I was approved for my six month visa on May 4th, and although I didn’t pick it up until May 15th it expires 6 months from the date of approval That is November 4th. A little over six weeks from now. The appointment for the long term residence or, dlouhodoby pobyt, has to be at least 14 days before the visa expires. What this means is I realized last week I need to get moving!
These next posts will be a summary, if you want detailed information start back in November 2013 when I did this the first time. If you are new to the idea of moving to the Czech Republic you need to get a six month visa to start and can find details here.
You can find a list of official requirements as well as the application form on the Ministry of Interior website.
Step one: try to achieve a calm state of mind. There is some bureaucracy you will need to work through to pull this off, and it makes the initial six month visa and the trip to an embassy seem like a much nicer way to spend time.
Six weeks out:
Make an appointment at the appropriate Ministry of Interior office. In Prague they now have a central number for appointments and they will tell you where to go and when. If your Czech isn’t good (and I admit mine is still very poor) it is best to have a friend call. They will need your:
- passport number
- date of birth
- full name
- visa number
- visa expiration date
- home address (this determines what office to go to)
They’ll give you an appointment data and time, in my case I asked for a specific one.
Apply for your social service tax clearance letter. You’ve been paying your 1943Kč every month and now you need to prove it. Find the appropriate office to go to, which in theory is based on your account number. For some reason even though I went to the appropriate one I was told I had to go back to where I originally set up my social service account. I muddled through this in Czech and got a document listing all my payments to date (they issue this on the spot) as well as applied for a bezdlužnost which will take about four weeks and be sent to your home address. On the application form I had to the list reason for application and I put povolení k pobytu (residence permit). Cost: 0Kč.
Apply for your income tax clearance letter. Even though you likely weren’t working here the year before (or in most cases not even living here) you need a clearance letter to show you owe no taxes. You will need to go the appropriate finanční úřad (financial office). There seems to be some confusion, but I went to the one based on my residence address. You will need 100Kč for payment, get it in kolek from the post office as usual. This will take about four weeks as well and will be mailed. Cost: 100Kč.
Next stop živnostenský list extension.
I find that Czech friends and foreigners alike are often surprised that I can survive here as a vegetarian. “How do you manage to feed yourself? Czech food is so meat-centric?”. Quite well really! Certainly within Prague it is no problem at all, though in smaller towns and villages eating out often involves smažený sýr (fried cheese) or risotto. I’m vegetarian, not vegan, but I don’t eat meat or fish (which is really meat, isn’t it?).
I’ve mentioned one or two of these places before, but here is a non-comprehensive list of my go-to places in Prague.
Yes, this is the same Govinda you find all over the place in Europe – the Hare Krishna group that runs vegetarian restaurants, usually with set menus. 95Kč will get you the small menu plate which always includes soup, some sort of salad (rice or bean), rice or bulgur with vegetables and sauce, There are three locations in Prague. One very near Palladium mall in the centre, one in Prague 8 and the newest one, which appears to be a separate business, in Prague 5 across the street from Smíchovské nádraží. I’m partial to the one in Prague 5 as I find the food is fresher plus you get tea or juice included with your meal.
These vegan buffets can be found all over Prague, including in the food courts at Nový Smíchov and Galerie Butovice malls. It is amazing how busy they are. Food is sold by the 100 grams, usually between 19 and 22Kč, though if you come after 8pm it is usually discounted by up to 50%. It’s a little expensive if you need a big meal, but as a small meal on the go it is perfect.
For somewhere a little nicer, this is a great option. These restaurants are somehow related but have a different menu. Maitrea has a fantastic cozy lower floor eating area. Reservations are recommended on busy nights. The food is all original, well prepared with some “re-engineered” Czech specialties such as goulash or svíčková.
Polévka is Czech for soup and is a good option in many cafes and restaurants. This small restaurant near na plavka specializes in soups and always has some vegetarian options on the board. Economical and including bread with every bowl of soup. Be warned, it is very small and very busy at lunch time.
For a change of taste I sometimes go for the all you can eat Indian buffet at Indian by Nature. There are several locations in Prague but I am partial to the one near Hradčanská, the food seems fresher and the service friendlier. 125Kč gets you all you can eat, there are veggie and meat options was well as salad and naan. Drinks are extra of course.
There are many, many other restaurants. Some I’ve forgotten and other great ones I have yet to experience. Happy Cow will help you locate new places to try!
Here again there are many good options. Specialty store such as Country Life and Rozmaryna are great for a good selection of organic and bio products. Every weekend there are farmer’s markets all over town including my favourite at Na Plavka. Don’t forget the six day a week year-round market in Holesovice, found in the Vietnamese market area at the Pražská tržnice tram stop. It is less touristy and has a great selection of fresh local produce.
Good luck and dobrou chuť!