Work and residency permits in the Czech Republic

Czech Republic

EU Citizens

EU citizens and their family members no longer need work permits to work in the Czech Republic from May 2004. From October 2004 their employer must notify the Labour Authority in writing before they start to work.

The length of stay for EU citizens in the Czech Republic is not limited and the only requirements for entry to the country are a valid official ID card or a valid passport. Visitors may decide which of these documents they will use in proving their identity.

With effect from December 21st 2007, the Czech Republic joined the Schengen Area and as of this date border checks at road, railway and river border crossings are no longer exercised.

Border checks at airports still persist, however it is planned that these will cease on 31st March 2008 for flights from and to countries of the Schengen Area.

In the case of a longer stay (more than 3 months), it is advisable for EU citizens to request a “Certificate of Temporary Residence of an EU Citizen”, issued by the Czech police. This is not compulsory, however it brings certain advantages to holders, e.g. after 5 years of temporary residence they can successfully apply for a Permanent Residency Permit which will entitle them to acquire real estate in the Czech Republic without the necessity of establishing a legal entity (see Chapter 7 – Ownership Rights to Real Estate Property).

Non-EU Ciztizens

Non-EU citizens still need both work and residence permits. Applicants must submit an application with a statement from their employer. Foreigners employed in the Czech Republic must also obtain corresponding residence permits and may not take jobs which can be performed by an unemployed Czech national. Their employer also needs a permit to employ them.

Since 1st January 2000, applications for short-term, long-term, and permanent residence visas must be filed through Czech Embassies and consulates outside the Czech Republic.

Visitors from a number of countries do not need a visa for a tourist or business visit to the Czech Republic for a limited period of time, depending on nationality. For US citizens the limit is 90 days. Those, whose stay is limited to less than 90 days, may stay in the country over that limit by up to a further 90 days.

To stay in the country longer than 90 days a long-term visa over 90 days which allows you to stay, work and study in the Czech Republic for up to one year is required. This visa must be applied for at a Czech Embassy or consulate. This may be done through any Czech Embassy or consulate around the world, i.e. not only in the individual’s home country.

Since the Czech Republic has joined the Schengen Area, short-term visas (i.e. under 90 days) may be issued also as so called “Schengen visas” entitling their holder to stay in the whole Schengen area provided that there is no reasonable suspicion that the applicant would be regarded as undesirable person by any other Member State.

A Schengen visa issued by another Member State entitles its holder to stay in the territory of the Czech Republic unless it is explicitly stated on the visa that it is not valid for the Czech Republic or that it is valid only for certain of countries and the Czech Republic is not stated on the relevant list.

Immigration officials are applying the immigration laws in varying degrees. Certain nationalities, particularly Russians, Albanians and Ukrainians who are regarded as “problem” nationalities, may experience delays at border crossings. On the other hand, “western” nationals as e.g. Americans, Canadians, Australians etc. usually do not experience any obstacles at border crossings at all. However, it is advisable that any foreigner entering the Schengen Area (i.e. also the Czech Republic) brings with them the following documentation:

  • Travel documents
  • Medical insurance certificate or other evidence proving that s/he is medically insured
  • A minimum of 2 passport-size photographs
  • Proof of adequate funds, normally a credit card will suffice

On most occasions only travel documents are checked at the border, but it is advisable to take the other recommended items in case of an extraordinary situation (e.g. loss of travel documents, accident etc) Renewals of visas over 90 days are handled by the Foreigners' Police office.