I am a car guy, I love cars. My first car, when I was 10 years old, was a 1973 VW Beetle. I’ve had my license since I was 16, had many, many cars and driven more than the average number of kms both for work and pleasure.
One of my commitments to myself in moving back to the Czech Republic was that I would get a car. Of course this means I also need a Czech driving license. You are not able to get a Czech license on your initial six month visa, but once you have a residence permit you are not legally allowed to use your foreign license anymore. There are people who have lived here for years and still use a North American license but I am not willing to risk it.
Why is it a challenge? Canada does not belong to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. This means that in order to get a license here (or anywhere in Europe) I need to go to driving school.
What does driving school mean here?
|Class “B” – theory lessons:|
|Regulations on vehicle operation||5 lessons|
|Regulations on driving and maintenance||1 lesson|
|Driving theory and safe driving practices||3 lessons|
|Basic first aid||1 lesson|
|Revision and practice test||1 lesson|
|Class “B” – driving/practice lessons|
|Driving – closed course||2 lessons|
|Driving – light traffic||5 lessons|
|Driving – normal traffic||12 lessons|
|Driving – heavy traffic/difficult driving conditions||9 lessons|
|Vehicle maintenance practice||2 lessons|
|First aid practice||4 lessons|
One lesson = 45 minutes.
This is a rather large commitment! And prices range from 10,000Kč and up. In the end I chose a school called Amos, in Dejvická. It was recommended by my girlfriend and they offered me the course without charging an English language supplement. The instructor speaks as much English as I speak Czech, so although I don’t need driving lessons, I am getting Czech lessons out of this. If you don’t have any Czech, or driving experience, spend the extra money and get an instructor who speaks English.
You will need to find a doctor to give you a medical exam before you can start at school. This proved a challenge and in the end I found a very small clinic that did it for 400Kč. You can download the form here.
We have now completed all the necessary drives around Prague. The school also supplied me with badly translated English versions of all the pertinent regulations to study.
One grey area is that I am still waiting for my long term residence card. I have been assured that as long as I can prove I have lived here over 185 days, and can provide my passport and address information, they will allow me to take the tests.
Sites you might find useful:
Czech online test system. Note there are printed tests available and you can translate these as I have done.
Online intersection tests. Again in Czech, but it will give you an idea what to expect.
I am scheduled for a written test at the magistrates office in Vršovice. For this I have to bring a registered translator. Cost is 700Kč for the test (this will include the driving test fee). The translator charges 1,500Kč.
After this, but the same week, I will have the driving test at my school in Dejvická.
Once complete, I should receive the actual license in 10 to 20 days.
Total cost will be approximately 13,200Kč.
I’ll update with more on the experience once it is all done.
Whew! It has been even quieter than usual here. I do apologize.
If you have been following, since my last post I have been waiting for my residence approval. There was a complication. At the end of December I received a nice letter stating two things:
- My proof of income had been rejected as it was not in Czech. This was my fault as I took a risk sending printouts from the website rather than certified copies. FIO was able to give me a summary of all months in one giant statement and only charged one fee. 120Kč.
- They wanted me to prove I made enough money not only to support myself, by also my partner. In 2012 I had applied for a partnership visa with my Czech girlfriend, after nine months of trying to provide enough information to make them happy we finally broke up and I went back to Canada just long enough to reset my Schengen clock. Being asked to prove I could support a partner I no longer had, and that they never accepted I had, was interesting.
So, I mailed (by registered mail) my updated a bank statements as well as a notarized místopřísežné prohlášení, a document my ex signed to state we were no longer partners.
On January 11th my application number appeared on the approval spreadsheet. I had a friend call and make an appointment for January 28th. This means my application took from October 15th to January 11th to be approved – 89 days.
On January 28th I went back to the Chodov office for my biometrics appointment. They took my photo and fingerprints. They also verified my address.
One complication. They now wanted my expired residence card from when I lived here in 2014. This is the first time it was mentioned, no one has ever asked to see it or verify it as I was starting over again. I offered to bring it back when I pick up my card, that seemed to satisfy them. They issued an approval document and gave me an appointment to come back to pick up the card (as well as pay the 2,500Kč fee in kolek).
The final steps:
On February 18th I went back to the office at Chodov and picked up my shiny new dlouhodoby pobyt and paid the 2,500Kč. I am now legal until November 2017.
The following Monday I returned to the zivnostensky office where they copied my new residence card and issued my zivno with the same expiration date as my permit.
Total cost of this entire process: 2,880Kč (primarily the actual fee for the permit)
I’m now done this lovely process until the fall of 2017.