Getting Legal

A crash course in the pains of getting legal in the Czech Republic.

Thousands of foreigners in Prague are here illegally, mainly because of the simple fact that the process of getting your long term residency visa is such a pain in the arse. Prague TV shows you what you need, where you have to go to get it, and how much it all costs.


Please note: this article is not finished (the first time I went to Dresden, I didn't know that the Consulate shut at 11:30am so got there too late), but contains useful information about the requirements needed to get your long term Residency visa, so has been put up as it is.




Legal Stays Without a Visa




Most countries' nationals can enter the Czech Republic without a visa, and stay for a maximum of 90 days. Holders of British passports are allowed 180 days, whilst people from Bulgaria, Cyprus, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, Romania, Singapore and the US are only allowed 30 days. For a full list of countries that can stay for 90 days, have a look at the Czech Embassy in Britain's list. Any countries not listed require a visa before they can enter the country.




What You Need To Stay Longer




To live and work in the Czech Republic for more than the above durations, you need a "Long Term Residency Permit". People are supposed to apply for one of these "no later than 2 months prior to the planned departure for the Czech Republic", but if you're reading this then there's a good chance that you're already in Prague or somewhere else in the country. The laws are incredibly stupid, pretty much designed to stop people actually getting their permit if they do it all by the book: you need a lot of things that are difficult to get unless you're actually in Prague already and know exactly where to go. Because of this, a few very dodgy companies rip off whoever they can by charging stupid amounts of money to take you through the process of getting everything you need. For a good example, read this:


  • http://prague.tv/forum/viewpost.php?id=62




  • Getting your visa is not actually as hard as it seems, but it can be tedious. This article is meant to give you some facts about where to go and what to ask for, and what to do once you've got everything.




    The list of requirements used here is mostly from the websites of the Czech Embassy in Britain, the US, and Canada, from these URLs:
















    Czech Embassy in Canada:
    http://www.czechembassy.org/wwwo/default.asp?ido=153&idj=2&amb=58&trid=1
    Czech Embassy in London, Britain:
    http://www.czechembassy.org.uk/consular.htm
    Czech Embassy in Washington, USA:
    http://www.mzv.cz/washington/cons/pobyt.htm#OSMA




    The laws are changing all the time so it's definitely a good idea to double check the information below before you go. You can call or fax the embassies on:

























    Czech Embassy in Britain:
    phone: +44 207 243 1115 between 2.00pm and 4.00pm
    fax: +44 207 243 7926
    website: http://www.czechembassy.org.uk/
    Czech Embassy in Washington:
    phone: +1 202 274 9100
    fax: +1 202 274 9100
    website: http://www.mzv.cz/washington/
    Czech Embassy in Canada:
    phone: +1 613 562-3875
    fax: +1 613 562-3878
    website: http://www.czechembassy.org/
    email: ottawa@embassy.mzv.cz



    The Actual Requirements







    NB:All documents must not be older than 180 days and must be certified copies or originals.



    • passport valid for at least 455 days (15 months) counted from the day of the issue of the visa

    • 2 recent passport sized photos (get 4 in case of any bureaucratic problems when actually applying)

    • document proving the purpose of stay. this can be:





      • For working visas: Work Permit

        This must be provided by your employer. To get it, they will need a copy of your passport, your birth certificate number, and proof of education or qualifications, and need to contact their local employment office. The "proof of education" is typically your school diplomas, but can apparently be test certificates or something that proves past experience and shows that you are qualified to do your job.



        My personal experience is that when I tried to use a certificate from a test I'd taken (outside of school), they wouldn't accept it, and also wouldn't accept my CV, assurances from my employer, or anything except certificates from school exams, which I were never sent on from my school after I left. However, the same official also told me that I'd need my Residency Permit to get a Work Permit, so he was probably just trying to get a quick bribe out of me.




      • For student visas: Confirmation (in Czech) that you are accepted for a course of study

        This probably won't be relevant for most people, but just in case you're a student over here, you should be able to fill this requirement easily by getting a letter, stating that you're officially studying here.




      • For business visas: a trade licence, articles of association, or extract from the Companies Register




      • For family visas: Respective registrar's document, together with evidence that the relative concerned is holder of Long Term Residence Permit

        Again, you probably wouldn't be reading this if you had a relative here who already held a Permanent Visa or Long Term Residency Permit. If you do submit these documents, make sure that they're either duplicates or a certified copies, as they won't be returned.




      • Confirmation of the organizer of the event

        If you're here because of some concert, consultation project, installation works or whatever, an official letter will suffice.



    • confirmation of available accomodation. this can be:





      • a lease contract in Czech - your landlord must provide this for you.
      • extract from the respective land registry proving ownership of the premises (Cestne Prohlaseni) - your landlord must also provide this for you and used to have to be notarised, but doesn't anymore. I've heard that this isn't needed at all now, but ask your landlord to get it just in case.
      • document proving prepaid hotel or other accomodation or letter from the sponsor.



    • Czech police check ("Zadost O Vypis Z Rejstriku Trestu", literally "Request for Extract from the Criminal Register")

      This costs 50 kc. to get This, you need to go to the Criminal Register Office (Rejstrik Trestu) at Soudni 1 in Prague 4. To get there, the easiest way is to take the number 18 tram right to the last stop, going away from hradcanska and through nusle. After you get off you should see people milling about outside an office not far from the stop, which is where the office is. click here for a link to a map.




      Take a ticket, fill out a form and wait your turn. When your number comes up, go to the relevant counter (it's printed on the ticket) and give them your passport, form and the 50 kc. They should just stamp the form and return it to you.



      If you have stayed in any other country for 6 months or more in the past 3 years, you should also apply for the extract for the criminal register of that country.



      For more detailed information, check out Chi Chi's article on the subject.







      NB:British police check is not required (I think this is the case for Americans as well)



    • documents proving the applicant's possession of sufficient funds to cover his living expenses in the Czech Republic





      • A letter from the host or sponsor in the Czech Republic confirming that he/she will support the applicant during the visit



    • Those nationals who are not covered by the respective bilateral agreement for the purposes of health insurance must be insured for their stay in the Czech Republic and be able to prove it by the original insurance policy document (does not concern British nationals or short term travellers).

    • Proof of health insurance for the duration of your stay in the Czech Republic (this does not apply to British nationals or people from other countries covered by "the respective bilateral agreement for the purposes of health insurance").

    • Proof that you have sufficient funds to cover your living costs in the Czech Republic. This can be:





      • a recent bank statement
      • a letter from the host or sponsor in the Czech Republic stating that they will support you during your stay
      • an internationally recognised credit card



      "sufficient funds" is defined as:





      • 1095 Kc per day for a length of stay not exceeding 30 days
      • 32850 Kc (about 900 USD) plus 4380 Kc (about 120 USD) per day for
      • every additional month exceeding the one month stay
      • 109,500 Kc for business stays exceeding 90 days



      Children under 18 only require half these amounts.


    Applying For Your Permit



    The closest place you can apply for your permit is the Czech Consulate in Dresden, Germany, although you can apply at any Czech Consulate or Embassy, so some people prefer to take a few days off and go somewhere nicer like Berlin and make a trip of it. From what I can tell though, most people seem to go to Dresden as it's the quickest. It's recommended that you call them and make an appointment, and take either a German or Czech phrasebook as they only speak German or Czech, although there are signs in English telling you what to do.




    Consulate details:










    Czech Consulate in Dresden:
    address: Erna Berger Strasse 1

    01097 Dresden-Neustadt
    phone: +49 351 8032501-3
    fax: +49 351 8032500
    opening hours: 8:30am to 11:30pm Monday to Friday



    How to get There:




    Trains go from Hlavni Nadrazi to Dresden every couple of hours. The first train gets to Dresden at 10am, so you'll probably need to stay go the day before and stay overnight as the consulate closes at 11:30am every day. Tickets cost about 1300 Kc or 1080 Kc for under 26s, and the journey takes about 3 hours. You will definitely get your passport checked, both by German and Czech controllers on the way there, but probably only by German controllers on the way back.




    If you go to the information desk at Hlavni Nadrazi, they will print a nice timetable for you. Don't forget to ask for times coming back. You can also call them on 2421 7654.




    To get to the consulate from Dresden train station, find the tram stop outside the station in Dresden (follow the overhead signs with pictures of trams on them). You will probably be at a station called haupthahnhof, although I think it's possible to end up at hapthahnhof nord. You will need a "short trip" ticket (the ticket machines have signs in German and english) which cost 1,80 dm. the ticket machines work in pretty much the same way as in Prague.




    Take tram number 3 or 8 to Albertplatz (6 or 7 stops on the 3, 10 or 11 on the 8). The Consulate is on Erna Berger Strasse, a few minutes walk from Albertplatz. After getting off the tram, cross over the square and look for a sign for Theresien Strasse, walk for a minute or so down the road and you should see the consulate on the corner (number 1 in the street).





    to be continued...

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