Important changes in the Act on the Residence of Foreigners
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It is necessary to keep up to date with Czech regulations as you can never be sure that current legal regulation has not been amended again. The Act No. 326/1999 Coll., on the residence of foreigners in the Czech Republic, has been recently subjected to several changes which are summarized in the following preview, hoping that it will make the complicated regulation of foreign nationals stay in the Czech Republic clearer for expats.
New deadlines for a long-term residence permit applications and prolongations
The main change is related to the period for submission of an application for a long-term residence permit and for the extension of the validity of a long-term residence permit. The period for submission of the application has been extended. The applicant is obliged to submit the application for a long-term residence permit (or for the extension of the validity of a long-term residence permit) within the fixed period of 120 days prior to the expiration of his or hers long-term visa (or long-term residence permit) up to the last day when the long-term visa or long-term residence permit is valid.
The previous regulation required the application to be submitted within 90 days prior to the expiration of the long-term visa or long-term residence permit, however not later than 14 days prior to the expiration of the respective documents. The new regulation thus allows the applicants to enjoy more generous span of time in order to apply for or to extend their permits.
The only exception is the application for the extension of the validity of the employee card which has to be submitted 120 days at the earliest and 30 days at the latest before its expiration.
If any of the deadlines expire on a weekend day
It is especially important to point out that if the last day of validity of a long-term residence permit or a long-term visa falls upon Saturday, Sunday or a national holiday, the period for submission of the application expires on the closest preceding, not following, working day.
Moreover, it has to be stressed out that there are no office hours on Friday at the Foreign Police so the applicant cannot visit the office personally on that day. However, if the last possible day the application can be submitted falls upon Friday, it is possible to send the application for the extension of validity of residence permit via regular mail on that day.
Nevertheless, this of course does not apply to the applications which must be submitted in person, for instance applications for a long-term residence, or in case of the application for change of a long-term residence permit for a different purpose. If such applications are filed in a different way (via e-mail, fax or data box, on the last possible day of the time limit at latest), application proceedings will not commence unless the application is affirmed in person within 5 days from it being received by the office.
Therefore, even if you cannot attend the office personally when you ought to, there is still a fair chance to make sure that your application is filed properly and on time. The fact that the last day of the deadline is Friday cannot be considered as reason for the preventing of the submission of the application within the prescribed period.
Changes in regulation of the long-term visa and permanent residence permit
Visa for a stay over 90 days (long-term) will be issued for a specific period of stay depending on the respective purpose of stay and the validity of submitted documents, however with a maximum validity of one year. This is a significant alteration as, before the amendments entered into force, a long-term visa used to be granted with a validity of up to six months only.
As for the permanent residence permit application, minor changes were introduced concerning the conditions for the exam of the knowledge of Czech language and the range of schools which are authorised to organize the exam.
Who newly qualifies as a family member of an EU citizen?
The definition of a family member of an EU citizen is better clarified and adjusted in compliance with the European law. In particular, it has to be noted that the concept of “relation similar to the relation among the family members” will be applied only to the relationship between unmarried partners.
Last but not least, starting January 1, 2016 the foreign passport will only be issued with biometric data chip.
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