Moving to Prague?
Moving to Prague
At a Glance:
- There are different visas depending on the length and purpose of your stay in the Czech Republic, as well as blue cards and employee cards which act as a work permit.
- It is necessary for all expats to register at their local Foreign Police Department within 30 days of arriving in the country.
- Prague’s relatively small size means that whichever district you decide to live in, you will never be far from the city center.
- The area in which you want to live in, and how long you plan to stay, will affect whether an apartment or a single-family home is more affordable for you.
Expats often work at the multinational businesses in the city; others work for Czech firms, especially in areas such as finance, IT and business development, and there are also a number of expats who work in the foreign embassies.
Most of those who have made the move to Prague consider the city a comfortable place for expats; despite being relatively small, it still provides goods, services, and living standards equal to its larger neighbors for comparatively lower prices.
Visas — Your Ticket to Prague
Czech immigration law differentiates between short-term visas and long-term visas. Short-term Schengen visas are valid for 90 days within a 180-day period are cover the entire Schengen area.
Long-term Schengen visas, or “type D” visas, are issued for students or family reunification, and are needed for a stay of over 90 days. An employee card replaces long-term visas when staying in the Czech Republic for employment purposes. The employee card acts as a work permit as well as a residence permit for the duration of your employment.
For citizens of EU and EFTA member states, the blue card — introduced in 2011 — serves the same purpose as an employee card does for third-country nationals. The blue card provides a simpler alternative to the regular work permit system for foreign nationals who fulfill certain requirements regarding professional qualifications and salary.
Expats moving to Prague to take up employment need to successfully apply for a work permit before a long-term employment visa can be issued. The job in question must be placed on the vacancy database compiled by the Czech government by the employer; there are different vacancies for the employee card and for the blue card. Foreigners can apply for a long-term residence permit if they plan on staying more than three months.
For more information on both blue and employee cards, please consult our article on moving to the Czech Republic.
Registration and Residency in Prague
Due to the free movement of workers within the European Union, citizens of other EU member states do not need a visa. The same is true for expats from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. However, within 30 days of taking up residence in Prague, citizens of these countries must register with the Czech authorities. Non-EU citizens moving to Prague have to register at the Foreign Police Department or at an office of the Ministry of Interior within three working days of arrival.
Third-country nationals moving to Prague may need to apply for a long-term residence permit. After a stay of five years, a permanent residence permit may be requested. EU citizens relocating to Prague for a period of more than three months may request a temporary residence certificate if they wish, but their stay in the Czech Republic is not dependent on it. To be granted the certificate, expats need to prove that they have adequate health insurance and sufficient funds. Since 2009, non-EU applicants also have to pass a — relatively basic — Czech language test.
Living in Prague: A Commute Made Easy
With an area of 500 km2 and a population of around 2.2 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, Prague can seem rather small and cozy. One benefit of this is that you will never live very far from the center. This, in combination with Prague’s excellent public transportation system, makes accessing most districts particularly easy, and eases the stress of a daily commute.
It also allows expats to take other factors into consideration when choosing where to live, such as the atmosphere of particular districts and the leisure opportunities. The form and quality of housing available may also differ depending on which neighborhood you decide to live in.
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