You’ve made it this far! Armed with your pile of documents and a Czech friend head off to your meeting. If you have never been to the Ministry of the Interior office brace yourself, it is usually chaos with a lot of people waiting.
The good news is, because you have an appointment, you can jump the queue. It takes a little nerve but just walk to the front of the line, stick your head in – or more likely have your friend do it – and they will issue you a number.
The actual meeting is quite simple, give them everything and answer any questions. It is not like the initial visa meeting you went to at an embassy, there will be no trick questions.
After accepting your application they will issue you a letter that a) proves you have applied and b) lists anything they still require from you. This is important, you have 30 days to provide additional documents (for example more bank statements as they become available). Failure to submit the documents can result in your application being cancelled.
Once you have applied for your long-term residence permit, you also need to ask for a bridge visa to keep you legal while things are in progress. This visa will be issued on the spot at no charge and will be good for 180 days and allow multiple entries into the country (and therefore the Schengen Zone).
You now have two dates to remember:
- Bridge visa expiration – it is good for 180 days, if you get near the expiry and have not been approved they will issue a second bridge visa.
- Živnostenský list extension – it is good for 10 months, but they will extend it again if you show them your bridge visa.
Once again your are legal! And once again it is just a matter of waiting!
More updates once I am approved, I hope!
From my previous post you should have a general idea about what documents you need for your long-term residence permit, some things are self explanatory but others need some comment.
If you aren’t applying for your long-term residence permit, you might as well stop right here – it gets pretty boring! I promise to write some more general interest posts soon!
Proof of accommodation:
This is one of the three documents that determines how long your permit will be good for, you will need to get your landlord to do a new one and have it notarized. Try either for an open ended permit or a two year period, this doesn’t mean you can’t move or change things – it is just to get you the maximum residence permit. All the same rules apply as to your original housing document.
This one is a little annoying! Since you have to pay up front, it’s a big out of pocket expense. I opted for one year insurance through Slavia since my passport will be expiring in early 2015 and I will have to reapply no matter what. 12 months cost me 9,600Kc while 24 months would have been 18,000Kc. If you didn’t buy this in person last time note that Slavia will offer you a discount as soon as you tell them it is cheaper online, no questions asked. Again the same rules apply for coverage limits. Shop around, you might find better than Slavia but I wasn’t able to, I have never made a claim on my insurance so I can’t offer any opinion as to how good the company is.
It’s important you take your existing policy and card, your new policy and card as well as proof of payment to the meeting. Make copies of everything.
EDIT: When returning in 2015 I found the health insurance situation had changed, I ended up using Czechinsure.com, and spoke with Simon Morton. The process was easier, was in English, and was only 7,500kc for 12 months through a better company than Slavia.
Proof of income:
The requirement is an average of 14,000Kc per month from a minimum of two employers. I use Fio Banka and they were able to print me a copy of my bank statement, stamp and sign it, all in an instant and at no charge. Of course you won’t have the requested six months worth of bank statements since you won’t have been working that long! Take what you can, the Ministry of the Interior may ask you to send more in as they become available. If you have not had direct deposits you can have your students sign an affidavit to show they have been paying you every month, as I didn’t need this I don’t know the details. If you have any teaching contracts, in Czech, take along a copy – they might not ask but it can’t hurt.
Income tax clearance letter:
You will need to prove that you have no outstanding taxes from the previous year, even if you weren’t working or even in the country! This clearance letter is called a bezdlužnost and must be applied for at the tax office that handles your area (your business address). You will need to take a copy of your passport including the page showing your address, your income tax registration number and payment in the form of a 100Kc kolek (purchased at any post office). When I applied I was told it would take five weeks and it was done in less than three weeks.
Unless your Czech is really good, take a friend – even for Czechs this is a bureaucratic nightmare with a lot of running around. The application took me two hours and visits to at least four offices.
Social service tax clearance letter:
Hopefully you have been making your 1890Kc per month social service tax payments. You will need two documents from this office and will need to apply in person at the appropriate office based on your post code. They will print and stamp a letter showing the date of all payments you have made, but you will have to request a clearance letter which will take approximately three weeks to be completed. Czech is very helpful here but I did it alone and they were very friendly.
Živnostenský list extension:
This may be one of the simplest things, a quick trip to the zivno office and 100Kc cash payment and you will have your extension in one week. They give you a ten month extension, hopefully long enough to get your residence permit.
Long-term residence application form:
You can either go to the office and pick one up, or print it from here. It is in Czech and English but must be completed in Czech. Have the same friend who will accompany you to the meeting go through this with you, if you aren’t sure of anything just leave it blank until the meeting.
That’s about if other than the copies of documents listed in my first post!
Next, the meeting! Easier than you think.
If you’ve been here more than four months it is time to start planning your renewal. You need to apply for your long-term residence permit a minimum of 14 days before your original short-term visa expires. Some of the documents you need will take time to get so don’t leave this until the last minute! You can find the official requirements here, and as always this is based on my personal experience (your results may vary).
If you are reading this I am assuming you are: a North American, living in the Czech Republic, working on a živnostenský list and currently holding a short-term visa for the purposes of business. You also must have been working and paying your social service tax every month!
Unlike the original visa, you don’t have to leave the country to apply for your residence permit. This saves you travel but be prepared for the huge amount of bureaucracy you need to navigate. The long-term permit is valid for up to two years based on the shortest validity of three things:
- Health insurance policy
- Housing document
I will go into more details in further postings but here is the checklist of documents you need to gather:
- Proof of accommodation. This is the same as what was needed for your original visa, but try to get this new one either open ended or valid for two years.
- Health insurance. You will need to buy another policy, prepaid for up to two years (hopefully you have some funds set aside for this!).
- Your passport, of course. Copy the information and visa pages.
- Proof of income. You require a minimum average of 14,000Kc per month. Copies of any contracts you have, in Czech, will also be helpful.
- Income tax clearance letter (bezdlužnost) to prove that you have no outstanding taxes.
- Social service tax clearance letter plus a list of all the payments you have made to them.
- A copy of your original živnostenský list.
- A notarized copy of your živnostenský extension (valid for ten months).
- A passport photo.
You do not need proof of funds or a criminal record check this time.
Things to consider:
If you plan to do this yourself, a Czech friend will be essential! I muddled through most of the offices but needed help with some things and would have been lost without help during the actual meeting.
Costs: this is relatively cheap. Your biggest expense will be for your health insurance, mine was 9,600Kc for one year. Allow a few hundred more for some forms, notarization and fees. The actual application is free but you will need 2,500Kc for your biometric card when you are finally approved.
A bridge visa. When you go for your appointment request a bridge visa, there is no charge and they will issue it immediately. Mine is valid for six months and allows multiple entries into the country – essential if you plan to travel!
This Will Take Time! I have heard horror stories of people being in process for years, but you can continue to work as long as you keep your bridge visa and živnostenský valid.
What’s the first step?
Make an appointment for your application meeting – I made mine for three weeks before my short-term visa expiry.
You can find the contact information here, you need to apply at the appropriate office based on where you live. The numbers are hard to get through to and they likely won’t speak English so have a friend call.
In the next postings I will go into more detail about documents…..
Holding thumbs that this all works out for us!