Applying for a Czech Visa in Bratislava
Needing to file his visa application outside the Czech Republic, Steve Smith mixes paperwork with pleasure in the Slovak capital
So, you've decided to apply for your Czech visa in Slovakia!
Good choice. It's a short trip that you can do in one day if you need to, and it's an interesting place to spend some more time if you have it available.
This article will go over some of the finer points of the trip down to the Czech embassy in Bratislava, so you can have a little fun and do the job in style.
Since you don't have your private helicopter with you, start in Prague at the Florenc bus terminal. Just follow the rainbow to the yellow bus and climb on!
Buy an open-ended bus ticket so you have some options for your return trip. Online scheduling can be found here.
The round-trip ticket will cost around 600 CZK. The bus stops in Brno but the food at the station there is kind of greasy, so bring some apples with you.
Remember you're on your way to the city of halušky -- potato dumplings with bryndza cheese and fried bacon. Don't miss a chance to dive into a plate of this divine hangover cure.
Anyway, the bus will arrive at Autobusová stanica (bus station) in Bratislava and the trip takes about five hours. Here you see the steps leading out of the station in the general direction of the embassy.
When you get off the bus just walk into the terminal and straight out the other side. The toilets are upstairs, it costs a few Slovak crowns (until the euro hits next year), and you can change money in the station.
The Czech embassy is located at Hviezdoslavovo námestie, a 20-minute walk from the bus station. It's right next door to the American one. Here's a view of the front of the Czech embassy.
Look at your reflection in the plaque next to the red door while you're praying for it to open.
We're not going to get into all the technical requirements of the visa itself, but be sure to set up an appointment for filing your application.
It takes them about an hour to process the packet of papers and you could spend a long time waiting on the sidewalk if they don't know you're coming.
A looooong time.
However, when it's time to fetch your finished visa you can just show up and tell the guard that's what you're there for.
You don't need an appointment to pick it up. Waltz right in!
Here's the main window inside the office.
Do not use your phone in there. They will yell at you for it. Also, stay behind the yellow line until they beckon you to come closer.
Standing at the front door and looking to the right, here's the US embassy, in case you need to stop by. Don't make any sudden moves.
After you drop off your paperwork and they accept it, you'll be given a receipt with your application number on it. Keep this paper! You will need it for reference when calling to ask if your visa is ready to pick up.
They'll tell you to wait about eight weeks.
When it's finally done and you go to pick it up, you have to wait about forty-five minutes for them to stick the visa into the actual passport page. Sit here in 17's Bar and have a cold one to calm your nerves.
If you'd rather stroll around while you wait, try to find this statue of Hans Christian Andersen just down the square.
Now that the business of the trip is concluded, we can move on from labor to refreshment.
Walk from the embassy up towards Hlavné námestie, Bratislava's main square, to explore those crazy, twisty streets with all the cafés and pubs hiding around the corners. You can't throw a rock without hitting an inviting sidewalk café.
Check out these roofline mosaics!
Wherever you are, it's always a good idea to hike up the hill after lunch and get a look around. Here's a view of the Danube river and the Nový Most bridge (formerly Most SNP) from the lower slopes of the castle grounds.
Turn away from that view of the bridge and you'll see this castle, pictured here in late February.
The main entrance opens into a narrow courtyard which has one of the most amazing reverberant echoes I've ever encountered. Make sure you clap your hands loudly as you pass through the gate to hear it.
How much nicer to go exploring in June! Here's a summer picture of the same gardens.
Nightlife: go to Nu Spirit, a club/lounge at Medená 16. It's in the basement below a musical instrument store just a stone's throw from the embassy where you spent all morning.
This place has bass speakers built in under the benches, wicked sound, funky DJs and a great vibe.
Here's a look at their wall of records, for all you music fiends out there.
If you don't have friends to stay with in Bratislava, try the Patio Hostel.
They were good to us, had great advice on finding the vegetarian Hare Krishna buffet (Góvinda) and knew a lot about cultural events in the city.
Here's a little street art from the walk home.
The Slovak crown is a bit weaker than the Czech crown right now. I spent 500 CZK in a day and a half, on food and getting around. This got me 600 Slovak crowns.
Other hot news -- there are some brand new malls if you're into the shopping scene, lots of gorgeous parks that are much more manicured than the ones in Prague, and the city center is small enough to see on foot in an afternoon.
So talk to your lawyer, hop on the bus and knock yourself out. For legal help, contact this man and tell him I sent you:
He's very experienced in expat legal proceedings and helped immensely in making this whole thing possible.
Good luck, and repeat after me:
"Now I'm finally getting legal! Now I'm finally getting legal!"
April 10, 2009
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