Visa Types and the Application Procedure

Schengen (short-term) visas – visas for stays of up to 90 days in the territory of the Czech Republic / in the Schengen Area:

  • Type A visa – a visa for transit through an airport
  • Type C visa – a short-term visa for the purposes of tourism, medical treatment, a business trip, participation in a cultural or sports event, a visit (invitation), an official (political) visit, studies, training, traineeship, scientific research, employment, and other reasons. It is designed only for stays that are not longer than 90 days within a 180-day period. It is a uniform visa that enables short-term stays in the whole of the Schengen Area. It is also issued for short-term employment.

The application may be submitted no sooner than three months before the planned trip. The maximum time limit for the processing of the application is fifteen calendar days. An application filed less than fifteen days before a trip may not be processed in time.

Long-term visas – visas for stays of more than 90 days in the territory of the Czech Republic, which also entitle the holders to short-term stays and stays in other countries of the Schengen Area (the 90/180 Rule):

  • Type D visa – a long-term visa for the purposes of medical treatment, participation in a cultural or sports event, a visit (invitation), an official (political) visit, a family visit, studies, training, scientific research, business stay, and other reasons. The type D visa is usually issued for three months, but it may be issued for up to twelve months. The granting of the type of visa is generally subject to approval by the competent authorities.
  • Type D visa – a long-term visa for the purpose of collecting a long-term term residence permit for employment purposes (the Employee Card and the Blue Card), family unificationstudies, scientific research  and the stay of a resident of another EU Member State.
  • Type D visa – a long-term visa for the purpose of collecting a permanent residence permit.

A Schengen calculator is available here.  

Type A and C visas are issued by Czech consulates abroad, as the granting of short-term visas falls within the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The applicant is usually required to submit the application in person.

An application for a long-term visa (for a stay of more than 90 days) should also be submitted at the embassy of the country of which the applicant is a citizen or in the country that has issued a travel document or a long-term or permanent residence permit to the applicant, unless the applicant is a citizen of one of the countries to which an exception applies (Decree No. 429/2010 Sb., setting exceptions from the duty of foreigners to apply for a visa or a residence permit at the consulate having territorial competence).

The consulate is only competent to accept the application, but the application is then processed by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. In the process, the consulate communicates with the applicant and invites him or her for an interview or to collect the visa. There exists exceptions enabling to submit an application at any consulate or even in the Czech Republic. In addition, the Czech Republic has concluded agreements on representation under which visa applications can be submitted at consulates of other countries.

Employee Card

The Employee Card is a type of a long-term residence permit which has replaced visas for stays exceeding 90 days for the purpose of employment, long-term residence permits for the purpose of employment, and the Green Card. It entitles its holder both to stay and to be employed in the Czech Republic. Most often it is issued for the duration of the employment relationship, but not for more than two years, with an option to extend its validity. The Employee Card can be issued in relation to a job vacancy that is included in the central register of vacancies that can be filled by employee card holders (integrated portal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic).

Blue Card

The Blue Card is issued for a long-term stay for the purpose of employment, but unlike the Employee Card, high professional qualification is required for its issuance. High qualification means that the employee has completed duly either university education or higher vocational education, the duration of which was at least three years. In addition, the agreed gross monthly or annual wage must equal at least 1.5 times the average annual wage.

Example

An independent dance troupe based in Prague collaborates with Indian dancers, a French choreographer and an Irish musician on a royalty fee basis. They are going to rehearse in the Czech Republic for two months, after which they will go for a tour of the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Ireland. What types of visas or work permits do they need?

The French choreographer, the Irish musician and the members of the Czech ensemble do not need any residence permits or licences for activities in the Czech Republic and during the European tour.

The Indian dancer, however, will need a visa valid for the Czech Republic as well as for short-term stays in other Schengen countries.

The Labour Office of the Czech Republic may grant him a work permit yet before he applies for the visa provided that the employer provides the office with necessary information to assess the case in advance. If the visa is issued, it includes a permit for work in the Czech Republic. In the case of self-employment – as in the example above – a permit from the Labour Office is not necessary.

Performances in Great Britain, Ireland, and Switzerland are subject to the national regulations on entry, stay and economic activities. Since some further permits may be required, the Indian dancer should contact the consulates of these countries and learn about their respective requirements relating to his performance.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Applying for a visa should not be left until the last minute, as the issuance of a visa at short notice is usually not possible. This should be factored into the planning of tours and destinations – you should keep sufficient time for the visa application process. The processing time depends on the scope of the checks required in individual cases.

The nature and scope of the documents required for a visa may vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin or on the type of the requested visa. The relevant information is available on the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic as well as on the websites of Czech consulates.

With regard to the nature of the work in other countries – including other Schengen countries – it is advisable to contact consulates in the host countries to inquire whether some other special permits are required.

The foreigner’s travel document must not be older than ten years and must be valid at least three months after departure from the Czech Republic/the Schengen Area.

The fact that a third-country national has applied for a visa or a residence permit during his/her stay in the Schengen Area does not entitle him or her to exceed the determined time limit for the stay in the territory.

The Schengen (short-term) visa can be extended in exceptional and substantiated cases at the Foreign Police department having territorial competence.

For short-term stays, it is also necessary for the visa holder to check not only the validity and the number of permitted days of stay but also the number of permitted entries (the number of periods of stay into which the total number of permitted days of stay is spread), particularly if he/she plans to return to the territory of the Member States. The number of entries can be limited to one, two or more: M – multiple-entry visa (visa entitling to more than two entries). The visa expires when the total number of exits made by the holder equals the number of permitted entries, even in the event that the visa holder has not used up the maximum number of permitted days of stay.

When applying for a visa you must submit the originals or officially certified copies of documents. (The documents must not be older than 180 days, with the exception of the travel document and civil registry certificates. The travel document, the civil registry certificate and a document proving the purpose of stay must be submitted in the original.) All the submitted documents, except the travel document, must be in the Czech language or translated officially into Czech. In addition, foreign public documents must be provided with higher-degree authentication (apostille or authentication and legalisation), unless the respective international agreement on legal assistance provides otherwise.

There also exist visa facilitation agreements. Their updated list can be found here.

 BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR VISA APPLICANTS

  • a filled-in application form signed by the applicant,
  • a valid travel document:
    - it must not be older than ten years and must be valid at least three months after departure from the Czech Republic/the Schengen Area,
     - an applicant over 15 years of age must submit his/her own passport – travel document,
  • a photograph:
    - dimensions 35 x 45 mm,
    - it must reflect the applicant’s current appearance and show the front view,
    - the applicant must be in plain clothes, without dark glasses (with the exception of visually impaired persons) and without a head cover, unless such head cover is justified by religious or medical reasons – in such case it must not obscure the face in a manner preventing the person’s identification and creating shadows on the face,
  • fingerprints - will be taken by an employee of the competent authority upon the submission of the application,
  • a document proving the purpose of the stay,
  • a proof of accommodation:
    - for short-term stays this may be an invitation from the inviting person, a voucher from the hotel, etc.
    - for long-term stays this may be a document proving the ownership of a flat or a house, an accommodation or lease contract, a document proving accommodation in a hostel or a student dormitory,
  • a proof of sufficient financial means:
    - for short-term stays this may be a bank statement, a receipt for the payment of services, an invitation form, an international payment card, a proof of income, etc.,
    - for long-term stays it depends on the purpose of the stay,
  • travel medical insurance:
     - valid in all countries of the Schengen Area,
    - coverage for the entire period of the intended stay or transit
    - the minimum insurance coverage must be EUR 30,000,
    - for a long-term stay the minimum insurance coverage must be EUR 60,000 without co-payment
    ,
  • depending on the type of the visa, other documents may be required, such as invitations, service contracts, airplane tickets, membership of organisations, a marriage certificate, birth certificates of children, certificate of land ownership, and other documents proving the applicant’s intention to return to the country of origin.

INVITATION LETTER

The inviting person may be both an individual and a legal entity. There are two types of an invitation letters:

  • a certified invitation:
    - on an official form (The form cannot be downloaded online, as it bears a unique number, and an administrative fee in the form of a stamp must be paid for it),
    - the form is provided by the Foreign Police, who will also certify it,
    - the inviting person agrees to provide accommodation and assume the financial obligations connected with the stay (in part or fully),
    - in this way you can prove the purpose of the stay, accommodation, financial means and travel medical insurance for the Czech Republic,
  • unofficial invitation – a letter:
    - a legal entity must write it on a letterhead paper and have it signed by an authorised person,
    - the minimum requirements are the name of the invited person and the person’s date of birth, and possibly also the passport number and information on the trip and stay – the purpose, duration, the place of stay, etc.