If you are from Non EU country and you want to stay in Prague or The Czech Republic longer than 3 months, a long-term visa is in most cases, the first step in the process. In this blog, we’ll tell you how to get the long-term visa officially and legally and also how it works in real life. Let´s start with the official part and get to the real world later.
Official part of the long term visa process in the Czech Republic
Who needs the long term visa?
First of all, let us explain when you need to apply for the long-term visa. If you are an non EU citizen, you always need a visa to legally come to the Czech Republic (see EXCEPTION below). You need to apply for a short-term visa if your stay will not exceed 90 days. You need to apply for a long-term visa if you want to stay longer than 90 days.
EXCEPTION: There are some states whose citizens are allowed to stay in the Czech Republic for 90 days without any visa required. Please find a list of them at this link.
Types of long term visa for the Czech Republic
You need to know what you want to do here or why you want to relocate to Prague or The Czech Republic before applying for the long-term visa. Every visa application has to have a purpose. There are basically five different types of long-term visas for the Czech Republic, or maybe it’s better to say five different purposes for you stay.
The long term STUDY visa
This type of long-term visa is suitable for students (mostly university students) applying for schools (universities) accredited by The Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (find and search for MOE accredited universities at this link – only in Czech). This type of visa is easiest to get approved if your intention of studying in the Czech Republic is real.
The long term BUSINESS visa
This type of long-term visa is suitable for freelancers or self employed people using a trade license (Zivnostenske opravneni) or business owners using s.r.o. (limited) companies. Mostly English teachers or simply anyone who wants to start working in the Czech Republic immediately uses this type of visa. Let us explain why.
The main reason is that as a non EU citizen you need a special work permit called an Employee Card (see below) if you want to work legally in the Czech Republic. This is very hard to get (better say very very time consuming) and employers usually do not want to go through the visa process for regular employees. If you were applying for a high managerial position or your employer is big international company with their own visa department you might have a chance, but in most cases it is a no go. To have regular employees is also much more expensive for your employer so they prefer to hire you as a contractor instead of employing you. Moreover, you can include 80 different fields of business in your trade license, (read more about trade license for your long term business visa application here) which basically allows you to do everything except being a doctor or rocket engineering.
Employee card (former long term WORK visa)
This type of visa is great when you have it, but to get it can be a real pain in the you know what… You first need to find an employer who wants to hire you. They must advertise the job offer on a special website to prove that no Czech person is interested in that position. Only after this are you allowed to apply for the employee card. It takes up to 60 days to get it approved and during that time you are not officially allowed to work, so your employer basically needs to wait for about 3 months before you can start work, which is mostly unacceptable.
Long term FAMILY REUNIFICATION visa
This type of long-term visa is suitable for people whose family members already live in the Czech Republic with a valid long-term visa or long-term residence card.
Long term OTHER visa
This type of long-term visa can theoretically cover any other purpose of your stay, but in our experience one of the only reasonable purposes you can use for this type of visa is studying in non-accredited university or studying Czech language courses.
Documents required for a long term visa for the Czech Republic
Theoretically, the process is pretty simple and not too many documents are required for the long-term visa, but it can get pretty complicated sometimes. Let starts with the basics first. The Following documents are required for all the types of long term visas for the Czech Republic.
- Visa application
- Passport (not older than 10 years, at least 2 blank pages, valid for at least one more year)
- 2 passport photos
- Proof of accommodation (see more about this document in this blog)
- Proof of funds (see more about this document in this blog)
- Documents on the purpose of your stay (university admission letter, trade license, work contract, etc.)
The immigration authority might additionally ask you for following documents:
- Police clearance certificate/Background check
- Medical report
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All the documents submitted for your long term visa application must be originals or notarized copies. All of them must be in Czech or officially translated into Czech. All of them (except your passport) must be younger than 180 days. In addition to that, all documents issued outside of the territory of the Czech Republic must be superlegalised or apostilled first (see wikipedia here)!
When you have all the documents ready, you can apply for the long-term visa for the Czech Republic. In general, you can only apply in the country of your origin or in the country of your permanent residence. Of course, there are again some exceptions (see below) 🙂
EXCEPTION: Citizens of countries listed in this list are allowed to apply in any Czech Embassy in the world outside of the territory of the Czech Republic. The list is basically the same as the list of countries whose nationals are allowed to stay in the Czech Republic for 90 days without any visa requirements (see above).
IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot just go to the embassy; you need to arrange an appointment in advance first. Be advised that it takes sometimes even several weeks to get an appointment in the most popular embassies such as the ones in Berlin, Vienna, or Bratislava.
Read the real world part of the visa process in Behind the scenes of acquiring the long term visa for the Czech Republic (outside EU citizens) Part II.
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.