Visa

Behind the scenes of acquiring the long term visa for the Czech Republic (non-EU citizens) – Part II.


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!“
You: “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.

Other countries

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?“
Etc., etc.

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?

Official way

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.

40 Comments

  • This was extremely helpful and useful, Jan. Very much appreciate you, and your sending it along. Let’s get in touch to get this process started.

    • Thank you very much for your comment John. We´ll get in touch shortly and will be happy to help you.

  • Hello, Your info is helpful. However, I’ve tried to get an appointment at the Berlin, Vienna and Bratislava Czech embassies without any success. They just tell me they are full for appointments and to try at another embassy. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

    • Hi Allan,

      thank you very much for your comment.

      Yes, you are right, this is a pretty recent change. We usually do not have much more luck than you because the Embassies were forced to stop arranging appointments for more than 30 days in advance. And since they were fully booked for 3 months in advance before this regulation, there is basically no chance of getting an appointment there. What we can recommend is contacting other Czech Embassies such as the one in Brussels or Warsaw. Some people even fly to Athens 🙂 You just need to be aware of the fact that you should not fly after your 90 days run out.

      Please contact us for more detailed info 🙂

      Have a wonderful day! 🙂

      Jan

  • Hi, I applied to book a day for my interview and I had an appointment on the 11 January, but I later realized that the day I had for my interview is for those applying for short term visas and am supposed to apply for a long term visa for an exchange program in Czech Republic. So I was wondering if I can still come for the interview on that same day but it will be for long term visa?            

                           Thank you.

    • Dear Osainou, thank you very much for your question.

      I would definitelly double check directly with the Embassy. I do not know at what Embassy you will be applying but Embassies usually give different dates for different types of visa. There are different procedures for different visa types and also for different purposes of stay under the same type of visa. For example, if you are applying for a long-term visa with the “study” purpose, you do not have to pass any interview. On the other hand, if you are applying for the long-term visa using the “business” purpose of stay, you might have to pass pretty detailed interview. It of course takes different time and it might require also different immigration officer. The “study” one for example only checks documents so he does not have to be good in psychology, on the other hand the “business” one must be good in business issues + must have some psychological background to see if you are not lying during the interview.. So I would definitelly double chek with the Embassy first.

      Jan

  • I read it all by details. One can see how logical and honest you are about all the process you have mentioned above. I just emailed you today and hope to hear good news from you.
    Thank you again Jan.

  • Hello I am from India and have been selected for a PhD course at institute of parasitology, USB, South Bohemia. I have completed all the documentation processes at my home country however scheduling a visa application request is significantly cumbersome. I have been trying from the past week without any success. Could anyone kindly help me know when would it be a good time to register/book for scheduling an appointment date with the Czech embassy in New Delhi

    • Hi Rohan,

      thank you very much for your comment.

      All countries (at least most of them) which use Visa Point face the same problem – there are no available appointments. What usually happens is that some “mafia” books all the appointments and then sell them to applicants. The only solution we heard about from Ukraine was either buying it from some of the middlemen online, find a hacker who will get you the appointment or go in front of the Embassy and ask there (the middlemen can often be found there).

      Good luck!

      Move To Prague

    • Hi ROHAN
      May I know if you have been able to find a solution to the visa appointment situation since I am in the same problem and the Czech embassy in Ghana says they are unable to help.
      If you have a solution or found one, kindly send me an email (ruaskey@gmail.com).
      Thanks

  • I read all your texts , they are really helpful. I am waiting for my employee card and I have a question regarding the health insurance: Do I must proof that I have one when I pick up my passport at the embassy or only at the foreign police?
    Thank you so much in advance

    • Hi Aretha,

      thank you very much for your comment and especially for the nice words about our blog 🙂 Please come have a coffee/wine with us whenever you have time 🙂

      As for your question, you need the health insurance before they issue the 60 days visa to pick-up the employee card. You must cover the whole period from the moment when you pick up the visa till the moment you oficially start working and fall into the public health care system. The private health insurance is not really expensive though, don´t worry 🙂

      Hope this helps and wish you a great day!

      Jan on behalf of the whole Move To Prague team 🙂

  • Hi,

    First of all, I would like to state that the team has done a wonderful job in providing people with the much needed information. I will be applying for an employee card from India and have a few questions.
    1. I have just graduated from Anna University, India and so I do not have a final degree. But I have a provisional certificate. Will this suffice for the educational certificate requirement for employee card?
    2. Do I also need to get transcripts issued in addition to provisional certificate.

    Thank you

    • Hi Makesh,

      thank you very much for your comment and for your nice words about the blog 🙂

      As for your questions:

      1. Yes, it should be fine. It would not work for the Blue Card but Employee Card should be fine.

      2. Yes, do that, the Ministry can always ask for the transcript. If you needed to get the documents recognized (nostrification), you would need the transcript too.

      Good luck! 🙂

      Move To Prague

      • Hi,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Can you please tell me how long does it generally take to obtain the long term visa for employment purpose? The ministry states that the decision is made within 60 days( or 90 days). But from your experience, how long does it take?

        Thanks

        • Hi Mahesh,

          we have had everything from 2 to 6 months and longer.

          If your documents are correct and complete (both on your and your employer´s side) and especially if there is a big company behind you, there should be no unnecessary delays.

          Important thing to know is that the 60/90 days start counting not from the moment you submit the documents at the Embassy but from the moment when the Ministry of Interior in Prague receives the documents (can be up to one week delay).

          I wish you good luck!

          Jan on behalf of
          Move To Prague relocation experts

  • I’m so happy and sad at the same time that I found your blog now. I have been struggling to get my employee card since Jan this year from Canada. I got an offer by a Czech company that was willing to help me through this visa process, but the whole process was a lot messier and time consuming than I thought.

    At the moment, my employee card decision is pending, but the contract date between me and the company has already passed 3 weeks. It looks like it will take anywhere between 1 week to 1 month for the decision.
    Now that the Canadian Czech consulate finally sent me back my passport, I booked a flight ticket to Prague the day after tomorrow.

    My question is, what should I tell the border control officer about my visit? Should I tell them I applied for employee card and it’s pending decision? or should I say I’m just visiting? I would like to get settled in and pick up my employee card in CR, before I actually start working. I’m just worried that they will not let me through without employee card with me. Also, what kind of health insurance do they require? My company cannot insure me until I have the employee card and officially signed into the company.

    Thank you for your reply in advance!

    • Hi James,

      thank you for your comment.

      I already sent you an e-mail but it will anyway be best to reply here so others can benefit from the answer too 🙂

      You, as Canadian citizen, are allowed to come to the Schengen space for 90 days with no visa required. It is 90 days in the last 180 so if you have not been here in the last 180 days, you should have no problem on the border. I also believe that noone will ask you many questions. In case they do ask you, just say that you are visiting as a tourist since you anyway can not work or something without having the employee card. So the only thing you will be allowed to do here is tourism anyway 🙂

      As for the health insurance, again, since you do not need a visa, noone really cares about your health insurance either. So theoretically any medical insurance that covers the Czech Republic will be fine. On the other hand, you must register yourself with the Foreign Police within 3 days after your arrival (https://movetoprague.com/foreign-police-prague/) and the Police will want to see a Czech medical insurance. Also, if something happens and you really need to go to a doctor here, it is always better to have a Czech health insurance instead of paying in cash and hoping for reimbursment from your Canadian health care company.

      I hope this helps and wish you a safe trip!

      Jan – Co-Owner of Move To Prague relocation services 🙂

  • Thanks for all the useful information guys! I am a US national and want to apply for long term visa (other) to take a language course in Prague. My question is what type of proof of accommodation do I need to provide to the Czech consulate. Can an airbnb rental be used as proof of accommodation or a hotel booking will be better, I will be applying in Berlin by the way ? Also after obtaining the student visa how will I go about obtaining the temporary residency permit, does the visa automatically grant me residency or do I have to follow the Foreign Police Registration Process, that you posted about, to obtain it? Also for how long is the visa being granted, is based on the duration of your studies? Thanks in advance for your time. Kris

    • Hi Kris,

      thank you very much for your question.

      The long-term visa can be granted for up to one year. The exact period depends on your proof of accommodation. If you only have the proof of accommodation say for a month, your visa will only be granted for one month. So I would not really recommend AirBnb nor hotel unless you book it for a year.

      I would not recommend it for many other reasons either – AirBnb is a bit shady in many cases (i.e. subleasing a sublet apartment, landlords not paying taxes, etc.) so you might get in trouble getting the documents you need for the visa. On another note, AirBnb has made the rental prices increase by 20-30% comparing two years ago so it is not wise to support it anyway.

      Please read more about the proof of accommodation requirements and oprions here: https://movetoprague.com/proof-of-accommodation-letter-sample/.

      As for the Temporary Residence, what do you exactly mean? Remporary Residence permit is a visa type only applicable for EU citizens and there family members.

      The system in your case is as follows:

      – 90 days of visa free stay
      – long-term visa (for up to one year)
      – long-term residence (for up to two years)
      – permanent residence (after five years)
      – citizenship (after ten years).

      You should go to the Foreign Police within 3 days after your arrival anyway.

      Please send us an e-mail if you need any more specific answer.

      Thank you and have a lovely day! 🙂

      Move To Prague relocation experts

  • I would like to apply for long term visa to visit Czech Republic. As per the necessary information from the Czech Embassy, India that the applicant should first register through VISAPOINT system prior to submit the visa application. Unfortunately, i tried to register from several days, the dates are not available.

    In this regard, please let me know if there is any options available to register for an appointment to lodge the visa application.

    Kind regards,

    Ashesh

    • Hi Ashesh,

      thank you very much for your question.

      Yes, the VISA POINT system is a big problem in many countries. It is usually done the way that some kind of “mafia” books all the appointments and then sell them to applicants. You will have to find some hacker or a middle man who can get you the appointment. Or keep trying several hours in a row and hope for the best.

      Good luck!

      Move To Prague relocation experts

    • Ashesh, I’m facing the same problem for the Visapoint website. Have you found an alternative way to get the appointment? Let me know if you have.
      Thanks,
      Pooja

  • Hello,

    First of all great job for putting up the detailed and honest information. Really appreciate it.

    Now, i got an admission at an uni in Prague for 4 years bachelors degree and after a long wait had my appointment last week to submit my documents. (Btw i am applying for visa from Abu Dhabi). The submission took a long time as the officers checked the documents again and again. I also requested them if the process can be speeded up by an application as my uni is starting in the first week of October but they said no only the thing you can do but the officer did say that ministry will take into consideration that ur uni is starting. So I wanted to ask if you have any experience on how much time it should take for the student visa I know it says 60 days on the website but normally how many days does it take for the visa to be issued?

  • I already get approved for.The long visa but I can’t be in czech can I get it in the embassy back in my country. Or I should come.here.And.take it.

    • Hi Messaab,

      thank you for the comment.

      You should collect the visa from the same Embassy where you applied for it 🙂

      Good luck!

      Jan

  • lovely information
    i have got admission to study in CULS-prague and i have applied for a long stay visa to study but the embassy havent called me for the interview.why are they getting me delayed?

    • Hey Wilfried,

      thank you very much for your comment.

      It is hard to say something about your case since we do not know anything about you and the case. In general though, they always do the interview for business visas. They also do the interviews for study visas if there is somthing suspicious. They will very likely ask you about your motivation for studies, about the school, program, etc.

      Good luck!

      Jan on behalf of Move To Prague relocation services 🙂

  • Thank you for providing this information, I’ve used your articles during the year-long process of getting my employee card (FYI for other readers, I am American and from the date of my application to approval it took 174 days).
    You wrote that you’re not aware of any deadline to pick up the approved visa. Does this apply to the employee card also? Because I’ve been waiting so long I had to extend my work commitments in the US and would like to pick up my employee card in mid-February (so almost 4 months from now), but I will make arrangements if there is a risk of the employee card “expiring”. The Czech embassy in DC at one point said there is a three month time limit to pick it up, but after the approval I asked for this to be confirmed and the said “We can’t provide this information, contact the ministry of foreign police.” I called the foreign police and she said “oh probably. Just call us when you’re in Prague,” which worries me greatly. I would greatly appreciate any insight into this process!
    By the way my employers are flexible as to my start-date, so no worries there.
    Anyway, thanks so much for any information!

    • HI Caleb,

      thank you very much for your comment.

      I am happy that you used our website during your employee card process and much more happy that it has already been approved.

      The main thing with picking the card up is that the longer you wait, shorter the validity of your employee card (or more with other visa types in general) will be. In case case that you have a limited contract, you can significantly decrease the validity of the card because the validity of the card will not be longer than validity of your employment contract.

      Honestly speaking, I would not be much worried since the Ministry itself does not really respect any official time frames (i.e. the employee card should be approved within 60-90 days, it took them 174 days, etc.), people from the EU wait for picking up their residence certificates for 3 months just because there are no sooner available appointments, it will also take some time for you to arrange the appointment for giving your biometric data…

      If you wanted to be 100% sure and not risk anything, you can come here say a month before you wanna start working and start the employee card process (give your biometric data). You can fly back to the US after that and come back to pick up the card here, get the employee card (it is anyway a process for say three four weeks), three four weeks later (it takes them about that long to actually issue the card after you giving the biometrics).

      It would be pretty costly for you probably but you could start the “picking-up” process within the discussed three months to stay on the safe side and still work for one more month in the US.

      It is pretty complicated to explain everything in writing so please give us a call if you wanna get more insight 🙂

      Thank you and have a lovely day!

      Jan on behalf of the whole team! 🙂

  • Can you explain the changes to the law in regards to health insurance for Americans. I have VIP foreigners but I’ve heard Americans must now get public VZP insurance. Do I just go and apply for it at the office with a Czech speaker?

    • Hi Barbara,

      thank you very much for your comment.

      Well, it depends on the type of visa you have. If you have the classical business (freelance) visa, you have to contribute to the public health care system. This became effective in May 2016 if I am not mistaken so if you have not been contributing yet, you will have to pay back for all the missed monhts (2 000 CZK a month).

      If you do not have the freelance visa, you are still fine with the yearly insurance.

      Please let us know if you need a more detailed information, we´ll be happy to help 🙂

      Jan on behalf of the whole team! 🙂

  • Thank you for all this information..
    I have a very bad situation…I have applied for employee card and it was approved in November..After it the company who provide me the papers for applied the employee card told me that currently, they have no available place for me..Very strange situation,,,I am confused and have no idea what to do…Can I take visa and work in another company or till when can i pick up my visa ? ..Please, who can provide me with information…

    • Hi Ona,

      We are really sorry to hear about your situation.

      Unfortunatelly, you can not really do anything. The employee card is always approved for one employer and one position only. So you can not just collect the card without a help of your employer.

      The only solution in my head is to negotiate with your employer that they finish the process with you, employ you for a month and fire you afterwards. It would give you say two months to find a new employer and apply for the official change of an employer.

      Best of luck with your situation!

      Have a great day!

      Jan on behalf of the whole team 🙂

  • Hello,
    Thank you very much for this incredibly helpful blog. Much appreciated. I do have one question of which I am not able to find a helpful answer. I am currently working in California, with a US based international software company, which also have an office in Prague. The office in Prague has made a job offer to me. My question is, with the work visa, for how many months/years will I be able to stay in Prague? For example, with the US H1-B visa, one can stay in the States for 6 years. What is the case with CZ work visa? Is there a time limit? And once the period is over, do they allow extensions? BTW, I am an Indian national, currently on the H1-B visa in the States.
    Thank you very much for your assistance!

    • Hi Abhay,

      Thank you very much for your nice words 🙂

      You must apply for so called employee card if you wanna work in the Czech Republic (blue card in some cases). Employee card can be maximum given for 2 years initially (depending on your employment contract though – if the contract is only for 1 year, also the employee card will be just for one year). You can always extend it for another two years.

      Obtaining the employee card is a pretty complicated process though (many steps required) so please get in touch with us directly (info@movetoprague.com) if you need some assistance with that.

      Hope this helps and wish you a great day! 🙂

      Jan on behalf of the whole Move To Prague relocation services team 🙂

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