Well, registering in the Foreign Police office in Prague is one of the funniest parts of the whole visa process. We´ll explain why later on, let me just mention the fact that Foreign Police officers in Prague mostly do not speak English 🙂 But no worries, we´ll provide you with some tips to survive the experience.
First of all, when do you need to go to the Foreign Police office?
Outside EU citizens
No matter if you are planning to stay long term or just visiting for a few days, citizens from outside the EU need to register in the Foreign Police office in Prague within 3 days after their arrival in Prague. This rule does not apply in the case you are staying in a hotel or hostel- accommodation facilities like these have to register you on your behalf (that is why they ask you to fill in the paper when checking in). Big hotels and hostels really do that, BUT be aware if you are staying in an AirBnB or similar apartments. They should register you too, but they usually don’t even know about this duty, and it can cause you trouble in the future.
You might also need to register in the Foreign Police office in Prague if you are applying for a long term business visa. The Trade license office needs to see the red stamp with your address before issuing your trade license. (Read more about the business visa process in this post and more about the trade license in this post).
EU citizens need to register in the Foreign Police office in Prague within 30 days after their arrival. The rest is similar to (Non-EU citizens) citizens from outside the EU with the difference that no one really cares about EU citizens. EU citizens do not need a visa or residence card if they do not want to apply for one. So, the chance of getting into trouble for not registering is very small.
Documents required for registering in the Foreign Police office
It used to be much easier to register at the Foreign Police office in Prague. However, for some reason, the government decided to make it harder for everyone. It used to be enough to just bring your passport, fill in one document and wait in a queue. Therefore, If you waited long enough you got registered.
Now, all following documents are needed:
– Proof of accommodation (either the proof itself or the rental contract or at least some form of confirmation from landlord).
– Czech health insurance (either travel or public)
– Registration form – will be provided in the Foreign Police office
– “Hraniční průvodka“ – will be provided in the Foreign Police office
It is easy to see why the documents are necessary from the government’s perspective. – You should have a place to stay if you want to spend some time in Prague, you should also be covered by some health insurance, on the other hand, if you are only staying for 5 days the bureaucracy isn’t worth it – just stay in a hotel for one night and everything is solved.
Well, now you know WHEN you need to register at the Foreign Police and WHAT documents you need but what about the registration process itself? The fun begins.
Registration at the Foreign Police office in Prague
There is only one Foreign Police office in Prague and that is at the following address:
Olšanská 2176/2, 130 00 Praha, which is easily reachable by trams (Olšanská stop) or by walking from both Flora and Želivského metro stations (green line).
Opening hours in the beginning of 2016 are as follows:
Monday 8:00 – 17:00
Tuesday 8:00 – 15:00
Wednesday 8:00 – 17:00
Thursday 8:00 – 15:00
Friday 8:00 – 12:00
The first thing you need to do after arriving at the address. Find the queue – if you go during peak hours, you’ll have no problem finding it because the queue will stretch out the doors around the block and be full of people who look as confused as you are. Once you get inside, find a ticket machine and get a ticket. In peak hours, again, you’ll have enough time to go for a lunch before they call your number – really, one of our clients finished a few levels of Grand Theft Auto while waiting in the Foreign Police office in Olšanská 🙂
The Foreign Police officer does not speak English? Welcome to Prague!
After some time, the much anticipated moment you’ve been waiting for arrives! Your number is called! Pick up all your documents and go to the specified room. There you will meet a Foreign Police officer who does not speak any English and that makes him really angry. He’ll let you know about it from the very first moment you step in. No one has confirmed it officially, but based on our many many visits to the Foreign Police office in Prague, Police officers are sent there as a form of punishment. Well, not exactly as a punishment, but every single Foreign Police officer needs to have a shift in the registration office every once in awhile, whether they speak English and know something about the process or not. It is the same among Foreign Police officers as it is among the rest of the Czech population, if they are above 50, their knowledge of English is very poor and if they have to deal with foreigners, it must be frustrating.
To stay objective, not all of the officers are the same. Occasionally, you will meet one who speaks English pretty well, and who knows what they are doing, but do not go with that expectation.
The result of your visit to the Foreign Police office in Prague, should be a red square stamp with your current address written on it. Once you get this, you can breathe easy knowing you are part of an exclusive club of people who also hate that place.
Based on our three years experience, we have put together several recommendations to make your visit to the Foreign Police office in Prague as painless as possible.
– Do not go to the Foreign Police office at Olsanska the first day after the weekend or a public holiday – everyone else will do that and the queue is always way too long.
– Do not go there in the morning unless it is before they open. If you arrive about half an hour before they open, you will get a very low number, if you arrive about an hour after their opening time, your ticket number (and waiting time) will already be much higher – everyone tries to go there before work, but not everyone is willing to wait outside before they open.
– Arrive about an hour before they close – this is a bit risky because they sometimes stop giving tickets about an hour before they close to make sure they close on time, on the other hand, if you get the ticket, you will be seen and you won’t wait much longer than an hour.
– Have all the documents ready – you do not want to go there again.
– Learn at least some basic Czech words such as „Dobrý den (Do-bree dehn)“ – Hello or „Děkuji (Dyekooyee) – Thank you“
To sum it up, if you are only visiting and want to do everything the legal way, make sure you stay at least one night in a hotel – you’ll be registered automatically. If you do not care about the legal way, just make sure you do not get fined for anything. Honestly, if you are an American, Canadian, Australian, Mexican or Korean and you are just visiting, no one really cares if you got registered or not unless you get caught by Police for doing something illegal. In that case, not being registered by the Foreign Police would make things worse. If you do not get caught no one will ever find out that you have not registered.
However, if you plan to stay longer doing everything the legal way is recommended to prevent any future problems with your visa.
If you are brave and want to register yourself at the Foreign Police office in Prague on your own, we hope this article will help you do it with as little pain as possible.
If you need some advice or assistance, fill in the form in right sidebar, contact us anytime (really, we work 24/7), go to our services page or read more about some specific part of the visa process in some of our other blog posts.
Jan&Daria on behalf of the whole MoveToPrague.com team