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Czech Republic - Visas
If you are a citizen of a Schengen Agreement country, you may visit the Czech Republic whenever you wish. There are 22 European Union (EU) countries which are members of the Schengen Agreement, plus four non-EU states; Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
However, several EU countries have not joined the Schengen Area. If you are a citizen of one of those countries, you are allowed to visit another EU country, including the Czech Republic, without applying for a visa. You may stay for a limit of 90 days within any 180 day period, on one trip or several. Under the Schengen Agreement rules, your identity documents are supposed be checked and swiped into a security computer system (known as SIS) when entering and leaving the country. Your passport must not expire until after your visit has ended.
Citizens of the following countries may visit the Czech Republic for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period without a visa or any restrictions: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Salvador, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Uruguay, Vatican and Venezuela.
There are also a number of countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Hong Kong, Macedonia, Macao, Montenegro, Serbia and Taiwan) whose citizens are allowed to visit the Czech Republic for a period of 90 days within a 180 day period without a visa, as long as restrictions are met. These restrictions usually include having a biometric passport less than ten years old, while the visit should be purely for tourism reasons with no engagement in a profitable or business activity. Border staff may ask about the purpose of your visit, and might have to present evidence of your hotel bookings and so on in order to prove this.
For all non-EU visitors, your passport must not expire until ninety days after your visit is expected to end.
If you are a citizen of a country from outside the EU and the Schengen Agreement, and is not included in the lists above, you can apply for a short term visa. This will allow you access to the Czech Republic and any other Schengen Agreement country for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 day period. You must obtain this before you arrive at the Czech border or airport, and you must then register with the police within three days of your arrival.
Access to the Czech Republic does not grant you an automatic right to work or seek asylum in the country, or to stay more than the 90 day limit.
Everyone entering the Czech Republic should have adequate means to support themselves financially whilst they are there, and enough funds to get themselves home again. You cannot arrive in the Czech Republic and expect to be financially supported by the state.
Adequate health insurance is highly recommended in case the unexpected happens. EU citizens must bring along their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to ensure access to emergency medical treatment on the same basis as local citizens.
If you are driving in the Czech Republic, make sure your driving license and insurance meet the legal requirements. Be aware that road deaths in the Czech Republic are very high compared to the EU average.
Border staff will detain anyone included on the SIS security warning system. These people are very likely to be refused entry to the Czech Republic. The warning system may be triggered for factors such as criminal convictions which led to a prison sentence of more than one year, evidence that the individual is involved in criminal activity, or a previous forced removal by deportation or expulsion.
If you are the non-EU family member of an EU citizen, such as a grandparent, spouse or child, you will have the same rights of access as EU citizens as long as you can provide the necessary documents to confirm your status as a family member. Couples in a long-term relationship who have not married or had a civil ceremony will be asked to provide a range of documents confirming a their relationship.
Citizens of EU countries may apply for temporary residence permits should they wish. This will help with any later permanent residency applications, but is not a condition of their stay. Citizens from outside the EU must obtain a temporary residence permit in order to stay longer than three months. Application forms are available on the website for the ministry of the interior for the Czech Republic.
All original documents you submit must be in Czech, or in notarized translations into the Czech language. You must submit all documents within the deadlines, otherwise the application process will be terminated. A lot of documents to confirm your identity, appearance and residency are required so you will need to be organized.
It will take up to 30 days to complete the application process. Make sure you have applied at least 30 days before the end of your first 90 days in the country. If you overstay without the temporary residency permit in place, you run the risk of deportation.
If you want to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days and you are the citizen of a country outside the EU, your application for a long term visa must have been processed and approved before you even arrive in the country. You will need to apply via the Czech embassy or consulate in your home country. By law, there are very few exceptions that allow applications to be made from within the Czech Republic.
You will need to be organised when preparing the paperwork. A range of original documents will be needed to confirm your identity, appearance, intended accommodation, ability to finance your stay and clean criminal record.
However, non-EU citizens may make an application for permanent residency from within the Czech Republic. You will need to attend an appointment at the ministry of the interior. Your biometric data will be collected and uploaded to the official identity computer system. The process should be completed within 60 days if made within the Czech Republic, and 180 days if made via a Czech embassy abroad. Under certain circumstances, the deadlines can be halted or extended.
If you can prove that you have Czech origin, you may apply for permanent residency even if you have not lived in the country before. However, you must still go through the application process and submit all required documentation within the deadlines. In addition, you will need to include a CV and set out in writing why your application should be approved beyond the fact of your Czech origin.
Many of the application procedures require payment of a fee by the applicant. The details can be found on the Ministry of the Interior website.
When you are living in the Czech Republic, you must not:
- Overstay the length of your residency if it is limited
- Work unless you are legally permitted to do so
- Take part in criminal or antisocial behaviour
- Expect the Czech state to pay your living costs
Whether you need a work permit or not will depend on your citizenship and the residency documents you hold. Check your entitlement carefully before accepting work; if you are caught working illegally, you cannot argue that you did not understand the rules, and you will be deported. Please refer to our employment section in the Czech Republic country guide for further information about work permits.
After five years of continuous temporary residency in the Czech Republic, EU citizens may apply for permanent residency. You will need to file an application, along with all supporting documentation, at a Ministry of the Interior office.
If you are an EU citizen and also a family member of another EU citizen, and have been for at least 12 months, you may apply for a permanent residence permit after two years of continuous residency in the Czech Republic.
If you are deported from the Czech Republic, whether for criminal activity or overstaying, you will not be allowed to return for a period of between one and five years. You may also receive a substantial fine, which will accrue interest for the period it remains unpaid. You will not be allowed to return until the fine and all the interest has been paid in full, even if this is many years later.
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