Czech Residency Permits

Want to move to Prague? Here's our basic beginner's guide to living legally in the Czech Republic

Getting a residency permit can still be one of the most stressful aspects of Czech bureaucracy that foreigners have to deal with. Since the Czech Republic joined the European Union, however, the application process is now a lot easier for EU citizens. They don't, for example, need to leave the country to apply for the permit.



And although the procedure is more complex for non-EU citizens, they now can apply for permanent residence earlier, under a recent amendment to the law.



Note: This guide is for information purposes only. For complete information consult either a lawyer, a company specializing in residence permits, or the foreigners' police.




EUROPEAN UNION NATIONALS

Czech entry to the European Union on May 1st, 2004 has made the residency permit rules much simpler for EU citizens, who no longer need to apply for a permit should they stay more than 90 days in the Czech Republic. It's advisable, however, to apply for this document - a purple booklet resembling a passport - because it will be needed for some official purposes, such as buying a property or opening a bank account.



Types of Permit Issued

Two kinds of permit are issued to EU residents, depending on their status: a temporary residence (přechodný pobyt), which lasts five years, and permanent residence (trvalý pobyt), which lasts 10 years.



Temporary permits are issued to employees who are working in the Czech Republic, although once they have lived for three consecutive years in the Czech Republic they can apply for permanent residence. There are also other conditions upon which permanent residence is based. The permit is usually issued two months after the application, although it can take up to 180 days, which is the maximum period for processing.



Documents Needed

The list of required documents needed is considerably shorter than before the Czech Republic became an EU member. To obtain the permit an applicant should present:



• passport



• two passport-sized photographs



• a document showing the reason for stay (for example, an employment contract or a trade license



• confirmation of health insurance, if you're working on a freelance basis. Employees are automatically registered with a healthcare provider by their company. Freelance workers are obliged to do so themselves – under EU rules all citizens have to be covered by the public healthcare system.



• document proving that you have accommodation in the Czech Republic.



In order to obtain permanent residence, applicants need only submit their passport, passport-sized photographs and a document showing the reason for stay.



Where to Apply

You should apply at the foreigners' police for the district in which you live. Although the process should be straightforward, the foreigners' police, especially in Prague, can be unhelpful and intimidating. Ironically, the staff there mostly don't speak any foreign languages, so, if necessary, it's wise to ask a Czech speaker to accompany you when you apply. Also, be there as early as you can, especially in Prague, as long lines form, even very early in the day. You may have to wait a long time so be prepared and make sure if someone accompanies you that they will also have ample time to spare.



The applicant can appoint someone to act on his/her behalf when applying for the permit but s/he must pick it up in person from the foreigners' police.




NON-EU NATIONALS

All non-EU nationals who intend to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days continuously need to apply for a residency permit. The permit is often based on a work permit (pracovní povolení) or a trade license, although there are other criteria as well.



Types of Permit Issued

Two types of permit are issued to non-EU residents, again depending on their status: a long-term residence permit (dlouhodobý pobyt), which lasts one year, and permanent residence (trvalý pobyt), which lasts five years. Temporary permits can be renewed annually and are issued to employees or persons with a trade license. Once an applicant has lived for five consecutive years in the Czech Republic s/he can apply for permanent residency. (This option was introduced by new legislation recently.) Citizens who marry a Czech citizen are also entitled to apply for permanent residence.



Documents Needed



• passport



• two passport-sized photographs



• evidence of purpose of stay (employment contract, trade license, etc.)



• evidence that you have the means to support yourself during your stay, if you're working on a freelance basis. (This isn't needed if you are an employee)



• notarized statement from your landlord (čestné prohlašení) approving your stay



• a document proving that the address where you live exists. (You can get this from the land registry (katastrálni úřad) covering the area where you live.)



• document(s) showing you have no criminal record in the Czech Republic or your home country



Where to Apply

Applicants must apply at a Czech embassy or consulate. The nearest such institution is the Czech consulate in Dresden; Berlin, Vienna and Bratislava are all also in easy reach. Applications must be submitted in person, although a proxy may be appointed to collect the residency permit.

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