Putting down roots? Jitka Pechová of the Counselling Center for Refugees (Poradna pro uprchlíky) explains exactly who is eligible to stay long-term
Permanent Residence under a Residence Permit
The conditions governing the issue of a permanent residence permit to a foreigner vary depending on the circumstances under which the foreigner applies for permanent residence and depending on the length of the foreigner's stay in the Czech Republic.
The law clearly defines the cases entitling a foreigner to apply for a permanent residence permit without having previously stayed in the Czech Republic. These are cases where a foreigner applies for permanent residence in order to live with a close relative who is a Czech citizen. This can be their spouse, a minor or dependent adult child, a parent older than 70 years of age, or an adopted child.
A foreigner may further apply for permanent residence without having previously stayed in the Czech Republic on "humanitarian" grounds or on other grounds worthy of special consideration (for example, their spouse or child has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic).
In compliance with the above conditions, a permanent residence permit may be requested by a minor (under 18 years of age) or a dependent adult child (a student, for example) in order for them to live with a parent who is a foreigner on a permanent residence permit.
Foreigners may further apply for a permanent residence permit without having previously stayed in the Czech Republic, if their residence here is in the interests of Czech foreign policy, which must be proven by an official document.
Having stayed in the Czech Republic for eight uninterrupted years on a long-term visa, a foreigner may apply for a permanent residence permit if the application is motivated by the foreigner's intention to live with a foreigner who has already been granted permanent residence permit, provided that the applicant is a husband or wife or such a foreigner, a child dependent of such a foreigner or a single parent older than 70 years.
Any foreigner having stayed in the Czech Republic for 10 uninterrupted years on a long-term visa may apply for a permanent residence permit.
The application for a permanent residence permit should be filed with a Czech diplomatic mission abroad. In cases specified by law, the application may be filed with an office of the Czech Foreigners' Police (One example is a household where the foreigner's spouse is a Czech citizen and they lived together in the Czech Republic for eight or 10 years).
Documents Attached to the Application for Permanent Residence Permit
The foreigner is obliged to attach the following documents to the application for a permanent residence permit:
The police should make a decision on an application filed in the Czech Republic within 60 days of its receipt. In all other cases, the decision will be taken within 180 days.
The residence permit is issued by the police in the form of an administrative decision. The applicant whose application has been accepted will be granted a residence permit certificate valid for the period of 10 years, issued by the police. The validity of the certificate may be repeatedly extended no later than 30 days prior to its expiry. The application for extension should be filed with the Foreigners' Police. If you miss this deadline, you must prove to the police that this breach was due to circumstances beyond your control (admission to hospital, for example).
If a child is born to you in the Czech Republic and you want the child to stay with you, you must, within 60 days of the child's birth, apply for a visa lasting longer than 90 days, or a residence permit. You must present the child's passport (or your passport, if the child is on it) and its birth certificate. If your child is about to turn 15 you must apply for the a residence permit certificate no later than 30 days before the child's 15th birthday. The child's passport and photograph must be attached to the application.
Filing Applications Abroad:
If a foreigner applies for a permanent residence permit outside the Czech Republic and the application is accepted, the diplomatic mission will issue a "visa to accept residence permit" to the foreigner. This authorizes the foreigner to enter and stay in the Czech Republic for three days. The foreigner must accept the residence permit within these three days.
The validity of the residence permit will expire in the following cases:
Asylum-Seekers Applying for Permanent Residence Permit
A special group of foreigners applying for permanent residence in the Czech Republic are asylum-seekers that have not succeeded in obtaining asylum. These asylum-seekers may file an application pursuant to Section 69(a) of Act no. 326/1999 Coll., if they stay in the Czech Republic under an interim residence arrangement upon the completion of their asylum proceedings and
a) if they have stayed in the Czech Republic under a long-term visa or a long-term residence permit for at least five years without interruption (calculated as of the day the application for permanent residence was filed), while having the status of asylum-seekers or refugees or another status (under a tolerance visa under the Aliens Act); and
b) if they are not citizens of a state deemed to be a secure country of origin under the Asylum Act.
The application itself must be filed with the Department of Migration and Asylum Policy of the Czech Ministry of the Interior (OAMP MV ČR).
If at any time during his/her stay in the Czech Republic as an asylum-seeker, the foreign national gets married to a Czech citizen, he/she may apply for a residence permit for the purpose of family unification in compliance with Section 65 of the Aliens Act.
Recognized Asylum-Seekers Applying for Permanent Residence Permit
A recognized asylum-seeker is a person that has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic under Act no. 325/1999 Coll., on Asylum. Having been granted asylum, the person is automatically granted permanent residence in the Czech Republic; after five years, this person may apply for Czech citizenship.
When a recognized asylum-seeker acquires Czech citizenship, his/her asylum becomes extinct. The asylum-seeker must notify the Ministry of the Interior that he/she gained Czech citizenship. Asylum also becomes extinct when the asylum-seeker dies or if the asylum-seeker files a written declaration renouncing the asylum (Section 18 of Act on Asylum).
Once a foreigner obtains asylum in the Czech Republic, he/she is registered with the "State Integration Program." The aim of this program is to help the foreigner with his/her integration into Czech society. Within the framework of this program, the asylum-seeker is offered Czech-language classes. These classes must be offered to the asylum-seeker within 30 days (Section 68, Section 69, Section 70 of Act no. 325/99 Coll.).
You should be informed of this program by the social workers employed in the Accommodation Centre where you have been granted asylum. If the asylum-seeker has no flat of his/her own, he/she will be moved to the IAC – the Integration Asylum Centre, where he/she will get assistance in processing all the necessary paperwork. The issues of asylum-seekers are resolved primarily by the Advice Centre for Integration (Senovážná 2, Prague 1).
An unedited version of this article was originally published on the Doma v České republice website.
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