What to expect when applying for the long term visa – REAL WORLD
Alright, you have all the documents ready and your appointment at the Czech Embassy scheduled, what to expect there? Honestly, it mostly depends on your nationality. However racist our next few paragraphs may sound that is simply how it works.
Americans, Canadians, Australians and other native English speakers
If your country is listed in one of those two lists above (list of countries whose citizens do not need visa for 90 days and list of countries whose citizens are allowed to apply for the visa in any Czech embassy – see Behind scenes of acquiring the long term visa for the Czech Republic – Part I.) submitting your long-term visa application will most likely look like this.
Immigration officer: “Hello!“
Immigration officer: “Show me your documents.“
You: “Here you are.“
Immigration officer: “They are complete, thank you, we´ll let you know about approval.“
You: “Thank you, bye.”
Immigration officer: “Bye! Next please.“
Of course it is a bit played down, but especially if you are American, Australian, Canadian, etc. immigration officers usually expect you to come to the Czech Republic to teach English because that is what 90% of Americans do at least in the beginning of their stay. So they usually do not have many questions about the purpose of your stay, about your employer or your accommodation.
If you are on one of the lists, but not a native English speaker, your immigration interview may be a bit longer and detailed. However, if you have a clear idea of what you want to do, you will pass the interview very well.
Trouble begins if your country is not on any of those lists. In that case, you need to be ready for a very long and very detailed interview. You might even have several interviews during the whole visa approval process. Let us give you an example with the long-term business visa.
Required documents will be the same as described above. The first difference will be in those additional documents, which you will need to show for sure. Also the interview will be much more detailed. The immigration officer will ask you questions like this:
“Have you been to the Czech Republic before?“
“Why do you want to run a business in the Czech Republic then?“
“Do you have any previous experience with this type of business?“
“Do you already have any clients or business partners in the Czech Republic?“
“How much in taxes will you pay?“
There is a similar system with the long-term study visa. The immigration officer will want to know everything about your school, accommodation, your previous education and also your future plans once you finish school.
Let’s not say it is impossible to get the visa as a citizen from some country which is not listed on either of those two lists above, (we have already had many successful clients from India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and many other countries) but you need to be very committed to studying, working or running a business here, and you have to do everything possible to make that happen. If your approach is something like “alright, I´ll try something and will see“ or “I will pay someone to get me there so I do not need to do anything“, do not even try; it would be only a waste of your time and money.
I applied for the long term visa, what now?
After applying for the long-term visa at a Czech Embassy, the only thing you can do is wait. If you applied for the long-term visa in the country of your origin, you should wait there too. Only the fact that you applied for the long-term visa does not allow you to come to the Czech Republic. Also, if your visa is approved, you need to pick it up in the same Embassy you applied in.
Depending on the type of visa and the embassy you applied in, you´ll wait between 4 – 12 weeks, 16 in some very complicated cases. Some of our American clients who applied in Berlin got their visas approved in just 4 weeks – they are Americans and The Berlin Embassy is very close and we have all heard about German efficiency. On the other hand, the further from Prague and the more complicated the country (see those two lists above), the longer it takes – because it takes some time to get your documents to Prague (where all applications from all embassies around the world go) and also the approval process is more detailed and the immigration officers dig deeper.
What about overstaying my 90 days?
If you are on the list of countries whose citizens are allowed to come to the Czech Republic for 90 days without any visa required (see above), you probably applied in Europe (respectively Schengen area). What if your 90 days have almost run out and you still do not have the visa approved?
If your 90 days are gone (it is 90 days in each 180 days), you should officially leave the Schengen area and come back only when you have some more days available. You should apply for a special type of short-term visa to pick up your approved long-term visa. (Sounds logical, right? :)).
Real world way
In the real world, no one really leaves the Czech Republic. Let us start with pointing out that it is illegal and you can get fined or even banned from coming to the Czech Republic again. Theoretically. In reality, the only way for the Foreign Police to find out that you have been overstaying is to catch you doing something illegal.
Police usually do not stop foreigners just to see their documents or something like that. So if you are behaving, there is almost no risk of overstaying your 90 days. The only risk is taken when you go pick up your visa – German Police are keener on stopping cars and especially buses and checking the documents of their passengers. On the other hand, if you show them e-mail saying “Your visa application has been approved, please come to Berlin to pick it up“ sent from Czech Embassy, how likely is it that they would send you back home?
My long-term visa is approved – hooray!
***All right, we have touched on the topic in the previous paragraph. So how do you know if your long term visa for the Czech Republic has been approved? In most cases, you are notified by e-mail by an officer from the embassy where you applied for the visa.
You can pick up the visa anytime after that. We are not aware of any official time you need to pick up the visa, but the sooner the better. It also depends on what date you asked for as a starting date for your long term visa in your long term visa application (i.e. if you asked for 1.4.2016 as a starting day of your visa, it does not make much sense to go pick it up on 1.3.2016 because you will not be allowed to come here before the starting date anyway. That is unless you have enough “free days“ (out of those 90).
Let us point out that there is no purpose in calling the embassy before they notify you about the result of your long term visa application. The authority responsible for the decision is The Czech Ministry of the Interior, not the Embassy.
As said before, you can go pick up the long-term visa anytime after you receive the confirmation e-mail. You will just need to bring your passport and proof of CZECH HEALTH INSURANCE (compare and buy the Czech health insurance online here). The health insurance should be valid for at least the same period as the long term visa is requested for. From 18.12.2015 on, the long-term visa can be issued for a period of one year (it used to be 6 months).
The long-term visa itself is a one passport page sticker put in your passport by the Embassy officer. He also writes the validity of the long-term visa in the sticker.
Well you have finally arrived after a long journey to this wonderful moment, but what next? You are ready to arrive in the Czech Republic! However, remember that there are still some duties ahead you. You always have to go to the foreign police office to register yourself (read more about this funny process in our Fun with registering in Foreign Police office in Prague blog post) and depending on the type of long term visa you have just gotten approved, you might also be required to visit The Trade License office again (see our blog about Trade Licenses here), etc.
That is basically it! 🙂
Thank you very much for reading this blog. Do you have any questions about the long-term visa for the Czech Republic? Do you want us to help you with applying for the long-term visa? Contact us anytime (really, we work 24/7), go to our visa assistance service page, our Trade license assistance page or read more about some specific part of the visa process in some of our other blog posts.