 CZK210 CZK300 CZK
Priority (Registered)50 CZK54 CZK63 CZK98 CZK143 CZK243 CZK333 CZK
To Non-European Countries
Priority (Unregistered)18 CZK24 CZK35 CZK78 CZK135 CZK260 CZK400 CZK
Economy (Unregistered)17 CZK21 CZK30 CZK65 CZK110 CZK210 CZK300 CZK
Economy (Registered)50 CZK54 CZK63 CZK98 CZK143 CZK243 CZK333 CZK


PRICES: INTERNATIONAL PARCELS
Frustratingly, no similarly simple table exists for international parcels but there's a Czech-language price calculator on the Česká pošta site.

The post office's site also carries a list of EMS (Express Mail Service) prices. Click the "price category" link to find the price code of the country you're sending to.


REGISTERED POST (DOPORUČENÁ ZÁSILKA)

• When sending by registered post, you have to fill in a submission form (podací lístek)
• The item is insured against loss or damages for up to 500 CZK
• Sizes and weights can be found in the table above.
• Letters must be in sealed envelopes; postcards must be unfolded
• The sender's address must appear in the top-left corner
• Registered post is usually held up to 15 days
• When collecting registered post you will need your passport, national identity card or permanent residency card (trvalý dobyt)

USEFUL VOCABULARY
EnglishCzech
StampZnámka
EnvelopeObálka
ParcelBalík
TubeSvitek
Sending mail/parcels Příjem zásilky/balíků
Registered post Doporučená zásilka
International Reply Paid Coupon Mezinárodní odpovědka
A 10-crown/14-crown/26-crown stamp Známka za deset korun/čtrnáct korun/dvacet šest korun
Fifty-crown/thousand-crown stamp duty Kolek za padesát korun/tisíc korun
To Australia
To Canada
To Ireland
To Israel
To Japan
To New Zealand
To the UK
To the USA
Do Austrálie
Do Kanady
Do Irska
Do Izraele
Do Japonska
Na Nový Zéland
Do Anglie*/Do Británie
Do Ameriky*/Do Spojených Států
A parcel to pick upBalík k vyzvednutí

* Although it's incorrect to do so, Anglie (England) is often used instead of Británie (Britain) in the Czech Republic; similarly Amerika (America) is more commonly used than Spojené státy (United States)

READERS' COMMENTS

"Such a helpful article - I just wish that you could have refrained from the jabs about "surly service." I have experienced surly service in the US, but I would never make a generalization about all Departments of Motor Vehicle or post offices - and especially not about all citizens of a country. Please leave out the social commentary and gross stereotyping, and your writing will be much better."
John Crane
June 27th, 2008

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