In this post you will learn everything you need to know in order to enter and work in the Czech Republic and the visa process. Although it may seem like a daunting task, just take it one step at a time and remember we are here to help you.
One-Way Tickets/Return Ticket (Within 90 Days)
For non-Schengen citizens planning on staying in the Czech Republic or Schengen Zone to teach, it’s required by law that you have proof of exiting the Schengen zone within 90 days of entry.
By law, you’re required to have proof that you will be exiting the Schengen Zone within those 90 days. Without this proof, you could be forced to buy a return ticket by the airlines or at immigration once you’ve arrived. That can not only cause some complications with your entry, but it can also be quite costly!
However, your return ticket doesn’t have to be back home. What we generally recommend is that you purchase a one-way ticket to Prague, and then a separate one-way bus, air or train ticket out of the Schengen zone to somewhere nearby – London is a good option, because the UK is not part of the Schengen Zone. Try www.skyscanner.com for cheap rates to the UK.
Visa Information for Non-EU Citizens
If you are an American, Australian, Canadian or New Zealand citizen: You are allowed to stay in the Schengen Zone for 90 days on your passport as a tourist, so just come here as a tourist for the course.
EU citizens do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone, which the Czech Republic belongs to.
Other nationalisties please check here to see if you need a visa to enter.
Passport: Your passport must be valid at least for another 9 months and issued within the last 10 years. It must also contain at least two blank consecutive pages.
For non-EU citizens interested in working in the Czech Republic or anywhere in the Schengen Zone: we don’t recommend that you arrive in the Schengen Zone more than 1 week before the course begins. You’ll need the whole 90 days to complete the course, find a job, and apply for your long-term visa. If you arrive before and do some travelling, you are using up your allowed days and this will make it more difficult for you to get a visa. The same may be true for other Schengen countries, depending on their visa procedure.
Working in the Czech Republic: Long-term Business Visa and Živnostensky List
Requirements for Non-EU citizens working in the Czech Republic
Your passport must be valid for at least 9 months when you go to apply for the Visa (which can be several weeks or more after the course). The passport must have been issued within the last 10 years and needs to contain at least two blank consecutive pages. YOU MUST APPLY FOR YOUR VISA WITHIN 90 DAYS OF ENTERING THE SCHENGEN AREA.
As a non-EU citizen, you are allowed into the Schengen Area (read more about it here) as a tourist for 90 days. The first 30 days will be spent on the course.
Once you arrive in the Czech Republic you can begin the process of applying for your long-term Visa and your Živnostenský List to work. The Živnostenský List is basically a trade license that allows you to work as a freelance teacher for as many schools or students as you would like. The Visa and Živno are based off of each other, you cannot get one without the other.
We recommend using a Visa agency for this process to ensure that everything goes smoothly. We will set up a meeting with one of the visa agencies we use during the course (usually on the first day).
You will need to bring a bank letter stating that you have 124,000 CZK in the account. This account must be in your name only.
Next, you need to secure housing. Once you have found your apartment you will have the owner(s) of the flat sign documents allowing you to live there and technically use your flat as your “business address” for your Živno. (It is important that you find a landlord that is the owner of the flat and willing to sign the documents allowing you to use the address as a business address and also a residential address. The Visa agency can verify who the owners are so consult with them before signing a lease. For the business address, there is also the option to rent a virtual address.)
Don’t worry, the Visa agencies have the information on how to do all of this.
Once you have your documents in order then you will make an appointment with a Czech Embassy outside of the Czech Republic. Most people go to Vienna or Berlin because they are the closest, and your Visa agency will provide recommendations on this, too. You will go there to the embassy to apply for the Visa, and they will interview you regarding your reasoning for being in the Czech Republic.
Once your Visa is issued, you can return to the Embassy to pick it up, and you will be required to purchase commercial Czech Health Insurance. For Americans, you only need to purchase one month of insurance. Non-Americans have to purchase insurance for the duration of the Visa. The visa agency has an insurance provider.
Next you will register with the foreign police and finalize your Živno. We recommend that you use a Visa assistance company to do this entire process as the requirements change from time to time and a fluent Czech speaker is needed. It would be difficult for you to deal with all of the bureaucracy on your own. Again, we have a company that we will recommend to you.
Please note that all non-EU citizens, except Americans and UK citizens, need a criminal background check with an apostille/super legalization. This must not be older than 3 months when you go to apply for the Trade License.
Americans only need to sign an affidavit at the US Embassy in Prague stating that you never committed a crime, unless you have lived, worked, or studied abroad in the past 3 years.
If you have a Visa from the last 3 years in your passport that is not a tourist Visa, you’ll need a criminal background check with an apostile/ super legalszation from that country as well.
– Bank letter (min. 124,000 CZK)
– Criminal Background Check (You will need to sign an Affadavit at the US Embassy here in Prague.)
– Bank letter (min. 124,000 CZK)
– Criminal Background Check (from national registry, not local)
– Fingerprints submitted to the RCMP, then signed off by the Canadian department of Justice, then super-legalized by the Czech Embassy in Ottawa. Please bring this with you as it is very expensive and time consuming to acquire from CZ. It can only be 3 months old by the time you submit for your trade license.
– Everything will be handled once you are here in Prague.
(You will need a Trade License but not a Visa.)
Other (incl. AUS)
– Bank letter (min. 124000 CZK)
– An Apostiled Criminal Background Check (Australian embassy offers apostile services.)
– Check with your local embassy in Prague if they offer apostile services (Mexican embassy does not.)
Approximate Pricing for Visa, Trade License and Agency Assistance (12000-25000):
* Agency Fees: 5000 – 7260 CZK (3100 – 6050 CZK for just a Trade License)
* Passport photographs: 200 CZK
* Trade License office fee: 1000 CZK
* Bank letter translation: 350 – 540 CZK/page
* Virtual Business/Mailing Address: 1700 – 4700 CZK
* Visa Fee to the Embassy: approximately 5,000 CZK (198 EUR)
* Trip to Czech Embassy/Visa Shipping: 500 – 2500 CZK
* Notary: 30 CZK/page
* 12 months of Health Insurance once your Visa is issued: approximately 6,000-17,000 CZK depending on coverage.
(Americans- You only need to purchase one month of health insurance when you go to apply. If you are American, you are also obliged (by US tax law) to pay into the national health insurance system in the Czech Republic. Therefore, once you receive your Visa, you will need to register and make payments of appx. 2,208 CZK/month to the national health insurance, which covers almost everything for you at no extra cost.)
Bank Letter Information
The bank letter you bring with you from home is needed for your visa/trade license application. It needs to indicate that you have over 124,000 Czech crowns in your account. Convert your currency here to find out how much that is in your own currency.
You will need to show that you have 124,000 CZK in your bank account. The statement must be less than 3 months old and shown when you interview at the Czech Embassy. In rare instances, people have been asked to show it again during a second interview, so it’s good to keep this amount in an account until you have the visa.
It should read the following:
“[Your name] has an account with $[amount of money] of money in it.”
Be sure that the dollar amount is slightly more than the exact conversion rate in case exchange rates fluctuate.
You should be the only person on the account. If you are not the only one on the account, have them only include your name in the letter. In the case there’s more than one person on the account, there must be 124,000 CZK per person!
- It needs to be an account you have a card to – you will have to show this card at your visa appointment.
- The document needs to be an original document on official bank letterhead; not a fax or an email. If necessary, a PDF will suffice, but an original is strongly preferred.
- Must have an original signature, in blue ink if possible.
- Preferably stamped by the bank; if they can include a business card too, that would be great.
Traveler’s Health Insurance
Before your arrival, it’s required by law in the Czech Republic that you are insured during your stay in the Czech Republic, so you will need to buy traveler’s health insurance with a coverage of 30,000 Euro for the time you plan on being here. You can check online for different options. Just type in traveler’s insurance. Or go to www.imgglobal.com. All questions about coverage need to be directed to the insurance provider.
** (Please note, if you plan to stay and teach in the Czech Republic, you’ll only need the traveler’s insurance until you go to apply for your visa. At that time, you’ll need a different type of health insurance. More information is available above.)